Heidegger, Hypocrisy, and a Ruse of Rhetoric

In Levinas, Kant, Animals, and Anthropomorphisms, it was noted that, with regards to non-human animals, Levinas essentially contradicts Kant when Levinas states that “the ethical extends to all living things” whereas Kant insists that “Man can … have no duty to any beings other than men.” It was also noted that there is no necessary functional difference between anthropomorphizing a non-human other and attributing to the encountered human other something like one’s own consciousness and subjectivity as is necessary as a step in being able to respond for the sake of the other.

Why then does Levinas seem so tepid in his remark about vegetarianism (discussed in Levinas, Kant, Animals, and Anthropomorphisms) being based upon attributing to non-human animals a consciousness and subjectivity relevantly similar to that of humans?

Is it because he worries that if the ethical responsibility which humans have towards animals is at all significantly similar to the responsibility that humans have towards other humans, then, especially in light of the human penchant for voracious carnivorousness, the result will be thinking along the lines of a remark by Heidegger to which David L. Clark refers – “… a motorized food industry, the same thing in its essence as the production of corpses in the gas chambers and the extermination camps …” – a remark which is repulsively odious insofar as it normalizes the wholesale slaughter of humans as much as it condemns the way in which animals get treated?

What is most worth noting about the Heidegger remark is how very exemplary it is of rhetoric which “approaches [the] neighbor with ruse … approaches the other not to face him, but obliquely” in order to solicit “his yes” (TI, 70). The Heidegger remark has no substance beyond its being utilized as a challenge against any ethical sensibility that ever seems to allow for the privileging of the human. The Heidegger remark is useful prototypically for the initial move in a strategy which seeks to situate the alleged ethical privileging of the human precariously on the very verge of irrationality in such a way that the only apparent salvation for the very possibility of (a fully rational) ethics is to admit to the ethical substantial equivalence between humans and non-human beings.

The remark drives any privileging of the human towards irrationality by, in effect, requiring of those who would ever privilege the human that they be able to provide non-arbitrary warrant for the ethical privileging of the human. In itself, a biological definition of human provides no information which would assure the ethicality of the privileging of humans. Consequently, in order to avoid the unreasoning – and, thereby, the irrationality – of arbitrariness, it is necessary for there to be reference to some other basis for the privileging of humans. The problem is that there is no established (or apparently establishable) non-biological characteristic common to all biologically human beings which warrants the idea that each human is necessarily (or even probabilistically) to be treated with preference over non-human beings.

Having thus placed on the verge of irrationality anyone who would ever ethically privilege the human, the strategy in favor of the idea that there is ethical substantial equivalence between humans and non-humans seeks to seduce those concerned about ethics into adopting the notion that the irrational arbitrariness upon which is based the favoring of humans must be replaced by a manner of thinking and understanding that provides the consistency which is necessary for (thinking about) ethics to be a matter of rationality. Here the seduction relies upon irrationality being associated with disreputableness.

This is to say that the seduction in no way depends upon the characteristics at the core of the ethical concern itself. It replaces concern about the ethical with concern about the rational where the concern about the rational is in no small part a concern about the possibility of being embarrassed for appearing to think in a disreputable manner.

The strategy promoting the ethical substantial equivalence between humans and non-humans makes itself still more seductive by readily providing the means for a sort of absolution. All that is needed in order to expunge (the appearance of) irrationality is accession to the apparently less arbitrary, more consistent, and therefore more rational position which denies the appropriateness of privileging humans and instead holds that there is ethical substantial equivalence between humans and non-humans.

The very same challenge used to depict the irrationality of ethics in which humans are ever privileged provides the consistency which is missing from the arbitrariness upon which human privileging has been made to seem to depend: To be consistent, the person who would be ethical simply has to hold that “the production of corpses in the gas chambers and the extermination camps” is “the same thing in its essence as” the wholesale annihilation effected by “a motorized food industry”.

Those who – despite the threat of being charged with irrationality – continue to object to the claimed essential equivalence of human slaughter and the annihilation of non-human beings are susceptible to being castigated – not for mere irrationality, but worse – as hypocrites. It is an easy matter to allege that their recalcitrance indicates a persistence in being hypo-critical of their own thinking whereas were they eu-critical towards their own thinking they could then be rational (since being eu-critical is thought to be both necessary for rationality and a result of being rational). Were they eu-critical, they could (with an implied would) embrace the consistency afforded by holding that there is an ethical substantial equivalence between humans and non-humans.

