Sunday, December 4, 2011


(In memory of Hannah Arendt, who died 36 years ago today): New Yorker cover from publication of ``Eichmann in Jerusalem`` (March 16, 1963).  

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

complicity, again

As the articulations against the regime of debt becomes more pronounced, it is perhaps worthwhile to dwell for a minute on those things entailed but not enumerated (in statistics and percentages) by this regime. The culture of debt and indebtedness differs vastly from the culture of  guilt as Schuld in postwar Germany, yet I would like to draw out some of these continuities in light of an ethical and affective position that has held sway (shall we say, following the clinamen) since those times. Such a continuity is not, it should first be remarked, historical. Historically, and philosophically (with Nietzsche) there are other ways to track this conjuncture of debt and guilt marked otherwise with German Schuld. And these historical markers indicate that--of course--debt and Schuld and guilt all have specific contexts and contextual differences, But I would argue that there are a couple of (however jagged) lines connecting postwar guilt/debt to today`s version. These connections have been made, from Deleuze on, through the figure of the man-in-debt. On the side of guilt, however, it has been easier to renounce indications of this affect (as if we could file bankruptcy), as if guilt were merely voluntary or the effective mechanism of bad conscience. According to these ideas, guilt is an ethical problem, one which could be corrected by cognitive behavorial approaches to psychology. Of course this is not what Deleuze and Guattari intended when they renounced the validity of Freud`s findings about guilt. In Anti-Oedipus, they describe the function of Oedipus: ``The paranoic father Oedipalizes the son. Guilt is an idea projected by the father before it is an inner feeling experienced by the son. The first error of psychoanalysis is in acting as if things began with the child`` (275). The point about whether guilt is first an ``idea projected`` or a ``feeling`` establishes as primary the relative indistinction between guilt and complicity, between the ``feeling`` or ``sense`` of guilt and its ``projected idea.`` Exactly here, because nowhere else is it more clear: complicity expresses the contorted roles of the theater of cruelty which defines the notion of debt--the triad of voice, body, and eye--and does not ever allow these roles to be distilled from one another. There is no spectator who is not also a voice and a body--and this fundamental constellation of multiple relations within oneself is also always construed through personification.

It is important to understand that complicity entails this entire nexus--that perhaps it is a term that contains the double meaning of German Schuld because it involves the idea of the guilt of existence, of surviving, and the temporal structure of debt requires one`s permission for the extraction of one`s own labor. The fundamental aspect of this complicity--its self-destructiveness--is what is ultimately disavowed by those who claim that capitalism is the reality, the lesser of evils, the only viable economic system. The contradictions of this yet to be realized self-destructiveness call up not only as the ``cracks`` of higher ups, indicative of the ``time`` of revolution, but as signs of the weary resolution of those for whom revolution is imperceptible--the tense crumbling of regents` meetings and public lectures, Chancellor Linda Katehi`s deafening walk of silence, and images of onlooking police officers called in to raid occupy sites. These signs of the thoroughgoing self-destructiveness of the economic policies are not recognized by those involved. Instead, such self-destructive is experienced and felt as complicity. Being ``implicated`` has become the one sure sign that one is still alive, still ``there`` in the big sense, within the system.

It is precisely this feeling of aliveness that can be challenged through a comparison with the postwar regime of complicity. There, we can see how those who dwelt in the contradictions of these multiple positions--the voice, body, eye--took up in addition to the question of resistance (the political question of how to remain opposed, to remain an enemy of that which extracts you from your life) the question of what to do in the aporia of a subjectivity that no longer turned  into an objectivity, the collapse of disinterested liking. The question of how to ``refuse`` the system includes the problem of how to create a space for the experience of common, or universal, or objective feelings. This is the problem that occupied postwar thinkers, such as Adorno, Brecht, Bachmann, and Arendt, and it is one that continues to occupy others, such as Zehra Cirak, Denise Riley, Tiqqun, and Rosemarie Trockel, working to become unimplicated from the paradigm of postwar complicity that persists in our assumptions about what counts as effective ethical and political activity.

picture: Er-war-the, Juergen Walter (1984)

Monday, November 28, 2011

tiny plugs of light
the gasp is primordial
and returns to echo
there is never enough time
in the morning there is
what there is
and gray.
timid, uncanny
the evening expires
and you rake

