chapter  2
Levinas’s Quest for Justice: Of Faith and the “possibility of education”
Pages 15

The focus of this chapter is on Emmanuel Levinas’s concepts of ethics and justice and their profound relevancy to education, yet not in a prescriptive way, as we saw in the introduction that Levinas himself resisted the concept of philosophy being “applied” to education. First, I briefl y recall how Levinas’s refl ection on ethics and justice developed in the context of an ethical vacuum due to a loss of axiological markers which prompted a renewed interest in religious thought. Then I briefl y outline his understanding of ethics, and its connection to the “face-to-face” encounter with the Other, an encounter at the basis of education.2 This fi rst movement towards justice raises the question of the violence inherent in the struggle to affi rm oneself and the “right-to-be,” a concept found at the heart of American education. I then explore Levinas’s quest for justice and the tight link he establishes with responsibility. I conclude with a discussion of his “idea of a possibility” and the promise of an ideal of education.