Moral Vision, Outrage and the Contextual Understanding of Values in the World of Tennis


This article elaborates on Jean Baudrillard’s ideas about the moral effects of the rise of the consumerist society, and also on Patrick Stokes’ conceptual distinctions between different reactions individuals can display when faced with moral decisions. I start from Baudrillard’s viewpoint that in the consumerist society, characteristic for the occidental post-modern world, the need (necessity) itself has been replaced by the desire to consume per se. The Western individual perceives abundance as a natural right, and this is transforming both the meaning of work and the value of its products. In essence, Baudrillard describes a form of alienation, with effects that transcend the commercial realm of commodity consumption, and which is better understood within the moral domain. Patrick Stokes exploits the Kierkagaardian concept of interesse while expressing his view of moral vision. He is designing a thought experiment that reveals a fundamental distinction between radically different moral reactions of hypothetical individuals, even when they are sharing the same cultural, educational, political or religious background. Starting from these two positions, I analyze a few situations and events from the world of contemporary tennis, revealing how universal values get to be ignored, or contextualized under the influence of social prejudice and schemas. My conclusion is that, nowadays, we are witnessing a reshaping of the way people regard and act on their values, especially in the realm of social media. Thus, situations that should be approached by the appeal to values such as truth, justice, and humanity, in fact get to be interpreted in a biased way, due to the existence of some pre-existing patterns of understanding. 

Keywords: alienation, consumerist society, moral vision, moral outrage, responsibility, social media, values.

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