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Of the several panels and talks that I attended last weekend as part of the University of Minnesota`s graduate student conference in the Department of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature, Aesthetics/Class/Worlds, many explicitly addressed the question of aesthetics, perhaps even explicitly formulated in this way: as the question of aesthetics, and much of what I heard seemed to be invested in insisting on aesthetics, as if it was in some danger of being lost, or revoked, or done away with. Such projects are perhaps easy to understand, if we consider, for example, that it is perhaps not so much a matter of aesthetics disappearing, but the problem of reconciling the political and aesthetic, which is perhaps a rough way of phrasing the problem of Marxist literary and cultural theory. It is not really surprising then that aesthetics would seem to be the object that might be lost, since insistence upon the priority of the political almost always takes the place of further examinations about how exactly these things are related, except that they are.

In the panel, ``Marxism Today,`` my observation about the occurrence of the above coincided with the pointed tendency of each paper to discuss through its own theoretical apparatus, the problem of conceptualizing (much less inhabiting, if this was a part of it) the point of resistance. It seems to me that this resistance is an aesthetic matter. But I may need to be more descriptive about what this aesthetics is, because my thinking about aesthetics derives from Freud`s observations about the principle of fore-pleasure, and ideas about the relative indeterminency, or the ambivalence of activity and passivity that pertains to thinking about how the role of the observer or spectator can be acted out. There is a moment--or at times, a series of moments--when these roles of activity and inactivity become articulated with one another and the ability to identify with fictional entities, or the ability to see oneself in this position of another--and to mistake one`s movements for another`s--becomes possible. This is the gist of what Freud writes about in also writing about seduction in ``Creative Writers and Day-dreaming,`` but his observations about the function of this principle also extend to the function of the economics of movement that govern his later writing on pain and pleasure and the dynamics of these principles. In this regard, aesthetics is more fundamentally about the politics of identification, and this conceptualization of two interdependent but antagonistic spheres has as much to do with taste as beauty, qualifying such notions about the qualities by which we judge aesthetic work with the fact of our own perception of that work. Pleasure, as much about fore-pleasure, and the non-teleological, non-normative implications of the concept. Taste, I think works on beauty in much a similar way, always undermining its seeming obduracy or self-evidence.

picture: Franklin Bridge, Minneapolis

Friday, October 21, 2011

late autumn

The turn to late autumn was marked today by the return of temperatures upwards of 60 degrees. It is not that this change, marks the turn, but rather that it functions as a reminder both of the autumn or late summer that has passed (the ``long summer days``) and, as it is somewhat needless to say, of the winter days to come.

In his essay ``Autumn of the System: Poetry and Financial Capital,`` Joshua Clover uses this figurative language of the change of seasons--Braudel`s ``sign of Autumn,`` which must already be the ``onset of Winter``--to describe a challenge to narrative, the problem of time. The narrative mode that he details here, of ``Autumnal literature,`` is one that takes as its organizing trope ``the conversion of the temporal to the spatial.`` The fact of this conversion, something like the synchronization of diachronic passages, leads Clover to argue for the aptness of poetics--including as variants the non-narrative and poetry, to grapple with these situations of ``manifold absence`` (46), ``discontinuity`` (47), and ``dislocation`` (46).

Such situations refer to the gap between our experience of daily life and our material role in the economy, what Clover calls a ``phantom space`` (48) between the financial and real economy, which represents the inability to ``forward its accumulation via real expansion.`` Similar reflections seem to abound in the Zizek- and non-Zizek-inspired discourse of the end times, with its varying degrees of fantasy about life and non-life.

The feeling is, if not easy to take up, at least ubiquitous. How could it not be? Riding home on my bike tonight, it occurred to me that the unseasonableness of the weather reflected, more than anything, the ephemerality of existence, the basic fact of non-existence that is so aptly characterized by the season.

Winter becomes a trope for this state, in ways that belie this more fundamental presence of non-existence in life. In riding home, so pleasantly--one of the truly enjoyable activities that I undertake in the city--it was easy to imagine that in a month, this form of activity would no longer take place. It is not much of a revelation, and trying to recapture some of it makes it less so, but it is the case that the summer (and as the summer moves to fall) produces the sublime effect that winter is unimaginable. Not just undesirable (in fact it is quite desirable), but actually impossible to imagine that the terms of accessibility and environment are so altered (buried, to be precise) that the prior form of existence can really appear not just to be altered, but actually gone.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

on no longer being a student-in-debt

the irony being that one is never no longer a student-in-debt...

