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Title: Emmanuel Levinas and Harry Frankfurt: Subjectivity and the Reasons of Love
Keywords: Subjectivity,Love,Frankfurt,Levinas,Other,Ethics
Issue Date: 17-Jan-2011
Citation: ANURATHA SELVARAJ (2011-01-17). Emmanuel Levinas and Harry Frankfurt: Subjectivity and the Reasons of Love. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: In Harry Frankfurt?s well-known text The Reasons of Love, the philosopher considers what it means for a person to live well, by asking why we do the things we do for the things we love (and, because of what we love). This paper seeks to offer insight into his concept of subjectivity through an assessment of the `reasons of love? he presents, and by introducing the ideas of the Lithuanian philosopher Emmanuel Levinas on the origins of ethics and of care. The goal of this combination is to achieve a deeper understanding of both a life well lived and, further, what it means to be a person. I will begin with a description of Frankfurt?s theory of subjectivity. I explore his notion of a subject or person via his theory of volition and explain how it fits into his theory of the reasons of love and his conceptions of a life well lived. Following this, I explain my main concern with Frankfurt?s theory ? that what he defines as `wholeheartedness? (which he claims is sufficient to classify a life as well lived) is not, as it stands, a sufficient condition for a life well lived. It admits too many immoral possibilities to be sufficient. I then move on to discussing aspects of Levinas? theory of metaphysics. Since Levinas does not explicitly talk about love, one of my tasks is to reconstruct Levinas? ideas by drawing from his thoughts on responsibility and care for the other, which many of us would relate to love. Next, I map the ideas brought up by both Frankfurt and Levinas on to my own framework, which I refer to in this paper as the `Two-Part Structure of Love?. The two parts include a concept of love from enjoyment and a concept of love that is based on what I refer to as a love for humankind. After explaining these concepts, I show how this two part structure of love can circumvent the problem found in Frankfurt?s theory and offer a fuller and stronger account of the reasons of love and how they shape a person.
Appears in Collections:Master's Theses (Open)

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