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Levinas, Subjectivity, Education: Towards an Ethics of Radical Responsibility

ISBN: 978-1-118-31237-7
232 pages
June 2012, Wiley-Blackwell
Levinas, Subjectivity, Education: Towards an Ethics of Radical Responsibility (1118312376) cover image
Levinas, Subjectivity, Education explores how the philosophical writings of Emmanuel Levinas lead us to reassess education and reveals the possibilities of a radical new understanding of ethical and political responsibility.
  • Presents an original theoretical interpretation of Emmanuel Levinas that outlines the political significance of his work for contemporary debates on education
  • Offers a clear analysis of Levinas’s central philosophical concepts, including the place of religion in his work, demonstrating their relevance for educational theorists
  • Examines Alain Badiou’s critique of Levinas’s work
  • Considers the practical implications of Levinas’ theories for concrete educational practices and frameworks

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Preface vi

Acknowledgements viii

List of Abbreviations x

Introduction 1

PART I Levinas's Teaching 17

1 Teaching, Subjectivity and Language in Totality and Infinity 19

2 The Infinite Responsibility of the Ethical Subject in Otherwise than Being 44

PART II Towards an Education Otherwise 71

3 Heteronomy, Autonomy and the Aims of Education 73

4 Grace, Truth and Economies of Education 95

PART III 'Concrete Problems with Spiritual Repercussions' 119

5 Towards a Religious Education Otherwise 121

6 Dialogue, Proximity and the Possibility of Community 141

7 Political Disappointment, Hope and the Anarchic Ethical Subject 175

Coda 199

Bibliography 204

Index 212

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Anna Strhan is Lecturer in Religious Studies at the University of Kent, where she is researching the formation of religious subjectivities in contemporary British society. With a background in philosophy of education, cultural sociology, and religious studies, Strhan’s work explores relationships between knowledge, meaning, embodiment and ethics in modern societies.

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“In her new book on Levinas, Subjectivity, Education, Anna Strhan perceptively notes that 'Decreasing participation in institutional religions combined with the increased visibility of religion in the public sphere are together leading to wider religious illiteracy and poor quality public discourse on religion'. This is the fundamental challenge addressed in the book, and she draws on contemporary continental philosophy, educational theory, and, not least, educational practice in Britain today to offer a new and challenging response. She takes two major philosophers (Levinas and Badiou), a major theoretical and practical question (autonomy versus heteronomy), and a major feature of contemporary society (religion) and produces a beautifully clear and insightful argument that will unsettle assumptions across the field of education and the study of religion, as well as throwing important new light on the hugely influential work of Emmanuel Levinas. This book is a must for educationalists, philosophers, and scholars of religion.”
George Pattison, Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity, University of Oxford
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