It is hard for me to know where to stand right now; at a time that many experience as a hoped for or even waited for moment, a time of occupation that carries all varieties of forward-oriented activity. My lost feelings of collective action are hard to come to terms with, pushing as they do beyond the colloquial notion of "guilt" for not being more active, or activist, a feeling which several friends confessed to, tossing it around the other day. I feel I should be able to inhabit more profoundly something of the position that Mia McIver refers to in a facebook photo album titled, "We lost our jobs and found our occupations."

The idea of the student-in-debt, to which I refer above and elsewhere, is Morgan Adamson's brilliant rendering of the counterrevolutionary transformation of the "energy of student life" (the "life of the mind") into surplus value through the institution of debt. The sense of loss--the lost job--above pertains to both the conditions of unemployment within and without higher education, but perhaps also to the vulnerable position of labor to which McIver refers above all, to the position of one for whom the loss is not even the loss of a job, but the loss of this potential. What I mean to try and compel thinking about and understand in terms that express frustration with systems other than the job market is my own status of transitional unemployment.

In the economic sense, I never was a student-in-debt, and realizing this helped me the other day, to move a little bit past thinking of myself as the victim of market forces and a little bit in the direction of thinking about how such a position represents the inconsequential and superfluous elements of the global financial system. The position of transitional unemployment is occupied by those disregarded by a system that derives value from the equation between investment and return--and not the humanist value of academic labor, but the surplus value of student labor. It is thus the experience of oneself as an element of surplus value that represents the necessity and inevitability of student professionalization as a means of also sustaining oneself within this state of indebtedness. So having eschewed professionalization, it of course seems logical to conclude that one would have no hopes of entering into the profession, it being the case that from this position, one produces nothing of "value."

It is from this position that it becomes possible to understand the loss of a job and the experience of never having had one (i.e. never having had a job outside of the job of being employed or exploited as a graduate student instructor), or the actually more concrete realization of what it means to be only a student-in-debt.

picture: from at OccupyMN

Thursday, September 29, 2011

inscapes, escapes

The camera in 40 qm Deutschland, Tevfik Baser`s 1986 drama about a Turkish woman who accompanies her arranged husband to Germany, is at once the eyes and seeing mind of this nameless woman (Ozay Fecht). Somewhat in the genre of Charlotte Perkin`s Gilman`s ``The Yellow Wallpaper`` or Ingeborg Bachmann`s Malina, the film depicts the destructive interiority of the domestic space. The fascism of everyday relationships, a phrase which Bachmann uses to characterize the aggression of postwar relations, derives from the very palpable sense of confinement that is the condition of domestic labor. Georgio Agamben once told me that he had visited Bachmann`s apartment in Rome, and that it was like a little Vienna, a sequestered nostalgic shadow of a city within another. The model of this interior space is also Baser`s, and also that of Raul Ruiz, who depicts the sort of enclave-like existence of Chilean immigrants in Paris in 1974. In an interview with Ruiz from 2008 that is included in the 2010 restoration of the film, Percey Matas (Ruiz`s cameraman) first takes us through Ruiz`s family apartment (occupied by his mother until her death six months before the filming) in Santiago, Chile, which he describes as ``frozen in time,`` the lingering over kitschy nautical decor and knick-knacks, cut crystal goblets and fine serving dishes in glass cabinets. Like Ruiz`s film, Baser`s moves out of its interior on only several occasions, although the experience of confinement is not literalized. Baser follows the protagonist, this young wife, around the apartment, traces her sitting silently, looking out the window, catches her brief exchange of gestures with a little girl at a window across the way, and moves within her mind, in flashbacks, to her life in Turkey, and then slowly, reveals her unraveling mind, as dreams intrude on waking life, and hallucinations overwhelm. She is pregnant by this point; sex also a joyless, aggressive act, her feelings about the pregnancy evince this haunting aggression. She chops off the hair of a kitsch-like doll, the once she had used to communicate with the girl across the way, and the doll sits prominently on top of a dresser, the locks fallen around a little statuette of a mother and baby. Her husband`s joy over her pregnancy is as disturbing as the blankness with which he regards her and the state of imprisonment in which he keeps her. Her morbid fantasies about his death finally become real; his naked body lays between her and the outside, in front of the door. After sitting for some time in the apartment with his dead body, the last scene shows her pulling his legs to move away from the door. On the winding staircase down, she knocks on several doors, pleading in Turkish with old German people who look at her without understanding, before reaching large double doors to the outside, blinding light. In the end, the film figures escape as a radical expression--perhaps an inevitability--of heightened interiority, and it figures the sense of this inevitability as the condition of imprisonment.

