The Moral Theory of Poststructuralism

Paperback | January 6, 2005

byTodd May

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Both Anglo-American and Continental thinkers have long denied that there can be a coherent moral defense of the poststructuralist politics of Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, and Jean-François Lyotard. For many Anglo-American thinkers, as well as for Critical Theorists such as Habermas, poststructuralism is not coherent enough to defend morally. Alternatively, for Foucault, Deleuze, Lyotard, and their followers, the practice of moral theorizing is passé at best and more likely insidious.

Todd May argues both that a moral defense of poststructuralism is necessary and that it is possible. First, he develops a metaethical view of moral theorizing that treats it as a social practice rather than a transcendentally derived guarantee for right action. He then articulates and defends antirepresentationalism, a principle central to poststructuralism. Finally, May offers a version of consequentialism that is consonant both with the principle of antirepresentationalism and with other poststructuralist commitments. In conclusion, he distinguishes morality from an aesthetics of living and shows the role the latter plays for those who embrace antirepresentationalism.

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Both Anglo-American and Continental thinkers have long denied that there can be a coherent moral defense of the poststructuralist politics of Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, and Jean-François Lyotard. For many Anglo-American thinkers, as well as for Critical Theorists such as Habermas, poststructuralism is not coherent enough to defen...

Todd May is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Clemson University. He is the author of two previous books published by Penn State Press, The Political Philosophy of Poststructuralist Anarchism (1994) and Between Genealogy and Epistemology: Psychology, Politics, and Knowledge in the Thought of Michel Foucault (1993).

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:164 pages, 9.01 × 5.98 × 0.39 inPublished:January 6, 2005Publisher:Penn State University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0271025859

ISBN - 13:9780271025858

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“This is an extremely worthwhile book—a real bridge builder—executed by one of the few philosophers in the world able to speak eloquently in the language of Anglo-American and Continental philosophy.”

—Owen Flanagan, Duke University