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Pragmatism and the Phenomenology of Suffering: Remarks on Antitheodicy, Detachment, and Embodied Subjectivity

Zurück zum Heft: Phänomenologische Forschungen 2019-2: Phenomenology and Pragmatism
DOI: 10.28937/1000108368
EUR 16,90

This essay compares Emmanuel Levinas’s phenomenological examination of the ”excess” of suffering to William James’s pragmatism, arguing that both thinkers develop an ”antitheodicist” criticism of theodicist attempts to render suffering meaningful. Their antitheodicism is ultimately based on their phenomenological recognition of the embodied character of human subjectivity and of suffering. The relation between involvement and detachment is then investigated as an issue concerning our ethically appropriate ways of attending to others’ suffering. These notions are also illuminated by some literary references.