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The ExorbitantEmmanuel Levinas Between Jews and Christians$
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Kevin Hart and Michael A. Signer

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780823230150

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: March 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fso/9780823230150.001.0001

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Is The Other My Neighbor?

Is The Other My Neighbor?

Reading Levinas Alongside Hermann Cohen

(p.90) Is The Other My Neighbor?
The Exorbitant

Dana Hollander

Fordham University Press

Both Cohen and Levinas had occasion to take the biblical concept of the neighbor as a resource, or as evidence, for an understanding of ethical and political obligation. For both thinkers, appropriating this notion requires understanding love of the neighbor not as a form of love in general but as aligned with the idea of justice. This chapter begins by looking at the moments in Cohen's and Levinas's works at which each rejects love of the neighbor as an ethically productive concept. It then considers how the neighbor “returns,” in a sense, in each of their philosophies and examines both what makes possible such a return and its implications for their views of ethics and politics. In doing so, the chapter shows how the “neighbor” in Cohen's and Levinas's works can be read as exemplifying each thinker's broader strategies for taking account of Judaism in his philosophy.

Keywords:   Emmanuel Levinas, Hermann Cohen, neighbor, ethical obligation, political obligation, Judaism

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