picture: Ozay Fecht in 40qm Deutschland

Thursday, September 15, 2011


In his quirky little essay, ``Discussion of War Aims, `` D.W. Winnicott regards the problem of opposing morality in times of war (in which friend and enemy lines are drawn with a thick black Sharpie market) as a matter of complacency. Complicity, which is often regarded as a condition of guilt, is here only a kind of psychic fact, something like a condition for existing in such times:

At the present time we [Englanders] are in the apparently fortunate position of having an enemy who says, ‘I am bad; I intend to be bad’, which enables us to feel, ‘We are good’. If our behavior can be said to be good, it is by no means clear that we can thereby slip out of our responsibility for the German attitude and the German utilization of Hitler’s peculiar qualities. In fact, there would be actual and immediate danger in such complacency, since the enemy’s declaration is honest just where ours is dishonest. (211-212)
Complicity is the very movement of identifying and dis-identifying that comes to define the status of individual ambivalence in relation to group or collective identification. In most writing about guilt in the context not only of Holocaust studies but also, and potentially more problematically, in the context of contemporary Human Rights discourse and problems of ethics, complicity, however, remains the defining paradigm for thinking about the relationship between guilt and responsibility. Adorno`s statement on Auschwitz is often interpreted as one that identifies the inevitable complicity of art (and poetry), as for example Nouri Gana`s (nonetheless beautiful and compelling) essays on post-elegaic, post-Nabka, post-catastrophic film and poetry. Still others have attempted to shift the discussion away from such issues of guilt by turning to the theoretical notion of shame. For these individuals, including Ruth Leys and Timothy Bewes, shame is preferable because it provides a way of talking about conditions of vulnerability as ontological states, in contrast to the ethics that guilt seems to proscribe.

It is however, particularly difficult to want to talk about Adorno without talking about guilt, since the notion of guilt is so central to his conceptualization of both the artwork and individual experience after Auschwitz. Guilt--the ``guilt of the artwork,`` the ``encompassing context of guilt [umfassende Schuldzusammenhang], the ``guilt of society``--is pervasive. Winnicott`s
idea that complacency figures into guilt highlights something which is also there is Adorno`s writings on the society of the artwork in postwar culture. One does not, in fact, have to look far. In his revision of his (by now tired) Auschwitz statement, Adorno noted that he was speaking about culture particularly (this is evident when one reads ``Cultural Criticism and Society``) , but about the ``resurrected [auferstanden]`` culture of postwar Europe ( Metaphysics: Concept and Problems 112).

The idea complacency [Wohlbehagen] is also resonant with Freud`s discussion of the sense of guilt, which he suggests is ultimately the same as (or maybe a ``close up`` of) the discontents [Unbehagen] of civilization [Kult

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


It is the terms of employment--short-term contract work, virtual freelancing, obsession turned investigation--more than the type of the work (although this is also enviable) that makes Cayce Pollard`s position in William Gibson`s Pattern Recognition so appealing. She is hired for her aesthetic sense, which is attuned to the yet-to-be cool (itself, an outdated term, Cayce thinks). Like binary computing or the primacy of plus/minus, Cayce`s output is a yes or a no, but it is a gutteral, instinctual yes/no; she needs only an instant, a quick glance, to receive the impression. There is then the idea, so carefully preserved, that aesthetics--this resonance between sensory impression and expression, this self-moving enterprise--itself exists. Cayce`s skill (which even if believable is nonetheless somewhat superhuman) at knowing these things is impervious to external threats, which come mainly in the form of paranoia and of being exposed to phobic logos. Although Lauren Berlant calls it affect--and arguably, it is--it is nonetheless not the affective aspect of Gibson`s novel which invites its readers to take on the terms of Cayce`s world as their own but the leap that is required and continually performed in order to establish aesthetic certainty.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

