Related Entries 1. He is the eldest child in a middle class family and has two brothers, Boris and Aminadab. The family returns to Lithuania in , two years after the country obtains independence from the Revolutionary government. Levinas studies philosophy with Maurice Pradines, psychology with Charles Blondel, and sociology with Maurice Halbwachs.

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Links Awards Internationally renowned as one of the great French philosophers of the twentieth century, the late Emmanuel Levinas remains a pivotal figure across the humanistic disciplines for his insistence—against the grain of Western philosophical tradition—on the primacy of ethics in philosophical investigation.

This first English translation of a series of twelve essays known as Alterity and Transcendence offers a unique glimpse of Levinas defining his own place in the history of philosophy. Published by a mature thinker between and , these works exhibit a refreshingly accessible perspective that seasoned admirers and newcomers will appreciate. Without presupposing an intimate knowledge of the history of philosophy, Levinas explores the ways in which Plotinus, Descartes, Husserl, and Heidegger have encountered the question of transcendence.

In discourses on the concepts of totality and infinity, he locates his own thinking in the context of pre-Socratic philosophers, Aristotle, Leibniz, Spinoza, Kant, and Descartes. Always centering his discussions on the idea of interpersonal relations as the basis of transcendence, Levinas reflects on the rights of individuals and how they are inextricably linked to those of others , the concept of peace, and the dialogic nature of philosophy.

Finally, in interviews conducted by Christian Chabanis and Angelo Bianchi, Levinas responds to key questions not directly addressed in his writings. Throughout, Alterity and Transcendence reveals a commitment to ethics as first philosophy—obliging modern thinkers to investigate not merely the true but the good.

It is of particular interest to those who try philosophically to ground legal terms such as human rights and especially human dignity without reference to political consensus or foundational explanations. Review of Metaphysics.


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In our previous seminar with Prof. Mamdani we discussed the question of how to deal with the cases of excessive violence and establish justice with respect to post apartheid transition in South Africa. Giving a reference to Levinas in his paper, Mamdani was critical about thinking human wrongs in terms of ethics where the responsibility for excessive violence is seen as belonging to individuals, who need to be punished in order to establish justice that is criminal justice. For Mamdani, however, we need to move away from ethics to politics and establish political justice as a practical necessity of living together. Levinas, on the other hand, emphasize ethics as foundational to justice. My responsibility to the Other is an unconditional responsibility one that preserves the alterity of the Other and not attempting to suppress his difference. Secondly, it might be interesting to think the ways in which Levinas and Hegel master-slave dialectic are telling us different stories about the primordial relation between the self and Other?


discussion of Emmanuel Levinas, “Peace and Proximity”

Michael L. Reviewed by Timothy Stock, Salisbury University In one sense, at least, this book is necessary for those who take Levinas seriously. A centerpiece of Michael L. Morgan argues that Levinas can be the source of a unique conception of ethical politics, in the specific form of "messianic democratic socialism" p.


Alterity and Transcendence

This entry is dedicated to Emmanuel Levinas , another European thinker who lived at the same time as Schmitt, but who developed very different ideas. I am responsible to the Other without any mediation, only via this face-to-face encounter. This responsibility is prior to my own freedom; it exists before I have done anything in particular. A face-to-face encounter is rare in a world where social categories determine our identity and where people have a hard time facing themselves. Peace or War? Are these two thinkers not telling us very different stories about the primordial relation between self and Other?

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