Abstract

Ethics occupies a central role in Emmanuel Levinas’s philosophy, although considerable controversy exists surrounding the nature of this centrality. I argue that Levinas’s concern with ethics is ultimately related to a reconceptualization of human nature, one in which living at another’s expense is a central feature. This becomes apparent through a close investigation of his notions of shame, creation, and substitution. Descriptions of Holocaust experiences in the work of Primo Levi and Elie Wiesel corroborate this account, revealing metaphysical guilt as a central feature of human existence.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 330-346
Launched on MUSE
2013-02-08
Open Access
No
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