Reflection on Ethics of Responsibility based on the Emmanuel Levinas’ Philosophy

Matthew I. Nwoko


We usually associate responsibility with a subject, often referred to as a person: an ‘I,’ which designates an individual person or a corporate person, having the commitment of initiative. With respect to unreserved responsibility, one is more of the one subjected and less the one commanding. This understanding of the place of the subject as the subjected appears to have been lost or overshadowed by various forms of interpretations in the history of philosophy. This article attempts to draw attention to this fact and highlight the causes of the drawback, against the backdrop of the philosophical intuitions of Emmanuel Levinas. It is impossible not to mention shortly the restrictive tendencies placed on the way of knowledge in the thoughts of Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Fichte, Schiller and others. Levinas calls for a deeper reflection on the link between subjectivity and responsibility, which brings to focus the place of the other. The article attempts to present an understanding of human subjectivity as the essential root of responsibility.

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