The Ethics of Liberation Enrique Dussel is one of the major works of philosophy written in Latin America. In this entry we will work to expose, very briefly some of the main ideas of the book; in the next entry we will perform the analysis of them.
Is at the same time a position critical of the philosophical discussion on ethics, taking a specific match for the victims (the release of the victims being then the central point); but recovering -and giving them a moment of truth – a good part of the ethical theories.
So, for example, suggests that an ethics of critique -and it is there where it is located Dussel – it can never be reduced to a formal ethics. But at the same time, Dussel places such ethics (in particular, to the speech) within the general outline of the ethics of liberation:
The description of the conditions of possibility of moral exercise of the validity of the act human argumentante, analyzed as such moral demands, constitutes what is now called the moral principle of universal validity, that is not the only principle, nor the first, nor the last: that is to say, it is a principle necessary , but not sufficient, against the opinion of the Ethics of Discourse (Ethics of Liberation, paragraph 158)
So, against ethical criticism focused on the ethics material (which in fact is also something that Dussel recognizes this, and is your starting point) that deny the formal ethics, Dussel tell you that the formal element is required in ethical theory: Because the constitution of the community of speakers that generates valid inter-subjective is essential, and that process has its own requirements (for example, that Habermas sets). Someone who does not recognize the importance of the argument to build ethics in the name of the material truth has not carried out the task of ethics complete (in the same way that those who deny the material truth, too!). In the discourse of Dussel the other positions are not so much denied as outdated, and to acknowledge the intuitions of them.
The general scheme of Dussel is sintetizable in a few words (although, by the way, is in their long deployment which makes it consistent and plausible). It is a scheme that operates on two levels: The first is the system level, to the interior of a mode of life determined. The second, which is the highly critical moment, it operates at the level of the ‘other’, the victims of the system. In each one of them replicates the same movement: There is a point of material (the concrete content of the good life desired), a formal moment (the conformation of valid inter-subjective) and a time of feasibility (the question of how to achieve the good or how to achieve liberation). The ethical moment is basic the material, which then asks for your application: how it is constituted in a true inter-subjective (in the moment formal) and what is the right thing to do for this to apply (at the time of feasibility).
What is the ethics of liberation? In chapter 4 (The critical ethics of the current system: from the negativity of the victims) is still the basic argument -that, in principle, the entire book is geared to inform and to unfold its consequences:
- Here is a poor man, a victim (par 268)
- This act or a mediation that does not allow to live to the victim, denies at the same time their dignity of subject and excluded from the discourse (par 271)
- This is there in the misery is the effect of a system X
- To is victim the re-I know as a human being with dignity and as another that the system X
- This re-acquaintance me/us places as responsible/s for the victim before the system X
- I am assigned by the ethical duty, because I am responsible for it, taking my charge this victim
- Being responsible to the system X by this victim I (an ethical obligation) to criticize the system because of the negativity of the victim
- Don’t work in a way that your action cause victims, because we are responsible for his death, you and I, and therefore we would be open to criticism for their murder! (par 272)
The positive principle of this code of ethics (the argumentation above is the negative part) describes Dussel with the following words:
We have always repeated that “the production, reproduction, and development” of the life of each human subject in community. What is happening is that the demand is not only “reproduction” (according to the impulses of self-preservation, and even narcissistic pleasure as a Will to Power over and against the Other as a victim), but also, and simultaneously, as “development”. In this requirement of “development” is the essence of life that grows, or dies; it can’t be fixed in stable inmobilidad (paragraph 274)
The various ethical principles that Dussel establishes in the text (the material, the formal, and so on) have as objective to go of the basis of those ideas and those duties. We think (we’ll see this more in depth in the entry comment) on how to Dussel makes the step from 1 to 2 under an argument whose intention is to avoid falling into the naturalistic fallacy (in the step of the is the duty to be both castigated Hume).
The notion of an other with respect to the system it is crucial to understand Dussel. One of his central ideas is that the entire system generates an other, there is a system that can be all things to all, always leaves something out: the Whole system generates victims. And that other must be seen as a another. Even if it is to recognize it:
It is not possible to critique the system without the “recognition (Anerkennung) of the Other (the victim) as an autonomous subject, free and different (not just same or different) (paragraph 269)
It is for this reason that the positive principle is one of development: for if the system builds victims, and another, then in the entire system -in every community, in every social practice and historical – there is a duty of criticism and self-improvement. But the new system created, by the fact of being a system, it generates the conditions for their subsequent criticism.
Let us remember this observation. It will be crucial to understand the comments of the next entry, and in particular to understand the relationship between freedom and liberation