The reputation and influence of Emmanuel Levinas (1906-96) have grown powerfully in recent years. Well known in France in his lifetime, he has since his death become widely regarded as a major European moral philosopher profoundly shaped by his Jewish background. A pupil of Husserl and Heidegger, Levinas pioneered new forms of exegesis with his postmodern readings of the Talmud, and as an ethicist brought together religious and non-religious, Jewish and non-Jewish traditions of contemporary thought. Richard A. Cohen has written (...) a book which uses Levinas' work as its base but goes on to explore broader questions of interpretation in the context of text-based ethical thinking. Levinas' reorientation of philosophy is considered in critical contrast to alternative contemporary approaches such as those found in modern science, psychology, Nietzsche, Freud, Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Derrida and Ricoeur. Cohen explores a manner of philosophizing which he terms 'ethical exegesis'. (shrink)
Detailed exposition of the nine layers of signification of human mortality according to Emmanuel Levinas's phenomenological and ethical account of the meaning and role of death for the embodied human subject and its relations to other persons. Critical contrast to Martin Heidegger's alternative and hitherto more influential phenomenological-ontological conception, elaborated in "Being and Time" (1927), of mortality as Dasein's anxious and revelatory being-toward-death.
Conversations with patients and families about the allow-natural-death (AND) order, along with the standard do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order during end-of-life (EOL) decision-making, may create engagement and understanding while promoting care that can be defended using enduring notions of autonomy, beneficence, and professional duty. Ethical, legal, and pragmatic issues surrounding EOL care decision-making seem to suggest discussion of AND orders as one strategy clinicians could consider at the individual practice level and at institutional levels. A discussion of AND orders, along with traditional (...) DNR orders is presented. This is followed by argument and counter-argument focused on ethical, legal, and practical issues germane to EOL care decision-making associated with use of AND orders. (shrink)
Is cybernetics good, bad, or indifferent? SherryTurkle enlists deconstructive theory to celebrate thecomputer age as the embodiment of difference. Nolonger just a theory, one can now live a virtual life. Within a differential but ontologically detachedfield of signifiers, one can construct and reconstructegos and environments from the bottom up andendlessly. Lucas Introna, in contrast, enlists theethical philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas to condemn thesame computer age for increasing the distance betweenflesh and blood people. Mediating the face-to-facerelation between real people, allowing and (...) encouragingcommunication at a distance, information technologywould alienate individuals from the social immediacyproductive of moral obligations and responsibilities. In this paper I argue against both of thesepositions, and for similar reasons. Turkle''scelebration and Introna''s condemnation of informationtechnology both depend, so I will argue, on the samemistaken meta-interpretation of it. Like Introna,however, but to achieve a different end, I will enlistLevinas''s ethical philosophy to make this case. (shrink)
Detailed exposition of the nine layers of signification of human mortality according to Emmanuel Levinas's phenomenological and ethical account of the meaning and role of death for the embodied human subject and its relations to other persons. Critical contrast to Martin Heidegger's alternative and hitherto more influential phenomenological-ontological conception, elaborated in "Being and Time", of mortality as Dasein's anxious and revelatory being-toward-death.
Alternative oppositions to “infinity” and “totality” are suggested, examined and shown to be inadequate by comparison to the sense of the opposition contained in title Totality and Infinity chosen by Levinas. Special attention is given to this opposition and the priority given to ethics in relation Kant’s distinction between understanding and reason and the priority given by Kant to ethics. The book’s title is further illuminated by means of its first sentence, and the first sentence is illuminated by means of (...) the book’s title. Special attention is given to explicating the nature and significance of the hitherto unnoticed “informal” fallacy contained in the first sentence. (shrink)
Plato’s two complaints in the Phaedrus about the new technology of writing, namely, that reliance upon it leads to forgetfulness and fosters intellectual misunderstanding, which are here taken equally to be relevant. Possible complaints about contemporary information technology, are examined and assessed, in themselves and in relation to Jewish rabbinic exegetical tradition and in relation to Immanuel Kant’s positive claims for text based religions in Religion within the Limits of Reason Alone.
Chapter 7 of my book, Ethics, Exegesis, and Philosophy: Interpretation after Levinas, entitled “Humanism and the Rights of Exegesis,” was devoted to elaboratingthe notion of “ethical exegesis.” The notion of ethical exegesis is not only inspired by Levinas’s thought, but expresses the essential character of it, its “method,” as it were, the “saying” of its “said.” Accordingly, here I will begin by reviewing some of what I have already said about ethical exegesis, and then I will develop this notion further (...) in relation to Plato and to the question of moralizing. (shrink)
I argue against the work of simplifying and applying Levinas’s thought. Simplifying Levinas misses the point of the greatness of his thought, which is addressed to the most sophisticated philosophical thinkers of his day, and calls upon them to re-ground philosophy in the ethical. Applying Levinas misses the point that Levinas’s conception of alterity is perfectly concrete, because it is linked to morality through the mortality of the other.
Levinas seamlessly unites philosophy and religion via ethics. By doing so he satisfies philosophy's quest for justification by finding it neither in epistemology nor aesthetics (nor in an escapist "fundamentalism") but in the responsibility of each person for each other and for all others. That is to say, the "ground" of meaning emerges neither in intellect nor imagination but in the moral responsibilities one person has for another and, beyond these already infinite obligations, in the justice - law and equality (...) - that such responsibilities require and engender. All of this is at the same time a consistent expression, indeed a profoundly mature expression of the ethical monotheist vision of traditional rabbinic Judaism and of non-mythological religious consciousness more generally. /// O pensamento de Emmanuel Levinas induz uma união perfeita entre Filosofia e Religião mediante a Ética. Nesta medida, o filósofo dá resposta à pergunta da Filosofia pela sua própria justificação, justificação essa que ele não encontra nem na epistemologia nem na estética (nem em qualquer forma de escapismo fundamentalista), mas na responsabilidade de cada pessoa por cada um e por todos. Or a isto equivale a dizerque o "fundamento" para o sentido não emerge nem do intelecto nem da imaginação, mas sim da responsabilidade moral que nos obriga a cada um diante dos outros e, para lá destas obrigações infinitas, nos compromete com a justiça - representada no princípio da legalidade e da equidade - requerida e engendrada por essas mesmas responsabilidades. Tudo isto, para o autor, é ao mesmo tempo expressão consistente, de facto, uma expressão profundamente madura da visão ética monoteísta do Judaísmo rabínico e, de uma forma mais geral, de toda a forma de consciência religiosa não mitológica. (shrink)