Ethical Issues in Twentieth-Century French Fiction: Killing by Colin Davis (auth.)

By Colin Davis (auth.)

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But the Other is curiously also beyond reach; his vulnerability is a threat: Un seul geste, et l'homme serait mort. Le tuer n'etait rien: c'etait le toucher qui etait impossible. . II redevint vivant, vulnerable; et, en meme temps, Tchen [the murderer] se sentit bafoue. (11) Just one gesture and the man would be dead. Killing him was nothing: it was touching him that was impossible. . He became alive once more, vulnerable; and, at the same time, Tchen felt he was being mocked. The Other may be killed, but not touched; it somehow eludes the violence to which it offers no resistance; its very vulnerability is its strength, the source of its power and of the antagonism to which it gives rise.

27 Freud clearly wants his story to be simply, literally true. But his hesitations over the historical basis of the narrative do not detract from the brilliant insight of his essay: the father is not murdered because he is an all-powerful tyrant; on the contrary, his power derives from the fact that he has been murdered, or less literally, Otherness, Altericide 23 he is a tyrant in as far as his murder can be desired. Before his murder, the father was merely a bully; his tyranny becomes real (that is, psychically irresistible) only when and because he has been killed.

E. not just in accordance with duty, but more importantly for the sake of duty). 5 Kant does not need to offer examples which would support or probe his ethical theory because no particular situation, nor any number of particular situations, would ever give rise to an ethical maxim which could not be discovered by reason alone. 6 Kant does, however, admit that examples may have their pedagogical uses. At the end of his Critique of Practical Reason he suggests that carefully chosen examples might help children develop their moral sense and powers of judgement.

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