Ideas of Emmanuel Levinas, by Theme

[French, 1906 - 1995, Born in Lithuania.]

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22. Metaethics / C. Ethics Foundations / 1. Nature of Ethics / a. Preconditions for ethics
Levinas took 'first philosophy' to begin with seeing the vulnerable faces of others
     Full Idea: Levinas forwarded a notion of 'ethics as first philosophy' that begins from the concete exposure and openness to 'the face' of the other, an experience of vulnerability and suffering that undercuts our ordinary egoistic and objectifying tendencies.
     From: report of Emmanuel Levinas (works [1956]) by Kevin Aho - Existentialism: an introduction 1 'Existentialism'
     A reaction: Iris Murdoch speaks of seeing a falcon in flight as having a similar effect of diminishing the ego. If the main focus is on potential 'suffering' does this eventually cash out as utilitarianism? I bet not!
25. Society / D. Political Doctrines / 9. Communism
Levinas says Marxism is the replacement of individualist ethics, by solidarity and sociality
     Full Idea: For Levinas, Marxism is the absorption of the ethical in the socioeconomic, and so it is the disappearance of the face-to-face relation and the privileging of relations of solidarity and anonymous sociality, which he calls 'socialism'.
     From: report of Emmanuel Levinas (works [1956]) by Simon Critchley - Impossible Objects: interviews 1
     A reaction: Startling, if you are not used to this sort of thing. If you are in trouble, I should help you, not because you are you, or a human being, but because you are a member of my group? So what about the Good Samaritan? Or solidarity with humanity? Animals?