Ethics and Selfhood: Alterity and the Phenomenology of Obligation
SUNY Press, 2003/07/17 - 215 ページ
According to James R. Mensch, a minimal requirement for ethics is that of guarding against genocide. In deciding which races are to live and which to die, genocide takes up a standpoint outside of humanity. To guard against this, Mensch argues that we must attain the critical distance required for ethical judgment without assuming a superhuman position. His description of how to attain this distance constitutes a genuinely new reading of the possibility of a phenomenological ethics, one that involves reassessing what it means to be a self. Selfhood, according to Mensch, involves both embodiment and the self-separation brought about by our encounter with others the very others who provide us with the experiential context needed for moral judgment. Buttressing his position with documented accounts of those who hid Jews during the Holocaust, Mensch shows how the self-separation that occurs in empathy opens the space within which moral judgment can occur and obligation can find its expression. He includes a reading of the major moral philosophers Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Mill, Arendt, Levinas even as he develops a phenomenological account of the necessity of reading literature to understand the full extent of ethical responsibility. Mensch s work offers an original and provocative approach to a topic of fundamental importance.
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ability abstraction according action actually allows alterity appear Aristotle assert assume attempt basis becomes bodily body causality cause character combination comes common concept condition conscience context course Darwin death defined demands described desire determined distinct embodied empathy encounter environment equal essential ethics evil example exist experience expression face fact feel follow frame freedom Freud function given gives grasp ground habits happiness hiddenness holds human implies includes individual insofar instinct involves judge Kant Kant's knowledge lack laws limited live manifests means moral move nature noted objects observes organic original ourselves particular perceptions person perspective Plato pleasure position possibilities presence question reason regard relation rescue response result rules selfhood sense situation social society stand standpoint structure taken things tion transcendence turn understanding unity universal whole writes