The Ethics of Emmanuel Levinas (Cultural Memory in the Present)

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Though the book reaches back to Immanuel Kant, Martin Heidegger, and earlier, it takes its inspiration from the tradition of French phenomenology, notably Emmanuel Levinas, Jean-Luc Marion, and, especially, Jacques Derrida. Tracing how Derrida probes the discourse on religion, its metaphysical presuppositions, and its transformations, de Vries shows how this author consistently foregrounds the unexpected alliances between a radical interrogation of the history of Western philosophy and the religious inheritance from which that philosophy has increasingly sought to set itself apart.

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De Vries goes beyond formal analogies between the textual practices of deconstruction and so-called negative theology to address the necessity for a philosophical thinking that situates itself at once close to and at the farthest remove from traditional manifestations of the religious and the theological. Only by confronting such uncanny and difficult figures, de Vries claims, can one begin to think and act upon the ethical and political imperatives of our day.

Subscribe Now. Author Bio. Philosophy and the Turn to Religion. Norbert Groeben, the author of the third contribution dealing with ethics and literary studies, poses a similar question to the first two authors: does it always make sense to make ethical judgments? Gregory discusses, among other things, the post-structuralist explanation that everything is constructed and thus ethically relative — which is indeed open to criticism as the generalization of a relativism that through that generalization becomes a contradiction in itself and thus selfdefeating , f.

In my view, this criticism is entirely correct. Nonetheless, even at this stage, it must be pointed out that it is not correct to argue in reverse and infer from the demonstration that ethical judgments can be made the overgeneralizing thesis that they universally should be made […]. If ethical effects of reading a text are possible, then Groeben calls for an empirical analysis of the effects of texts on their readers, without however specifying possible methods for doing so.

Phenomenology crash course (Levinas) - Peter Dews

In contemporary drama examples of this are theatre texts about the wars in Iraq and Lebanon, and in German-speaking countries theatre texts about the traumata of the Holocaust. In he moves to France where he lives until his death in Both aspects are indivisibly interconnected because, for the philosopher, the self becomes human by acknowledging the other , In other words, theatrical performances are an encounter with the other, if possibilities are opened up to the spectators to respond to the vulnerability of the other.

How these possibilities take shape, are both the ethics and aesthetics of the performances. The spectators regard the other nolens volens, while and as soon as they assume their positions as spectators that, in turn, are only constituted through the encounter with the vulnerable other.

Regardless if the spectators are obviously involved in a performance or appear to be passively sitting in their seats, every position they assume is a response to the claim of the other — insofar as it has been assigned to them. Theatre performances that raise ethical questions offer possible stances as responses to the claim of the other.

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The possible responses however must remain offers, for they are located on an ethical and not a moral plane, they can neither be prescribed nor thoroughly reconstructed. Similar to the political, the ethical is not primarily to be found in the substances, but rather in the forms of perception of post-dramatic contemporary theatre Lehmann , I will explain below how this can be done, and offer a concrete example.

In , theatre scholar Bonnie Marranca interviewed Peter Sellars on ethics and performance , 36— The stage is empty except for a high desk facing the audience.


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After a slow start, Malpede begins to speak more quickly, as his bodily movements visibly become less and less coherent. At the same time, rotating pictures from the Vietnam War are displayed on the back stage wall. Calling these names of people out loud summons the dead.

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The names of the dead are clearly discernible traces of the other. Ridout , 54— They are the dead and those who remember them. This means that the status of the figure on stage cannot be ontologically distinguished from other theatrical elements. Due to their history intercultural critique and the Nazi crimes committed , ethical questions are self-evident in Performance Studies and Theatre Studies.

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Ethical dimensions of theatrical performances cannot be grasped using a generally applicable method in the sense of an unchanging approach that is also useful for the analysis of different works of art. In such performances, which I call the theatre of the precarious, ethical and aesthetic dimensions are inseparable because the position of the audience constitutes itself through the encounter with the vulnerable other. Katharina Pewny. Artaud, Antonin, Schluss mit dem Gottesgericht.

The Ethics of Emmanuel Levinas by Diane Perpich

Das Theater der Grausamkeit. Letzte Schriften zum Theater , Munich Fischer-Lichte, Erika et al.

Gregory, Marshall W. The Old vs. Theater und Theorie , Berlin , —