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levinas politics

Emmanuel Levinas conceives of our lives as fundamentally interpersonal and ethical, claiming that our responsibilities to one another should shape all of our actions. While many scholars believe that Levinas failed to develop a robust view of political ethics, Michael L. Morgan argues against understandings of Levinas’s thought that find him politically wanting or even antipolitical. Morgan examines Levinas’s ethical critique of the political as well as his Jewish writings—including those on Zionism and the founding of the Jewish state—which are controversial reflections of Levinas’s political expression. Unlike others who dismiss Levinas as irrelevant or anarchical, Morgan is the first to give extensive treatment to Levinas as a serious social political thinker whose ethics must be understood in terms of its political implications. Morgan reveals Levinas’s political commitments to liberalism and democracy as well as his revolutionary conception of human life as deeply interconnected on philosophical, political, and religious grounds.

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978-3-525-60452-6

Although considered as one of the 20th century most central ethical thinkers, Emmanuel Levinas claimed that his task was not to construct an ethics, but to seek the meaning of the ethical. In this study Stine Holte examines the problem of ethical meaning in Levinas’ thinking and shows how the articulation of the ethical implies notions like trauma, melancholy, and shame, and hence a questioning of what we normally regard as meaningful.

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