Dialogue as the "Dialectic of the Soul" or the "Root of Ethics"? Hegel's Legacy and Levinas's Veto

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Neither according to Hegel nor according to Levinas is it possible to define the person independently of collectivity. For both, dialogues play a strategic role in the orientation towards the collective. For Hegel, the “good conscience” is significant because it is a reference for describing the assumptions, and the results of a dialogue. I describe these implications in my first section. In the second section, I present Levinas’s objections to the “good conscience.” Instead of a “good conscience,” for Levinas, conscience is an instance that does not confirm the subject but accuses it. In the third section, I explore Levinas’s understanding of dialogue. In his view, dialogue resists a “priority of knowledge” and has an antecedence that points to the common origin of language and ethics. In my conclusion, I describe the resulting intersections and breaks and how a dialogue between Hegel and Levinas can be established against this background.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-202
Number of pages28
JournalLevinas Studies
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Austrian Fields of Science 2012

  • 603102 Epistemology
  • 603105 Philosophy of history
  • 603103 Ethics


  • Alterity
  • Conscience
  • Ethics
  • History
  • Trauma

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