The article is devoted to ethical problems of contemporary philosophy and culture. The beginning of modernity is described as a traumatic experience of breaking with the traditional metaphysical foundations of life. Since the time Nietzsche‘s time, the new intellectual, psychological and cultural situation has received the name ―nihilism‖. Nihilism and the history of modernity are interconnected at a deep level. European nihilism is the loss of the effectiveness of the divine and transcendental foundations of truths, moral laws, and social institutions. The task of modern philosophy was to find an answer to the challenge of the trauma of the decay of meanings, which was the result of the discovery of a radical finitude of a person who can no longer seek support in the transcendental. The most characteristic response of modernity to this challenge has been the position of "active nihilism" associated with the idea of autonomy of an ethical subject. On the basis of a comparison of various concepts of modern philosophy a conclusion is made about the possibility of ethics and philosophy of the subject of a different type: without returning to the metaphysical transcendence and without nihilistic self-affirmative autonomy of the subject. Such an ethic of fidelity and endless demand can be based on heteronomous traumatic demand that determines the ethical subject.


ethics, nihilism, trauma, modernity, subject, autonomy, A. Badiou, E. Levinas

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