A Sketch for a Levinasian Theory of Action

Abstract This paper sketches a Levinasian theory of action. It has often been pointed out that Levinas' ethics are incapable of providing principles of adjudication for guiding actions. However, a much more profound problem affects Levinas' metaphysical ethics and negates the possibility of adjudication and that is a patent lack of freedom from the yoke of the ethical. If ?ethics is primordial? indeed, then no act can be unethical in that there is no alternative possibility to the acceptance and performance of the law. In this paper, I will argue that it is from the totalization of the acceptance and performance of law ?implicit in the subject's action? that alternative possibilities become visible. This is to say, it is through totalization that the subject demarcates the locus for the emergence of principles, which can permit adjudication among different acts without negating the radical primacy of ethics, which is probably Levinas? greatest contribution to the field
Keywords Levinas  Ethics  theory of action  Philosophy of Law
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DOI 10.1080/09672559.2012.697283
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References found in this work BETA
Emmanuel Levinas (1961/1969). Totality and Infinity. Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press.

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