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Ethics - Politics - Subjectivity: Derrida, Levinas and Contemporary French Thought [Hardcover]

Simon Critchley


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Book Description

Feb. 17 1999 Phronesis Series
In Ethics–Politics–Subjectivity, Simon Critchley takes up three questions at the centre of contemporary theoretical debate: What is ethical experience? What can be said of the subject who has this experience? What, if any, is the relation of ethical experience to politics?

These questions are approached by way of a critical confrontation with a number of major thinkers, including Lacan, Genet, Blanchot, Nancy, Rorty and, in particular, Levinas and Derrida. Critchley offers a critical reconstruction of Levinas’s notion of ethical experience and, questioning the religious pietism and political conservatism of the dominant interpretation of Levinas’s work, develops an ethics of finitude which, far from being tragic, opens on to an experience of humour and the comic. Using this reading of Levinas as a way of unlocking the rich ethical potential of Derrida’s work, Critchley outlines and defends the political possibilities of deconstruction. On the basis of Derrida’s recent work, Critchley attempts to rethink notions of friendship, democracy, economics and technology.

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“Simon Critchley is the most powerful and provocative philosopher now writing about the complex relations of ethical subjectivity and reinvigorated democracy.”—Cornel West

About the Author

Simon Critchley is Hans Jonas Professor at the New School for Social Research, and a part-time professor of philosophy at Tilburg University in the Netherlands. His many books include Infinitely Demanding, Ethics–Politics–Subjectivity and, most recently, The Book of Dead Philosophers.

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