Emmanuel Levinas' Ethics of Responsibility and International Politics Cover Image

Emmanuel Levinas' Ethics of Responsibility and International Politics

Author(s): Gražina Miniotaitė
Subject(s): Philosophy
Published by: Visuomeninė organizacija »LOGOS«
Keywords: Levinas; responsibility; ethics; politics; international relations; realism/neorealism

Summary/Abstract: The paper deals with the issue of the relevance of Levinas in the analysis of contemporary international politics. The first part of the paper is an overview of those ideas of Levinas that have made an impact on the postmodern search for the foundations of the politics of responsibility in the theory of international relations. In the second part, by juxtaposing modernist and postmodernist theories, an attempt is made to show how Levinas' ideas have been reflected and transformed in the analysis of international relations. It concludes that Levinas' ethics of responsibility is an important driving force for the shift of contemporary international relations theory towards normative theories. Levinas' ideas delineate those contours of thought that are helpful in driving out the conceptualisation of international relations in terms of egoism/anarchy. A certain inconsistency of Levinas, in that the rejection of ontological "violence" is replaced by the "violence" of ethics (responsibility), is in fact a virtue rather than a shortcoming of his philosophy. Under the impact of Levinas' ideas, the theory of international relations has been developing a new concept of responsibility based on the idea that the other is not an enemy, but simply other, different, living in the same space (planet), for whom we must be responsible. This concept of responsibility is directly linked to democratic social structures and policies.

  • Issue Year: 2005
  • Issue No: 40
  • Page Range: 107-116
  • Page Count: 10
  • Language: Lithuanian