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In Encountering Ability, Scott DeShong considers how ability and its correlative, disability, come into existence. Besides being articulated as physical, social, aesthetic, political, and specifically human, ability signifies and is signified such that signification itself is always in question. Thus the language of ability and the ability of language constitute discourse that undermines foundations, including any foundation for discourse or ability. Drawing on Gilles Deleuze’s theory of primary differentiation and Emmanuel Levinas’s philosophy of ethical relationality, Encountering Ability finds implications of music, theology, and cursing in the signification of ability, and also examines various literary texts, including works by Amiri Baraka and Marguerite Duras.
Illumination through Critical Prisms
Editors: Ian Morley and Mira Crouch
This book considers the place and value of knowledge in contemporary society. “Knowledge” is not a self-evident concept: both its denotations and connotations are historically situated. Since the Enlightenment, knowledge has been a matter of discovery through effort, and “knowledge for its own sake” a taken-for-granted ideal underwriting progressive education as a process which not only taught “for” and “about” something, but also ennobled the soul. While this ideal has not been explicitly rejected, in recent decades there has been a tacit move away from a strong emphasis on its centrality, even in Higher Education. The authors address the values that inform knowledge production in its present forms, and seek to identify social and cultural factors that support these values.
Against the background of increasingly restrictive conditions of academic work, the first section of this volume offers incisive critiques of Higher Education, with examples drawn from Australia and New Zealand. The second group of chapters considers how academics have viewed, and have tried to adapt to, present circumstances. The third section comprises papers that consider epistemological issues in the generation and promulgation of knowledge. The chapters in this volume are indicative of the work that needs to be done so that we can come to comprehend – and perhaps try and improve – our relationship to learning and knowledge in the 21st Century.
This timely book will be of particular interest to workers in higher education; it should also inform and challenge all those who have concerns for the future of the intellectual life of our civilization.
This book focuses on the concepts of environmental justice and global citizenship from a number of different disciplinary perspectives with the intention of promoting at the very least some interdisciplinary understandings.
Initially presented as papers at an interdisciplinary conference on the themes of environmental justice and global citizenship in Copenhagen in February 2002, the chapters in this volume were chosen by election by those attending the conference. They represent the emergent differences of opinion and glimmers of agreement in the conference as discussions of environmental justice and global citizenship inevitably led to considerations of sustainability and Agenda 21. Some degree of agreement did emerge around the idea of seeing sustainability as a process rather than a predetermined outcome. There was also a shared interest in the pedagogy of educating students in and about sustainability.
This volume has been divided into disciplinary or thematically based sections but the purpose of the introductory chapter is to draw links and connections between different papers and different themes in the volume.
What is the relationship between texts and ethics? Who decides the ethics of a text, the writer or the reader? What happens to ethics in texts that portray dreams or psychoses? Is violence always inherently unethical? In dealing with others is violence to both them and oneself ever completely avoidable?
Textual Ethos Studies does not attempt to provide definitive answers to these questions so much as to be a springboard to the further discussion of ethics in relation to specific texts. The essays illustrate varying perspectives — ranging from the philosophical to the psychoanalytical to the linguistic — that can be used to localize how texts engage or invite an engagement with ethics.
Twenty scholars representing Asia, Europe, Israel, North America, and South Africa highlight the complex relationship between cultural context and ethics, and between the ethical and the unethical. Several essays deal with the study of atypical texts that represent different attitudes toward the violent, the disordered, the traumatized, the psychotic, and the sentimental in order to encourage — or provoke — further discussion of the relevance of these types of texts to ethics.
Reading a text is an ethical activity for Emmanuel Levinas. His moral philosophy considers written texts to be natural places to discover relations of responsibility in Western philosophical systems which are marked by extreme violence and totalizing hatred. While ethics is understood to mean a relationship with the other and reading is the appropriation of the other to the self, readings according to Levinas naturally entail relationships with the other. Levinas's own writings are often frought with the struggle between his own maleness, the concerns of feminism, and the Judaism that marks his contributions to the debates of the Talmud. This book uses male feminism as its perspective in presenting the applications of Levinas's ethical vision to texts whose readings have presented moral dilemmas for women readers. Levinas's philosophical theories can provide keys to unlock the difficulties of these texts whose readings will provide models of reading as ethical acts beginning with the ethical contract in Song of Songs where the assumption of a woman writer begins the elaboration of issues that sets a male reader as her other. From the reader's vantage point of seeing the self as other, other issues of male feminism become increasingly poignant, ranging from the solicitude of listening to Céline (Chapter 2), the responsibility for noise in Nizan (Chapter 3), the asymmetrical pattern of face-to-face relationships in Maupassant (Chapter 4), the sovereignty of laughter in Bataille and Zola (Chapter 5), the call of the other in Italo Svevo (Chapter 6), the Woman as Other in Breton (Chapter 7), the ethical self in Drieu la Rochelle (Chapter 8), the response to Hannah Arendt (Chapter 9), and the vulnerability of Bernard-Henri Lévy (Chapter 10). The male feminist reader is thus the incarnation of the struggle at the core of the issues outlined by Levinas for the act of reading as an ethical endeavor.