Essay Comparing The Philosophies Of Levinas And Aristotle

1100 Words5 Pages
In this section I would like to compare two different approaches of the before mentioned concepts of ethics and desire. The first theme that I started my paper with is ethics. Both Levinas and Aristotle in their philosophies strove for the higher good, which for one of them was represented by happiness and for another by the notion of G-d. In their perception this higher good is the eternal truth and understanding of the world. For Levinas, however, the ‘good’ is infinite in a sense that it is not concerned in what is common among all things, but what is entirely unique about each person or thing. In other words, it is based on singularity of things and the absolute uniqueness of objects. For Plato the ‘good’ is neither stable nor material as well, but the means of acquiring it are different. In Plato’s understanding the higher good could be achieved through moral virtue that a person himself has to acquire. This ‘good’ is represented first and foremost by the moral virtue, which in its turn is presented through individual’s desire, action and goal and not by the uniqueness of the Face of Other. In Aristotle humanity becomes virtuous rationally by volition and willingness to act. As Aristotle puts it in, “These virtues are formed in man by his doing the actions ... The good of man is a…show more content…
Just like Plato, Levinas thinks that human desire’s nature is for fulfilling. The message here is “I’m not just looking for someone; I’m looking only in the perspective of how they will be useful in my life”. Both in Plato’s and Levinas’s works, even enjoyment of ‘otherness’ and pure Eros tends to go back to satisfying one’s needs. In his essay “The Ambiguity of Love” Levinas writes, “Love aims at the Other; it aims at him in his frailty (faiblesse)”. People use other people as the answer to their needs. Levinas, however, does not consider desire to be a pure ethical moment in this
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