Levinas and Badiou on Ethics, Aesthetics and the Anticipation of the Unanticipatable

In this paper, I will present what I take to be a standard view of morality, and I argue that this view amounts to a paradox: the moral event or moral concern, the source of morality, ultimately leads, through moral theory, to a denial of itself. I will show how Badiou and Levinas take a way out of this and in doing so deny the possibility of anticipating the moral. Furthermore, I claim that this anticipatory moment can be introduced back by means of the concept of “practical wisdom” as used in analytical virtue ethics. Finally, I argue that the Kantian notion of the sublime is structurally the same as the moral event in Badiou and Levinas, and that our view of the sublime can benefit from both Levinas’ view and the concept of “practical wisdom” as well.
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Bob Plant (2006). Apologies: Levinas and Dialogue. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 14 (1):79 – 94.
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