Fourth international conference of The European Forum for the Study of Religion and Environment location:Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich date:14-17 May 2015
Even if expert deliberations on whether we have crossed the threshold of a new geological epoch are still ongoing, it is generally realised that humans have constructed a second ethos within the first ethos we originated in. However, to William Desmond, it is the mindful experience of this first ethos that makes us aware of the exigencies of other beings, which the second ethos made harder to recognize and therefore respond to. From the very outset of his Ethics and the Between, he qualifies our current mode of living as in an incognito of the good, in denial of the promise of being of the other.
In this paper, I will explore in what manner Desmond’s notion of the community of agapeic service and its plurivocity of ethical practices could actually allow for the other’s promise of being agapeic. This will require a development of his crucial notion of “reverence,” exceeding respect. In no manner a passive attitude, it calls for a real creativity which ‘reveals the generosity of being’. Moreover, the specifics of the “hermeneutical generosity” or “hermeneutics of ontological gratitude”, grounding his metaxological ethics of relation, will be assessed. This hermeneutics will be found to situate itself on the interface of morality and the religious.