The Inhuman Condition: Looking for Difference after Levinas by Rudi Visker (auth.), R. Bernet, J. Taminiaux, S. IJsseling,

By Rudi Visker (auth.), R. Bernet, J. Taminiaux, S. IJsseling, H. Leonardy, D. Lories, U. Melle (eds.)

At the starting place of this quantity, an easy query: what to make of that unusually monotonous sequence of statements produced by means of our societies and our philosophers that each one converge in a single subject - the significance of difference?

To make clear the that means of the adaptation at stake the following, we now have attempted to rephrase it by way of the 2 significant and together competing paradigms supplied by means of the historical past of phenomenology in simple terms to discover either one of them both not able to deal with this distinction with no violence. Neither the moral nor the ontological process can account for an issue that insists on enjoying part of its personal instead of following the script supplied for it by means of both Being or the nice. What seems to be, from a Heideggerian or Levinasian standpoint, an unwillingness to speak in confidence what deals to carry us from the of subjectivity is analysed in those pages as a constitution in its personal correct. faraway from being the wilful, detached and irresponsive being its critics have portrayed it to be, the so-called 'postmodern' topic is largely finite, no longer even in a position to suppose the transcendence to which it owes its singularity. This lack of ability isn't an absence - it issues as an alternative to a definite unthought shared via either Heidegger and Levinas which units the phrases for a dialogue not our personal. rather than blaming Heidegger for underdeveloping 'being-with', we should always really pressure that his account of mineness will be, within the mild of latest philosophy, what stands such a lot wanting revision. And, rather than hailing Levinas because the critic whose tension at the alterity of the opposite corrects Heidegger's existential solipsism, the issues into which Levinas runs in defining that alterity demand a distinct prognosis and a corresponding switch within the direction that phenomenology has taken on account that. rather than preoccupying itself with the invisible, we must always specialise in the constructions of visibility that safeguard us from its terror.

The consequence? An account of distinction that's neither ontological nor moral, yet 'mè-ontological', and that may aid us comprehend many of the difficulties our societies have come to stand (racism, sexism, multiculturalism, pluralism). And, within the wake of this, an unforeseen defence of what's at stake in postmodernism and within the query it has refused to take frivolously: who're we? ultimately, an homage to Arendt and Lyotard who, if learn via each one other's lenses, supply an actual articulation to the query with which our age struggles: the best way to imagine the 'human ' as soon as one realizes that there's an 'inhuman' part to it which, rather than being its mere negation, seems to be that with no which it will come to lose its humanity?

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Extra info for The Inhuman Condition: Looking for Difference after Levinas and Heidegger

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1981. Quoted in the text by mere pagination numbers. IN RESPECTFUL CONTEMPT 41 it to say that a “certain complex of feelings and judgments in the other” is a rather hazy notion which does not, to my mind, become more precise by Putnam’s repeated assurance that the mixed feelings with which he reacts to that complex do not bear on the other as a person. In fact, it is quite striking to observe with what apparent ease Putnam can introduce what he himself calls an “interestingly mixed” (165) and “ambivalent” (166) attitude like respectful contempt only to take it apart on the next page into the two components of respect and contempt, that apparently owe their independence to a reference to different parts or ‘complexes’ in the other.

Nor does it concern Heidegger. At least not directly. It is Hilary Putnam who in Reason, Truth and History1 in the course of a discussion on relativism, just after showing that it is self-refuting, suddenly reminds himself and his readers of the ambivalent attitude which he has to one of his colleagues with whom he has been engaged in a political discussion over many years without them coming any nearer to one another. Putnam refuses to draw relativist conclusions from this. Neither he nor his co-disputant (who happens to be Bob Nozick), he assures us, would agree that what divides them is “just a matter of taste” (165).

11 Should we not also, perhaps first of all, reject these alternatives and begin to see multiculturalism as putting into question the very ground on which we move? That ground, be it understood as ethical or political, seems no longer to enable us to speak about ourselves. At best, it allows us to speak of our responsibility and so implicitly totalizes us by only permitting us to understand ourselves as ethical or political beings. As if in human life, in human destiny, there were only what connects us with others.

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