Hesperus is Bosphorus

A group blog by philosophers in and from Turkey

Talk at Bogazici: Basak Keki (Sussex): “Nietzsche and Levinas on Suffering and Evil”

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Friday, Dec 6, 6pm, TB (Anderson Hall) 130

Let me emphasize that the talk is at 6pm, usually our Friday talks are at 5.



Both Nietzsche and Levinas reveal the same worry regarding the meaning of the human subject and the constitution of agency after the end of theodicy; in the former’s case this relates to death of god whereas for the latter, this notion concerns proposing an ethical response to evil. The theme of suffering is significantly relevant to both philosophers in their conceptions of individuality and moral subjectivity. Nietzsche regards it naive to take evil personal and degenerative to associate suffering with evil. Levinas on the other hand, vehemently emphasizes the intricate link between suffering and evil; and asserts that denying this close link could suggest indifference to the suffering of the Other and hence must be rejected. For Nietzsche, suffering can play a crucial role in contributing to the individuation of the individual if it can be handled wisely whereas Levinas argues that suffering in its excessive monstrosity and pure absurdity entails the annihilation of the subject altogether. The stimulating contrast between these two philosophers sheds some light upon the moral dilemmas regarding the intelligibility of evil and conferring meaning on suffering. In this study, without promising any compromise – which would only do injustice to both thinkers – I nevertheless intend to show that the confrontation between Nietzsche and Levinas enables us to see the merits and the limitations of both approaches much more clearly.


Written by markedwardsteen

December 4, 2013 at 1:13 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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