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By Emmanuel Levinas

The world over well known as one of many nice French philosophers of the 20 th century, the overdue Emmanuel Levinas is still a pivotal determine around the humanistic disciplines for his insistence―against the grain of Western philosophical tradition―on the primacy of ethics in philosophical research. this primary English translation of a sequence of twelve essays referred to as Alterity and Transcendence bargains a distinct glimpse of Levinas defining his personal position within the historical past of philosophy. released by way of a mature philosopher among 1967 and 1989, those works show a refreshingly available viewpoint that pro admirers and rookies will appreciate.

In contemporary international, the place non secular conceptions of exalted better powers are regularly referred to as into query through theoretical research and via the robust impression of technology and expertise on our figuring out of the universe, has the thought of transcendence been stripped of its value? In Levinas's incisive version, transcendence is certainly alive―not in any proposal of our dating to a mysterious, sacred realm yet within the thought of our worldly, subjective relationships to others.

Without presupposing an intimate wisdom of the background of philosophy, Levinas explores the ways that Plotinus, Descartes, Husserl, and Heidegger have encountered the query of transcendence. In discourses at the techniques of totality and infinity, he locates his personal pondering within the context of pre-Socratic philosophers, Aristotle, Leibniz, Spinoza, Kant, and Descartes. consistently centering his discussions at the notion of interpersonal relatives because the foundation of transcendence, Levinas displays at the rights of people (and how they're inextricably associated with these of others), the idea that of peace, and the dialogic nature of philosophy. eventually, in interviews performed by way of Christian Chabanis and Angelo Bianchi, Levinas responds to key questions ultimately addressed in his writings. all through, Alterity and Transcendence finds a dedication to ethics as first philosophy―obliging smooth thinkers to enquire no longer only the real however the reliable.

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Additional resources for Alterity and Transcendence

Sample text

Totalization’ may be understood to mean either the grouping of objects or of points in a whole, or the intellectual operation by which that multiplicity of objects or points is encompassed. The two meanings correspond to the extent that totalization and totality remain within the limits of sensible intuition, in which the totalizing thought is able to peruse all the elements of that intuition. We must begin by exam­ ining totality more closely at this level and see, in particular, how in examining how the thought that comes into play goes beyond intuition, while remain­ ing on its scale or within its measure.

A crisis of being, not because the meaning of this verb (in its semantic secret) remains to be understood and is an appeal to ontology, but because, being myself,-1 already ask myself whether my being is justified, whether the Da of my Dasein is not already the usurpation of some­ one’s place. Bad conscience that comes to me from the face of the other, who, in his mortality, tears me from the solid ground on which I, a simple individual, place myself and persevere naively, naturally, in my position.

Before the face of the other,’ I have said. Can one, properly speaking, use the preposition before [devant\ here? Have we not, in speaking thus, confused the meaning of the face with the plastic forms of. repre­ sentation that already mask it, whereas the face, in its formal nakedness, or stripped of forms, expresses mortality and signifies a commandment? Have we not already failed to recognize the incessant surplus of meaning that undoes these plastic forms? A surplus that cannot be represented —cannot be presented — but that signifies in the imperative with authority or glory.

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