Of course, being hypo-critical just is a way of being irrational inasmuch as to be hypo-critical is to fail to be as rational as possible. This means that – for the sake of consistency – there would have to be some reason for ratcheting up the vehemence against those who would be called hypocrites; there would have to be some non-arbitrary way of distinguishing between those who are hypo-critical but merely irrational and those who are hypo-critical but also hypocrites.

It hardly seems likely that the simple fact of recalcitrance would provide the needed basis for a rational distinction. Recalcitrance, after all, can indicate not just resistance but also persistence; it is a persistent resistance. So, is the fact of resistance itself sufficient to warrant castigation? If it is, then, from the perspective of those asserting the ethical substantial equivalence between humans and non-humans, castigation would be justified as soon as the challenge to the privileging of humans is presented completely. If castigation does not seem always and everywhere appropriate, then it might not be the resistance so much as it is the persistence which is key. The problem then has to do with being able to come up with a consistently applicable way – a formula – for determining at what point the persistence becomes inappropriate.

This suggests that there might be another feature of the recalcitrant which makes them offensive: their visibility, their noticeability. The castigated hypo-critical would be regarded as merely irrational if the objector who makes himself noticed were to become more quiescent, less noticeable, since the relative reservedness could indicate a move towards being more eu-critical certainly inasmuch as it indicates less of an interest in being noticed.

The entire strategy (and all of its techniques) for objecting to an ethics which ever privileges humans is based upon the suspicion that apparent irrationality is, to some extent, always deserving of being condemned – certainly if there is any alternative which can be posited as being capable of eliminating the apparent irrationality. In the case of an ethic which privileges humans, while such an ethic could – in theory – be consistently effected with regards to humans, the arbitrariness of the privileging itself at the very least suggests the possibility that the privileging could itself be an instantiation of inconsistency, an inconsistency – the very possibility of – which is eliminated from theory when the idea of the ethical substantial equivalence of humans and non-humans is substituted for the privileging of humans.

However, such a strategy only works if consistency (maybe even rationality) has priority over ethics. But how could consistency have priority over ethics?


If ethics is originary and personal in being for the sake – not of some anonymous other(s), but for the sake – of an encountered other rather than being for the sake of being, or being for the sake of one’s own continuing-to-be, then it is patently obvious that consistency cannot be prior to ethics in the sense of coming before – or being a necessary prerequisite of – ethics.

Indeed, ethics itself is an inconsistency relative to being, because ethics breaks apart – it interrupts – the consistency of the indifference which characterizes the process that is being. Enjoyment (generally speaking, a respite from concern about continuing-to-be) is also an inconsistency relative to being, but enjoyment is for the sake of the one who enjoys; ethics, on the other hand, is for the sake of an other, in particular when the other is encountered face-to-face.

Of course, whosoever would be ethical would not ever be satiated in having acted for the sake of an other. This is because the ethical is but an occasion; it is an event which passes away without establishing a persistence for ethics – without establishing for the ethical an inertia of its own. The ethical interrupts the indifferent process which is being with non-indifference for the sake of an other, but the ethical does not halt – and can hardly be said to even divert – being in its processual indifference. As an event, the ethical does not persist from occasion to occasion; rather, ethics – each ethical event – tends to be absorbed or enveloped by the process of being. Accordingly, whosoever would be ethical becomes concerned not so much about how consistently he or she is ethical but, rather, how often, how frequently, and how opportunely.

Concerns with consistency are concerns about sameness or uniformity, but ethics is always concerned with and focused upon – not sameness, but – otherness, the otherness of the other encountered. Ethics is most fully ethical according to its customization for the sake of the other in its otherness. This does not mean that ethics is a matter of acting to preserve all of the differences found in the otherness of the other, but it does mean that ethics is absolutely incompatible with any and all attempts to (be able to) regard the other in any way that is unconcerned with the uniqueness of the other.

The fullness of ethics is not determined by its consistency. This is not to say that ethics denies or ignores sameness as it manifests in similarities; this is not to say that in order for ethics to be most fully ethical there must never be any utilization of concepts abstracted as or from noticed similarities. Yet, this is to say that consistency is never sufficient for ethics, and, in a sense, consistency is not properly regarded as necessary for ethics.

