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Updated Up To 18/01/2017
Volume 9, Issue 1 (December 2011) : 188-201
Ethics of the Event
The Apocalyptic Turn in Modernism
(The Ethics of Temporality, Response 2)
Ruben Borg
Rubric A: The Ethics of Temporality
Rubric B: Modernism



In their contributions to the forum on “The Ethics of Temporality” (Partial Answers 8.1, 2009) Elana Gomel and Daphna Erdinast-Vulcan suggest that there can be no genuine ethical position without the rejection of deterministic models of thought. Such a rejection, they claim, is predicated upon a correct understanding of time as a real force for difference and heterogeneity — a force that remains irreducible to any totalizing discourse or meta-historical perspective. Taking its cue from that discussion, “Ethics of the Event” explores the paradoxes (ethical as well as epistemological) engendered by the modernist insight that time is real. In particular, the essay analyzes the strain that such an insight places upon the modern ideal of subjective self-determination. It then draws upon the work of Samuel Beckett to flesh out a literary model that is able to find some species of ethical freedom outside the framework of a fully self-determined subjectivity.


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