The Origins of Responsibility

The Origins of Responsibility

Raffoul, François
Distribution: World
Publication date: 04/13/2010
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-253-22173-5
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François Raffoul approaches the concept of responsibility in a manner that is distinct from its traditional interpretation as accountability of the willful subject. Exploring responsibility in the works of Nietzsche, Sartre, Levinas, Heidegger, and Derrida, Raffoul identifies decisive moments in the development of the concept, retrieves its origins, and explores new reflections on it. For Raffoul, responsibility is less about a sovereign subject establishing a sphere of power and control than about exposure to an event that does not come from us and yet calls to us. These original and thoughtful investigations of the post-metaphysical senses of responsibility chart new directions for ethics in the continental tradition.

Author Bio

François Raffoul is Professor of Philosophy at Louisiana State University. He is author of Heidegger and the Subject and is translator (with Andrew Mitchell) of Martin Heidegger's Four Seminars (IUP, 2003).


Raffoul shows that philosophers in the continental lineage have persistently concerned themselves with issues of responsibility and provided original ways to rethink the meaning of ethics, choice, freedom, accountability, and moral normativity.This landmark study of responsibility offers novel readings of existing theories from Kant to Levinas and Derrida while giving its own original view of what makes up responsible action. Written with unusual incisiveness, it contains bold insights into how and why human beings are capable of responsibility at every level of their lives.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Origins of Responsibility
1. Aristotle and What Is "Up to Us": Responsibility as Voluntariness
2. Responsibility as Absolute Spontaneity: Kant and Transcendental Freedom
3. The Genealogy of Responsibility: Nietzsche’s Deconstruction of Accountability
4. The Paradoxical Paroxysm of Responsibility: Sartre’s Hyperbolic Responsibility
5. For The Other: Levinas’ Reversal of Responsibility
6. Heidegger’s Originary Ethics
7. Heidegger and the Ontological Origins of Responsibility
8. Derrida and the Impossible Origins of Responsibility
Conclusion: The Future of Responsibility: The Impossible and the Event

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