Do Animals, Plants and Things Have Faces? Levinas, Diehm, and Eco-Phenomenology
Eco-phenomenology is a young branch of contemporary phenomenology and environmental ethics that attempts to put aside all preconceptions burdening the relationship between humans and nature, to describe it purely on the basis of how it appears phenomenologically, and to draw ethical implications that could contribute to solving the ecological crisis. Authors inspired by Levinas’ ethics play an important role in this project, asking whether it could be extended to non-human beings. The article addresses two of them in particular: it shows how Ch. Diehm – who sees the core of Levinas’ ethics in sensitivity to the suffering of the vulnerable body – succeeded in comparison to his predecessor S. Benso and her ethics of things, but also marks the limits of his attempt, thus indicating what remains a challenge for Levinas-inspired eco-phenomenology in the future.