The far-reaching cycle of events “Levinas in Kaunas” will focus on the discussion about responsibility and ethics of care

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On 4-8 July, the Emmanuel Levinas Center of the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences (LSMU) together with the LSMU Department of Bioethics and partners from SIREL (France) organises a five-day cycle of events dedicated to Emmanuel Levinas’s personality, life, philosophy, and European values from E. Levinas’s perspective.

Today, as the world faces a meaningless war, real-time monitoring of human killings, pandemics and unprecedented migrant crises inevitably raises questions about humanity, values, relationships, death, guilt, and responsibility.

The world-famous philosopher of Lithuanian origin Emmanuel Levinas, who personally suffered the horrors of world wars and the loss of his loved ones, cared about the same issues.

Having survived hell, he saw the point of talking about forgiveness, concern, an authentic, close, and at the same time responsible relationship with the Other (person), constantly emphasising responsibility for the Other.

Today, we boldly attribute the role of moral authority to E. Levinas, and his philosophical insights become a projection and perspective of values. E. Levinas is a philosopher whose thoughts call for a rise to a higher, more noble level of responsibility. Responsibility that is especially needed today.

Emmanuel Levinas spent his early years in Kaunas, later choosing to study at Western universities, and after becoming a French citizen, he established himself in Paris forever.

“Levinas in Kaunas” is a so-called cycle, which will also be attended by E. Levinas’s daughter Simone Hansel, who will travel from Paris to Kaunas especially on this occasion.

The most important event of the week is the international conference “Young Levinas”, where the most famous researchers of E. Levinas not only from Europe, but also from Canada, USA, Japan, Ukraine will give presentations: Jean-Michel Salanskis, Joëlle Hansel, Andrius Valevičius, Alain David, Corinne Enaudeau , David Lang, Jean François Rey, and others.

Levinas’s philosophy had a great influence on the famous human rights activist, dissident, the President of Czechoslovakia, and later the Czech Republic Vaclav Havel, so it is no coincidence that the Czech Ambassador, His Excellency Vít Korselt, will come to Kaunas to greet participants of the conference.

Levinas’s ideas naturally fit into the healthcare context. E. Levinas’s ethics speaks of meeting the Other, taking responsibility for the Other (the patient), vulnerability and humanity in the relationship, turning to specific human needs, worrying which would reduce pain, suffering and not leaving one alone in the face of death.

Based on E. Levinas’s reflections and adapting his ideas to the current events of our time, we should do everything we can to maintain respect for the person and preserve their dignity, because there is nothing more important in a relationship with another person.

The care ethics perspective, inspired by E. Levin’s ideas, invites doctors, nurses, social workers, and other healthcare professionals to reconsider their mission, values, and relationship with the patient.

The far-reaching cycle of events seeks to spread the word about one of the most famous philosophers of the twentieth century and to bring him back to the field of Lithuanian vision.

The programme of the event can be found here: