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Levinas, Existentialism, and the Making of the Modern Self
Presented by Rabbi Tal Sessler, Ph.D. on March 7, 2020
This lecture will explore the secular West’s journey for identity, and for the consolidation of authentic individuality for the modern person, in light of all the upheavals of the 20th century. We examine some of the psychological, social and political aspects in the work of ethicist and philosopher Emmanuel Levinas, in conjunction with some of his contemporaries including Heidegger, Sartre and Martin Buber. Levinas’ concepts of treating others ethically, with compassion and empathy are rooted in his deep connection to the Other, which carries a sense of moral authority and relationship to the world beyond the ego.
Rabbi Tal Sessler, Ph.D., has taught at the New School for Social Research in NY, and is the author of three books in continental philosophy and modern Jewish identity, including Levinas and Camus: Humanism for the 21st Century and Leibowitz and Levinas: Between Judaism & Universalism.