Alphonso Lingis: The limits of responsibility Cover Image

Alphonso Lingis: atsakomybės ribos
Alphonso Lingis: The limits of responsibility

Author(s): Danutė Bacevičiūtė
Subject(s): Ethics / Practical Philosophy, Contemporary Philosophy, Phenomenology
Published by: Lietuvos kultūros tyrimų
Keywords: responsibility; sensitive flesh; human animality; Alphonso Lingis;

Summary/Abstract: The article deals with the problem of responsibility in the work of Alphonso Lingis, a Lithuanian-born American phenomenologist. Lingis discusses the problem of responsibility in two aspects: 1) by criticizing rational and autonomous responsibility that opposes humanity to animality; 2) by elaborating responsibility as our response to imperatives that are received in our environment. In the latter case, responsibility appears not as the power of autonomous subject, but as the responsibility that is provoked by the suffering of the other, by some importance and necessity. This responsibility supposes not the human–animal opposition but an affinity that emerges from our sensitive flesh. In the first part of the article, the author argues that Lingis criticizes the notions of autonomous subject and of radical otherness because these notions determine responsibility as the abstraction from the concrete worldly experience. In his turn, Lingis offers the notion of responsibility as a tactful response that (because of our sensitive body) makes us potentially responsible in every situation, but requires our concrete response in this particular situation. In the second part of the article, the author discusses the human–animal distinction and the notion of human animality in the ethics of Kant and Lingis. The author maintains that Lingis describes subjectivity (the self) not as the self-reflective account but as the intensification of passion and reveals the animal vigor of the mind so as to erase the human–animal distinction and inspire the thought that resists escapism.

  • Issue Year: 2016
  • Issue No: 11
  • Page Range: 91-105
  • Page Count: 15
  • Language: Lithuanian