The Subject of Freedom
But aren't Kant and Levinas unexpected interlocutors? Doesn't Levinas level his critique precisely against the Kantian all-encompassing and free subject of the law? An approach to their thinking that sounds out their shared insights will bring into view the auto-heteronomy that makes Kant's concept of autonomy revolutionary, as well as the generative tension in which heteronomy and autonomy are held at the end of Otherwise than Being. It will also suggest that Levinas's thinking is primarily a philosophy of subjectivity, of subjectivity as relationship to an other. The conception of a subject constituted by the alterity of the law that traverses Kant's practical philosophy—a conception that bears witness to the being practical of pure reason—is not, however, the concept of autonomy that has prevailed, yet it has the potential to surprise and energize our thinking today.
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