Moral education from Levinas: Another educational model

La educación moral a partir de Levinas: otro modelo educativo

Pedro Ortega Ruiz and Eduardo Romero Sánchez


This work takes Levinasian ethics and anthropology as sources to inspire a new pedagogical discourse and educational prax­is in the field of moral education. In this paradigm, the human being is a historical, situational being that is open to the other from its vulnerability. Accordingly, moral education becomes a compassionate, wel­coming response to the other in its situation of special need. The authors highlight the close link between education and a particu­lar conception of the human being and how it relates to others. To ask about education is to ask about the human. Levinasian eth­ics do not back setting specific guidelines for educational action; they only justify the creation of an educational climate (ethos) in classrooms that favours openness to the other through action in the following are­as of intervention: pupils’ experience as a space of encounter; teachers’ testimony; attention to students in their context; the need to examine the sense of responsibilty further; and the pedagogy of donation. Mor­al education, based on Levinasian ethics, can serve to increase alerity and humanise the school and society.

Please, cite this article as follows: Ortega Ruiz, P., & Romero Sánchez, E. (2022). La educación moral a partir de Levinas: otro modelo educativo | Moral education from Levinas: Another educational modelRevista Española de Pedagogía, 80 (282), 233-249.

Biesta, G. (2010). Education after the death of the subject: Levinas and the Pedagogy of Interrup­tion. In Leonardo Zeus (Ed.), Handbook of Cultural Politics and Education. Contexts in Education. Volume 4 (pp. 289-300). Sense Pu­blishers.

Butler, J. (2006). Vida precariat [Precarious life]. Paidós.

Chinnery, A. (2003). Aesthetics of surrender: Levinas and the disruption of agency in moral education. Studies in Philosophy and Education22 (1), 5-17. https://doi.or­g/10.1023/A:1021129309618

Delgado, I. (2010). Perspectiva antropológica de la educación. Visión desde la filosofía dialógica y personalista [Anthropological perspective of education. Vision from the dialogic and person-alist philosophy]. revista española de peda­gogía, 68 (247), 479-495.

Derrida, J. (1995). Dar (el) tiempo [Give (the) time]. Paidós.

González Rodríguez Arnáiz, G. (2002). La intercul­turalidad como categoría moral [Interculturali­ty as a moral category]. In G. González Rodrí­guez Arnáiz (Coord.), El discurso intercultural. Prolegómenos a una filosofía intercultural (pp. 77-106). Biblioteca Nueva.

Hegel, G. W. (2005). Lecciones sobre la filosofía de la historia universal [Lessons on the philosophy of world history]. Tecnos.

Lee, S. (2019). Ethics is an optics: Ethical practi­cality and the exposure of teaching. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 53 (1), 145-164. ht­tps://

Levinas, E. (1993). Entre nosotros [Amongst us]. Pre-Textos.

Levinas, E. (1998). La huella del otro [The other’s footprint]. Taurus.

Levinas, E. (2000). Totality and infinity: An essay on exteriority. Duquesne University Press.

Levinas, E. (2008). Nombres propios [Proper nouns]. Fundación Enmanuel Mounier.

Levinas, E. (2011). De otro modo que ser o más allá de la esencia [Other than being or beyond essence]. Ediciones Sígueme.

Levinas, E. (2014). Alteridad y trascendencia [Alter-ity and transcendence]. Arena Libros.

Levinas, E. (2015). Ética e infinito [Ethics and infin-ity]. Edit. Machado.

Martín, X., Gijón, M., & Puig Rovira, J. M.ª (2019). Pedagogía del don. Relación y servicio en edu­cación [Pedagogy of the gift. Relationship and service in education]. Estudios sobre Educación, 37, 51-68.

Matanky, E. (2018). The temptation of pedagogy: Levinas´s educational thought from his philo­sophical and confesional writings. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 52 (3), 412-427. ht­tps://

Mèlich, J. C. (2002). Filosofía de la finitud [Philoso­phy of finitude]. Herder.

Mèlich, J. C. (2010). Ética de la compasión [Ethics of compassion]. Herder.

Mèlich, J. C. (2021). La fragilidad del mundo: Ensa­yo sobre un tiempo precario [The fragility of the world: Essay on a precarious time.]. Tusquets.

Ortega, P. (2010). Educar es responder a la pregun­ta del otro. Edetania, 37, 13-31.

