The Intrigue of Ethics: A Reading of the Idea of Discourse in the Thought of Emmanuel Levinas
This work explains how human beings can live more peacefully with one another by understanding the conditions of possibility for dialogue. Philosophically, this challenge is articulated as the problem of: how dialogue as dia-logos is possible when the shared logos is precisely that which is in question. Emmanuel Levinas, in demonstrating that the shared logos is a function of interhuman relationship, helps us to make some progress in understanding the possibilities for dialogue in this situation. If the terms of the argument to this point are taken largely from Levinas's 1961 Totality and Infinity, Dudiak further proposes that Levinas's 1974 Otherwise than Being can be read as a deepening of these earlier analyses, delineating, both the conditions of possibility and impossibility for discourse itself. Throughout these analyses Dudiak discovers that in Levinas's view dialogue is ultimately possible, only for a gracious subjectivity already graced by God by way of the other, but where the word God is inseparable from my subjectivity as graciousness to the other. Finally, for Levinas, the facilitation of dialogue, the facilitation of peace, comes down to the subject's capacity and willingness to be who he or she is, to take the beautiful risk of a peaceful gesture offered to the other, and that peace, in this gesture itself. As Levinas himself puts it: Peace then is under my responsibility. I am a hostage, for I am alone to wage it, running a fine risk, dangerously.Levinas's philosophical discourse is precisely itself to be read as such a gesture.
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