Emmanuel Levinas and the Politics of Non-Violence

By Victoria Tahmasebi-Birgani

© 2014

French philosopher and Talmudic commentator Emmanuel Levinas (1906–1995) has received considerable attention for his influence on philosophical and religious thought. In this book, Victoria Tahmasebi-Birgani provides the first examination of the applicability of Emmanuel Levinas’ work to social and political movements. Investigating his ethics of responsibility and his critique of the Western liberal imagination, Tahmasebi-Birgani advances the moral, political, and philosophical debates on the radical implications of Levinas’ work.

Emmanuel Levinas and the Politics of Non-Violence is the first book to closely consider the affinity between Levinas’ ethical vision and Mohandas Gandhi’s radical yet non-violent political struggle. Situating Levinas’ insights within a transnational, transcontinental, and global framework, Tahmasebi-Birgani highlights Levinas’ continued relevance in an age in which violence is so often resorted to in the name of “justice” and “freedom.”

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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 216 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.3in x 0.8in x 9.3in
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SKU# SP003089

  • PUBLISHED JAN 2014

    From: $39.75

    Regular Price: $53.00

    ISBN 9781442642843
  • PUBLISHED FEB 2014

    From: $39.75

    Regular Price: $53.00

Quick Overview

In this book, Victoria Tahmasebi-Birgani provides the first examination of the applicability of Emmanuel Levinas’ work to social and political movements.

Emmanuel Levinas and the Politics of Non-Violence

By Victoria Tahmasebi-Birgani

© 2014

French philosopher and Talmudic commentator Emmanuel Levinas (1906–1995) has received considerable attention for his influence on philosophical and religious thought. In this book, Victoria Tahmasebi-Birgani provides the first examination of the applicability of Emmanuel Levinas’ work to social and political movements. Investigating his ethics of responsibility and his critique of the Western liberal imagination, Tahmasebi-Birgani advances the moral, political, and philosophical debates on the radical implications of Levinas’ work.

Emmanuel Levinas and the Politics of Non-Violence is the first book to closely consider the affinity between Levinas’ ethical vision and Mohandas Gandhi’s radical yet non-violent political struggle. Situating Levinas’ insights within a transnational, transcontinental, and global framework, Tahmasebi-Birgani highlights Levinas’ continued relevance in an age in which violence is so often resorted to in the name of “justice” and “freedom.”

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 216 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.3in x 0.8in x 9.3in
  • Reviews

    Emmanuel Levinas and the Politics of Non-Violence is valuable in that it adds to a still limited amount of published work that tackles head on one of the greatest problems in Levinasian studies: the relation of face-to-face ethics to politics. The author develops an original argument that links Levinas’ concept of man’s ‘substitution’ and gratuitously infinite responsibility for his neighbour’s suffering to a politics of ‘justice’ via the idea of ‘non-violent ethico-political praxis.’”


    Marinos Diamantides, School of Law, Birkbeck, University of London
  • Author Information

    Victoria Tahmasebi-Birgani is a Women and Gender Studies Assistant Professor in the Department of Historical Studies at the University of Toronto, Mississauga.
  • Table of contents

    List of Abbreviations

    Introduction. Ethical Subject and Political Praxis: A Theoretical Background

    Chapter I. Levinas’ Ethicopolitics: Beyond the Western Liberal Tradition

    i. Levinas and the Political: General Discussion

    ii. An Alternative Reading of Ethics and Politics in Levinas

    iii. The Problem of the Third and Justice in Levinas: The Third and Justice: Two Conceptions of Justice in Levinas; Me, the Other, the Third and (In)Justice: Ethical Justice and Liberatory Political Praxis

    iv. Levinas and Liberalism: Levinas and the Liberal Conception of the Individual; Levinas and the Liberal Peace; Levinas and the Liberal Economic Arrangement

    v. Conclusion

    Chapter II. Radical Passivity, the Face, and the Social Demand of Justice

    i. Oneself: Subject as Radical Passivity of the Sensible: Maternity as a Praxis Grounded in Radical Passivity

    ii. The Irreducible Other: The Face As A Social Demand for Justice

    iii. Self and the Other: Peace With the Other As Being Responsible for the Other’s Suffering and Death

    iv. Conclusion

    Chapter III. Substituting Praxis and Political Liberation

    i. Substitution in Radical Passivity

    ii. Substituting Praxis as a Liberatory Struggle

    iii. The Contours of Substituting Praxis: Substituting Praxis: Liberation in Pre-Intentional Proximity; Substituting Praxis: Liberation and Freedom; Substituting Praxis: Liberation and the Spirit of Sincerity and Youth; Substituting Praxis: Liberation and (Non)Violence — The Third as Persecutor

    iv. Conclusion

    Chapter IV. Levinas and Gandhi: Liberatory Praxis as Fear for the Other

    i. Levinas and Gandhi: Can There Be A Dialogue?

    ii. Parallels between Levinas and Gandhi: The Subject in Levinas and Gandhi; Gandhian Selfless Service and Levinasian Irreplaceable Responsibility

    iii. Entry Into Non-Violence Through Eschatology

    iv. Gandhi: Non-Violent Revolt and Eschatological Peace

    v. Levinas: The Event of Speech and Eschatological Peace: Ethical Love as the Principle of the Social and the Political; Political Opponent as Interlocutor

    vi. Gandhi: Political Enemy as Interlocutor: Peaceful Struggle as Speech

    vii. Liberation as Substitution: Fearing for the Other Instead of Fearing from the Other

    vii. Conclusion

    CONCLUSION

    BIBLIOGRAPHY

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