Personal Identity and Post-Modern Morality

  • Harry Kunneman
Part of the Library of Ethics and Applied Philosophy book series (LOET, volume 11)


In this chapter I argue that personal and moral identities and their relation have become multiple, polyvalent, and dynamic and I try to elucidate this polyvalence with the help of post-modern theory. To that end three different groups of theoretical efforts are discerned within the broad category of post-modern theory. 1) A group of sociologically informed theories, whose primary focus is descriptive. 2) A primarily critical type of post-modern theory, rooted in French poststructuralistic and deconstructivistic philosophy and characterised by a fundamental distrust of the universal pretensions of modern rationality. 3) A group of social theorists combining the critique of modern rationality with a more or less optimistic political perspective, focusing on the decline of patriarchal power relations, the rise of multi-cultural societies and the openness of post-modern culture. Combining these perspectives I argue that, whereas the possible development of personal identities is influenced more and more by the dynamics of the economic world system, moral identities are at the same time stamped by the strategic force fields of production and consumption and opened up towards new possibilities for moral commitment and political action.

Key Words

aggression branding intersubjectivity liberal humanism life politics post-industrial societies post-modern theory seduction 


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2002

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  • Harry Kunneman

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