Postmodern Ethics and a Critical Response [Abstract]

Ethics & International Affairs, Volume 12 (1998)

International ethics scholars have argued that because postmodern, poststructural, and critical theorists view ethics as contextual, these approaches have little to offer to the consideration of ethics and international affairs. However, an examination of ethical issues through postmodern and critical perspectives reveals that these approaches are not as nihilistic as their critics contend. Postmodern, feminist, poststructural, and Frankfurt School theories provide insight and direction to students of international ethics by providing the theoretical foundations for discourse ethics. The essay contends that discourse ethics offers a procedural program for addressing urgent ethical dilemmas in world politics, concluding that the likelihood of peace and justice is greatly increased when the urge to ground ethics in Enlightenment certainty is abandoned.

 

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