Because Being Here Is So Much: Ethics as the Artifice of Attention

Karmen Mackendrick

in Divine Enticement

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780823242894
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780823242931 | DOI:
Because Being Here Is So Much: Ethics as the Artifice of Attention

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This chapter begins with two ethical ideas in tension: the Platonic and Neoplatonic idea that we must be responsive to beauty, and the Levinasian idea of infinite and irremissible responsibility to and for the other. From the first it takes up the importance of training in attentiveness while rejecting the denial of difference; from the second it takes up the importance of response to need while rejecting the ethical devaluation of eros. Both the creative pleasures of beauty and the sorrows of destitution emphasize the need to sustain possibility, the space of enticement and of open time. Fundamental to the ethics that emerges out of this tension is attentiveness, which enables response, and speaking as a response that calls in turn. This ethical theory emphasizes our necessary vulnerability in our responses to both the destitute and the beautiful.

Keywords: Theological ethics; Neoplatonism; Emmanuel Levinas; beauty

Chapter.  16901 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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