Ethics and Aesthetics
With reference to an everyday exchange with vendors at a traffic light intersection in Cape Town, this chapter develops a concept of an “ethics of address.” The discussion analyses the operations of pronominal forms in situations of address, and shows how this sheds unexpected light on the relation between ethics and aesthetics in the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas: the work of art can also be understood to make an ethical demand on the viewer in its appeal to an “I” who must become “you” in order to be responsive to that call. The chapter ends by linking this ethics of address to the African philosophy of Ubuntu.
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