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Adi Ophir

Adi Ophir is Professor of Philosophy and Political Theory at the Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas at Tel Aviv University. He is the author of The Order of Evils: Toward and Ontology of Morals (Zone Books, 2005) and other books.

Titles by This Author

Toward an Ontology of Morals

What remains of moral judgment when truth itself is mistrusted, when the validity of every belief system depends on its context, when power and knowledge are inextricably entangled? Is a viable moral theory still possible in the wake of the postmodern criticism of modern philosophy? The Order of Evils responds directly to these questions and dilemmas with one simple and brilliant change of focus. Rather than concentrating on the age-old themes of justice and freedom, Adi Ophir offers a moral theory that emphasizes the existential and political nature of evil. Ophir's main contention is that evil is neither a diabolical element residing in the hearts of men nor a meaningless absence of the good. Rather, it is the socially structured order of "superfluous evils." Evils, like pain, suffering, loss, and humiliation, are superfluous when they could have been—but were not—prevented. Through close analysis of seminal works by modern and postmodern philosophers—from Rousseau, Kant, Marx, Sartre, and Arendt to Foucault, Levinas, Derrida, and Lyotard—Ophir forges a new perspective for thinking about what it means to be a moral being: to be moral, he argues, is to care for others, and to be committed to preventing, at all costs, their suffering and distress.

A theoretically sophisticated work, The Order of Evils also bears the traces of Ophir's own political and personal experiences as an Israeli philosopher and activist. Two major events in recent Jewish history have profoundly influenced his thinking: the Holocaust and the prolonged Israeli domination of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. Ophir does not compare the two events. Instead, he introduces a typology of disasters that allows them to be located within the wide spectrum of humanly generated calamities whose specificity and general patterns emerge clearly and distinctly as what they are and are not.

Titles by This Editor

Anatomy of Israeli Rule in the Occupied Palestinian Territories

On the eve of its fifth decade, the Israeli occupation in the Palestinian territories can no longer be considered a temporary aberration. Israel's control over Palestinian life, society, space and land has become firmly entrenched while acquiring more sophisticated and enduring forms.

The Power of Inclusive Exclusion analyzes the Israeli occupation as a rationalized system of political rule. With essays by leading Palestinian and Israeli scholars, a comprehensive chronology, photographs, and original documents, this groundbreaking book calls into question prevalent views of the occupation as a skewed form of brutal colonization, a type of Jewish apartheid, or an inevitable response to terrorism. The writers address the fundamental and contemporary dimensions of the occupation regime—its unpredictable bureaucratic apparatus, the fragmentation of space and regulation of movement, the intricate tapestry of law and regulations, the discriminatory control over economic flows and the calculated use of military violence.

The Power of Inclusive Exclusion uncovers the structural logic that sustains and reproduces the occupation regime. In a time when military occupations are emerging globally, political disasters abound, and protracted control over groups of noncitizens has been normalized, The Power of Inclusive Exclusion provides a new set of categories crucial to our understanding of emergency regimes and identifies what is at stake for an informed and timely opposition.

Contributors: Caroline Abu-Sada, Gadi Algazi, Ariella Azoulay, Orna Ben-Naftali, Yael Berda, Hilla Dayan, Leila Farsakh, Dani Filc, Michal Givoni, Mira Givoni, Neve Gordon, Aeyal M. Gross, Sari Hanafi, Ariel Handel, Keren Michaeli, Adi Ophir, Ronen Shamir, Yehuda Shenhav, Eyal Weizman

Distributed for Zone Books

Special note: Although the research group which was the genesis of this publication was funded by the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, the publisher of this volume, Zone Books, received no funding or any other support from the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, nor is Zone Books in any way associated with that institution.