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Title: Subjectivity, infinite ethical responsibility and null-site exposure : a constructive exploration of Levinasian subjectivity through the lens of the Levinasian concept of utopia
Author: Mao, Xin
ISNI:       0000 0004 6347 9856
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2017
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With a view to staking fresh vantage points from which to address the highly difficult and often fluid notion of subjectivity in Levinas, this thesis undertakes a comprehensive and critically constructive exploration of the Levinasian concept of utopia, a concept which, in any of its multifaceted and evolving designations and contexts throughout the Levinasian corpus, is integrally intertwined with subjectivity. While utopia understood in the more usual sense of ‘good place’ does occasionally feature to a secondary extent in some earlier discussions, the primary and decisive import of the Levinasian meaning is found first in its designation as ‘non-­‐place’ (on the level of the subjectivity of sensibility, especially in relation to the ‘dwelling’) and then later, crucially and far-­‐reachingly, as ‘null-­‐site’ (on the level of ethical subjectivity, which will in turn have vital ramifications on problems of subjectivity at the political and also religious or ‘prophetic’ levels). The thesis thereby makes its constructive contributions not only in demonstratively bringing, via the utopian concept, the possibility of new levels of integration and coherence (organically and developmentally) to what in the secondary literature have often been seen as contradictory stances on Levinasian subjectivity in its various contexts (sensible, ethical, political and so on); but also in providing the first comprehensive and in-­‐ depth structured analysis of utopia as a strategic theme across the Levinasian corpus. Among the several specific accomplishments and outcomes will be the thesis’s ability, via the concept of utopia, to shed new light on the pressing and widely discussed problem of how the integrity of ethical subjectivity as infinite responsibility for the other can be preserved in the justice demanded on the political level.
Supervisor: Janz, Paul Dwight ; Yao, Xinzhong Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available