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14. Victims, Executioners, and the Ethics of Political Violence: A Levinasian Reading of Dawn

Edited by Steven T Katz and Alan Rosen Indiana University Press ePub



I AM STRUCK BY THE coherence of Elie Wiesel's life and work over many decades, by his unwavering conviction that, in all human affairs, questions are more valuable to us than answers, especially in the matter of ethics. In the following pages, I will discuss Wiesel's first novel, Dawn, initially published in 1960 in France, which is about the ethical uncertainty entailed in any attempt to achieve political aims through terrorist violence, a theme that is as relevant today as it was over fifty years ago.1 I wish to show how Dawn uses a variety of literary techniques and imaginative devices to encounter the complex entwinement of ethics and politics. Furthermore, I will suggest that the novel explores ethical questions with imagery and ideas that often resemble those used by the French philosopher Emmanuel Levinas. If the Levinasian “face of the Other” offers a powerful key for reading Dawn, the novel also offers a means of illustrating what Levinasian ethics really mean. That is to say, the novel and Levinas's concept of the “face” shed light on each other. My discussion will also illustrate a broader point: that literature, in both content and style, helps us explore ethical questions in ways not open to traditional philosophical discourse.2

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2. [Lecture on Practical Logic]

Peirce, Charles S. Indiana University Press PDF


W R I T I N G S OF C H A R L E S S. P E I R C E , 1872-1878

^Lecture on Practical Logic7

MS 191: Summer-Fall 1872

I suppose that the fundamental proposition from which all metaphysics takes its rise is that opinions tend to an ultimate settlement

& that a predestinate one. Upon most subjects at least sufficient experience, discussion, and reasoning will bring men to an agreement; and another set of men by an independent investigation with sufficient experience, discussion, and reasoning will be brought to the same agreement as the first set.

Hence we infer that there is something which determines opinions and which does not depend upon them. To this we give the name of the real. Now this real may be regarded from two opposite points of view.

In the first place, to say that thought tends to come to a determinate conclusion, is to say that it tends to an end or is influenced by a final cause. This final cause, the ultimate opinion, is independent of how you, I, or any number of men think. Let whole generations think as perversely as they will; they can only put off the ultimate opinion but cannot change its character. So the ultimate conclusion is that which determines opinions and does not depend upon them and so is the real object of cognition. This is idealism since it supposes the real to be of the nature of thought.

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2 Anne Frank from Page to Stage

Edited by Barbara KirshenblattGimblett Indiana University Press ePub

Edna Nahshon

Scene: Apartment kitchen, Upper West Side, New York City.

Time: Shortly before Passover, spring 1997.

Characters: the Author of this essay; her Son, a high-school senior, helping in the kitchen.

Author (focused on chopping vegetables, chatting casually): So, what are your friends doing for the holiday?

Son: Well, David is having a seder at home, Avi is going to relatives on Long Island.

Author: And Ruth?

Son: Ruth’s family has an invitation for the second seder, but her mom doesn’t know how to prepare a seder and she wanted to do “something Jewish,” so she bought theater tickets for Anne Frank.

Although this conversation—which took place when The Diary of Anne Frank enjoyed its first Broadway revival in forty-two years—may seem trivial, it raises key issues about the play. First is the use of theater as a “sacred space” to affirm an ethno-religious identity and moral code. Attending a performance of this play in lieu of a Passover seder may not be a common practice, but the notion that seeing The Diary of Anne Frank is an exceptional, morally galvanizing experience has a considerable history, dating back to the play’s first production. As literary scholars Peter Brooks and John G. Cawelti have argued, the dramatic and literary form of melodrama, of which The Diary of Anne Frank is an example, developed in post-sacred cultures in order to satisfy their need for a secular system of ethics. When replacing the church or synagogue as the forum for contemplating the nature of good and evil, the theater has the power of endowing everyday life with a moral order.1

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Chapter Two

Scott Russell Sanders Indiana University Press ePub

Unlikely as it seemed to Phoenix, Teeg did meet him at the gamepark. Afraid she might not recognize him in the crowd of merrymakers and chemmieguzzlers, he wore the same mask and costume as yesterday. He would have dangled a sign about his neck, if need be, to attract her attention. Who cared a fig about the stares? He stood on a bench to make himself a landmark, high above the passing wigs, and presently he spied her slipping toward him through the crush of people. Facepaint instead of mask, baggy robe kicking at her feet, hood tied crookedly about her head. Thrown-together look, as usual.

“So you came,” she announced, with what seemed like mild surprise. She drew him away from the racket of electronic warfare, past the simulators where people lined up to pretend they were piloting rockets or submarines, past the booths where ecstatic customers twitched upon eros couches.

“Zoo time,” Teeg muttered, leading him on. She said something else, too, but Phoenix could only make out her bitter tone and not the words, for two opponents were haranguing one another on a nearby shouting stage.

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53. Review of Buckley’s Moral Teachings of Science

Charles S. Peirce Indiana University Press PDF


Review of Buckley’s Moral

Teachings of Science

2 June 1892

The Nation

Moral Teachings of Science. By Arabella B. Buckley. D. Appleton & Co. 1892.

Another subject so important, vast, and difficult it would be hard to name—a subject which not every philosopher of the first rank would be competent adequately to treat. Not mere clear insight into one aspect of philosophy is sufficient; a full appreciation of what belongs to the spirit of all the different leading schools of thought is required. To say that the subject is far beyond the powers of the authoress is no disparagement.

Nor has she attempted any thorough or philosophical discussion. It is not science which has dictated her teachings, but traditional ideas, for which she ingeniously finds considerable countenance in facts of natural history. But these facts are somewhat isolated and sporadic; they are not the leading facts of any current scientific theory. That they play so little part in science perhaps indicates a defect in scientific theories.

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