ethics

Raffoul - ethics cannot be grounded on utility

"Originary ethics cannot be measured in terms of results, or the production of effects. Heidegger states that “such thinking has no result. It has no effect” (BW, 259). It has no effect, not because it is solely theoretical or [229] contemplative—in fact, it “exceeds all contemplation” (BW, 262)—but because the ethics evoked here is no longer understood as the production of effects. The essence of thinking as originary ethics, Heidegger writes in the very first lines of “Letter on Humanism,” is not that which causes an effect or is governed by the value of utility. In fact, in the Beiträge Heidegger makes the claim that genuine thinking is “powerless” in the sense that the “en-thinking of the truth of Being . . . does not tolerate an immediate conclusion and evaluation [i.e., closure], especially when thinking must . . . bring into play the entire strangeness of be-ing [i.e., openness]—thus when thinking can never be based on a successful result in beings.” [1] This is all the more the case since as we know that any calculation of effects produced quickly proves . . . incalculable! The concern for results—the definition of ethics in terms of production of effects—in fact belongs to the imperative of technological thinking, which demands that everything be put to a use and exploited in an unconditional way and without reserve. In The Verge of Philosophy, John Sallis suggests that, “The genuine power of thinking consists in the capacity to undergo this displacement and to endure, as Heidegger says ‘the strangeness of Beyng’ . . . This endurance requires also enduring the apparent powerlessness, that thinking brings about no immediate effect on beings.” [2] Sallis clarifies that such thinking “requires that one turn away from beings and all effectings upon them to Beyng in its strangeness” (VP, 147). Hence the site of originary ethics is not instrumental, is not the consequential mode of a subjective agency, but instead “requires the most radical loss of self, and it is in this madness that, properly attuned, one is drawn toward, opened to, the gift of Being” (VP, 147). The useless opens the space of ethics, while instrumentality closes it.

Heidegger: antes do agir, é preciso aprender a pensar

"It is toward the great essence of man that we are thinking, inasmuch as man’s essence belongs to the essence of Being and is needed by Being to keep safe the coming to presence of Being into its truth.
 
Therefore, what is necessary above all is this: that beforehand we ponder the essence of Being as that which is worthy of thinking; that beforehand, in thinking this, we experience to what extent we are called upon first to trace a path for such experiencing and to prepare that path as a way into that which till now has been impassable.
 
All this we can do only it before considering the question that is seemingly always the most immediate one and the only urgent one, What shall we do? we ponder this: How must we think? For thinking is genuine activity, genuine taking a hand, if to take a hand means to lend a hand to the essence, the coming to presence, of Being. This means: to prepare (build) for the coming to presence of Being that abode in the midst of whatever is [inmitten des Seienden] into which Being brings itself and its essence to utterance in language. Language first gives to every purposeful deliberation its ways and its byways. Without language, there would be lacking to every doing every dimension in which it could bestir itself and be effective. In view of this, language is never primarily the expression of thinking, feeling, and willing. Language is the primal dimension within which man’s essence is first able to correspond at all to Being and its claim, and, in corresponding, to belong to Being. This primal corresponding, expressly carried out, is thinking. Through thinking, we first learn to dwell in the realm in which there comes to pass the restorative surmounting of the destining of Being, the surmounting of Enframing."
 
Heidegger, (GA7), Trad. William Lovitt, 1977, p. 40-41