This is the case inasmuch as the ethical is concerned with taking into account the differences within the otherness of the other. The relevance of these differences precludes the adequacy – the sufficiency – of consistency while, at the same time, necessitating some extent of inconsistency in order that the ethical might be re-created or created as new (anew). After all, as has been noted previously, the ethical must always be repeatedly effected anew within being since “with each instant, moral progress begins again from zero. There is no other ethical continuity than this exhausting continuation of ‘relaunch’ and resumption.”

The entire strategy for highlighting the irrationality of ethics in which the human is ever privileged amounts to a mere ruse. It seeks to exploit the fact that those who would be ethical already expect that they do not act for the sake of others as frequently or as well or as effectively as they might. The strategy plays on the fact that those who would be ethical ultimately have no demonstrable or indubitable non-arbitrary basis for concentrating their ethical concerns primarily upon humans. In this way the strategy for the ethical substantial equivalence between humans and non-humans seeks to elicit from the ethically concerned “his yes” as an admission not only with regards to the unethicality of having failed to be ethical as frequently or as opportunely as he might have been but also for having been irrational in being more devotedly opposed to the slaughter of humans, for example, than to the annihilation of non-human beings.

Yet, it is important to note that this strategy – if consistently applied without an arbitrary endpoint – leads not only to the elimination of supposedly ethics-relevant differences between humans and non-human animals but also to the elimination of ethics-relevant distinctions between conscious living beings and non-conscious living beings. For that matter, the very same strategy can be employed – for instance, by noting how very problematic it is to establish precisely what is the alleged unicity to which such a term as self is supposed to refer – to argue that there is no purely rational, non-arbitrary basis for ethics-relevant distinctions between living things and non-living (or inanimate) things.

But, then, given that living things in particular cannot for long persist in being without acting in some way that is contrary to the sake of some elemental, molecular, atomic, or sub-atomic other(s), this strategy – taken to a purely non-arbitrary extreme – necessitates, for the sake of consistency and rationality, either the denial of ethics or (and this is essentially the same thing stated differently) the proclamation that life – even the process, the non-stasis of being – itself is unavoidably non-ethical.

Actually, rather than describe being as non-ethical, it could be said alternatively and possibly more precisely that the processing which is being just is a matter of beings utilizing or exploiting other beings. In that case, reference to ethics – and all thinking in terms of values and valuing – is ornate redundancy inasmuch as values can apparently be reduced to or substituted with descriptions of acts simply in terms of how they effect the continuing-to-be of being, a continuing-to-be which proceeds on its way as if unconcerned about and indifferent towards the beings within being:

Does every intrigue that is tied up in being merely cause the epic of being to unfold, merely write the epic of being? … This reduction of every question to being can be seen both in Heidegger’s struggle against and his irony in regard to every philosophy of value. (GDT, 63)

The sort of reductive thinking at issue – this apparently thorough or extreme rationalism – might seem to succeed in assigning ethics to non-being inasmuch as ethics cannot consistently or rationally accommodate the utilization or exploitation of beings which is necessary for the continuing-to-be which is being. However, what such reductive thinking cannot establish, in itself, is that non-being is assuredly a matter of non-reality or unreality. This is because all that this reductive thinking does is establish that ethics (of the sort purported to interrupt the indifference of being with non-indifference towards and for the sake of an other) is not an occurrence inherent to the process of being itself. This is to say that, with regards to ethics, non-being is only a matter of non-inherence within being, and what the reductive thinking does not establish is that this non-inherence is sufficient for non-reality.

Continued in Ethics and the Witness

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

GDT – Emmanuel Levinas, God, Death, and Time, translated by Bettina Bergo (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2000).

PoM – Emmanuel Levinas, “The Paradox of Morality” in The Provocation of Levinas: Rethinking the Other, translated by Andrew Benjamin and Tamra Wright, ed. Robert Bernasconi and David Wood (London and New York: Routledge, 1988), pp. 168-180.

TI – Emmanuel Levinas, Totality and Infinity, translated by Alphonso Lingis (Pittsburgh, PA: Duquesne University Press, 2003).

