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This publication by Giorgia Viola Lacasella offers a detailed view of the contemporary era with an emphasis on its characteristic, intrinsic form of pluralism, at the same time focusing on the issue of postmodernism to identify its essential features and highlight the problems that it raises from a philosophical point of view in today’s scenario.
Our current society is undoubtedly pluralistic and comprises communities which are characterised by different beliefs and moral outlook. Our society is studded with diverse cultures, ethnicities and religions and consequently by different ways of interpreting reality. The globalisation of markets, the increased pervasiveness and speed of the means of communication, and the greater possibility of travel have joined (at least virtually) ways of living and thinking that are sometimes at odds with each other. In reality, the phenomenon of a plurality of cultural forms, places within which people share a perspective of meanings, is nothing new. The richness resulting from different cultural expressions is something which has always pervaded human history. What is new, however, is that the distances between these microcosms of meaning have radically blurred, and the mixing of cultures is often problematic when shared space lacks a standard code of understanding.
The scenario becomes particularly complex when people must cope not only with local areas but also larger boundaries, with effects over a vast scale. In this type of situation, when finding a solution to a problem becomes necessary any proposal will only displease the majority since, by definition, a synthesis between different positions is no longer deemed attainable.
This plurality of approaches to reality purposefully following its path has repercussions in the philosophical sphere, particularly with regard to moral and political reflection. Firstly, the question of ethical pluralism emerges from research on this topic, i.e. the co-presence of several ethical models of reference that often struggle when attempting to enter into dialogue, since in many cases they have lost any shared reference to what is good for humankind. Secondly, the coexistence of several cultures within the same national territory poses a question for political philosophy as to how society should be organised so that different moral communities may coexist peacefully. In this context, the very idea that society should be just and well-organised, and that humans should be able to contribute to the common good are goals that are now considered unattainable.
Thus a paradoxical situation takes shape, if we consider that an era characterised by the globalisation of human experience has given rise (in a form of backlash) to a multiplication of particularisms which are often difficult to synthesise. This resulting fragmentation is traceable not only to a level of different cultures and theories but also touches on the possibility of mutual understanding between human beings. This form of disorientation, this spirit of the times that is so typical of contemporary reality, is usually summarised through the concept of postmodernism, a dense notion which requires consideration since it sums up how to understand the feeling, thinking and living that is widespread today, from the viewpoints of both the most immediate praxis and at theoretical level.
If we want to analyse the thoughts of a contemporary author such as Engelhardt, a reflection on postmodernism is essential, starting from the wreckage wrought by postmodernism in the field of moral philosophy and, therefore, bioethics as well.
1.1 Society and morality
1.2 Moral authority
1.3 Pluralism of moral visions
1.4 Identity as individualization between social space and moral alienation
2.1 Persons as the foundation of moral authority
2.2 Dimensions and meanings of moral authority
2.3 Moral geography of health
2.4 Medicalisation as a social dimension of personal existence
3.1 Functional anthropology of persons
3.2 General coordinates of the minimal grammar of moral authority
3.3 The permission principle
3.4 The beneficence principle
3.5 The property principle
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