Reembodying original ethics: A response to the Levinasian critique of Heidegger

James Carey, Fordham University


I use Levin's appropriation of Heidegger as a response to the ethics of Levinas and Caputo. While Levinas and Caputo recognize the centrality of the body in the ethical relation, they deny the need for an ontological horizon in ethics. I argue that an ontological horizon is necessary in two ways. First, it is necessary for self-development which is achieved through ontological attunement. Secondly, it is necessary to understand and recognize the other as other in the ethical relation. Without this understanding an ethical will is incapable of ethical action.^ To make the role of the body in ethics more concrete, I consider contrasting models of the body in medicine and the treatments that result from these understandings. The turn to medicine serves as an example of the activity or energy of Being that enables us to participate in the cosmos as a whole. Also, it is a response to the inadequate understanding of the body that Levinas and Caputo are working with in their explication of the ethical relation. ^

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Carey, James, "Reembodying original ethics: A response to the Levinasian critique of Heidegger" (1996). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9613850.