Pascalian Ethics? Bergson, Levinas, Derrida

European Journal of Political Theory 9 (2):167-182 (2010)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

The ‘Pascalian’ tradition in French thought is a moral rigorism that demands practical embodiment while denying that any embodiment of its demands can ever be complete. The power of this tradition may be seen even in French political moralists of the 20th century. It is revealed in Bergson’s view that the open morality must seek practical expression through the closed society, while constantly subverting it. It is revealed in Levinas’s claim that the ‘saying’ requires to be ‘said’ but always undermines the said, so that what is explicit is ‘always wanting’. Directly, and also through the influence of Levinas, the Pascalian tradition exerts a complex influence on Derrida, in whose thoughts about the topic of justice moral rigorism transforms into an idea of radical epistemic incompleteness, or infinite deferral. ‘Pascalians’ such as Bergson, Levinas and Derrida are convinced, consequently, that the ethical can be given only sporadic or uninstitutionalized political expression; in this regard, they may be contrasted with ‘Lockeans’ who believe that political theory is at one remove from our deepest ethical or religious conclusions. In light of that contrast, the differences between Continental and Anglophone political theory may be traced to post-Reformation circumstances rather than, as is often supposed, to the Enlightenment

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 91,271

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

La dette calculée de Derrida envers Lévinas.Alain Beaulieu - 2006 - Studia Phaenomenologica 6:189-200.
The civic religion of social hope: A reply to Simon Critchley.Mark Dooley - 2001 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 27 (5):35-58.
Wandering among shadows: The discordance of time in Levinas and Bergson.Robin Durie - 2010 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 48 (4):371-392.
Absolute adversity: Schmitt, Levinas, and the exceptionality of killing.Jesse Sims - 2005 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 31 (2):223-252.
Naming the Unnameable God: Levinas, Derrida, and Marion. [REVIEW]Anselm K. Min - 2006 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 60 (1/3):99 - 116.
Bergson and Derrida: A Question of Writing Time as Philosophy’s Other.Daniel Alipaz - 2011 - Journal of French and Francophone Philosophy 19 (2):96-120.
Returning (to) the gift of death: violence and history in Derrida and Levinas.Jeffrey Hanson - 2010 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 67 (1):1 - 15.

Analytics

Added to PP
2013-11-24

Downloads
20 (#740,497)

6 months
6 (#506,019)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?