cry in

The drag of taking a resisting/resistant philli to daycare is this morning a heavy weight. The fine line between knowing when to insist and knowing when to listen to your child may already be crossed when one begins thinking and talking about the fine line and its being crossed... Better: there is surely a reason that Philli does not want to go to Amys house, but is it one that needs to be pushed through or one that needs to be heeded? It occurs to me that Winnicott would have something to say about this issue, and in thinking about it I recall his essay on the reasons for crying in infants, and wonder how it translates into the toddler world--so much more complicated and dramatic, it is. At the time when I read Winnicotts essay (which I cannot now recall exactly what it was), probably two and a half years ago, it was a remarkable relief to find that crying often had to do with frustration, and that crying was a expression of satisfaction, an act that in and of itself did not communicate any content. Perhaps this is implicit in todays question as well--the extent to which acting out is communicative rather than expressive, the extent to which the message is what is manifest in the content of speech. Still there remain only questions--how does the attached-to mother act in such situations? Surely, she cannot help but feel like everything is a matter of this attachment and wish that her morning was more like that of the other parents who walk in, set their children down, say good-bye and leave. Instead, leaving a writhing, screaming mass takes some hours to let go of, in itself.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


“Consequently it is very conceivable that the sense of guilt produced by civilization is not perceived as such either, and remains to a large extent unconscious, or appears as a sort of malaise [Unbehagen], a dissatisfaction, for which people seek other motivations.” (Freud, Civilization and its Discontents 99).

In his introduction to Cinema 2, Deleuze famously describes a shift from pre- to post-war cinema (from movement-image to time-image) as the crisis of the “cinema of action.” Throughout, Deleuze persists in attributing the cause of this crisis to the figure of the broken “sensory-motor link,” which, if un-broken, signals the correspondence of incoming sensation and action, in short, the ability to register and react to stimulus. Commenting on his choice of the war’s end as a point of demarcation between these two periods, he says that “in fact” the postwar consists of an increase in “spaces which we no longer know how to describe.” It’s not clear whether the post-war as described is cinematic or real; for Deleuze this ambiguity is constitutive of becoming. Such is the ambiguity that inheres in the “I,” the lyric speaker, of postwar poetry. The problem of this speaker is not just one of speaking or representation, but one of being seen, of being observed. The crisis is typically assumed to be traumatic, but as Deleuze’s construction shows us, the crisis of the subject is one of description, not experience.

Deleuze’s own descriptive discourses of these “any-spaces-whatevers” highlight questions for action in general. Such “empty or disconnected” (272) spaces—“deserted but inhabited, disused warehouses, wasteground, cities in the course of demolition or reconstruction (xi)—are alternately referred to as situations: the “rise of situations to which one can no longer react” (272). The disturbance of reception and reaction marks the breakdown of the “sensory-motor” relationship in indescribable spaces and situations which foreground the impossibility of reaction. This crisis of describing and reacting involves exchanging action for perception, hence the breakdown of the “sensory-motor” apparatus. This breakdown and exchange occurs at the level of the character, but as we will come to see in Deleuze and elsewhere, the postwar is qualified by the difficulty and confusion of identifying and differentiating oneself from this omniscient character.

For Deleuze, the war marks a break in filmic modes—not by staging the dictum of writing after Auschwitz, but by reading these broken, postwar “spaces” as the positive introduction of a new subject, a “mutant” character who “does not act without seeing himself acting” (6). In these “any-spaces-whatever,” he states, “a new race of characters was stirring, kind of mutant: they saw rather than acted, they were seers” (xi). A similarly eerie perceptiveness is present in Civilization and its Discontents. But this perceptiveness—the coincidence of observing and being observed—is not ascribed to characters and spaces, but first to the meta-critical faculty of the super-ego. Freud notes that the super-ego, conscience, and the “sense of guilt” are different aspects of the same thing: “the perception which the ego has of being watched over in this way” (100). Freud orders them topographically, or primordially, describing how the super-ego comes before conscience, and the sense of guilt before the super-ego, such that the sense of guilt is primary. Perhaps Freud later becomes more occupied with how the conscience and super-ego function and how they exercise their critical powers, but for now his most astonishing connection is between the “sense of guilt” is misrecognized, that it appears as “a sort of malaise [Unbehagen].”

