Graduate studies at Western
Political Theory 32 (2):146-171 (2004)
|Abstract||How best to avoid the Levinas Effect, as it has been called, the tendency to make Emmanuel Levinas everything to everyone? One way is to demonstrate that Levinas's thinking does not fit into any of the categories by which we ordinarily approach political theory. If one were forced to categorize Levinas's political theory, the term "inverted liberalism " would come closest to the mark. As long, that is, as one emphasizes the term "inverted" over "liberalism." Levinas's defense of liberalism is likely the strangest defense the reader has encountered. We should, argues Levinas, foster and protect the individual because only the individual can see the tears of the other, the tears that even the just regime cannot see. The individual is to be fostered and protected for the sake of the other individual. Whether this has anything to do with "real" liberalism, and whether it should, is the topic of this essay|
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