Machine generated contents note: Introduction; 1. Responding to atrocity in the twentieth century; 2. How to read Levinas: normativity and transcendental philosophy; 3. The ethical content of the face-to-face; 4. Philosophy, totality, and the everyday; 5. Subjectivity and the self: passivity and freedom; 6. God, philosophy, and the ground of the ethical; 7. Time, history, and messianism; 8. Greek and Hebrew; Conclusions, puzzles, problems; Annotated reading list and bibliography.
Emmanuel Levinas is well known to students of twentieth-century continental philosophy and especially French philosophy. But he is largely unknown within the circles of Anglo-American philosophy. In Discovering Levinas, Michael L. Morgan shows how this thinker faces in novel and provocative ways central philosophical problems of twentieth century philosophy and religious thought. He tackles this task by placing Levinas in conversation with philosophers such as Donald Davidson, Stanley Cavell, John McDowell, Onora O'Neill, Charles Taylor, and Cora Diamond. He also seeks (...) to understand Levinas within philosophical, religious, and political developments in the history of twentieth-century intellectual culture. Morgan demystifies Levinas by examining in illuminating ways his unfamiliar and surprising vocabulary, interpreting texts with an eye to clarity, and arguing that Levinas can be understood as a philosopher of the everyday. Morgan also shows that Levinas's ethics is not morally and politically irrelevant nor is it excessively narrow and demanding in unacceptable ways. Neither glib dismissal nor fawning acceptance, this book provides a sympathetic reading that can form a foundation for a responsible critique. (shrink)
Modern Jewish philosophy emerged in the seventeenth century, with the impact of the new science and modern philosophy on thinkers who were reflecting upon the nature of Judaism and Jewish life. This collection of new essays examines the work of several of the most important of these figures, from the seventeenth to the late-twentieth centuries, and addresses themes central to the tradition of modern Jewish philosophy: language and revelation, autonomy and authority, the problem of evil, messianism, the influence of Kant, (...) and feminism. Included are essays on Spinoza, Mendelssohn, Cohen, Buber, Rosenzweig, Fackenheim, Soloveitchik, Strauss, and Levinas. Other thinkers discussed include Maimon, Benjamin, Derrida, Scholem, and Arendt. The sixteen original essays are written by a world-renowned group of scholars especially for this volume and give a broad and rich picture of the tradition of modern Jewish philosophy over a period of four centuries. (shrink)
I would like to try to clarify one aspect of the relationship between Levinas’s philosophy — or “ethical metaphysics,” as Edith Wyschogrod has called it — and Judaism as Levinas understands it. In and of itself it is interesting to try to understand Levinas’s thinking and its relationship to his life as a Jew and to Judaism as he takes it to be. But I also have ulterior motives — that is, I have what some might think are larger fish (...) to fry. I will begin by saying something about Hilary Putnam’s article “Levinas and Judaism” in The Cambridge Companion to Levinas, edited by Simon Critchley and Robert Bernasconi. I think that I can indicate what those “larger fish” are by pointing to an intriguing tension in Putnam’s discussion. (shrink)
historical context. It argues that Socrates' defense establishes his innocence of Meletus's charges. It develops a new account of Socrates' philosophical doctrines, and proposes novel solutions to the paradoxes which are central to them. It presents Socrates as a fundamentally nonironical figure who is above all just what he says he is: a philosopher servant of Apollo–a man whose religion is founded not in faith but in human wisdom, and whose wisdom is founded in an Apollonian recognition of the poverty (...) of human wisdom in comparison to divine wisdom. (shrink)
There is a type of history of philosophy that involves both philosophical analysis and historical understanding. in this paper i try to show how this enterprise attempts to construct a surrogate author for the texts under investigation. in order to clarify this model of interpretation, i compare the notion of surrogate author with collingwood's notion of reenactment and with nehamas's criticism of foucault's conception of authorship. i also discuss the roles of history and philosophy both as part of the internal (...) process of constructing the surrogate author and as part of the external process of critically assessing the author's thought. (shrink)
This paper attempts to develop the foundations of a contemporary Jewish moral theory. It treats the Jewish legal and moral tradition as the object of an act of interpretive recovery that is carried out by contemporary Jews who are sensitive to the demands of their historical situation, a situation defined by the Nazi destruction of European Jewry and by the reestablishment of the Jewish state. In the course of the paper I develop an approach to post-Holocaust Jewish experience that derives (...) from the work of Emil Fackenheim and try to show how Jewish moral imperatives arise within Fackenheim's account of the Jewish situation. The Jew's understanding of the role of God in moral obligation, his appreciation of the demands of the historical moment, and his interpretive recovery of the Jewish moral tradition-all are shown to depend upon and emerge from a reflective examination of Jewish moral and legal resistance during the Holocaust. (shrink)