Moral imperatives for an immanent world: an investigation of the pragmatist, deconstructive and ante-philosophical positions

South African Journal of Philosophy 32 (3):275-284 (2013)
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In this paper, I argue that an implication of the so-called ‘death of metaphysics’ is the imbrication of the normative and descriptive understandings of morality. This imbrication gives rise to a paradox, which amounts to the desire to refute both a priori moral justifications, and ‘the tyranny of the real’ or the socialisation and relativisation of our moral assertions and positions. I investigate three responses to this paradox, namely the pragmatic response, Jacques Derrida’s deconstructive response, and the ante-philosophical response, which is based on the work of Jean-Luc Nancy. The reason for focusing on these three philosophical positions is that they all espouse an immanent view of morality. Through means of this analysis, I attempt to highlight the following implications of an immanently-defined moral position: the constitutive, as opposed to the pedagogical or prescriptive, nature of philosophy; the increasing focus on the performative force of doing philosophy and the importance of philosophical skill; the problematic nature of the distinctions between philosophy, moral theory, and applied ethics, and therefore also between the nature and function of morality; and the status of philosophy and moral theory as one type of praxis amongst many, rather than the definitive voice on praxis



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Minka Woermann
University of Stellenbosch

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References found in this work

Tractatus logico-philosophicus.Ludwig Wittgenstein - 1922 - Filosoficky Casopis 52:336-341.
The Fixation of Belief.C. S. Peirce - 1877 - Popular Science Monthly 12 (1):1-15.
Of Grammatology.Jacques Derrida - 1982 - Philosophy and Rhetoric 15 (1):66-70.
Process and Reality.Arthur E. Murphy - 1931 - Humana Mente 6 (21):102-106.

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