Levinas on Teaching
Keywords:Levinas, education, alterity, the face to face relation, embodiment
The teaching relation has always been a puzzle. Some take education as the passing on and acquisition of information. They regard the lecture format as crucial. Others see it in terms of developing the reasoning ability of students. In seminars and conversations, they strive to have their students reflect and learn to “think for themselves.” Their goal is a rational individual capable of insight. Levinas, the French Philosopher, who famously positioned ethics as first philosophy, i.e., as determinative of how we think of ourselves and our world, advances a novel view, one springing from the “face to face” relation. In this article, we explore how his understanding of this relation leads to his situating education in an ethical context.
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