Levinas's Ethical Politics

Paperback | May 9, 2016

byMichael L. Morgan

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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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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 fi...

Michael L. Morgan is Chancellor's Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Jewish Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington and Senator Jerahmiel S. and Carole S. Grafstein Professor of Philosophy and Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto. He is author of Dilemmas in Modern Jewish Thought, Interim Judaism, and editor (with Steven We...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:432 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.68 inPublished:May 9, 2016Publisher:Indiana University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0253021103

ISBN - 13:9780253021106

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Table of Contents

Preface
Part I. Overview
1. Tears the Civil Servant Cannot See: Ethics and Politics
2. Judaism, Zionism, and the State of Israel
Part II. Philosophical Articulation
3. The Third Party: Transcendental Ethics and Realistic Politics
4. Ethics as Critique
5. Responsibility for Others and the Discourse of Rights
6. Liberalism and Democracy
Part III. Ethics, Politics, and Zionism
7. Teaching Prophetic Politics: Ethics and Politics in Levinas's Talmudic Lessons
8. Zionism and the Justification of a Jewish State
9. Ethics, Politics, and Messianism
10. Levinas's Notorious Interview
Part IV. Defense
11. Levinas and His Critics
Conclusion
Notes
Index

Editorial Reviews

"Against the prevailing consensus that Levinas's political theory is at best irrelevant and at worst hypocritical, Michael L. Morgan vigorously defends its abiding power. Through a painstaking analysis of Levinas's oeuvre, including his controversial interview after the massacres at Sabra and Chatila, he allows us to appreciate the potential an ethics of infinite responsibility may still have to temper a politics of agonistic struggle and impersonal proceduralism." -Martin Jay, author of Reason after Its Eclipse: On Late Critical Theory