Taking Risks Ethically
16 Pages Posted: 2 Oct 2012
Date Written: 2010
This paper focuses on some underlying tensions within the literature of global regulation towards the possibility and limits of international law in helping understand and address the current financial-political challenges facing the international legal system. First, I want to briefly think about some common ‘illusions’ that may restrict our ability to cope with the violence and paranoia that haunts our horizons. My suspicion is that too often we see ourselves in the role of architects, embroiled in debates over the structural aspects of civil society at home and global governance abroad. In this sense, I want to suggest that it is not our institutions or ideological underpinnings that stifle our efforts, but something more intimate, something about our most cherished conceptions of our past, those illusions about our own personality and the projects we sign up to. This might be seen as the search less for a set of concrete virtues, and more for a posture or sensibility to guide us forward. Second, I want to turn and think about how this sensibility might be applied in practice, and specifically to think about this in relation to the looming financial crisis. My hope in this work is not to provide an in-depth analysis of any of the current challenges that face global law and policy, but to focus on the sensibility that experts more often than not bring to the table, and to inject into this ongoing conversation some more recent advances within Continental European philosophy and critical theories of international law and development. The task here, in other words, is to propose an initial step into thinking how we might move more boldly beyond the politics of knowledge, of self-reflection and ambivalence, to a politics of truth - what we might see as an experience of the freedom, or perhaps the thrill, of taking risks ethically.
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