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Levinas and Løgstrup on the Phenomenology (and Metaphysics?) of Moral Agency

McMullin, Irene (2020) 'Levinas and Løgstrup on the Phenomenology (and Metaphysics?) of Moral Agency.' The Monist, 103 (1). pp. 38-62. ISSN 0026-9662

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Abstract

Moral agency requires escaping the orbit of one’s self-concern. Both Levinas and Løgstrup offer an account of what is involved in this kind of perspective shift. For Løgstrup, this requires a forgetting of the self via an immersion in the patterns of life that spontaneously foster the other person’s welfare. For Levinas, it involves a transformation of the self towards responsibility for the other whose presence challenges the legitimacy of one’s self-prioritization. Both accounts make use of hyperbole when characterizing the imperialism of first-person claims and the moral disruption and asymmetry necessary to overcome it. This paper argues that this hyperbole plays an important methodological role but must be understood as metaphysically neutral – a distinction that Levinas’s philosophy more successfully maintains.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Levinas; Løgstrup; Phenomenology; Moral Agency
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities
Faculty of Humanities > Philosophy and Art History, School of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2019 12:53
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2022 12:50
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/25743

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