Frontstage ethics: preventing violence through modification of perception
(Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research)
Paper short abstract:
By avoiding the objectifying perception of the Other, the phenomenological ethics are trying to evade the possibility of violence, and are therefore introducing the concept of caring for the Other as a foundation of morality.
Paper long abstract:
Cartesian dualistic confronting of subject and object has been, among other reasons, criticized as an oppressive reduction of the Other to just another object of perception. By recognizing Cartesian dualism, which divides the world into active awareness-bearers and objects of their perception, as a foundation of violence, phenomenologically inspired ethics are trying to suggest certain forms of perception by which the taboo of objectification should be avoided. That is why phenomenological ethics are insisting on the founding of subject through concept of intersubjectivity, which defines the subject not by its relation to the object, but by its appearance among other subjects. The firm line between inner and outer realm, which once helped the objectification of external phenomena, and which strengthened the traditional subject, is abandoned in favor of the common being in the world, which evokes images of organic, symbiotic interconnection of human subjects (compare Merleau-Ponty 1990, Nancy 2003). In order to actualize this new, embodied subject through its relation with the Other in the social realm, it was necessary to promote new values, such are nearness and grooming (Piper and Stronach 2008). Unfortunately, radical ethics of caring for the Other, most adequately metaforized in Heidegger's shepherd of being, does not essentially hinder the possibility of violence as much as it, as argued by Ron Broglio (2008), simply moves it offstage.
The massacre and its intimacy: violence among neighbors