Sound not Light: Levinas and the Elements of Thought

Educational Philosophy and Theory 48 (4):360-373 (2016)
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Can Levinas’ thought of the other be extended beyond the relation to the other human being? This article seeks to demonstrate that Levinas’ philosophy can indeed be read in such a sense and that this serves to open up a new way of understanding human thinking. Key to understanding such an extension of Levinas’ philosophy will be his account of the face and, more particularly, his claim that the relation to the face is ‘heard in language’. Through explicating what is at stake in this claim, we will work to show how Levinas’ philosophy leads us away from what might be called a tradition of understanding human thought through the medium of light and takes us toward a conception of thinking that is conditioned by sound. In the final section of the article, we consider what such a shift might suggest for the ways we understand thinking in both educational and everyday contexts.



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Author Profiles

Paul Standish
University College London
Emma Williams
University of Texas Health Center at Tyler

References found in this work

Otherwise than Being or Beyond Essence.Emmanuel Levinas & Alphonso Lingis - 1981 - Philosophy and Rhetoric 17 (4):245-246.
Heidegger and the Technology of Further Education.Paul Standish - 1997 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 31 (3):439-459.
The Aesthetic and Moral Character of Oakeshott’s Educational Writings.Elizabeth Corey - 2013 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 47 (1):86-98.

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