From Communicative Action to the Face of the Other

From Communicative Action to the Face of the Other : Levinas and Habermas on Language, Obligation, and Community

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Although the continental philosophers Jurgen Habermas and Emmanuel Levinas are both inescapably important to an array of debates in contemporary moral theory, they are rarely assessed in relation to each other. Not only are their basic agendas different-whereas Habermas's discourse ethics are framed within a general concern for democratic political theory, Levinas's work is largely indifferent, if not hostile, to political concerns-but their philosophical styles dramatically contrast as well. Steven Hendley's study is based on the conviction that beneath the surface there is in fact a remarkable degree of convergence in the two philosophers' work that is usually overlooked. Hendley discovers and explains the complementarity of Levinas's conception of discourse as relation to the Other to Habermas's theory of communication as the basis for recognition of universal moral norms; and he presents a clear defense and validation of Levinas's position on the construction of political theory. From Communicative Action to the Face of the Other is a unique endeavor that achieves new and important connections in the contemporary scholarship in philosophy and political theory.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 200 pages
  • 152.4 x 228.6 x 20.3mm | 45.36g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739101404
  • 9780739101407

About Steven Hendley

Steven Hendley is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Birmingham-Southern College. He is the author of Reason and Relativism: A Sartrean Investigation (1991).
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Review quote

[This book] establishes the need for any political theory to come to terms with Levinas's theory of discourse as relation to the Other. On the American scene, that is a definite contribution to contemporary philosophy. -- Garth Gillan, Southern Illinois University
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Table of contents

Chapter 1 Conversational Deference and Communicative Action Chapter 2 Care, Justice, and the Face of the Other Chapter 3 The Metaphysical Ground of Moral Authority Chapter 4 The Liberties of the Ancients and Moderns Chapter 5 The Moral Relevance of Judaism to Modernity Chapter 6 The Epistemic Viability of the Appeal to the Face of the Other
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