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The ethics of being with/in

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The ethics of being with/in

Davy, Barbara Jane (2003) The ethics of being with/in. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Inspired by the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas, this thesis develops an environmental ethic out of his work. While the main threads of Levinas' philosophy exclude nature from ethics, a deconstructive reading of his work finds that it remains open to the possibility of ethics beyond the interhuman. While for Levinas the other is always a human other, I contend that his ideas on thematization and totalization ultimately require us to refuse to apply the labels "human" or "nonhuman" before being obligated in ethics. We need an ethic that does not ask who the other is before hearing the other's calling of oneself to responsibility. Responding to Levinas' work, I endeavour to articulate such an ethic, adequate to all others in the more than human world, including nonhuman (and more than human) others. I call these ethics the ethics of being with/in. I write "with/in" to emphasize that we are always both with and in: with others, and within contexts of relations, embodied in the world. In addition, the conjunction "with/in" illustrates the interrupted nature of an ethical subjectivity envisioned as a decentred conjunction of relations, always interrupted by others. As Levinas teaches, in ethical subjectivity oneself is interrupted by another, torn out of one's concern for oneself, creating a sense of ethics that comes before one's own philosophy and interrupts one's own thinking.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Religion
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Davy, Barbara Jane
Pagination:iv, 265 leaves ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Theses (Ph.D.)
Program:Religion
Date:2003
Thesis Supervisor(s):Oppenheim, Michael
ID Code:2331
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:27 Aug 2009 13:27
Last Modified:08 Dec 2010 10:26
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