A Short Treatise on the Metaphysics of Tsunamis cover
A Short Treatise on the Metaphysics of Tsunamis
In 1755 the city of Lisbon was destroyed by a terrible earthquake. Almost 250 years later, an earthquake beneath the Indian Ocean unleashed a tsunami whose devastating effects were felt over a vast area. In each case, a natural catastrophe came to be interpreted as a consequence of human evil. Between these two events, two indisputably moral catastrophes occurred: Auschwitz and the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And yet the nuclear holocaust survivors likened the horror they had suffered to a natural disaster—a tsunami.
Jean-Pierre Dupuy asks whether, from Lisbon to Sumatra, mankind has really learned nothing about evil. When moral crimes are unbearably great, he argues, our ability to judge evil is gravely impaired, and the temptation to regard human atrocity as an attack on the natural order of the world becomes irresistible. This impulse also suggests a kind of metaphysical ruse that makes it possible to convert evil into fate, only a fate that human beings may choose to avoid. Postponing an apocalyptic future will depend on embracing this paradox and regarding the future itself in a radically new way.
The American edition of Dupuy’s classic essay, first published in 2005, also includes a postscript on the 2011 nuclear accident that occurred in Japan, again as the result of a tsunami.
Publication Date: September 1st, 2015
92 pages| 6 in x 9 in
Bios
Jean-Pierre Dupuy is Professor of Social and Political Philosophy at the École Polytechnique, Paris.

Early Praise

“In this dense, masterful, lively, satisfying, perfectly constructed work, Jean-Pierre Dupuy argues that economics has become both our politics and our religion. It is the continuation of the sacred by other means.”
Alexis Fournol, Nonfiction.fr
 
“From a few simple questions Jean-Pierre Dupuy draws a number of profound insights, not always easy to grasp, that run contrary to the usual interpretation of the recent economic crisis. The trouble is well worth it.”
Julie Clarini, Le Monde
 
“This dense, difficult, lively, and astounding book is a magnificent guide to the prophetic dimension of politics.”
Michel Audetat, Le Matin Dimanche
 
“A mastery of a wide range of disciplines allows Jean-Pierre Dupuy to penetrate an enigma compounded of the mystery of time, apocalypse, faith, Calvinism, Max Weber's great masterpiece, Sartre's concept of bad faith, and Camus's The Stranger.”
Gérard Leclerc, France Catholique
 
“[A] strikingly original argument against the ravages of contemporary economic technocracy and for a new civilization that [Dupuy] describes as a ‘post-economic modernity.’”
Elaine Coburn, Socialist Studies/Études socialistes

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