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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). 38 - 62. ISSN 0026-9662

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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 > Philosophy and Art History, School of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2019 12:53
Last Modified: 12 Feb 2020 10:15

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