To the Other

To the Other: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas

Adriaan Peperzak
Copyright Date: 1993
Published by: Purdue University Press
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  • Book Info
    To the Other
    Book Description:

    The fruit of the author's many courses on Emmanuel Levinas in Europe and the United States, this study is a clear introduction for graduate students and scholars who are not yet familiar with Levinas's difficult but exceptionally important oeuvre.

    eISBN: 978-1-61249-037-3
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. CHAPTER ONE The One for the Other
    (pp. 1-37)

    In 1963 G. Deledalle and D. Huisman published a collection of texts in which most of the outstanding French philosophers presented their life and work:Les philosophes français d’aujourd’hui par eux-mêmes: Autobiographie de la philosophie française contemporaine. Emmanuel Levinas’s self-presentation is found on pages 325–28. Under the title “Signature,” this text also forms the closing pages (321–27) of his own bookDifficile Liberté(Difficult Liberty), which appeared in the same year. For a Dutch collection of his work,Het menselijk gelaat(The Human Face), in which “Signature,” under the title “Handschrift” (handwriting), figured as the opening section, Levinas...

  6. CHAPTER TWO A Commentary on “Philosophy and the Idea of the Infinite”
    (pp. 38-72)

    Having taught several courses on the thought of Emmanuel Levinas as expressed inTotality and InfinityandOtherwise Than Being or Beyond Essence, I have found no better introduction to the reading of these books, especially the first, than the 1957 article “Philosophy and the Idea of the Infinite.”¹ Not only does this essay show clearly how Levinas’s works sprang from a profound meditation on the very roots of Western philosophy; it also indicates the path by which his thought separates itself from the Husserlian and Heideggerian versions of phenomenology, to which he is nonetheless heavily indebted. In comparing this...

  7. CHAPTER THREE Text “La philosophie et l’idée de l’Infini”
    (pp. 73-87)

    Toute philosophie recherche la vérité. Les sciences, elles aussi peuvent se définir par cette recherche, car elles tiennent de l’erosphilosophique, vivant ou sommeillant en elles, leur noble passion. Mais si la définition semble trop générale et quelque peu vide, elle permet de distinguer deux voies où s’engage l’esprit philosophique et qui en éclairent la physionomie. Ces voies se croisent dans l’idée même de vérité.

    1° Vérité implique expérience. Le penseur entretient dans la vérité un rapport avec une réalité distincte de lui,autreque lui. «Absolument autren», selon l’expression reprise par Jankélévitch. Car l’expérience ne mérite son nom que...

  8. CHAPTER FOUR Text and Commentary “Philosophy and the Idea of the Infinite”
    (pp. 88-119)

    Every philosophy seeks truth. Sciences, too, can be defined by this search, for from the philosophiceros,¹ alive or dormant in them, they derive their noble passion. If this definition seems too general and rather empty, it will, however, permit us to distinguish two directions the philosophical spirit takes, and this will clarify its physiognomy. These directions interact in the idea of truth.

    1. Truth implies experience.² In the truth, a thinker maintains a relationship with a reality distinct from him, other than him—“absolutely other,” according to the expression taken up again by Jankélévitch.³ For experience deserves its name only...

  9. CHAPTER FIVE A Key to Totality and Infinity
    (pp. 120-208)

    The composition ofTotality and Infinitycan be understood as the unfolding of its twofold title. As we will see, through the concept of “totality,” the author characterizes the whole of Western philosophy, whereas “the infinite” indicates the transcendence suppressed by that same tradition. Instead of “totality” and “infinity,” the first section of the book, however, most often uses the expression “the Same” (le Même) and “the Other” (l’Autre). Using the conjunction “and” in its title (“the Same and the Other,” 1/31), this section establishes a close connection betweenthe Same(which concretizes itself in the behavior of a monopolistic...

  10. CHAPTER SIX Beyond Being
    (pp. 209-234)

    Autrement qu’être ou au-delà de l’essence, which was published in 1974, can be considered as the second opus magnum of Levinas. In more than one regard, it continues and develops the main ideas ofTotalité et Infiniand answers—mostly in an implicit way—some criticisms that were brought up against the first book.¹ It is, at the same time, an independent whole, which states the problem ofTotality and Infinityin a different manner and develops those problems from other perspectives.

    It is impossible to understand the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas (or any philosophy) if it is isolated from...

    (pp. 235-242)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 243-247)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 248-248)