Why Ethics? Signs of Responsibilities

ISBN-10: 0691009635
ISBN-13: 9780691009636
Edition: 2000
Authors: Robert Gibbs
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Description: Robert Gibbs presents here an ambitious new theory of ethics. Drawing on a striking combination of intellectual traditions, including Jewish thought, continental philosophy, and American pragmatism, Gibbs argues that ethics is primarily concerned  More...

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Book details

List price: $52.50
Copyright year: 2000
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 9/17/2000
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 384
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.25" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.298

Robert Gibbs presents here an ambitious new theory of ethics. Drawing on a striking combination of intellectual traditions, including Jewish thought, continental philosophy, and American pragmatism, Gibbs argues that ethics is primarily concerned with responsibility and is not--as philosophers have often assumed--principally a matter of thinking about the right thing to do and acting in accordance with the abstract dictates of reason or will. More specifically, ethics is concerned with attending to others' questions and bearing responsibility for what they do. Gibbs builds this innovative case by exploring the implicit responsibilities in a broad range of human interactions, paying especially close attention to the signs that people give and receive as they relate to each other.Why Ethics?starts by examining the simple actions of listening and speaking, reading and writing, and by focusing on the different responsibilities that each action entails. The author discusses what he describes as the mutual responsibilities implicit in the actions of reasoning, mediating, and judging. He assesses the relationships among ethics, pragmatics, and Jewish philosophy. The book concludes by looking at the relation of memory and the immemorial, emphasizing the need to respond for past actions by confessing, seeking forgiveness, and making reconciliations. In format, Gibbs adopts a Talmudic approach, interweaving brief citations from primary texts with his commentary. He draws these texts from diverse thinkers and sources, including Levinas, Derrida, Habermas, Rosenzweig, Luhmann, Peirce, James, Royce, Benjamin, Maimonides, the Bible, and the Talmud. Ranging over philosophy, literary theory, social theory, and historiography, this is an ambitious and provocative work that holds profound lessons for how we think about ethics and how we seek to live responsibly.

Acknowledgments
Abbreviations and Notes on Citations
Introduction Why Questions?
The Response in Responsibility
Signs
Commentaries
A Map
The Authors and Texts
Attending the Future
Why Listen?
Attending the Teacher
Asymmetry
Receiving the World
The Face and Consciosness
Apology
Why Speak?
The Saving
Bodily Signifying
Saying the Saying
Witness to Glory
Why Write?
Writing Withdratual
Saying and Writing
The Trace and Crossing out
Why Read?
The Hidden Thread
Closure of Philosophy
Re-citation
Why Comment?
The Written Command
Reading and Separation
Commentaries
Presentjudgments
Why Reason?
The Third and Justice
Mutuality and Justice
Mutuality and Asymmetry
Why Mediate?
Communication and Love
Media for Communication
Mediating Consensus
Why Judge?
Attribution
We and Ye
Universality and the Outside
Judgment Day
Unjust Judgment
Why Law?
Justifying the World
Preserving Contradictions
Judgment and the Oppressed
Pragmatism, Pragmatics, and Method
Why Verify?
Performative Method
Empiricisms: Absolute and Radical
Pragmatism and Pragmaticism
Why Thirds?
The Third Person
Interpretation and Thirds
Why Me?
Interpreters and Signs
Me and I
The Indeclinable Accusative (Me)
Why Translate?
Reason and Jewish Sources
Jewish New Thinking
Contemporary Translation
A Necessary Trial
Repenting History
Why Repent?
Return
Great Is Repentance
Social Repentance
Why Confess?
Confessing Orally
Performance of the "I"
Confession of Love
Why Forgive?
Forgive or Forget
Changing the Past
Being Forgiven
Why Remember?
Calendars
Historiography
Ruins and Remnants
Epilogue Postmodern Jewish Philosophy and Modernity
Pretext Index
Name Index
Subject Index

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