The movement from ethics to social relationships for Levinas, and why decency obscures obligation

Abstract

According to Emmanuel Levinas, the individual bears an infinite obligation to the other person. In the Talmudic reading “Judaism and revolution,” Levinas suggests that we move from the ethical encounter to social relationships using contracts—both particular contracts and the social contract. So social relationships are created by limiting obligation, and as a result these relationships can only be practically acceptable, not ethical. Jewish religious practice for Levinas should also be understood as a set of negotiated limits to our infinite obligation

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Marc A. Cohen
Seattle University

References found in this work

Totality and Infinity.Emmanuel Levinas - 1961/1969 - Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press.
The Ethics of Emmanuel Levinas.Diane Perpich - 2008 - Stanford University Press.
Discovering Levinas.Michael L. Morgan - 2007 - Cambridge University Press.

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