Philosophizing with Brecht and Günther Anders: What Is Wrong with Moralism?

In: Philosophizing Brecht

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This essay reconstructs Günther Anders conversations with Bertolt Brecht. It argues that Anders was attracted to the way Brecht creates art by using it philosophically, employing the artistic mode of representation in order to revolutionize the representational mode of philosophy. This type of philosophy for Anders allowed for engagement with the real problems of the time which was of imminent importance because of a fading capacity to act in the face of an overwhelming necessity for action brought about by the victory of technocracy. Anders believes Brecht’s poetic importance resides in what Anders calls Brecht’s “pronounced-ness”—its ability to develop the power of judgment. Anders finds in this an implicit moral commitment, which compels one to fulfill the duties of the age despite the fact that they are both futile and indisputable. Although Brecht resists this type of moralistic formulation of his work and Anders concludes this to reveal a fundamental incongruity in the thoughts of the two, the essay finds a reconciliation in the notion of the morality of practicality and the practicality of morality.