A bitter diagnostic of the ultra-liberal human: Michel Houellebecq on some ethical issues

Abstract

The paper examines the ethical dimensions of Michel Houellebecq’s works of fiction. On the basis of keen diagnostics of contemporary Western culture, this world-renowned French writer predicts the destructive social consequences of ultra-liberalism and enters into an argument with transhumanist theories. His writings, depicting the misery of contemporary man and imagining a new human species enhanced by technologies, show that neither the so-called neo-humans nor the “last man” of liberal democracies can reach happiness. The latter can only be achieved if humanist values, shared by previous generations and promoted by the great 19th-century authors (Balzac, Flaubert), are reinvented.

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