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|Title: ||Emmanuel Levinas: Ethics, Justice and the Human Beyond Being.|
|Authors: ||Thomas, Elisabeth Louise|
|Keywords: ||Levinas, Ethics, Justice, Humanity, Heidegger|
|Issue Date: ||1999|
|Publisher: ||University of Sydney, Philosophy|
|Abstract: ||Abstract: Emmanuel Levinas: Ethics, Justice and the Human beyond Being. Levinas finds the early twentieth century to be marked by a rejection of the concept of humanity, at the moment of its awakening to its own brutality. While accepting the anti-humanist position, insofar as it questions the primacy of free will, and an unquestionable security in its attachment to a pregiven, universal Reason, Levinas' work questions the value of rethinking the human in terms of being. This thesis traces Levinas' attempt to rehabilitate humanity from its devotion to ontology as first philosophy. It argues that Levinas offers a reinterpretation of the relation of being and the human, tracing the movement in Levinas' work from a critical attempt to rethink the human and being, to the notion of the human beyond being. The thesis begins with a critical engagement with Heideggerian ontology suggesting that Levinas' renewal of the question of being in his prewar essays reflects a concern for the meaning of subjective existence and its relation to the social and political totality. These concerns lie behind his reinterpretation of the relation of existence and the existent in his essays of the 1940's in which Levinas undertakes a critique of a Platonic social totality and introduces a notion of the alterity of eros which does not have its value determined in terms of a teleology of social production. From this basis, Levinas is shown to address the question of justice by articulating the essentially ambiguous relation between the subject and another in terms of the ambivalence of the face, and contrasting this with the alterity of love. The development of these ideas is traced across Levinas' major works. In Totality and Infinity, Levinas argues that the response to the singular other is conceived of as the event of the production of a universal which affirms the tertiality of the social totality, that is, attests to the whole of humanity. In Otherwise than Being, the relation of ethics and justice is discussed in different terms, those of the relation of the ethical Saying and the realm of the Said or being's justice. Levinas juxtaposes the ontological tertiality of the third, with the notion of an ethical tertiality, which he calls illeity. Illeity is found to not be reducible to the ontological tertiality of the third party, but to name the exceeding of subjectivity in terms of an absolute susceptibility to the Other, and is an excessive concept of a singular universal: the human beyond being.|
|Rights and Permissions: ||Copyright Thomas, Elisabeth Louise;http://www.library.usyd.edu.au/copyright.html|
|Appears in Collections:||Sydney Digital Theses (Open Access)|
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