This entry was posted in Ethics, Morality, Philosophy, Philosophy of Religion, Religion and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Heidegger, Hypocrisy, and a Ruse of Rhetoric

  1. Pingback: Levinas, Kant, Animals, and Anthropomorphisms | The Kindly Ones

  2. Pingback: Ethics and the Witness | The Kindly Ones

  3. Legs McFee says:

    A sophomoric Korsgaardian vegan objects:
    • There is a non-arbitrary basis for distinguishing between the ethical status of conscious and unconscious beings, although you’re right that it’s not purely rational—it’s intersubjective. In making rational decisions, I am forced to confer value on things I find good-for me, including animal goods such as food or satisfaction; I am not forced to recognize the value of chemical interactions. I can identify a stable boundary between the two categories by determining whether some test phenomenon is needed in making an empirical evaluation of my subjective good; for example, the formation of a hydrogen bond in one of my cells would not be a factor, while a twinge of pain would. This generates a boundary constrained by empirical knowledge (I can’t be sure where an oyster is), but consistent insofar as epistemic modesty allows, without your demandingness problem.
    • Independently, if we agree that the reductive quark-level eradication of ethics is irrelevant to any kind of applied ethics, there are meta-ethical arguments for consistency. We are forced to perceive the sensible manifold teleologically, and perceive ourselves within it as unique in our ability for rationality, and in some sense meant to be rational. Consistency allows us to construct practical identities (from which we can derive the special self-governing value of human lives) without endangering them by contradiction.

    • Michael S. Pearl says:

      With regards to the expressed objection of a (theoretical?) “sophomoric Korsgaardian vegan”, that person’s position would likely be less argumentatively problematic down the road if expressed in terms of there being an interesting (rather than non-arbitrary) basis (where interesting indicates, at the very least, the presence of either problems to be recognized even if no solution seems readily available or further tangents/connections to be taken into account) for seeing/considering a both broad and deep reasonableness in distinguishing between ethical concern for (rather than ethical status of) conscious and unconscious beings/entities. In itself, that basis is independent of the matter of whether or not intersubjectivity is achieved; that basis can be interesting and worthwhile of consideration simply subjectively; it can be put forth as witness or testimony without an intention of or reference to any sort of normativity.

      The distinction which the “sophomoric Korsgaardian vegan” makes regarding intracellular hydrogen bonds and pain is essentially the necessarily subjective valuing of experience – which would be the experiencing of subjectivity such as was noted in The Priority of Ethics and the Relevance of Subjectivity, with variations on that same theme found in other postings.

      Accordingly, the issue at hand is not the matter of whether a “boundary” that distinguishes between entities which have no subjective experience of experiencing being and entities which have subjective experience of experiencing being can be used to produce consistency upon extension (such as in a valid argument). That boundary can certainly be used in that way.

      However, with regards to the discussed demands of (an absolute) rationality, your own acknowledgement of this boundary being “not purely rational” comports, on the face of it, with the discussion about what amounts to the insufficiency or inadequacy of (an absolute or pure) rationality (alone). Indeed, your comment seems to be quite in line with the remark in the essay about ethics being originary such that “it is patently obvious that consistency cannot be prior to ethics in the sense of coming before – or being a necessary prerequisite of – ethics.”

      With regards to a reductive elimination of ethics, even if that elimination is accepted merely for the sake of argument, the “applied ethics” to which you refer essentially relies upon ambiguity concerning the term ethics. Ethics understood as originary in the possibility of responding for the sake of an encountered other is an ethics that precedes even the acting (or not-acting) for the sake of (in response to) an other; this ethics is prior to any applied ethics, and any applied ethics which is not founded upon the possibility of responding for the sake of an encountered other is an ethics that is entirely unrelated to ethics understood as originary in the possibility of responding for the sake of an encountered other.

      Disambiguation can be achieved either by replacing “applied ethics” with some other terminology or by eschewing the term ethics when discussing the possibility of responding for the sake of an encountered other (or by possibly referring to this originary ethics as the ethics/ethical event or as the ethical possibilities, what have you, while using applied ethics in the manner you mention).

      However, even if ethics is no longer applied to the possibility of responding for the sake of an encountered other, then “applied ethics” trends towards nothing other than an impersonal systematization, a systematization founded upon or derived from and independent of the possibility of responding for the sake of an encountered other.

      • Legs McFee says:

        Thank you for your perceptive response, and the link to “The priority of ethics”! I think I understand your goals better, and have new questions.

