The Art in Ethics

Edith Wyschogrod

in Crossover Queries

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print June 2006 | ISBN: 9780823226061
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235148 | DOI:

Series: Perspectives in Continental Philosophy

The Art in Ethics

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Two objections arise repeatedly in connection with Emmanuel Levinas's philosophy of language. First, if ethics is beyond language, then ethics remains silent, and rationally derived moral norms are meaningless. Language has become a liability, a fall, and ethics an inchoate relation to the other. A second standard reproach directed at Levinas is that he disparages the aesthetic by relegating art and poetry to a status inferior to that of philosophy and, a fortiori, to ethics. When these objections are taken together, the problems that arise in connection with Levinas's view of religious language can be resolved, at least partially, because important clues for the interpretation of ethico-religious expression can be found in the uses of literary language. This claim can be established by turning to Levinas's treatment of contemporary French writers, specifically Marcel Proust, Michel Leiris, and Maurice Blanchot.

Keywords: Emmanuel Levinas; art; ethics; language; Marcel Proust; Michel Leiris; Maurice Blanchot; philosophy; poetry

Chapter.  5988 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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