Ethics before Equality: moral education after Levinas

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Emptiness, indeed nihilism, is a characteristic of so much contemporary discourse regarding morality and moral education. This is found in facile notions of teaching right and wrong but also in the prevalence of rights-talk, with its sacrosanct assumptions about equality. This article examines this discourse in the light of Levinas' account of the primacy of ethics - of my absolute responsibility in the face of the other, of the asymmetry of my relation to the other. It seeks an account of receptivity that releases the ethical from the limitations of moral reasoning.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2001

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