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Flusser’s Moral Theory – Philosophy as Melancholy

~Flusser is a moral philosopher worthy of careful study and criticism. This paper is my attempt to critically investigate this crucial, moral, aspect of his writings. To focus attention on the significance of his moral theory, I shall compare Flusser with Hegel, a comparison that is not accidental as both philosophers tried to explain “evil” in dialectical terms by elaborating on myths derived from the Book of Genesis. Hegel discusses the issue in his version of the Story of the Fall of Man and Flusser does so in his interpretation of the Story of Creation. The contribution of both is obviously important, but I think Flusser’s narrative can achieve what Hegel set out as his aim but failed to accomplish. Flusser’s understanding of evil reflects on and fosters the exercise of a particular moral virtue, namely, modesty. There is little doubt that, for Flusser, the moral individual lives a heroic life. Is Flusser providing “the cure” to evil? There is no way of knowing it in advance. In the last analysis, this is a matter for each reader to decide.

Moral Theory (PDF 333.5 KB)

“Acheronta movebo”: On the Diabolical Principle in Vilém Flusser’s writing

This paper explores what might be called the ‘diabolical principle’ in Vilém Flusser’s work, tracing its evolution from the early Brazilian to the last German texts. If God, as the German mystics asserted, is basically ineffable and, thus, comparable to absolute nothingness, the devil – at least within Western civilization – stands for the ultimate frailty and absurdity of all human endeavors, that is, for language, history, progress, and for our continuous attempts to create sense and impose form on the unfathomable nothingness surrounding us. Western history, according to Flusser, is basically a diabolical pursuit.
Flusser made use of the figure of the devil in A historia do diabo, first published in 1965, reinterpreting the history of the West from a diabolical point of view. The figure of the devil, the fallen angel inhabiting the dark abysses, however, plays also a major role in Vampyroteuthis infernalis, published in 1987, twenty-two years later. In the second text, it is the devil wearing the mask of Lucifer, the light-bearer.

Acheronta (PDF 333.97 KB)