Freedoms and Rights in a Levinasian Society of Neighbors (pages 163-173)

Marlon Jesspher B. De Vera

ABSTRACT: This paper attempts to argue that a radically different notion of freedoms and rights that originates from the other, that is founded on the infinite responsibility for the other, and that demands an encounter with the other as pure alterity, could be a plausible starting point towards the conception and possible realization of a Levinasian society of neighbors. First, an explication is made on why a radical change in the area of freedoms and rights could be the starting point towards a social, political, and moral philosophical framework based on the radical philosophy of Levinas as elaborated in his Otherwise than Being or Beyond Essence. Then, a discussion on conventional conceptions of freedoms and rights, particularly those based on liberalism, libertarianism, and utilitarianism, is presented as groundwork for a comparative analysis between these conventional conceptions and a radical notion that would be entailed by a conception of a Levinasian society of neighbors. Lastly, an attempt is made to characterize a radically different conception of freedoms and rights based on the philosophy of Levinas and to argue how it could be the starting point towards the conception and possible realization of a Levinasian society of neighbors.

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