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Emmanuel Levinas: Ethics of Democracy

2020 National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar for Higher Education Faculty
August 10-14, 2020
University at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York 

Directors: Richard A. Cohen (University at Buffalo) and James McLachlan (Western Carolina University)

A week-long Seminar of intensive text-based examination and discussion of politics and democracy viewed from the perspectives of the ethics of responsibility elaborated by the philosopher Emmanuel Levinas (1906-1995).  Opposing the war and suppression of human-wolves of Hobbesian ‘realpolitik’, on the one hand, and the isolated individualism of the liberalism of Lockean propertied freedom, on the other, Levinas roots the political in the radical imperatives inter-personal obligation and ethical responsibility – for each other and for all others – which is to say, in the quest for social justice.  Such a perspective, binding the political to the ethical, to morality and to justice, makes democracy not one regime among others but the best regime, the ideal of politics.

The University at Buffalo

The Department of Jewish Thought

Equal Opportunity Statement: Endowment programs do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or age. For further information, write to the Equal Opportunity Officer, National Endowment for the Humanities, 400 7th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20024.

Disclaimer: Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.