        First, you show clearly that ethics, under Levinas’s construction, does not entail consistency in general. However, as you observe, whenever an encountered Other experiences subjectivity, it is inherently and automatically—one might say, consistently—ethical to account for this subjectivity in forming an understanding of what it means to act “for the Other’s sake”, and unethical to disregard it. So although the form of Heidegger’s argument, to which you object, technically implies that consistency is prior to ethics, the sense in which is it used and understood only requests a particular consistency: consistent regard for the requirements of ethical engagement with a conscious Other. It’s calling attention to a frequent and opportune case in which ethicality could be instantiated, through a rhetorical attention-grabbing technique—a mnemonic, almost.

        From this perspective, then, your only substantive grounds for contention seems to be that the remark is “repulsively odious insofar as it normalizes the wholesale slaughter of humans”. But it only does this insofar as the slaughter of conscious nonhumans is accepted as normative, and almost everyone who makes this analogy has every intention of rejecting this assumption. So there seems to be a missing argument: perhaps that Heidegger et al. fail in persuasively rejecting the assumption, or that there is some sense in which even a person convinced of the morally catastrophic nature of nonhuman animal exploitation nonetheless trivializes the Holocaust by analogizing the two phenomena.

        Second (and here I get back to Korsgaard), it seems uncharitable to use the Heidegger remark as “prototypic” of strategies, such as Korsgaard’s (and Singer’s), which argue for a change in our interactions with animals on the basis of rational consistency. For there are systems in which a deontological commitment to, for example, the Categorical Imperative or one’s construction of valuable practical identities are in some sense prior to considerations of the consequences of one’s actions on those one interacts with. In these systems, an appeal to consistency, for example consistent commitment to the objective value of the subjectivity which provides reasons for one’s own actions, could be properly used to derive duties to others, including conscious nonhumans.

        You’ve made me very interested in Levinas. Could you recommend an introduction to his ethics? I’m particularly curious about arguments for the normativity of his principle: you refer repeatedly to arguments targeting “those concerned about ethics” and similar, but can the system apply to moral skeptics?

  4. Michael S. Pearl says:

    If I “show clearly that ethics, under Levinas’s construction, does not entail consistency in general”, then I need to further clarify, because I do not find Levinas’s work to be more lacking in consistency than any other philosophical approach. Now, it may well be that a (let us call it a) generally Levinasian approach cannot produce as thoroughly a systematic or broadly prescriptive construction than can approaches which commence from other (later) starting points. However, even given such a distinction, it does not necessarily follow that this is a failing of the generally Levinasian approach even if each and every person who ever engages in considerations of ethics/morals desires that it be possible to discover moral facts or construct ethical systems which have an ever more detailed ordering that would make more obvious how people should act in assorted circumstances.

    Indeed, Levinas’s perspective/emphasis has often been criticized precisely because it does not lend itself well (if at all) to the sort of systematization that is historically typical of most philosophical endeavors and political theories.

    To put it briefly, the problem with recognizing the ethical as situated in and deriving from – the problem with seeing the foundation of ethics as – the possibility of responding for the sake of an other who is encountered is, first of all, the fact that an ethical response, an ethical response-ability, is deeply subjective and individual: the possibility of responding for the sake of an other not only presumes an ability to respond (here ability is effectively identical to the possibility) but the ethical quality of any response is also determined by the extent to which the responsible actor has developed the capability to be aware of and discerning about the (we can say presumed) uniqueness of the encountered other, a uniqueness which itself sets the context which would significantly delimit what could qualify as being for the sake of the encountered other.

    A second problem with seeing the foundation of ethics as the possibility of responding for the sake of an encountered other regards the nature of systematization itself. It is one thing to realize that it is in some way or to some extent possible to always and everywhere respond for the sake of an encountered other; it is another thing to undertake this response-ability when encountering more than one other in a situation where a response must be to multiple others concurrently. It is, of course, the context of essentially concurrent multiple others which most legitimizes the need/desire for the systematization of response. However, all attempts at systematization to this point, so far as I am aware, have always in effect downplayed – if not discarded – concern with the uniqueness of some other(s) and, consequently, the foundational characteristic of being for the sake of some other(s). This is (or should be seen as) an ever-present tension within concerns about ethics; systematizations which in effect by-pass this tension by asserting as a starting point some more impersonal (and logically later) basis for ethics might seem to achieve a more extensive consistency, but they are also assuredly unsound no matter how long they might remain valid.

