For an Impure, Antiauthoritarian Ethics

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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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