In Ethics--Politics--Subjectivity , Simon Critchley takes up three questions at the centre of contemporary theoretical debate: What is ethical experience? What can be said of the subject who has this experience? What, if any, is the relation of ethical experience to politics?
These questions are approached by way of a critical confrontation with a number of major thinkers, including Lacan, Genet, Blanchot, Nancy, Rorty and, in particular, Levinas and Derrida. Critchley offers a critical reconstruction of Levinas's notion of ethical experience and, questioning the religious pietism and political conservatism of the dominant interpretation of Levinas's work, develops an ethics of finitude which, far from being tragic, opens on to an experience of humour and the comic. Using this reading of Levinas as a way of unlocking the rich ethical potential of Derrida's work, Critchley outlines and defends the political possibilities of deconstruction. On the basis of Derrida's recent work, Critchley attempts to rethink notions of friendship, democracy, economics and technology.