What does levinas mean when he claims that ethics is the first philosophy - Essay Example

Comments (1) Cite this document
Emmanuel Levinas has become associated primarily with his notion that “Ethics is the first philosophy”. Yet in one of the supreme ironies of his career, Levinas scarcely advances an ethics at all! …
Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing
GRAB THE BEST PAPER96.9% of users find it useful
What does levinas mean when he claims that ethics is the first philosophy
Read TextPreview

Extract of sample "What does levinas mean when he claims that ethics is the first philosophy"

Download file to see previous pages In light of that, it can be said that Levinas is not writing an ethics at all. Instead, he is exploring the meaning of intersubjectivity and lived immediacy in light of three themes: transcendence, existence, and the human other” (Bergo, 2007). Levinas' claim that the first philosophy is ethics, then, must be understood based off of his esoteric interpretation of the idea of ethics; nonetheless, the argument has some compelling qualities. Levinas' ethics begins with the simple, face-to-face interaction with another human being. Levinas tries to make the claim that the way that people behave when faced with each other implicitly places them in the same moral universe. At the core of Levinas's mature thought...are descriptions of the encounter with another person. That encounter evinces a particular feature: the other impacts me unlike any worldly object or force. I can constitute the other person cognitively, on the basis of vision, as an alter ego. I can see that another human being is “like me,” acts like me, appears to be the master of her conscious life. That was Edmund Husserl's basic phenomenological approach to constituting other people within a shared social universe.
For Levinas, then, the fundamental reality to an interpersonal encounter is the basis for ethics. This ties in with ideas of ethics that Victorian-era scholars, Hume and Enlightenment scholars in general had about the obvious connection between empathy for others and moral behavior. (Wright, 1983, pg. 232; Parrinder, 1972; Halperin, 1974). Hume, for example, argued that empathy preceded more advanced moral judgments and was a necessary condition for those judgments: “[S]ympathy is the source of the esteem, which we pay to all the artificial virtues” (Wright, 1983, pg. 232). Hume's position is that empathy naturally guides us to behave to others morally: There is no need to tell most fathers that it is wrong to starve their children, and no need to tell people not to beat their friends randomly. It is when that empathy is stunted that pathological behavior is caused. Hume argued that the role of morality was merely to make explicit and clear the transition from obvious principles derived from empathy to abstract behavior norms. Indeed, the Enlightenment in total agreed with Levinas' sentiment that it was human sympathy and interpersonal interaction that gave birth to moral behavior. Even Adam Smith, seemingly amoral in his defense of markets, actually assumed a deep empathy in human behavior, which combined with a fundamental political and economic equality that he assumed for his model ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
Cite this document
  • APA
  • MLA
(“What does levinas mean when he claims that ethics is the first Essay”, n.d.)
Retrieved from https://studentshare.org/environmental-studies/1405659-what-does-levinas-mean-when-he-claims-that-ethics
(What Does Levinas Mean When He Claims That Ethics Is the First Essay)
“What Does Levinas Mean When He Claims That Ethics Is the First Essay”, n.d. https://studentshare.org/environmental-studies/1405659-what-does-levinas-mean-when-he-claims-that-ethics.
  • Cited: 0 times
Comments (1)
Click to create a comment or rate a document
nestorwitting added comment 7 months ago
Student rated this paper as
The topic of "What does levinas mean when he claims that ethics is the first philosophy?" was impossible to find. I spent hours to find it. Here at StudentShare, I got the most decent example. Many thanks!

CHECK THESE SAMPLES OF What does levinas mean when he claims that ethics is the first philosophy

Philosophy Ethics

...?Philosophy Ethics The utilitarian thought of philosophy supports the view that an action is considered to be correct if the action brings about happiness of the greatest number of people. John Stuart Mill was a philosopher of the utilitarian idea and claimed that Rule Utilitarianism is the rule for leading a proper and a moral life. Mill explained that Rule Utilitarianism was the rule that worked towards maximizing happiness. According to this rule an act is moral and correct if it brings about happiness for the maximum number of people. In the same way it puts an action to be morally incorrect if it brings about unhappiness and is the cause of displeasure for the maximum number of people. Mill explained this rule with the aid... of the...
6 Pages(1500 words)Essay

Philosophy Ethics

...the significance of losing faith. Arguably, the death of God signifies the decline of religion and the rise of atheism, therefore, Nietzsche claims that the absence of high moral authority would lead to chaos in the world. Nietzsche claims that the death of God signifies the reversal of nihilism (Stauffer and Bettina 239), and so he argues that the western world entirely depends on the rule of God to give the society order and meaning to life and so His death would force the society to accept nihilism which he considers dangerous. Nietzsche argues that values are important for the wellbeing and existence of humans, and so by transformation of all values,...
6 Pages(1500 words)Essay

