EN | 3rd International Seminar

III International Seminar Emmanuel Levinas – Love and Justice

Jesuit Faculty  – Belo Horizonte – Minas Gerais – Brazil

October 26th-28th 2017

Love and Justice

The III International Seminar Emmanuel Levinas – “Love and Justice” aims to strengthen the research activities of members of CEBEL – Brazilian Center for Studies on Emmanuel Levinas – and GT Levinas (Group of work on Levinas at ANPOF), as well as the activities of several Research Groups ( CNPq), students and teachers spread throughout Brazil and many other countries. The proposal is to promote a space of debate around the Levinasian philosophy, starting from the multiple possible readings of the work of Levinas generating a productive interlocution. The meeting focuses especially on the theme of love and justice and its unfolding in relation to the notions of subjectivity, language, freedom and ethics.


“It is inasmuch as I have not only to respond to the Face of the other, but alongside him to approach the third party, that the necessity for the theoretical attitude arises. From the start, the encounter with the Other is my responsibility for him. That is the responsibility for my neighbor, which is, no doubt, the harsh name for what we call love of one’s neighbor; love without Eros, charity, love in which the ethical aspect dominates the passionate aspect, love without concupiscence. (…) Here is the birth of the theoretical; here the concern for justice is born, which is the basis of the theoretical.” (Levinas, Between us, p. 103-104).

The preoccupation with justice is present in the work of Levinas. Associated with ethics, justice is a response to the Other, but also to the Other of the Other. On the one hand, it is related to the foundation of the State and its institutions, to the birth of philosophy, to the arrival of the third. On the other hand, justice is inherent to the encounter and to which is related to it: justice makes questions, justice calls for ontology. It is calculation and measure, but it does not dispense with the infinite generosity of ethics – for beyond-being, justice is called for transcendence. Justice means in the Said of a Saying that demeans and re-says, always, indefinitely – it is language. Justice is found in the Law, but judge cannot judge without looking and seeing the Face of the judged. Justice requires sensitivity. Without love it runs the risk of hardening into inhuman laws. According to Levinas, concern for justice is already the work of love. Love founds righteousness. What are the many ways to approach justice and love, considering the various ways in which these are presented in the work of Levinas? How do love and justice relate to each other and to ethics?


1) To gather scholars of the levinasian thought in order to spread knowledge of the researches that are developing in Brazil and other countries;

2) To bring research groups together for greater articulation and exchange of production between teaching and learning researchers and for mutual growth;

3) Disseminate the thought of Emmanuel Levinas to the scientific community of Brazil and other countries.

Thematic Areas

In this III International Seminar Emmanuel Levinas, we propose to approach “justice and love” under various aspects, which, for didactic reasons, we divide into 4 axes:

 Axis 1 – Ethics and ontology

We can enter into the paths of ontology when thinking about the relation between ethics – which according to Levinas, inaugurates the theoretical – and justice, which has in ethics its source. Ontology and ethics are committed to justice. Infinity and totality are related in this context; Justice and first philosophy; Face to face and side to side; Truth, freedom and conscience, in the broad context of justice and love. The problem of evil lies in a justice that is intended blind, without contact with the face of Other. How to approach the problem of ontology and evil from justice and love?

Other issues to be addressed: the “il ya”, insomnia, but also representation, intentionality, metaphysics, desire, hospitality, face, time, death, hypostasis, being, and avoidance, between the infinite responsibility of ethics and the just measure brought by justice that are found in love. All points are supposed to be related to love and/or justice.

Axis 2: Subjectivity, Language and Transcendence

Ethics erupts as one of the most demanding notions of humanism of the other man. Man emerges its identity as response for the Other, as subject that it is subjected, an immediate and unthinking response to the Other, as love. Justice enters into the relation to two in which, from then on, the third is counted. Born out of concern for the third, justice is Said. But disdain and re-dictated, it becomes language. The language of ethical love becomes and remains justice face to face to the ethical subject. What happens to subjectivity before justice? How can one speak of transcendence between justice and ethics? What is transcendence committed to love, or vice versa? Here there are some questions that are invited to be raised.

Other questions to be addressed: the constitution of the subject, “here I am”, the self, identity, phenomenology, hermeneutics, recurrence, substitution, memory, pure communication, dialogue, testimony, wisdom, responsibility, the significance of the word “God” in justice and ethics, forgiveness, mystery, maternity, paternity, liberation (spatial, temporal), ethical relation as intersubjective relationship, openness to sociability and justice, among other terms that resemble them and can be related to love and/or justice.

Axis 3: Erotic, Sensitive and Aesthetic

Responsibility has the name of love. It unfolds ethics aimed at other people and justice that also includes all others. Different approaches to love are evoked throughout the work of Levinas. Eroticism, sensibility and aesthetics are related to ethics, justice and love. In this sense, ethics and aesthetics are intertwined. In what way would ethics overtake aesthetics or would it (or not) dispense with being beyond beauty? Love as beauty that surpasses beauty? Questions to be addressed: love as a body for the body of another, as skin that rips leaving its veins open as a sacrifice for others.

In what ways does the term love appear in Levinas: (i) as philia, introducing a new conception of philosophia – which, more than love of knowledge, means, in another, but not contrarily, the wisdom of love – ii) As mercy, the poverty of a subject who breaks free of himself in the encounter with the Other, iii) or nudity of the Other who inspires forgiveness ?, iv) love as concupiscence of knowledge that is directed towards a carnality without concupiscence?

We suggest themes that address some of the following related problems: corporeality, fecundity, enjoyment, music, poetics, literature, closeness, suffering, touch, caress, art function, sacred, holy, love, art of obliteration, ethical carnality as unity between body and soul, alterity of the feminine, philosophy of gender: motherhood, filiation, paternity; the third as gift, ambivalence of caress, carnal gestures, and about the concupiscence of knowledge to carnality without concupiscence, among other terms that resemble them and can be related to love and/or justice.

Axis 4: The Face, the Third, and the Law

Different notions of justice appear in “Totality and Infinity” and “Otherwise than being”. Justice is measured and remains unformed by ethics. Love and the Law, love of the Law, love of Others as responsibility are themes that alternate. How do they articulate? Would it be possible to reconcile them? We suggest studies that address the relationship between Other’s interdiction and interdiction; the relationship between State and ethics; between equality and difference; between the Ethical Saying and the Saying of Justice.

From love and justice opens up a range of questions and studies on the statute of justice and its direction: justice as a response to the other, but also to the other of the other that is already in the face of others. Justice that in “Totality and Infinity ” seems to be confused with ethics, but that already in “Otherwise than being” seems to distinguish from it. Was there a split? – contradiction or paradox? What problems do these arise and what are their consequences for the thought of Levinas?

Other questions that may be addressed: the next of my next, rules, equality, politics, society, difference, politics, normativity, force, power, violence, foreign, proximity, peace, inequality, servitude, humanism, universality, biopolitics, State, guilt, judaism, economics, law, labor, among others that these resemble and can be related to love and/or justice.

Registrations and submissions

The registration period runs from April 1 to October 25 (one day before the start of the Seminar).  Foreign participants are allowed to pay cash (in Reais R$, local currency) the subscription investment amount, at place on October 26, at the beginning of the Seminar.

Student researchers or teachers interested in presenting their work during the III Seminar should submit an ABSTRACT awaiting analysis of the coordination of the event. The theme of the communications should relate to only one of the four thematic axes, listed in the Seminar’s menu. The axes will be constituted in sessions where the debates and communications will take place.

Another informations, please write us gtlevinas@gmail.com or click here for the website in portuguese.