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Ethics and time: Levinas between Kant and Husserl

Hodge, Joanna (2002) Ethics and time: Levinas between Kant and Husserl. Diacritics, 32 (3). pp. 107-134.

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Abstract

This article stems from the conviction that the source of the bloody barbarism of National Socialism lies not in some contingent anomaly within human reasoning, nor in some accidental ideological misunderstanding. This article expresses the conviction that this source stems from the essential possibility of elemental evil into which we can be led by logic and against which Western philosophy had not sufficiently insured itself. This possibility is inscribed within the ontology of a being concerned with being-a being, to use the Heideggerian expression, "which in its own being is concerned with that being." Such a possibility still threatens the subject correlative with being as gathering together and as dominating, that famous subject of transcendental idealism that before all else wishes to be free and thinks itself free. We must ask ourselves if liberalism is all we need to achieve the authentic dignity for the human subject. Does the subject ever arrive at the human condition prior to assuming responsibility for the other in the act of election that raises him up to this height? This election comes from a god- or God-who beholds him in the face of the other, the neighbour, the original "site" of the Revelation.

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