Long Line: On ethics

This post is part of a series of posts pulled from a piece of writing I completed in November 2012. For more information on this series, see this post.

Context | Looking Back | Transformation | Looking Back at the Looking Back | Questions | On ethics | Letting Go of Nothing | Taking on Subject and Objects | On meaning making | Why the language of causality trouble me | Conceptual versus Empirical | Futuring | Temporality and Time | Brief Note | Back to Time | What to do with the Past | Some tools to help us be | An example from my past | Avoiding Labels | The educational turn | Being and curriculum | Curriculum of Being | Curriculum Futuring | On dispositions as ways of being | Being and pedagogy | Being and technology | Being and the body | References

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On ethics

At this point questions of ethics usually arise. These ethical concerns are usually phrased: “Who do you think you are to force your opinions and assumptions on others?” or “This is all well and good but what about those who will be unethical in their use of this approach/framework?” And my response is much like when you look up a word in a dictionary and the author uses the word itself to define the meaning of the word. Both questions make the assumption that in our everyday happenings and interactions with others we do not act with ethical concern in mind. For the first question, they are not my opinions or assumptions. When someone expresses their assumptions, they are their assumptions. What I want to do is point out that they are assumptions. For the second, we live our lives, moment by moment, making moral and ethical choices. Whether or not we are conscious about these choices is not the point of the question. My argument with regards to the ethics of “transformation”* is that the ethical concerns within such a context where transformation might happen is no different than any other context where I must make decisions about the ethical grounding of my actions.

If we can see ourselves as living in a context that is founded on assumptions that are malleable (dynamic, changeable?) and that the assumptions we choose to employ then give who we are in the world, then we need to take responsibility for these assumptions and therefore who we are. This is not responsibility in the negative, burden-on-shoulders type. Responsibility is connected to causality. Being responsible gives power. Being responsible already always includes an assumption of ethical and moral reflection.

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* Still not sure if this is the word I want to use but will have to suffice.

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