For an Impure, Antiauthoritarian Ethics

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Abstract
My commentary deals with the fourth chapter of Against Purity, entitled “Consuming Suffering,” where Shotwell invites us to imagine what an alternative to ethical individualism might look like in practice. I am particularly interested in the analogy she develops to help pull us into the frame of what she calls a “distributed” or “social” approach to ethics. I will argue that grappling with this analogy can help illuminate three challenges confronting those of us seeking a genuine alternative to ethical individualism: first, that of recognizing that and how certain organizational forms work to entrench an individualistic orientation to the world; second, that of acknowledging the inadequacy of alternatives to individualism that are merely formal in character; and third, that of avoiding the creation of organizational forms that foster purism at the collective level.
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Archival date: 2018-10-18
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