Does Wealthier mean Healthier

...174477 It is the age-old adage that health is of a far greater importance compared to wealth, although it never stopped people from trading health in pursuit of wealth. Usually people are under the mystical spell of wealth always consoling their rebelling conscience that once they achieve the wealth, health could be bought and time and again, this has proved wrong. It need not be true that wealthier middle class or upper middle class or even the rich are healthier than the deprived working class, because higher the class, more are the trappings, pitfalls and lack of physical exertion that becomes unnecessary due to wealth. Worrying, stress because of unrealistic expectations in life could be part of wealth and wealthy people have... It is the ...
4 Pages(1000 words)Essay

What does organizing mean

...in the technology of communication have changed both the structure and the problems of administrative organizations. Probably more than any other single factor, the improvement of the means of communication has had a centralizing effect upon administration--centralizing in the sense that a field officer can now be supervised in much greater detail than was previously possible. Organization function of management helps Body Shop to optimize its technology and introduce new technological solutions. When people advocate a particular organizational change they expect that change to bring about something they desire or consider good. Technology and information technology is a core of management and...
4 Pages(1000 words)Case Study

Meditations on First Philosophy

...it as truth is atheist and therefore an intellectual poser. Descartes goes on to say that the proof should be so certain as to rival the certainty of geometry and that just because the originator of an idea may not be perfect, it does not mean that a characteristic of the idea itself is not perfection. It is noteworthy to mention that Descartes was seeking the approval of the Sorbonne which he never received. Nevertheless, he remains true to the logic and admits that he could be erroneous in his thinking. In Meditations on First Philosophy, Descartes sets out to defend Leo X's edict. In the 13th century attempt to...
1 Pages(250 words)Book Report/Review

Meditations on First Philosophy

...Meditations on First Philosophy Order No. 277260 No. of pages 1st 6530 There are some very salient points that I picked up from the reading. One such important point was that no argument could be considered or regarded as sufficiently authentic or reliable. Therefore, what I learned was in order to sift the chaff from the bran, one had to pick and choose carefully only those principle points and make sure it is factually presented in order to make my point of argument most convincing. Even though we may be certain of the authenticity of the facts presented, yet we cannot hope that it would be understood by everyone. a good example of this is given in the “letter to the Sorbonne” what it says that great...
1 Pages(250 words)Article

Philosophy Ethics

...this all includes an easy access to the male partners in the region where interaction with women is a strict taboo. “Notorious for its adherence to Wahhabism, a puritanical strain of Islam, Saudi Arabia is the only Arab country that claims sharia, or Islamic law, as its sole legal code. The list of prohibitions is long: It’s haram—forbidden—to smoke, drink, go to discos, or mix with an unrelated person of the opposite gender.” (Labi, 2007:3) Hence, keeping away from women drags the Arabs towards homosexuality and perversion, though all these nefarious activities are secretly observed in the region. Thus, the region appears to be at the verge of moral annihilation and ethical decline eventually in the...
4 Pages(1000 words)Essay

What does work mean

...or for visible results (Loutfi, 2001, p. 87). According to scholars of physical science, work can only be done when force is applied on an object. Therefore, force applied on an object will always total to the work that has been performed. There are different categories of work, which include Full time in which an individual is found to be in working place actively carrying out daily chores for about thirty-eight hours for every seven days (Batsleer, & Davies, 2010 p. 52). A full time worker enjoys right to leave every year during which he is supposed to receive regular monthly payment. Furthermore, full time worker should be granted sick and individual excuse from job. Additionally, full time work...
3 Pages(500 words)Essay

Judaism is, for Levinas, a religion for adults. What does he mean buy this

...Abraham goes beyond the ethical and looks to the religious, so Levinas speaks against this occurrence when he states that humanity should love the Torah more than God. Man should be willing to act on the ethical even when this implies ignoring a voice that one believes to be that of God; this means putting one’s responsibility before one’s actions (Katz 16). Levinas made a daring assertion because he challenged popular thinking on the narrative; he stated that Abraham should have questioned what he heard. This does not simply that people...
8 Pages(2000 words)Essay

What Does Conflict Mean

...(Deutsch, Coleman and Marcus, 2011). The manager should seek them if he fails to be able to solve the problem on his own. Conclusion The damages and negative effects of conflict in the department are way more than a departmental head may want to handle. These conflicts may even cost the head of department his job most are articulated to poor leadership and management. In order to avoid reaching to that extent, it is better for leader to constantly engage in peace talks with the employees as well as students and try to resolve conflicts when they are still in their early stages before they escalate to unmanageable levels and lead to all the above mentioned negative effects (Watson and Papamarcos, 2002)....
6 Pages(1500 words)Research Paper
sponsored ads
We use cookies to create the best experience for you. Keep on browsing if you are OK with that, or find out how to manage cookies.

Let us find you another Essay on topic What does levinas mean when he claims that ethics is the first philosophy for FREE!

Contact Us