Levinas has taught that ethics is straightforwardness itself, the sincerity of the face opening up moral obligations which require a larger context of justice for all, including knowledge, laws, government, culture, and all that constitutes civilization. And yet we know that institutions, corporations and governments lie, that mass media deceive, that human desires can be manipulated and even manufactured. Can our age of Spectacle, Surveillance and Ideology do other than efface the face, coopt and commodify human freedom? What is the import of fundamental ethics for politics, for justice? Can there be an ethical politics? Can ethics respond to False Consciousness and its contemporary technological supports? These are some of the questions the Seminar will raise, guided by explication of selected texts by Levinas.
University of Chicago Center
6 Rue Thomas Mann
Richard A. Cohen is a world-wide recognized Levinas scholar. He is author of four books on Levinas: Out of Control: Confrontation between Spinoza and Levinas (New York, 2017); Elevations: The Height of the Good in Rosenzweig and Levinas (Chicago, 1994); Ethics, Exegesis and Philosophy (Cambridge 2001); and Levinasian Meditations: Ethics, Philosophy, and Religion (Pittsburgh, 2010). He is also English translator and/or editor of four of Levinas’s books (Time and the Other and Additional Essays; Ethics and Infinity; Discovering Existence with Husserl; New Talmudic Readings); editor of Face to Face with Levinas (Pittsburgh, 1986); co-editor of Levinas Studies, Vol. 11 (Pittsburgh, 2017) and In Proximity: Emmanuel Levinas and the Eighteenth Century (Lubbock, 2001); and author of many articles on Levinas and modern and contemporary philosophy. He is Professor of Jewish Thought and of Philosophy, University at Buffalo (State University of New York).
James McLachlan is Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Western Carolina University. He has assisted at all five previous summer seminars. He is past co-chair of the Mormon Studies Group at the American Academy of Religion, member of the board of the Institute for American Religious and Philosophical Thought, and organizer of the Personalist Seminar. His books include Discourses in Mormon Theology: Philosophical and Theological Possibility (Salt Lake City, 2008) and The Desire to be God: Freedom and the Other in Sartre and Berdyaev (New York, 1992). McLachlan has additional publications on American and European Personalism, Process Theology, Romanticism and idealism, and Mormon Theology.
Jolanta Saldukaitytė is Associate Professor of Philosophy, Vilnius Gediminas Technical University, Vilnius, Lithuania. She has assisted at all five previous Levinas summer seminars, and was an organizer of the 2006 centennial conference on the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas held at the University of Vilnius, Vilnius, Lithuania, in April 2006. She is co-editor of Levinas Studies, Vol. 11 (Pittsburgh, 2017), and has published several articles on Levinas’s philosophy, especially in its relation to the thought of Martin Heidegger.
Department of Jewish Thought, 712 Clemens Hall, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York, 14260 USA; and University of Chicago Center in Paris, 6 rue Thomas Mann, Paris, 75013 France.