Phenomenological Reflections on the Possibility of First Philosophy

Husserl Studies 26 (2):131-145 (2010)
Abstract
In this paper, I will examine the possibility of first philosophy from a phenomenological point of view. I will do this by assessing Levinas’s criticism of Husserl’s conception of first philosophy. In Sect. 1, I will delineate Husserl’s conception of first philosophy. In Sect. 2, I will introduce Levinas’s conception of ethics as first philosophy and sketch out his criticism of Husserl’s conception of first philosophy. In Sect. 3, I will assess Levinas’s criticism of Husserl’s conception and show that from a phenomenological point of view, it is possible to develop first philosophy only in a relative sense and not in an absolute sense. The possibility of first philosophy in a relative sense implies that both Husserl’s and Levinas’s conceptions of first philosophy have some limitations and should be revised, since in a certain way, they are each conceived from an absolute point of view. In Sect. 4, I will show that the conception of first philosophy in a relative sense is a phenomenological one and sketch out some basic features of first philosophy in a relative sense
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    Emmanuel Levinas (1981). Otherwise Than Being: Or, Beyond Essence. Distributors for the U.S. And Canada, Kluwer Boston.
    Emmanuel Levinas (1969). Totality and Infinity. Pittsburgh, Duquesne University Press.
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