A Post-constructivist Perspective
Chapter 7. From Response-ability to Responsibility
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FROM RESPONSE-ABILITY TO RESPONSIBILITY
We call forth, and are ourselves summoned by, the words of others. (Holquist, 1990, p. xliv)
[T]he summons is understood only through the response and in it. (Chrétien, 2007, p. 39)
One cannot separate response from responsibility. (p. 3) Source also Chrétien
[T]he one has no sense other than the-one-for-the-other: the diachrony of responsibility constitutes the subjectivity of the subject. (Levinas, 1971, p. 45)
Constructivist epistemologies focus on ethics as a system of values in the mind – even when previously co-constructed in a social context – against which social agents compare the actions that they mentally plan before performing them. This approach is problematic, as it forces a wedge between thought and action, body and mind, universal and practical ethics, and thought and affect. I develop and exemplify in this chapter a post-constructivist discourse on ethics that centers on the dialogical relation of participants in conversation. This discourse overcomes the problems of the constructivist approach. The practical ethics emerge from this approach is consistent with the dialectical (dialogical) conception of ← 141 | 142 → the world-as-event. I conclude by suggesting that the Saying constitutes a dialectical/dialogical paradigm of a post-constructivist ethics. The Saying inherently is a micro-event*-in-the-making, and we will not know while listening what will have been said when the Saying has come to its end. The Saying therefore is an appropriate figure that goes with all other figures in...
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