• Clayton Crockett
  • Jeffrey W. Robbins
Part of the Radical Theologies book series (RADT)


Ethics emerges out of a fundamental paradox, which is the experience and determination that life is not good. Life, being alive is a good thing, but existence cannot be justified as good due to the conclusion that life is unfair. If human existence were good in itself, then ethics would not be necessary. Put in its most simple terms, “life is robbery,” as the philosopher Alfred North Whitehead explains:

Another characteristic of a living society is that it requires food … The societies which it destroys are its food. This food is destroyed by dissolving it into somewhat simpler social elements. It has been robbed of something. Thus all societies require interplay with their environment; and in the case of living societies this interplay takes the form of robbery … life is robbery. It is at this point that morals become acute. The robber requires justification.1


Reactive Force Active Force Violent Videogames Nature Naturing Conventional Morality 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Alain Badiou, Ethics: An Essay on the Understanding of Evil, trans. Peter Hallward (London: Verso, 2001), p. 2.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    See Alain Badiou, Being and Event, trans. Ray Brassier (London: Continuum, 2006).Google Scholar
  3. 7.
    Friedrich Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy & The Genealogy of Morals, trans. Francis Golffing, (New York: Anchor Books, 1956), p. 298Google Scholar
  4. 10.
    Carl Schmitt, The Concept of the Political, trans. George Schwab (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995), p. 26.Google Scholar
  5. 12.
    Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire (New York: Penguin Press, 2004), p. 239.Google Scholar
  6. 13.
    Philip Goodchild, A Theology of Money (London: SCM Press, 2007), p. 7.Google Scholar
  7. 17.
    David Graeber, Debt: The First 5,000 Years (Brooklyn, NY: Melville House Publishing, 2011), p. 391.Google Scholar
  8. 20.
    Martin Heidegger, The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays, trans. William Lovitt (New York: Harper & Row, 1977), p. 17.Google Scholar
  9. 21.
    Martin Heidegger, Discourse on Thinking, trans. John M. Anderson and E. Hans Freund (New York: Harper & Row, 1966), p. 47 (emphasis in original).Google Scholar
  10. 23.
    For a contemporary discussion of Heidegger in relation to later French philosophy, as well as ethics, religion, and politics, see Mary-Jane Rubenstein, Wondrous Strange: The Closure of Metaphysics and the Opening of Awe (New York: Columbia University Press, 2009).Google Scholar
  11. See also Gianni Vattimo and Santiago Zabala, Hermeneutic Communism (New York: Columbia University Press, 2011)Google Scholar
  12. 24.
    Baruch Spinoza, Ethics, Treatise on The Emendation of the Intellect and Selected Letters, trans. Samuel Shirley (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 1992), p. 31 (Definition 6).Google Scholar
  13. 28.
    Gilles Deleuze, Nietzsche and Philosophy, trans. Hugh Tomlinson (New York: Columbia University Press, 1983), p. 40.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Clayton Crockett & Jeffrey W. Robbins 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clayton Crockett
  • Jeffrey W. Robbins

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations