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Religions 2019, 10(2), 126; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10020126

Political Justice: Levinas Contra Aristotle

School of Political and Social Inquiry, Monash University, Clayton, VIC 3800, Australia
Received: 20 January 2019 / Revised: 15 February 2019 / Accepted: 18 February 2019 / Published: 21 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Levinas and the Political)
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Abstract

In this paper, I argue that two radically different conceptions of political justice can be derived from the work of Aristotle and Emmanuel Levinas—notions of justice that are indeed directly opposed. Aristotle defines justice in terms of considerations of moderation, prudence, and measure, where the virtuous actor is supposed to demonstrate aspects of character and perform acts that are neither deficient nor excessive; yet the ethics of Levinas, as instantiated in justice, is a demand that responding to the needs of others not be limited by moderate considerations, but can precisely be realized as an exorbitant and anarchic assumption of responsibility. It thus becomes of decisive importance for both a thinking of the political, and political praxis, in determining which conception of justice is found to be more compelling. I illustrate the stakes of this difference with reference to the politics of asylum, and in particular, a discussion of the historical case of the Kindertransport. View Full-Text
Keywords: Emmanuel Levinas; Aristotle; justice; politics; refugees; Kindertransport Emmanuel Levinas; Aristotle; justice; politics; refugees; Kindertransport
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Bell, N. Political Justice: Levinas Contra Aristotle. Religions 2019, 10, 126.

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