Tears the Civil Servant Cannot See: Levinas on Ethics and Politics

Tuesday, March 19, 2019
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM (ET)
VCAM VCAM 201 Media Production/Object Study Classroom
Event Type
Distinguished Visitors-Religion

Distinguished Visitor Michael Morgan, Chancellor's Professor of Philosophy and Jewish Studies, Indiana University and Senator Jerahmiel S. and Carole S. Grafstein Chair in the Department of Philosophy and Jewish Studies, University of Toronto

There is a long-standing objection to the thinking of Emmanuel Levinas that his ethics has no political implications. In my book Levinas’s Ethical Politics (Indiana, 2016) I argue that this is not so. In fact, Levinas claims that ethics and politics must occur together and that ethics both makes demands on our political actions and practices and is one source of a critique of politics. In this talk I clarify the relation between ethics and politics in Levinas and identify some important implications of their relation for Levinas’s views about our political life. 

Michael L. Morgan is the Chancellor’s Professor of Philosophy and Jewish Studies (emeritus) at Indiana University, where he has taught since 1975. From 2015 to 2018, he was the Senator Jerahmiel S. and Carole S. Grafstein Chair in Jewish Philosophy and Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto. He is an Honorary Professor of the Australian Catholic University and has taught at Northwestern, Yale, Stanford, Toronto, and Princeton. He is the author and editor of twenty-two books, including Platonic Piety: Philosophy and Ritual in Fourth Century Athens (1990), Beyond Auschwitz (Oxford, 2001), Interim Judaism (2001), Discovering Levinas (Cambridge, 2007), the Cambridge Introduction to Emmanuel Levinas (2011), and Fackenheim’s Jewish Philosophy (University of Toronto Press, 2013). He is currently working on a book on modern Jewish philosophy with Paul Franks, and a book on Emmanuel Levinas, for the Routledge Philosophers series. He has edited The Cambridge Companion to Modern Jewish Philosophy (2007) with Peter Gordon, and he has edited The Oxford Handbook of Emmanuel Levinas (online 2018; published 2019) for Oxford University Press. His newest book, Levinas’s Ethical Politics, was published by Indiana University Press in May of 2016, and Michael L. Morgan: History and Moral Normativity was published by Brill in the Library of Contemporary Jewish Philosophers in 2018. 

Tea at 4:15 p.m.

Sponsored by the Department of Religion in conjunction with the Distinguished Visitors Program 

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