Question of Ethics in Our Time, The (with letters from Heidegger)

By Zygmunt Adamczewski
Introduction by Charles E. Scott
Edited by Marko Zlomislic & David Goicoechea

Subjects: Philosophy
Imprint: Distribution Partners
Paperback : 9781896165035, 358 pages, January 1997

A proposal for individual responsibility in communal life.


In this book, Adamczewski has given a proposal for individual responsibility in communal life, the depth and content of which we have barely touched. It contains a subtlety of insight that most contemporary criticisms of nihilism have not approached, and a detailed appreciation for agency and community that many contemporary ethicists in the continental tradition have failed to understand.

The primary contribution of this book is found in the way in which it defines and describes ethos as the basis of interpreting ethical agency. Ethos identifies human occurrence as "an open temporal issue. " Ethos is a synonym for human being in its time, and ethical agency refers to individual efforts to establish communal ways of living that are more or less appropriate to the way in which human being occurs. Adamczewski contends that propriety for human being in our time requires primary attention to search, quest, and question; it requires emphasis on our lineages in their passing away—ours is a time of basic ways of dwelling that "properly" come to pass away; and it—our time—requires an emphasis on upcoming times, times that are not controlled by present conclusions but rather by the questions that emerge in our ways of being now, and that give rise to what he calls pro-posals for living that are appropriate to human, temporal occurrence. Pro-posing, in Adamczewski's terms, constitutes a conduct, a poetic (as distinct to a technological or manipulative or prescriptive) manner of thinking in which one learns how to release oneself from determinations that are debilitating for human being.