Plato and Levinas
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Plato and Levinas : The Ambiguous Out-Side of Ethics

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In the second half of the twentieth century, ethics has gained considerable prominence within philosophy. In contrast to other scholars, Levinas proposed that it be not one philosophical discipline among many, but the most fundamental and essential one. Before philosophy became divided into disciplines, Plato also treated the question of the Good as the most important philosophical question. Levinas's approach to ethics begins in the encounter with the other as the most basic experience of responsibility. He acknowledges the necessity to move beyond this initial, dyadic encounter, but has problems extending his approach to a larger dimension, such as community. To shed light on this dilemma, Tanja Staehler examines broader dimensions which are linked to the political realm, and the problems they pose for ethics. Staehler demonstrates that both Plato and Levinas come to identify three realms as ambiguous: the erotic, the artistic, and the political. In each case, there is a precarious position in relation to ethics. However, neither Plato nor Levinas explores ambiguity in itself. Staehler argues that these ambiguous dimensions can contribute to revealing the Other's vulnerability without diminishing the fundamental role of unambiguous ethical responsibility.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 296 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 15.75mm | 408g
  • Taylor & Francis Ltd
  • ROUTLEDGE
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 1138870579
  • 9781138870574
  • 1,811,961

About Tanja Staehler

Dr. Tanja Staehler is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Sussex.show more

Table of contents

Introductiona) The Central Questionb) Platoâs Phaedrusc) Levinasâs Two Main Worksd) Levinas on Platoe) Methodological Remarksf) Before CulturePart I: The SelfChapter 1: Preliminary Reflections on the Selfa) Interiority and the Myth of Gygesb) Otherness in the SameChapter 2: Dimensions of Corporealitya) Levinas and the Body as Vulnerabilityb) The Body in Platoâs PhaedrusChapter 3: Enjoyment or Suffering? Modes of Sensibilitya) The "permanent truth of hedonist moralities"b) Pleasure, Pain, and VulnerabilityPart II: The OtherChapter 4: Origins of Speecha) Speech as Apologyb) Socratic and Levinasian TeachingChapter 5: The Ambiguity of Erosa) Levinas about Eros between Being and Non-Beingb) Plato on Beauty and Wingsc) The Place of ErosChapter 6: The Ethical Relationshipa) The Paradox of Ethical Resistanceb) An Infinite Responsibilityc) Getting under the SkinPart III: The OthersChapter 7: The Universality of the Gooda) Levinas and Universal Humanismb) Plato and the Good beyond BeingChapter 8: Communities, Politics, Lawsa) Plato on the Advantages and Disadvantages of Lawb) Levinas and the Political CalculusPart IV: Historical-Cultural WorldsChapter 9: The Critique of Writinga) Writing Versus Speechb) The Saying and the SaidChapter 10: The Ambiguity of the Aesthetica) Images and Shadowsb) The Irresponsibility of Artc) The Work and TyrannyChapter 11: History and Culturea) Between Past and Futureb) Levinas and the Strangerc) Philosophers and Strangers in PlatoChapter 12: Concluding Remarks on Ethics and Ambiguitya) Univocal Ethics?b) Ambiguity in de Beauvoir, Merleau-Ponty, and Levinasc) Attempting a Genealogy of Ambiguityd) Platoâs Contributione) Ethics and AmbiguityPostscript: Derrida on Hospitalityshow more