in defense of reverence
Levinas, responsibility and future generations
This paper seeks to understand how the ever-changing idea and function of generations perpetuates the need for tradition, and how traditions shape the understanding of responsibility and justice. For help in thinking about responsibility as it relates to the transmission of generations, the article turns to Emmanuel Levinas, a philosopher of responsibility par excellence, who offers a philosophy of obligation that is unwaveringly anarchic, challenging traditional configurations of ethics. Within the tension between Levinas and traditional approaches to responsibility, there resides an opportunity to rethink the role of generationality in philosophy and ethics. The paper explores this possibility, and points to a form of responsibility that attends to the porous and precarious sense of life that modern humans have too often forgotten.
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