    This is a good point to take up the Heidegger statement. In itself, it is not really an argument. Most charitably, that is to say by disregarding Heidegger’s own history, and most constructively, it would be regarded as a (to some extent legitimate/worthwhile) provocation. (Based upon what you said, I think you are likely to agree that the Heidegger statement is more provocation than argument.) The problem is that the statement in itself – whether considered with charity or in light of the most common portrayals and interpretations of Heidegger’s personal history – is a statement so wholly impersonal (either because it hides or does not consider or does not anticipate the possibility) that any impersonal perspective regarding ethics is necessarily unsound (to put it somewhat clinically).

    If that Heidegger statement is problematic for the reason explained, then the statement in itself has not been remarked upon uncharitably, because the problem is present regardless of whether one is charitable towards Heidegger or not. Heidegger could have started with that very same provocative statement and used it in an argument in order to highlight the tension that has been put forth in my comment here (although my comment commences from a different perspective), but, even then, the provocative statement could still be used to serve the purpose of noting how very off target can become the concern with the extent of consistency.

    After all, the Heidegger statement, in itself, could be used to demonstrate a consistency when the matter under consideration is legitimacy, justification, acceptance, or approval of “the wholesale slaughter of humans”. That, of course, would be a perverse rather than a laudable consistency, and the emphasis on the need for more than consistency – and the need for far more than an emphasis upon an achievement of consistency – is here again noted.

    There is no operative assumption that “the slaughter of conscious nonhumans” is acceptable in anything that I have written; consider the possibility that a significant aspect of the odiousness of Heidegger’s statement might be that (in itself) it seems wholly unconcerned with the responsibility of responding for the sake of the unique experiencing of an other and is, instead, seemingly in thrall to some presumed foundational responsibility to formal and impersonal rationality (a formalism that may well be more cultural than it is objective in the sense of mind-independent). Consider the possibility that a person might find odious the very notion that impersonal rationality is presumed to be necessarily (always and everywhere) superior to reasoning that is noticeably imbued with subjectivity. Consider the possibility that a person might object to the wholesale slaughter of non-human experiencers of their being precisely because they are not considered in terms of their uniquely experiencing their being. Then consider that such a person might well object vehemently to Heidegger’s statement precisely because it seems to prefer the abstraction of consistency over the relatively limited extensibility (while more foundational and possibly more informative) of the priority of the possibility of responding for the sake of an experiencing other.

    Korsgaard’s, Singer’s, and Kant’s systems (amongst others), can be seen as not entirely divorced from the notion of the priority of ethics and the only very slightly subsequent centrality of the subjective, but, as noted, all such systems suffer from a tension with the priority of ethics as the possibility of an individual responding for the sake of an other – especially or, at least, first of all the encountered other. The possibility of one responding for the sake of an encountered other is originary for ethics, and if all trace of that originary ethics ever disappears from a system, does that system remain a matter of ethics (other than in terms of conventional expression)? Another matter to consider is to what extent it might be possible to outline (or, if one prefers, systematize) ways for developing/advancing/improving capabilities for becoming aware of the uniqueness of encountered others so as to better respond for the sake of the other in its experiencing of its being.

    As for books about or by Levinas, I guess a couple of books I would recommend as introductions of sorts would be Liturgy of the Neighbor by Jeffrey Bloechl and Levinas and the Wisdom of Love by Corey Beals. If I recall correctly, the Beals book has parts that explicate Levinas’s terminology and the consistencies in their usage. I enjoy the introduction to Bloechl’s book and will quote part of it so that you can see whether it might have any appeal to you:

    “Two times two is four is not life,” says the Voice from Underground [from Dostoyevsky’s Notes from Underground], “but the beginning of death.” How many of us recognize something of ourselves in this dark complaint? How many of us have sometimes thought that the security of transparent formulas and unshakable truths costs too much — that there is no room to move and breathe in a world charted and explained before we ever set foot in it? For me to live by “two times two is four” is to hand myself over to what was already there before my birth … to what has nothing essential to do with me … Cold and pitiless truth, the Voice rightly reminds us. What could be less human?

    In an important sense, ethicality in terms of the possibility of responding for the sake of an other ultimately demands creativity beyond formulas and beyond categories.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s