Ethics an essay on the understanding of evil

An Essay on the Understanding of Evil Ethics: Translated by Peter Hallward.

Ethics an essay on the understanding of evil

Does the Other Exist? Levinas has devoted his work, after a brush with phenomenology an exemplary confrontation between Husserl and Heideggerto the deposing [destitution] of philosophy in favour of ethics.

It is to him that we owe, long before the current fashion, a kind of ethical radicalism. Ethics according to Levinas Roughly speaking: Levinas maintains that metaphysics, imprisoned by its Greek origins, has subordinated thought to the logic of the Same, to the primacy of substance and identity.

But, according to Levinas, it is impossible to arrive at an authentic thought of the Other and thus an ethics of the relation to the Other from the despotism of the Same, which is incapable of recognizing this Other.

So we must push thought over to a different origin, a non-Greek origin, one that proposes a radical, primary opening to the Other conceived as ontologically anterior to the construction of identity. It is in the Jewish tradition that Levinas finds the basis for this pushing over.

The Law, indeed, does not tell me what is, but what is imposed by the existence of others. This Law of the Other might be opposed to the laws of the real. According to Greek thought, adequate action presumes an initial theoretical mastery of experience, which ensures that the action is in conformity with the rationality of being.

From this point of departure are deduced laws in the plural of the City and of action. The commonsensical discourse has neither force nor truth. The phenomenological analyses of the face, of the caress, of love, cannot by themselves ground the anti-ontological or anti-identitarian these of the author of Totality and Infinity.

Psychoanalysis explains brilliantly how this construction of the ego in the identification with the other—this mirror effect—combines narcissism I delight in the exteriority of the other in so far as he figures as myself made visible to myself and aggressivity I invest in the other my death drive, my own archaic desire for self-destruction.

Here, however, we are a very long way from what Levinas wants to tells us. As always, the pure analysis of phenomenal appearing cannot decide between divergent orientations of thought.

We need, in addition, to make explicit the axioms of thought that decide an orientation. The difficulty, which also defines the point of application for these axioms, can be explained as follows: But nothing in the simple phenomenon of the other contains such a guarantee.

The other always resembles me too much for the hypothesis of an originary exposure to his alterity to be necessarily true. The phenomenon of the other his face must then attest to a radical alterity which he nevertheless does not contain by himself.

The Other, as he appears to me in the order of the finite, must be the epiphany of a properly infinite distance to the other, the traversal of which is the originary ethical experience.

This means that in order to be intelligible, ethics requires that the Other be in some sense carried by a principle of alterity which transcends mere finite experience. There can be no Other if he is not the immediate phenomenon of the Altogether Other.

There can be no finite devotion to the non-identical if it is not sustained by the infinite devotion of the principle to that which subsists outside it. There can be no ethics without God the ineffable.

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Rather, this is philosophy in the Greek sense of the word annulled by theology, itself no longer a theology the terminology is still too Greek, and presumes the proximity to the divine via the identity and predicates of God but precisely, an ethics.

To make of ethics the ultimate name of the religious as such i. We might say that Levinas is the coherent and inventive thinker of an assumption that no academic exercise of veiling or abstraction can obscure: The answer is obvious: We are left with a pious discourse without piety, a spiritual supplement for incompetent governments, and a cultural sociology preached, in line with the new-style sermons, in lieu of the late class struggle.

Ethics an essay on the understanding of evil

For them, African customs are barbaric, Muslims are dreadful, the Chinese are totalitarian, and so on. Respect for differences, of course! But on condition that the different be parliamentary-democratic, pro-free-market economics, in favour of freedom of opinion, feminism, the environment… That is to say: I respect differences, but only, of course, in so far as that which differs also respects, just as I do, the said differences.Ethics, An Essay on the Understanding of Evil, Alain Badiou –––––– Alain Badiou Ethics, An Essay on the Understanding of Evil Chapter II: Does the Other Exist?

Year: Download: PDF – The conception of ethics as the ‘ethics of the other’ or the ‘ethics of difference’ has its origin in the theses of Emmanuel Levinas rather than in those of Kant. Alain Badiou turns his attention in Ethics to the problem of categorizing and understanding evil - what is it?

what is its relation to good? what do the. Find helpful customer reviews and review ratings for Ethics: An Essay on the Understanding of Evil (Radical Thinkers) at benjaminpohle.com Read honest and unbiased product reviews from our users.

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Ethics: An Essay on the Understanding of Evil by Alain Badiou. Translated by Peter Hallward. London and New York: Verso, Pp. $ cloth.

Download Citation on ResearchGate | On Mar 19, , Alain Badiou and others published Ethics: An Essay on the Understanding Of Evil }. Ethics: An Essay on the Understanding of Evil (review) Michael Rothberg Criticism, Volume 43, Number 4, Fall , pp.

(Review) Published by Wayne State University Press.

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