The fifth edition of Michael L. Morgan's _Classics of Moral and Political Theory_ broadens the scope and increases the versatility of this landmark anthology by offering new selections from Aristotle's _Politics_, Aquinas' _Disputed Questions on Virtue_ and _Treatise on Law_, as well as the entirety of Locke's _Letter Concerning Toleration_, Kant's _To Perpetual Peace_, and Nietzsche's _On the Advantage and Disadvantage of History for Life_.
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)
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)
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)
"MIchael Morgan has served up an intellectual treat. These subtle and carefully reasoned essays explore the dilemmas of the post-modern Jew who would take history seriously without losing the commanding presence Israel heard at Sinai.... It is a pleasure to be nourished by a fresh mind exploring the tension between reason and revelation, history and faith."—Rabbi Samuel Karff "This is without doubt one of the most significant works in modern Jewish thought and a must for a thoughtful student of contemporary (...) Jewish philosophy." —Rabbie Sheldon Zimmerman "This may well mark the next stage in the long history of Jewish self-understanding." —Ethics "... rigorous history of modern Jewish thought... " —Choice Is Judaism a timeless, universal set of beliefs or, rather, is it historical and contingent in its relation to different times and places? Morgan clarifies the tensions and dilemmas that characterize modern thinking about the nature of Judaism and clears the way for Jews to appreciate their historical situation, yet locate enduring values and principles in a post-Holocaust world. (shrink)
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 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)