At the Same Time: Essays and Speeches by Susan Sontag

By Susan Sontag

Sontag's incisive intelligence, expressive brilliance, and deep interest approximately paintings, politics, and the writer's accountability to undergo witness have secured her position as probably the most very important thinkers and writers of the 20 th century.

At an analogous Time gathers 16 essays and speeches written within the final years of Sontag's lifestyles, whilst her paintings used to be being commemorated at the foreign degree. She writes of the liberty of literature, approximately braveness and resistance, and fearlessly addresses the dilemmas of post-9/11 the USA, from the degradation of our political rhetoric to the appalling torture of prisoners in Abu Ghraib.

David Rieff describes his mother's ardour in his foreword: "She desired to event every little thing, flavor every little thing, cross all over, do every thing. certainly, if I had just one notice with which to awaken her, it'd be avidity. . . . i feel that, for her, the enjoyment of residing and the enjoyment of figuring out quite have been one and the same."

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2/Ha73)`" Levinas immediately goes on to add: "It would he a question of a new concept of passivity, of a passivity more radical than that of an effect in a causal series, on the hitherside of consciousness and knowing" (CPI 32/1-673). The 15 LEVINAS, PHENOMENOLOGY AND HIS CRITICS formulation is "new" but the reflection behind it is as old as the 'I'almud: "to leave men without food is a fault that no circumstance attenuates; the distinction between the voluntary and the involuntary does not apply here" (Rabbi Yochanan, Synhedrin treatisc, quoted TI201/Ti175).

It would set forth a verdict deriving from implacable and universal principies that would require justification in turn, leading to an infinite regress. Although in Totality and Infinity it is Descartes who supplies the model of critique "as a tracing back to what precedes freedom" (T185/1157), in the publications that follow wc find Kant taking over this role. Levinas's reading of Descartes is extremely atypical and selective. 25 All of these are considered dogmas which criticism is called upon to expose at every turn.

As a "simultaneity [f. 49 In "humanism and An-archy," an essay contemporary with "La Substitution" (1968), the kcrnel of Otherwise Than Being, the expository strategy of antilogy is radicalized. "Ethics here makes its cntry into philosophical discourse, which at the start was strictly ontological, as an extreme turning around of its possibilities" (CP135/Ha77). " Few criticisms are - likely to run deeper than the charge that Levinas's account of responsibility as "pure passivity that precedes freedom" (CP136/ Ha79) is a rarefied form of determinism.

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