Heidegger and Levinas on the Question of Temporality

Abstract
Emmanuel Levinas’s contribution to philosophical conceptions of time can be understood fully only in terms of his debt to Heidegger. Taking up Levinas’s critiques of Heidegger’s Destruktion of the Aristotelian conception of time in Being and Time, this paper argues that Levinas is ultimately unable to refuse fully, for reasons having to do with Heidegger’s disastrous alignment with the Nazis in the 1930s, the debt he owes to Heidegger, his earliest and most lasting influence. Despite his problems with the Dasein analytic, Levinas does not repudiate Heidegger’s essential contributions to a deconstruction of the history of ontology. Indeed, Levinas assumes this de-structuring as providing the necessary opening for his own contribution to rethinking the notion of time. In the last section of this paper, we tease out what Levinas’s analysis means for his ambivalent relationship to Heidegger, but also in his quest to go “beyond” phenomenology
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