Against Ethics

Front Cover
Indiana University Press, Oct 22, 1993 - Philosophy - 304 pages
A brilliant and witty postmodern critique of ethics, framed as a contemporary restaging of Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling.

John D. Caputo undertakes a passionate, poetic, and satiric search for the basis of an ethics in the postmodern situation. Restaging Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling, Caputo defends the notion of obligation without ethics, of responsibility without the support of ethical foundations. Retelling the story of Abraham and Isaac, he strikes the pose of a postmodern-day Johannes de Silentio, accompanied by communications from such startling figures as Johanna de Silentio, Felix Sineculpa, and Magdalena de la Cruz. In dialogue with the thought of Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Derrida, and Lyotard, Caputo forges a challenging, original account of what is possible and what is not possible for a continentalist ethics today.

Against Ethics is a bold work. . . . A counterethics whose multiple voices will be heard long after the trivializing arguments of many analytic ethicists have vanished and the arcane formulations of many postmoderns have been jettisoned.” —Edith Wyschogrod

“Caputo provides a brilliant new analysis of the limits of ethics. . . . Essential reading for anyone concerned with the philosophical issues raised in postmodernity.” —Drucilla Cornell

“One of the most important works on philosophical ethics written in recent years. . . . Caputo speaks with a passion and concern that are rare in academic philosophy.” —Mark C. Taylor

Against Ethics is beautifully written, clever, learned, thought-provoking, and even inspiring.” —Theological Studies

“Writing in the form of his ideas, Caputo offers the reader a truly exquisite reading experience. . . . His iconic style mirrors a truly refreshing honesty that draws the reader in to play.” —Quarterly Journal of Speech

Other editions - View all

About the author (1993)

Academician John D. Caputo (b.1940) specializes in continental philosophy, described as the interaction among 20th century French and German philosophy and religion. He has written a number of scholarly books including The Mystical Element in Heidegger's Thought (1978), Heidegger and Aquinas (1982), Demythologizing Heidegger (1993), Against Ethics (1993), and The Prayers and Tears of Jacques Derrida (1997). Caputo has been honored in Dublin and Toronto, where conferences have been organized around his work. Caputo is professor of philosophy at Villanova University in Pennsylvania, where he received his M.A. in 1964. Other degrees include a B.A. from LaSalle College (1962) and a Ph.D. from Bryn Mawr (1968).

Bibliographic information