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Crossover QueriesDwelling with Negatives, Embodying Philosophy's Others$
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Edith Wyschogrod

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780823226061

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: March 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fso/9780823226061.001.0001

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The Art in Ethics

The Art in Ethics

Aesthetics, Objectivity, and Alterity in the Philosophy of Levinas

(p.388) 25 The Art in Ethics
Crossover Queries

Edith Wyschogrod

Fordham University Press

Two objections arise repeatedly in connection with Emmanuel Levinas's philosophy of language. First, if ethics is beyond language, then ethics remains silent, and rationally derived moral norms are meaningless. Language has become a liability, a fall, and ethics an inchoate relation to the other. A second standard reproach directed at Levinas is that he disparages the aesthetic by relegating art and poetry to a status inferior to that of philosophy and, a fortiori, to ethics. When these objections are taken together, the problems that arise in connection with Levinas's view of religious language can be resolved, at least partially, because important clues for the interpretation of ethico-religious expression can be found in the uses of literary language. This claim can be established by turning to Levinas's treatment of contemporary French writers, specifically Marcel Proust, Michel Leiris, and Maurice Blanchot.

Keywords:   Emmanuel Levinas, art, ethics, language, Marcel Proust, Michel Leiris, Maurice Blanchot, philosophy, poetry

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