ERIC Number: EJ1145785
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-May
Abstractor: As Provided
Levinas: Ethics or Mystification?
Journal of Philosophy of Education, v51 n2 p524-537 May 2017
The metaphysical ethics of Levinas appeals to many philosophers of education because it seems to promise ethics and social justice without recourse to moral norms, "totalising" political systems or religious belief. However, the notion that the subject can be detached from its worldly being--that one can posit a primordial metaphysical pre-conscious pre-phenomenal self which stands in ethical relation to a primordial metaphysical pre-conscious pre-phenomenal Other--is highly questionable. From an empirical perspective, our experience of the world and of ourselves can only be conceived in social, cultural and linguistic terms; the self-referential lexicon Levinas employs to depict the relation between the transcendental subject and the Other "in his alterity" renders his metaphysical assertions impossible to evaluate or give determinate form. From a transcendental perspective, Levinas's metaphysical abstractions simply do not have the power to motivate people to behave ethically. Instead of contributing toward the transformation of education and society envisaged by many philosophers of education, the "ethics of the Other" merely generates an esoteric discourse.
Descriptors: Ethics, Metacognition, Correlation, Social Justice, Educational Philosophy, Self Concept, Cultural Background, Social Influences, Language Role
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
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