Levinas claimed, in , that he was developing a “first philosophy. In his essay “Peace and Proximity,” Levinas is more favorable to. Keywords: Levinas; political theory; postmodern ethics; liberalism. Politics left to .. edge,” is how Levinas puts it in “Peace and Proximity,” his most sustained. discussion of Emmanuel Levinas, “Peace and Proximity”. November 11, Today I would like to open our discussion on Levinas with some remarks on our.

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In our previous seminar with Prof. Mamdani we discussed the question of how to proximit with the cases of excessive violence and establish justice with respect to post apartheid transition in South Africa.

discussion of Emmanuel Levinas, “Peace and Proximity”

Giving a reference to Levinas in his paper, Mamdani was critical about thinking human wrongs in terms of ethics where the responsibility for excessive violence is seen as belonging to individuals, who need to be punished in order to establish justice that is criminal justice. For Mamdani, however, we need to move away from ethics to politics and establish political justice as a practical necessity of living together. Levinas, on the other hand, emphasize ethics as foundational to justice.


My responsibility to the Other is an unconditional responsibility one that preserves the alterity of the Other and not attempting to suppress his difference. Secondly, it might be interesting to think the ways in which Levinas and Hegel master-slave dialectic are telling us different stories about the primordial relation between the self proximiy Other?

In Hegel the relation with the Other is a dialectic, confrontational one, a struggle for recognition where self involve in a battle and destroy the otherness as to see itself in the other? A ans relation to the Other. A move from dialectic, negation to affirmative.

What are the implications of this proximmity from negative to positive perception of the relation with the Other on the ways in which we imagine global political futures? This potential for violence can be seen in both totalitarian and liberal political regimes, which base themselves on this idea of sameness.

But the question of politics and justice becomes important when a third party, enters and disturbs the ethical relation of two, which is not very clear for me. Those questions give birth to politics and justice, to constitute a just order where claims of each party remain intelligible and equal before the law without suppressing their difference. The question that I would like us to think is about this uneasy and sometimes paradoxical relation between ethics and politics.


What kind of a political order can preserve the Otherness of the Other without eliminating it into Sameness? Do we here imagine a kind of multiculturalism, a form of pluralist politics? Another question that I would like to ask is how Levinas perceives the role of law and what kind of a law universal, local, customary the levinnas of proximity in establishing justice?

Living together, sharing together.

Levinas: Peace and Proximity | Philosophical Explorations

How this idea of ethics as proximity to the Other produces a particular approach to history? Peace instead of justice: Your email address will not be published. Law, Justice, and Global Political Futures. Proudly powered by WordPress.