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An Other Face of Ethics in Levinas

Barbara Jane Davy
Ethics and the Environment
Vol. 12, No. 1 (Spring, 2007), pp. 39-65
Published by: Indiana University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40339131
Page Count: 27
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An Other Face of Ethics in Levinas
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Abstract

The main threads of Emmanuel Levinas's theory of ethics, developed in his philosophical works, Totality and Infinity (1969), and Otherwise than Being or Beyond Essence (1998), instruct that ethics require transcendence of being and nature, which he describes in terms of a transcendence of animality to the human. This apparent devaluation of the nonhuman would seem to preclude the development of Levinasian environmental ethics. However, a deconstructive reading of Levinas recognizes a subtext that interrupts the main threads of his argument running against the inclusion of nonhuman others in ethics. Through a critical reconstructive reading of Levinas, I develop an ethic extraneous to Levinas's transcendent ethics, an ethic outside his "otherwise than being."

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