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The Subject of FreedomKant, Levinas$
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Gabriela Basterra

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780823265145

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823265145.001.0001

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Autonomy, or Being Inspired

Autonomy, or Being Inspired

(p.111) 5 Autonomy, or Being Inspired
The Subject of Freedom

Gabriela Basterra

Fordham University Press

This chapter turns to Levinas's deeply Kantian critique of Kant in Otherwise than Being to explore subjectivity as a being affected by something in it that exceeds it. Unconditioned subjectivity understood as relationship (as Chapter 2 studied it in Kant's third antinomy) and the way in which the alterity of the law affects subjectivity (in the second Critique and the Religion) resonate in Levinas's conception of subjectivity as other-within-the-same and as substitution. Otherwise than Being, this chapter shows, expresses subjectivity as an anarchic being affected by performing its own being disturbed as text. By offering a rhetorical reading of Levinas's book that traces how its language acts out the emergence of subjectivity, this chapter sheds light on a revolutionary notion of subjectivity implicit in Kant's thinking, which Levinas pursues to its deepest consequences. Autonomy for both thinkers would ultimately consist in believing oneself the author of an order one finds in oneself.

Keywords:   Kant, Unconditioned, Law, Emmanuel Levinas, Otherwise than Being, Anarchy, Other-within-the-same, Substitution, Rhetoric

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