Ethics as Optics of the Divine

Ryan C. Urbano C. Urbano


This paper discusses Levinas’s philosophy of ethical responsibility. The discussion mainly relies on Totality and Infinity and Otherwise than Being, two works Levinasian scholars unanimously consider as his masterpieces. Levinas develops a novel philosophical project which gives priority to the ethical philosophy of the Other without abandoning the notion of the subject to the imminent threats of nihilism. The subject for Levinas is one whose passivity and receptivity is such that it is constituted by its infinite responsibility to the Other. The subject is literally and figuratively subjected to the Other. This allows for his contention that “ethics is an optics of the Divine”. According to Levinas, The problem of transcendence and of God and the problem of subjectivity irreducible to essence, irreducible to essential immanence, go together.

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ISSN (Print): 1513-6442
ISSN (Online): 2586-9876

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