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Drichel, S. (2017). On Narcissism and “Ethical Impairment”: A Discussion of Gregory Rizzolo’s “Alterity, Masochism, and Ethical Desire: A Kohutian Perspective on Levinas’ Ethics of Responsibility for the Other”. Psychoanal. Self. Cxt., 12(2):122-130.
    

(2017). Psychoanalysis, Self, and Context, 12(2):122-130

On Narcissism and “Ethical Impairment”: A Discussion of Gregory Rizzolo’s “Alterity, Masochism, and Ethical Desire: A Kohutian Perspective on Levinas’ Ethics of Responsibility for the Other”

Simone Drichel, Ph.D.

Gregory Rizzolo’s “act of translation” between Levinasian ethics and Kohut’s self psychology focuses on the question of narcissism. He argues that what ethics requires is not what he calls “moral masochism,” but instead a healthy sense of self. This discussion considers Rizollo’s provocative proposal with close reference to Levinas’s work, both to draw attention to what Levinas calls “the limit to responsibility” and to reflect on what Levinas’s critique of Western philosophy as an “egology” entails. Casting narcissism, or “egology,” as “ethical impairment,” I draw on Daniel Shaw’s conception of “traumatic narcissism” to suggest that what will need closer analysis is narcissism’s roots in relational trauma. In as much as such a trauma affects our “capacity for intersubjective relatedness,” it also affects our ethical capacity. What ethics requires is, therefore, a reconnection with our relational vulnerability: not “moral masochism,” but surrender.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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