This collection brings together fourteen contributions by authors from around the globe. Each of the contributions engages with questions about how local and global bioethical issues are made to be comparable, in the hope of redressing basic needs and demands for justice. These works demonstrate the significant conceptual contributions that can be made through feminists' attention to debates in a range of interrelated fields, especially as they formulate appropriate responses to developments in medical technology, global economics, population shifts, and poverty.
Feminist peace theories that find hope for peace in the ideal of the caretaking woman are grounded in patriarchal gender distinctions, fail to challenge adequately the patriarchal dualism that constitutes the self by devaluing the other, and the practice of caretaking about which they speak may be easily co-opted into the service of war. Feminist peace theory should address the devaluation of "others," in order to undermine this justification and motivation for war.
Emmanuel Levinas’s philosophy demonstrates that intelligence is ultimately at the behest of responsibility. He is one of a number of philosophers who made the paradigm shift from an individualized notion of self to a social conception of self. He used the language of his teachers, Husserl and Heidegger, to move beyond their philosophies to a fundamental paradigm shift, in which ethics is prior to epistemology.
This anthology provides a philosophical examination of everyday life. Each essay sets out to construct a bridge between thought-provoking situations that come up in the course of living and the more abstract discussions of traditional philosophical inquiry. Such universal issues as, the limits of knowledge, ethics, personhood, and politics are tackled. In the pursuit of philosophical answers to everyday questions, the contributors draw on the work of Aristotle, Plato, David Hume, John Locke, Karl Marx, Simone Weil, Iris Murdoch, Martin Heidegger, (...) Jean-Paul Sartre, Emmanuel Levinas, and many others. (shrink)
This essay explores the intersection of the ideas of Emmanuel Levinas and theistic existentialism, by exploring the metaphor of being confronted by the blank face of God in times of great stress. Levinas criticizes the history of metaphysics for focusing exclusively on the analysis of objects. He aims to redirect philosophy towards the study of relationships, and focuses on the experience of being confronted by another human face. Jean-Paul Sartre’s proof of the nonexistence of God illustrates Levinas’s critique. Sartre treats (...) God as an object with determinate properties, and concludes that all who believe in God are seeking a false sense of security. Many theisticexistentialists, however, speak of God as a partner in relationship, rather than as a thing, and do not expect to be freed from uncertainty or responsibility through a relationship with God. (shrink)
Autobiographical writing in philosophy class encourages beginning students to use their own philosophical questions, emotions, and difficult experiences to unlock the meaning of a philosophical text, and encourages advanced students to engage in original philosophical writing. Philosophical justification for the approach can be found in the concepts of metaphorical thinking, historicity, multicultural voices, textual hermeneutics, the metaphysics of experience, the logic of discovery, and intersubjectivity. Examples of student assignments and student writing illustrate the approach. Learning resources for teachers and suggested (...) solutions to practical problems offer a helpful starting point. (shrink)
Levinas’s conception of listening for the “trace” of the infinite implies that the human spirit grows when it comes into contact with something greater than it had previously known. When Levinas reads the Talmud, sourcebook of Jewish Law, he tries to enter into conversation with it, allowing the meaning of the text to expand to touch his own contemporary concerns. At the flip side of this expansion, however, lies my worry that the text junctions as a “totality,” assimilating all contemporary (...) concerns to its discussions. At this time of rebuilding in Jewish history, Jews cannot afford narrow conceptions of Jewish practice. This essay does not attempt to elucidateLevinas’s thought, but to use some insights gained from reading his work to think about contemporary Judaism. (shrink)
I suggest that philosophical writers should connect epistemological theorizing with life experience in order to explore the complex relationship between the two. The relationship of theory to experience does not fit the neat hierarchical model of a small number of general organizing principles giving form to or receiving form from a large mass of facts. Instead, as the narrative of my honeymoon and my life following it suggests, philosophical theories are one of the many genres of stories philosophers tell themselves (...) in the process of creating and recreating personal identities and personae. (shrink)
The paper is triggered by an account of a midnight when wordless strands of erotic and parental love began to weave themselves together into a theoryof the family. The theory is then put into words, borrowing from Emmanuel Levinas 's discussion of "Eros and Fecundity" in Totality and Infinity. A commitment to family is simply a special case of ethical relationships in which family members are constantly drawn outside of themselves in response to one another. To have family connections is (...) to have a future, i.e., a commitment to what is unknown, unknowable, and ever-unfolding. (shrink)
The so-called “problem of student relativism” among college students refers to the tendency of students to contend that ethics are simply relative to an individual’s personal views. This paper sees student relativism less as a problem and more as a developmental issue involving self-definition. As such, many philosophy teachers choose texts that are aim to engage students in reflecting upon this developmental issue. In addition to classic texts like Descartes’s “Meditations” and “The Apology of Socrates,” this paper suggests that two (...) further works that address themes relevant to this issue are Martin Heidegger’s “Being and Time” and Walker Percy’s novel “The Moviegoer.”. (shrink)
Beginning with a narrative about social reactions to my own temporary disfigurement, I note that an individual’s disfigurement can affect others by making them feel unsettled and unsafe. The contemporary approach to disfigurement, exemplified in the practice of cosmetic surgery, focuses on changing the disfigured individual. In contrast, ancient priestly rituals in Israelite culture focus on reintegrating the individual into the community. I compare and contrast the two approaches, noting the value of reintegration rituals, but also recognizing their insufficiency in (...) several contemporary situations. (shrink)
The “modest realism” described by Joe Frank Jones, III offers a sound methodological model for developing both self-understanding and philosophical theories. Claire Chafee’s play Why We Have a Body illustrates the pitfalls of living both a thoroughgoing realism and a thoroughgoing idealism and argues for the conception of a life story as a project in which discovery and invention play side by side.Stanley Cavell argues that the shape of a philosophy mirrors the shape of a philosopher’s life. Thereby he suggests (...) that Ludwig Wittgenstein saw his own revolutionary philosophical work as a species of modest realism, i. e., continuing to turn in fruitful directions,rather than as a species of anti-idealism, i. e., rejecting an entire tradition of philosophical theorizing. (shrink)
The conventions of positivism, still the standard model for academic discourse, require philosophers to take knowledge out of the context of personal experience. In this essay, I argue that such a decontextualization impoverished the development of moral and epistemological knowledge. I propose to contextualize such knowledge by using the personal essay as a style of philosophical writing. As literary style shapes what can be thought and said, adoption of a different literary style calls for a reinterpretation of philosophy’s understanding of (...) the self, the quest for truth, and the nature of universality. (shrink)
A mother's commitment to use violence if necessary to protect her children is not incompatible with pacifism, if pacifism is understood as the commitment to end war and war is understood as the use of violence as a political tool.