Thursday, July 14, 2011


At Marx Farm, there are lines everywhere between industrial production and self-production. The lines that I am referring to are not connectives, I come to think, but more like those produced by somewhat randomly connecting a series of points on a plane. They signal layers and multiply. There are ruins, recycleds, and growth. Behind everything are the finely scripted and worn pages of notes that are part of the elaborate eco-system. The farm is a block of land with rows of vegetables—eggplant, kale, purple and green cabbage, corn, cucumbers, zucchini, potatoes, carrots, celery, peas, broccoli—and herbs. Upcoming, a chicken coop. The fields that surround it, then, are owned by the people who let Mark keep up his plot. They are corn fields and berry fields, from all appearances, heavily doused with pesticide in the evening, which clouds up and over in light plumes. The smell of the pesticide is noxious and invasive. Greenhouses, low and white peaked. Beyond the immediate fields that surround, there are signs of another complex, a tractored, leveled hill , construction at work, trees, more green, and then further beyond, barely peaking from the trees, the three skyscrapers of downtown Cleveland. Train tracks where trains often pass in both directions. The gravel parking lot, upon which sit some seedlings and the tables where the produce is collected, is also home to a computer- and medical equipment recycling warehouse. The field itself is littered with china, cracked bits and pieces from some former dish factory. Mark is weed tolerant, and thistles adorn.

Purple star thistle, red clover. The cantaloupe looks like a weed, trampled upon at the edge of the herbs. It is a place on the edge, it’s easy to feel on the edge of many things there, not of the world perhaps, but of several different ones, whose common factors are more like collisions.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What is the barbarism of poetry? Adorno’s declaration that poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric is often taken as both an indictment and a prohibition, although in the context of his philosophical work, it is meant as neither. Here, the riddle of the statement lies in his claim that the barbarism of writing poetry has “corroded our knowledge” of why it has become impossible to write poetry. In a recent essay on contemporary post-catastrophe Arabic poetry, Nouri Gana finds that the impossibility of writing after what he calls the “proximate historical corollary” of Auschwitz, the occupation of Palestine (the Nakba, or catastrophe of 1948), is one of the conditions for writing poetry after it has been declared barbaric. In this essay, I turn to one of the first writers of Arabic free verse, the Iraqi poet Nazik al-Malaika, to consider how poetry registers the experience of barbarism through its appeal to the impossibility of its expression. I argue that in deliberation over the condition of its impossibility, poetry attempts to answer the metaphysical and increasingly ethical questions that Adorno poses for the “resurrected cultures” of society after catastrophe. Poetry recasts the ethical question of good and evil as the fragile relation between meaning and incoherence. In al-Malaika’s poem, “Five Hymns to Pain” (1949), there is no ethical imperative to “remember,” or to retain the barbaric incoherency of suffering, and neither is there an attempt to find meaning in the remains. Rather, pain is sequestered: it is given “a little corner” in the heart; it partitions, raising walls “between our longing and the moon”; and is sheltered “among the ribs of our joyful songs.” The poetry of barbarism does not work to remember, to account for, or to memorialize, it works to forget: “We shall forget pain, / we shall forget it, / having nurtured it with satisfaction.” Pain is material; figured as an object more than a subjective experience, al-Malaika’s poetry divorces the continuity between pain and barbarism that has been one of the (to my mind false) legacies of Adorno’s philosophical writing on poetry. I argue that in emphasizing this separation of pain and barbarism, al-Malaika realigns barbarism and culture to the extent that Adorno also did when he wrote, just before writing about the barbarism of poetry, that we are at “the final stage” of the dialectic of culture and barbarism.” Such a final stage is conveyed in the melancholic sentiment of al-Malaika’s poetry, which, affectively very different from Adorno’s philosophical-poetic tone, may also help us appraise the permutations of this dialectic and its various points of origin. In this paper, I hope to explore how consideration of al-Malaika’s poetry can help to revise our understanding of Adorno’s philosophical work, especially as it pertains to poetry and lyric theory, but also and perhaps more importantly insofar as it contributes to philosophical discussions of ethics in the twentieth century.