If [the Other] were my only interlocutor, I would have nothing but obligations! But I don’t live in a world in which there is but one single ‘first comer’; there is always a third party in the world... my central idea is what I called an ‘asymmetry of intersubjectivity’: the exceptional situation of the I. I always recall Dostoyevsky on this subject; one of his characters says: we are all guilty for everything and everyone and I more than all others. But to this idea...I immediately add the concern for the third and, hence, justice. If there were no order of justice, there would be no limit to my responsibility.
Suggested Discussion Questions:
1. What is Levinas saying about our responsibility to others?
2. Who is the third party? How are we meant to engage with them?
3. What social justice themes emerge from this text?
Time Period: Contemporary (The Yom Kippur War until the present-day)