A book on ethics and philosophy of values

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What relativism is and what it implies in depth we shall have to grasp at a later stage. For the moment, let us be satisfied with this superficial preconception and ask ourselves whether our era has abandoned the idea of the objectivity of values.

A closer look shows that there has never been such a phenomenon. First, we are seeing a return of the religious, and even of fanaticism. A religious person does not attribute subjective value to his God, but gives him full objective value - all the more so a fanatic: he will never rush to his death for something that would only ever have subjective value. In general, the violence that shakes a world is the sign that most people believe in the objectivity of value.

Will we then say that this abandonment is effective among the "people who matter", that is to say among the "people who know"? Even within the learned community, this abandonment is not complete. A few attempts to establish the objectivity of value - especially moral value - are appearing today: M. Conche (Le fondement de la morale), A. Léonard (Le fondement de la morale), R. Misrahi (Qu'est-ce que l'éthique?), H. Putnam (The Collapse of the Fact/Value Dichotomy and other Essays), D. Wiggins, (Needs, Values, Truth)...

So if the notion of objective value has been abandoned, it has not been by humanity as a whole, but by a certain section of it.

Strictly speaking, it is an era in which relativism is expressed more freely than ever before, but it would be wrong to believe that relativism is the only point of view that is the truth of our time. If it were, it would mean that our era has a horizon, a point of view that encompasses all the others and gives them meaning: relativism.
On the contrary, our era is the first in which all the axiological theories are “next to one another”: objectivism and relativism, optimism and nihilism, atheism and fanaticism, etc. It therefore seems correct to define the post-modern era as an 'era without a horizon', since no axiological theory takes precedence over the others. To believe otherwise would be to misunderstand the meaning - and the profound truth - of the thought of Lyotard and Sartre. It would mean continuing to think of our times as a melody rather than a cacophony.

The literary metaphor that best explains the post-modern seems to us to be Lautréamont's chance meeting on a dissection table of an umbrella and a sewing machine: this meaningless meeting of things that have nothing to do with each other represents the senseless post-modern juxtaposition of incommensurable axiological theories.
So to reduce the post-modern to relativism would be to enclose human history in a 'grand narrative', if not as a children’s tale - Marxism in the past, relativism today. On the contrary, what is most important today is the cacophony of all the hierarchies of values which, liberated by liberal democracy, are asserting themselves loud and clear, clashing in violence and chatter.

So our world is not one of the loss of meaning, but one of the affirmation of all possible meanings.