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Levinas : A Guide for the Perplexed - Benjamin Hutchens


A Guide for the Perplexed

Hardcover Published: 1st September 2004
ISBN: 9780826472823
Number Of Pages: 192

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Continuum's Guides for the Perplexed are clear, concise, and accessible introductions to thinkers, writers, and subjects that students and readers can find especially challenging-or, indeed, downright bewildering. Concentrating specifically on what it is that makes the subject difficult to fathom, these books explain and explore key themes and ideas, guiding the reader towards a thorough understanding of demanding material.

Emmanuel Levinas is one of the most influential ethicists of recent times. The importance and relevance of his work has been recognized and celebrated within philosophy, religion, sociology, political theory, and other disciplines. His writing, however, undoubtedly presents the reader with a significant challenge. Often labyrinthine, paradoxical, and opaque, Levinas' work seeks to articulate a complex ideology and some hard-to-grasp concepts.

Levinas: A Guide for the Perplexed is the ideal text for the student, teacher, or lay reader who wants to develop a full and effective understanding of this major modern philosopher. Focused upon precisely why Levinas is a difficult subject for study, the text guides the reader through the core themes and concepts in his writing, providing a thorough overview of his work. Valuably, the book also emphasizes Levinas's importance for contemporary ethical problems and thinking.

Acknowledgementsp. vii
The problem of Introduction: Criticism and influencep. 1
Is criticism impossible?p. 6
The influences of a visionaryp. 8
Freedom and responsibilityp. 14
The three aspects of the 'ethics of responsibility'p. 17
Responsibility, consequentialism and deontologyp. 25
Violence and the selfp. 36
The violated and the violent selfp. 36
The hypostasis of the selfp. 42
Language and dialoguep. 47
Language in the face-to-face relationshipp. 48
The content of the command in the face-to-face relationshipp. 50
Scepticism and reasonp. 55
Levinas's global scepticismp. 57
The rational reduction of scepticismp. 60
The sceptical betrayal of rationalityp. 63
Time and historyp. 67
Synchronyp. 68
Diachronyp. 68
Anachronyp. 71
Deathp. 74
Good and evilp. 77
The good in the face of othersp. 77
The evil of Auschwitzp. 81
Suffering and obsessionp. 89
The ambiguous evil of sufferingp. 90
Good and bad obsessionsp. 95
Justice and lawp. 99
Justice and the resolution of responsibilityp. 99
The spirit of legislation and the letter of the lawp. 107
God and atheismp. 112
God in the face-to-face relationshipp. 116
The atheistic selfp. 121
Humanism and antihumanismp. 127
Technology and the worldp. 131
Art and representationp. 140
Eroticism and genderp. 146
Levinas and his criticsp. 155
A problem of scalep. 155
A problem of relevancep. 156
A problem of detailp. 157
Paul Ricoeurp. 158
Slavoy Zizekp. 160
Alain Badioup. 162
Conclusion: The finer points of Levinas's thoughtp. 167
Referencesp. 169
Bibliographyp. 184
Indexp. 189
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780826472823
ISBN-10: 0826472826
Series: Guides for the Perplexed
Audience: General
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 192
Published: 1st September 2004
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.2 x 13.82  x 2.16
Weight (kg): 0.36
Edition Number: 1