By Lévinas, Emmanuel; Harold, Philip J.; Lévinas, Emmanuel
Levinas’s philosophy is worried now not with the moral in step with se, in both its utilized or its transcendent types, yet with the resource of ethics. as soon as this resource is printed to be an anarchic interruption of our efforts to imagine the moral, Levinas’s political claims can't be learn as elementary ideological positions or rules for political motion. they're as an alternative to be understood “prophetically,” a place that Harold unearths corresponding to the communitarian critique of liberalism provided through such writers as Alasdair MacIntyre and Charles Taylor. In constructing this interpretation, which runs counter to formative impacts from the phenomenological culture, Harold lines Levinas’s debt to phenomenological descriptions of such reports as empathy and playfulness.
Prophetic Politics will spotlight the relevance of the phenomenological culture to modern moral and political thought—a long-standing target of the series—while additionally creating a major and unique contribution to Levinas scholarship.
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Extra resources for Prophetic politics : Emmanuel Levinas and the sanctification of suffering
This authority does not come from its rational content nor the person bearing it. It is radically separate from all these. ” A model might be a preacher delivering a sermon to a congregation, where the authority is supposed to originate neither from the preacher nor from the words spoken, but rather from the divine, and is an individual call to each listener each in his or her own way. What this analogy does not capture, however, is the total exposure of the speaker. Challenging the sacred cows of a society while laying down the weapon of argumentation to defend oneself is not a prudent course of action, and it is precisely this needless risk that functions as the witness.
10 Prophetic Politics wisdom beyond law and morals, the master art of politics, as Aristotle says in book 1, chapter 2, of the Nicomachean Ethics. Levinas of course would never deny the value of a stable, peaceful, and flourishing political society. However, even more important and weighty is the avoidance of injustice. This is more important even than knowing what injustice is—a seemingly absurd inversion. We might be tempted to describe this as an ethics for the founder of a state, the lawgiver; a formal command for the great statesmen and religious reformers who are beyond all conventional morality, who see a higher ethical standard and want to bring society around to it, to change its way of seeing the world, which can only be defended and justified after the fact.
Self-sacrifice will never appear as such within being, in the present that levels down, giving a hearing to the false and true alike. It cannot be any differently. The juror present is called, however, to discern the unrepresentable past, reconstruct what cannot be known for certain, and make a decision, which at the extreme could mean life or death. Levinas the juror has reconstructed the unknowable past in his work and has judged it as an infinite responsibility for everything. There is no way to prove definitively if another judgment might be more accurate.
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