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The relevance of particularity in an ethics of alterity : an investigation of Heidegger, Levinas, and Derrida

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The relevance of particularity in an ethics of alterity : an investigation of Heidegger, Levinas, and Derrida

Ng, Charles (2010) The relevance of particularity in an ethics of alterity : an investigation of Heidegger, Levinas, and Derrida. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

This thesis is an exploration of the role that the particularities (i.e., sex/gender, race/ethnicity, etc.) of the Other have in generating ethical responsibility. According to the meta-ethical claim put forth by Emmanuel Levinas's critique of Martin Heidegger's ontology, ethics is taken as the primordial issue of existence. The reason is that the co-related issues of meaning and identity are a result of the alterity that ensues from the exposure to the Other's face. This radical otherness, which resists our ability of comprehension, gestures to a sense of vulnerability that articulates the mortality of existence. The Other's death then becomes a possibility that calls us to responsibility. To this, Jacques Derrida provides suggestions to Levinas in regard to the issue of this radical alterity . Derrida's claim is that if we hold steadfast to the incomprehensibility of the Other, then such an entity is prevented from ever appearing within the horizon of understanding, and remains hidden as a relevant issue. Ethics is possible only insofar as the Other in some way appears , and thus Derrida proposes that ontological violence must minimally be committed for a relationship with alterity. This emphasis on the appearance of the Other means that there is some tangible quality that allows the contact with him/her. Différance will be helpful in understanding how we can approach these particularities according to their historical significance. It will then be argued that these particularities mediate our exposure to alterity, and are constitutive for ethics.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Philosophy
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Ng, Charles
Pagination:v, 92 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Philosophy
Date:2010
Thesis Supervisor(s):Fritsch, M
ID Code:979374
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:09 Dec 2014 17:58
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:49
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