Document Type


Publication Date



Initially published in the Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal, 2001, p.119-146.

© 2001 The New School for Social Research


Emmanuel Levinas and Hans Jonas draw on their roots in phenomenology and Judaism to answer the ethical nihilism of Heidegger's thought. Though both Levinas and Jonas aim to ground an imperative of responsibility in a Good-in-itself ultimately sourced in God, their disagreements are basic and revolve around three fundamental questions: (1) Can Jews "after Auschwitz" have a theology without lapsing into theodicy?; (2) Is the Good-in-itself within Being or "otherwise than Being"?; and (3) Is ethics the completion of nature or against nature? I explore possibilities for integrating the apparently incompatible ideas of Levinas and Jonas.



The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author.