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The Immediacy Of Encounter And The Dangers Of Dichotomy: Buber, Levinas, And Jonas On Responsibility

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Chapter Summary

The concept of responsibility plays a pivotal role in the philosophy of Hans Jonas as well as in the thought of Martin Buber and Emmanuel Levinas. But concerning the basic account of moral responsibility, there are nevertheless some non-trivial analogies and complementary problems in the interpretations of all three philosophers. Each of them criticizes the solipsistic limitations of Edmund Husserl?s philosophy and the egocentrism of Martin Heidegger?s concept of ?solicitude? or ?self-care?. Each of them tries to overcome the Kantian subject-object dichotomy. Each of them construes responsibility as a bipolar relation only. And each of them deals with new forms of dichotomies and with problems concerning the exclusion of ?thirdness? which emerge from their own conceptual decisions. While Jonas shares the intuitionist approach to some extent, it is important for the original characterization of his ethics that he combines ethical intuitionism with naturalism.

Keywords: dichotomy; Emmanuel Levinas; ethical intuitionism; Hans Jonas; Martin Buber; Martin Heidegger; moral responsibility; naturalism



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