Ethics and the Between

By William Desmond

Subjects: Social Philosophy
Series: SUNY series in Philosophy
Paperback : 9780791448489, 544 pages, February 2001
Hardcover : 9780791448472, 544 pages, January 2001

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Table of contents



Part I. Ethos

1. The Ethos: Being As Worthy/Being As Worthless

Part II: Ethical Ways

2. Ethos and Univocal Ethics

3. Ethos and Equivocal Ethics

4. Ethos and Dialectical Ethics

5. Ethos and Metaxological Ethics

Part III: Ethical Selvings

6. First Ethical Selving: The Idiocy of Root Will

7. Second Ethical Selving: The Redoubling of Will

8. Third Ethical Selving: The Becoming of Freedom

9. Fourth Ethical Selving: Dialectical Autonomy

10. Fifth Ethical Selving: Erotic Sovereignty

11. Sixth Ethical Selving: Agapeic Service and Friendship

12. Seventh Ethical Selving: Released Freedom and the Passion of Being

Part IV: Ethical Communities

13. The Familial Community of the Intimate: The Ethical Intermediation of the Idiot

14. The Network of Serviceable Disposability: The Instrumental Intermediation of the Aesthetic

15. The Community of Erotic Sovereignty: The Intermediation of Immanent Excellence

16. The Community of Agapeic Service: The Intermediation of Transcendent Good


Articulates the necessity for a comprehensive reconstructive thinking about the meaning of being good.


In Ethics and the Between William Desmond addresses our current perplexities regarding the devaluation of being in modernity and the shadow of ethical nihilism. He rethinks the sources of value, the diverse ethical ways, the nature of ethical selving and communities, and articulates the necessity for a comprehensive reconstructive thinking about the meaning of being good, consonant with the response to the question of being in Being and the Between, the first book of a planned trilogy.

William Desmond is Professor of Philosophy and Director of the International Program of Philosophy in the Higher Institute of Philosophy, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Louvain), Belgium. He is the author of many books, including Being and Between, which won both the Prix Cardinal Mercier Award in 1995, as well as the J. N. Findlay Award of the Metaphysical Society of America for the best book in metaphysics.


"This is a truly important work by one of the most interesting thinkers writing today. It is a profound phenomenological—metaphysical reflection on the basis of ethics, and the ways in which we can be faithful or unfaithful to this basis. At the same time there is nothing programmatic in it: We are offered a comprehensive treatment of the milieu of ethics, how we can go generally right or wrong in our after–the–fact constructions, but also the various specific regions of ethics, like family relations. If the ambition is extraordinary, so also is the accomplishment. Its reach is greater than any book on ethics that I know." — Cyril O'Regan, author of The Heterodox Hegel

"I like its originality, synthetic quality, and insight. ...a first-rate work by a first-rate mind." — James L. Marsh, author of Critique, Action, and Liberation