The Force of Resistance: Religious Events and Political Discourse

Although a frustrating incalculable for the engineers of government, religion must be acknowledged as that without which the techniques and technologies of human subjectivity would not exist. I am not here arguing for the adoption of certain religious practices or beliefs, but simply qualifying the centrality of the political by insisting on the necessity of the religious. I maintain that the asymmetry characteristic of all civilizations stems from ruptures that I describe as religious, or evental—terms that I maintain are equivalent. To probe the intricacies of asymmetrical warfare in the twenty-first century is to ask, “Whence and whither the Event?”

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Adorno and Levinas: From Freedom to Peace

In this essay I attempt to sketch out the possibility of a response to the problem of the relation between ethics and politics in Emmanuel Levinas’s philosophy. Levinas’s ethics as first philosophy is revolutionary, and promising, but it leads to a gap between ethics and politics. This is a genuine problem, since depending on how one problematizes this gap and responds to it, one may end up with different, even opposing, views of Levinas’s thought, ranging from the right side of the political spectrum to its very left. In order to respond to this problem, I examine the possibility of a constructive dialogue between Levinas’s ethics and Adorno’s negative dialectics. In particular, I approach the relation between ethics and politics in Levinas from the standpoint of the question of history.

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Some Remarks on Judith Butler and Emmanuel Levinas

The reader may recall observations made in 2013 by Professor Bruno Chaouat of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities regarding the strange quotation, or misquotation, of Emmanuel Levinas by Judith Butler. In one of her recent books, Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism, Butler quotes Levinas as having said that Palestinians are “faceless.” Such a statement was obviously pure invention on her part and in no way figures in the text she claims it comes from: “Israël, éthique et politique.” Many of her epigones jumped to her defense, hardly allowing a serious debate on methods and ethics of scholarship.

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