Ortega, P. (2016). La ética de la compasión en la pedagogía de la alteridad [The ethics of compassion in the pedagogy of alterity]. re­vista española de pedagogía74 (264), 243-264.

Ortega, P., & Romero, E. (2019). A la intemperie. Conversaciones desde la pedagogía de la alte­ridad [Out in the open. Conversations from the pedagogy of otherness]. Octaedro.

Ortega, P., & Romero, E. (2021). El valor de la ex­periencia del alumno como contenido educativo [The value of the student’s experience as edu­cational content]. Teoría de la Educación. Re­vista Interuniversitaria33 (1), 89-110. https://

Pagès, A. (2016). Actualidad de la Hermenéutica como Filosofía de la Educación [Actuality of Hermeneutics as Philosophy of Education]. revista española de pedagogía, 74 (264), 265-281.

Pallarés, M. (2020). Educación humanizada. Una aproximación a partir del legado de Heinrich Rombach [Humanized education. An approach based on the legacy of Heinrich Rombach]. Es­tudios Sobre Educación38, 9-27. https://doi. org/10.15581/004.38.9-27

Pérez-Guerrero, J. (2016). Ser humano como tarea. Ideas para una antropología de educación de inspiración clásica [The human being as a task. Ideas for a Classically-inspired anthropology of education]. revista española de pedagogía74 (264), 227-241.

Sánchez-Rojo, A. (2019). Pedagogía de la atención para el siglo xxi: más allá de una perspectiva psicológica [Pedagogy of attention for the twen­ty-first century: beyond a psychological pers­pective]revista española de pedagogía77 (274), 421-436.

Santos, M. (2013). Educación y construcción del Self en la Filosofía Helenística según Michel Fou­cault [Education and Construction of Self in Hel-lenistic philosophy by Michel Foucault]. revis­ta española de pedagogía71 (256), 479-492.

Standish, P. (2020). Lines of testimony. Journal of Philosophy of Education54 (2), 319-339. ht­tps://

Todd, S. (2003). Learning from the other: Levinas, psychoanalysis, and ethical possibilities in edu­cation. State University of New York Press.

Todd, S. (2016). Education Incarnate. Educational Practice and Theory48 (4), 405-417. http://dx.

Toumayan, A. (2004). “I More than the Others”: Dos­toevsky and Levinas. Yale French Studies, 104, 55–66.

Waldenfels, B. (2015). La ética responsiva entre la respuesta y la responsabilidad [Responsive ethics between responsiveness and responsibi­lity]. Apeiron, 3, 205-214.

Zamora, J. A. (2004). T. W. Adorno. Pensar contra la barbarie. Trotta.

Zhao, G. (2012). Levinas and the mission of edu­cation. Educational Theory62 (6), 659-675.

Zhao, G. (2014). Freedom reconsidered: het-eronomy, open subjectivity, and the ‘gift of teaching’. Studies in Philosophy and Educa­tion33 (5), 510-524. s11217-013-9401-4

Pedro Ortega Ruiz holds a doctor-ate in Pedagogy. He has studied pedagogy at the Università Pontificia Salesiana in Rome, the Universidad de Valencia and the Universidad de Murcia. He is a re-tired Professor of the Theory and His­tory of Education at the Universidad de Murcia. He is co-author of books like: La enseñanza de actitudes y valores [Teaching attitudes and values] (1986); La educación moral del ciudadano de hoy [The moral education of the cit-izen of today] (2001) A la intemperie. Conv­ersaciones desde la pedagogía de la alteridad [In the open: conversations from the pedago­gy of otherness] (2019). He holds the Educa­tion and Values Distinguished Chair at the Cetys-Universidad (Mexico) and is director of REDIPE (the Ibero-American Pedagogy Network).

Eduardo Romero Sánchez is Professor in the Department of Theory and His- tory of Education at the Universidad de Murcia. He is a member of the Education in Values Research Group and coordinator of the Research Area of the Social Exclu- sion Observatory at the Universidad de Murcia. His principal academic contribu- tions focus on the following lines: the phi- losophical and anthropological dimension of education; Levinasian ethics and the pedagogy of otherness; and processes of social and educational exclusion. He holds the Education and Values Distinguished Chair at the Cetys-Universidad (Mexico). He is currently taking part in the Conste- llations of authoritarianism: memory and presence of a threat to democracy from a philosophical and interdisciplinary pers- pective research project with the Institute of Philosophy of the CSIC (Spain’s natio- nal research council).

Data collected by PlumX Metrics.

This article has been read 580 times