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Why Ethics? : Signs of Responsibilities - Robert Gibbs

Why Ethics?

Signs of Responsibilities

Paperback Published: 17th September 2000
ISBN: 9780691009636
Number Of Pages: 384

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Robert Gibbs presents here an ambitious new theory of ethics. Drawing on a striking combination of intellectual traditions, including Jewish thought, continental philosophy, and American pragmatism, Gibbs argues that ethics is primarily concerned with responsibility and is not--as philosophers have often assumed--principally a matter of thinking about the right thing to do and acting in accordance with the abstract dictates of reason or will. More specifically, ethics is concerned with attending to others' questions and bearing responsibility for what they do.

Gibbs builds this innovative case by exploring the implicit responsibilities in a broad range of human interactions, paying especially close attention to the signs that people give and receive as they relate to each other. "Why Ethics?" starts by examining the simple actions of listening and speaking, reading and writing, and by focusing on the different responsibilities that each action entails. The author discusses what he describes as the mutual responsibilities implicit in the actions of reasoning, mediating, and judging. He assesses the relationships among ethics, pragmatics, and Jewish philosophy. The book concludes by looking at the relation of memory and the immemorial, emphasizing the need to respond for past actions by confessing, seeking forgiveness, and making reconciliations.

In format, Gibbs adopts a Talmudic approach, interweaving brief citations from primary texts with his commentary. He draws these texts from diverse thinkers and sources, including Levinas, Derrida, Habermas, Rosenzweig, Luhmann, Peirce, James, Royce, Benjamin, Maimonides, the Bible, and the Talmud. Ranging over philosophy, literary theory, social theory, and historiography, this is an ambitious and provocative work that holds profound lessons for how we think about ethics and how we seek to live responsibly.

"In this thought-provoking new book, Gibbs centers ethics on personal responsibility ...He combines analysis of the Talmud with the pragmatics of Charles Peirce, George Herbert Mead, and Jurgen Habermas in an unusual and illuminating way."--Library Journal "[An] excellent, challenging work... In focusing on responsibility, Gibbs clearly seeks to change the parameters of ethical inquiry. Yet what makes his work so successful is that it takes modern ethics seriously even while questioning it, seeking to hear its concerns while repairing the harm and suffering its excesses have caused. It ... provides an excellent model for how religious ethics can both take responsibility for and transform modern inquiry."--William W. Young III, Theological Studies

Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Abbreviations and Notes on Citationsp. xiii
Introduction Why Questions?p. 3
The Response in Responsibilityp. 3
Signsp. 6
Commentariesp. l0
A Mapp. 13
The Authors and Textsp. 23
Attending the Futurep. 27
Why Listen?p. 29
Attending the Teacherp. 31
Asymmetryp. 35
Receiving the Worldp. 37
The Face and Consciosnessp. 40
Apologyp. 44
Why Speak?p. 47
The Savingp. 48
Bodily Signifyingp. 50
Saying the Sayingp. 58
Witness to Gloryp. 61
Why Write?p. 66
Writing Withdratualp. 67
Saying and Writingp. 74
The Trace and Crossing outp. 79
Why Read?p. 86
The Hidden Threadp. 87
Closure of Philosophyp. 89
Re-citationp. 95
Why Comment?p. 114
The Written Commandp. 115
Reading and Separationp. 116
Commentariesp. 123
Presentjudgmentsp. 131
Why Reason?p. 133
The Third and Justicep. 134
Mutuality and Justicep. 141
Mutuality and Asymmetryp. 145
Why Mediate?p. 156
Communication and Lovep. 157
Media for Communicationp. 167
Mediating Consensusp. 171
Why Judge?p. 178
Attributionp. 180
We and Yep. 182
Universality and the Outsidep. 187
Judgment Dayp. 192
Unjust Judgmentp. 200
Why Law?p. 210
Justifying the Worldp. 211
Preserving Contradictionsp. 214
Judgment and the Oppressedp. 218
Pragmatism, Pragmatics, and Methodp. 225
Why Verify?p. 227
Performative Methodp. 229
Empiricisms: Absolute and Radicalp. 234
Pragmatism and Pragmaticismp. 239
Why Thirds?p. 246
The Third Personp. 247
Interpretation and Thirdsp. 251
Why Me?p. 258
Interpreters and Signsp. 259
Me and Ip. 259
The Indeclinable Accusative (Me)p. 272
Why Translate?p. 278
Reason and Jewish Sourcesp. 280
Jewish New Thinkingp. 286
Contemporary Translationp. 290
A Necessary Trialp. 298
Repenting Historyp. 305
Why Repent?p. 307
Returnp. 308
Great Is Repentancep. 310
Social Repentancep. 319
Why Confess?p. 325
Confessing Orallyp. 326
Performance of the "I"p. 329
Confession of Lovep. 334
Why Forgive?p. 338
Forgive or Forgetp. 339
Changing the Pastp. 341
Being Forgivenp. 345
Why Remember?p. 354
Calendarsp. 355
Historiographyp. 362
Ruins and Remnantsp. 372
Epilogue Postmodern Jewish Philosophy and Modernityp. 380
Pretext Indexp. 385
Name Indexp. 391
Subject Indexp. 395
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691009636
ISBN-10: 0691009635
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 384
Published: 17th September 2000
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.88  x 2.54
Weight (kg): 0.58

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