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Levi Bryant “The Ethics of the Event”

Bryant, Levi R. 2011. The Ethics of the Event: Deleuze and Ethics without Arché. – Jun, N.; Smith, D. W. (eds). Deleuze and Ethics. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press: 21-43

„Our“ action is a network composed of human and nonhuman actors, rather than two ontologically heterogeneous domains composed of human action on one side, and objects functioning as mere means and possessing only behaviors on the other. For this reason, I include nonhuman entities among the list of actors in collectives and situations. Ethical theory has suffered tremendously as a result of treating ethics exclusively as the domain of human divorced from all relations to the nonhuman. (28)

It is here that the work of ethics begins. And here the question of the work of ethics concerns not the application of a pre-existing rule to an existing situation, but rather how a collective is to be assembled or composed in light of the appearance of these strange new actors, these strangers, or how a new collective is to be formed. In this regard, rather than thinking ethics on the model of judgment, it would be more accurate to think the ethical as a sort of construction or building. (29)

[…] where traditional ethics places emphasis on the autonomy and ontological priority of the agent or subject making choices, emphasizing the duties, responsibility, and obligations of this agent, Deleuze treats both subjects and objects as the result of a development or genetic process of actualization, not as something given at the outset of a process. (31)

Where morality is concerned with judgment or assigning praise and blame, responsibility and obligation, ethics is concerned with affective relations among bodies in a composite or collective, and those assemblages that fit together in such a way so as to enhance the power of acting among the elements of the collective and those that are unable to fit together. (33)

[…] the event is simultaneously general and particular, personal and collective. (34)

Yet it is crucial here to recall that the event is not to be confused with spatio-temporal actualization in states of affairs or bodies. When Deleuze speaks of a universality and eternity specific to the event, he is referring to its curious capacity to exceed and overflow all limits of the situation in which it takes place. (35)

[…] the event itself becomes an actor within the collective, living beyond its spatio-temporal actualization in a a state of affairs and taking on a life of its own. Not only is the event something that takes place, but it is as if being registers and records the event, such that the event becomes an actor in subsequent states of the collective. (35)

To be worthy if the event, to affirm the event, to be equal to the event, is to engage in the work of tracing the true problems. This consists in tracing the differential relations, intensities, and singularities that haunt a collective in a moment of perplexity proper to a situation and assisting in the birth of new solutions. The evaluation of true and false problems will be the ethical work that, in Deleuze, replaces the logic of judgment in our decision-making process. […] Rather than judging acts, the question will be one of exploring the generative field in which acts are produced. (40-41)

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