After the so called “end of the great narrations” (Lyotard, 1979) together with the crisis of the paradigms of modernity (Harvey, 1990; Bauman, 2000), the lacking of tools to decode a reality in permanent change and the call for values taken as reference for making choices, which can be political and practical at the same time, re-opens the debate on the concept of ethics and the multiplicity of challenges emerging from life and society, after any “act of faith” or “ideological prescription”. The paper aims at focusing the contemporary re-born of the reflection around ethics on every aspect of society, in particular for those who are committed to understand the sense of developing projects in our postindustrial era, which is crossed by crisis and emergencies in every part (Bell, 1976; Castells, 1996). As the post-industrial era is investing in immaterial assets of knowledge, the creative labour of the mind is now considered to be the primary workforce capable of generating value. According to this, the designer assumes a critical role and responsibility, while developing visions and scenarios for the artificial organization of our future societies to come. Starting from a renewed interest around the reasons of ethics, after a deep crisis of its philosophy, the paper is a contribution to understanding the theoretical shift from the cause of sustainability to the reasons of ethics and moreover to developing the critical reflection on the multiplicity of issues which design action has to face.
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