File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0107, message 50

Date: Tue, 10 Jul 2001 22:42:35 -0500
Subject: Re: ethics - Levinas


just a few quick points.  I recognise it is impossible to avoid
misreading, but rather than ape Harold Bloom on this, I also want to
suggest that while reading in inexhaustable, there is a certain fidelity
to the author that is possible. For me Lyotard continues to surprise,
but I want to stay as true as possible to what I think he is trying to
say at the moment I am reading him, with all the baggage that is brought
into the room.

Regarding Levinas and God, yes, but isn't that a little like saying "if
god is dead, everything is permissable."  Others have made the same
argument about Kant as well.  He appears to postulate God as a necessary
idea for practical reason to safeguard the Highest Good of the pure
will, without which he says, it is in danger of falling into absurdity.

Yet it is certainly possible to read both Levinas and Kant without
dragging in god.  Lyotard, for one, reads them both atheistically and
still finds things to say about them that is more than just refutation.

So that my lead-in to the Levinas note. Can he be read by impious pagans
in a way that still bears fruit.

Stay tuned.

PS - thanks for the comments.  From what you said, I feel a leaning
towards #3. I think globalism offers a way to rethink the political in a
whole new way and at this stage of the game, questions are more
important than answers.  The discussion must be more than big tent, it
needs to be big sky.

I also have ordered Empire by Negri and Hardt. Maybe this book would
provide a context for further discussion later this summer.  From what I
have been hearing about it, they seem to be framing the issues in an
interesting way.  Is anyone at the conference invoking or critiquing
this book?


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