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Title: Otherness and empathy-implications of Levinas ethics for social work education
Authors: Tsang, NM 
Keywords: Education
Conceptual issues
Ethics and values
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group
Source: Social work education, 2017, v. 36, no. 3, p. 312-322 How to cite?
Journal: Social work education 
Abstract: This paper examines the concept of otherness in Levinas' ethics and raises related issues regarding the limits of empathy on philosophical grounds. This study also identifies and discusses a number of linguistic, social and cultural barriers that can establish such limits on practical grounds. This paper raises various considerations for social work educators teaching empathy. Such considerations suggest that social work educators could adopt a stance of `understanding and not understanding' and a dialectical approach in using knowledge and skills. Furthermore, this study challenges the common assumption that empathy leads to compassionate action. Apart from empathy, moral commitment is necessary to engage in such action. This article discusses such moral commitment in relation to Levinas' notions of face and responsibility that place ethics before knowledge. Hence, the present study brings the attention of social work educators back to the importance of nourishing virtue and the moral character of students.
ISSN: 0261-5479
EISSN: 1470-1227
DOI: 10.1080/02615479.2016.1238063
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