Levinas Faces Kant, Hegel and Heidegger: Debates of Contemporary Philosophy on Ontology

Frontiers of Philosophy in China 3 (3):438 - 454 (2008)
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Abstract

Levinas subverts the traditional "ontology-epistemology," and creates a "realm of difference," the realm of "value," "ethic," and "religion," maintaining that ethics is real metaphysics. According to him, it is not that "being" contains the "other" but the other way round. In this way, the issues of ethics are promoted greatly in the realm of philosophy. Nonetheless, he does not intend to deny "ontology" completely, but reversed the relationship between "ontology (theory of truth)" and "ethics (axiology)," placing the former under the "constraint" of the latter. Different from general empirical science, philosophy focuses more on issues irrelevant to ordinary empirical objects; it does have "objects," though. More often than not, the issues of philosophy cannot be conceptualized into "propositions"; nevertheless, it absolutely has its "theme." As a discipline, philosophy continuously takes "being" as its "theme" and "object" of thinking. The point is that this "being" should not be understood as an "object" completely. Rather, it is still a "theme-subject." In addition to an "object," "being" also manifests itself in an "attribute" and a kind of "meaning" as well. In a word, it is the temporal, historical, and free "being" rather than "various beings" that is the "theme-subject" of philosophy. /// 列维纳斯颠覆了传统的 "存在论一知识论" 开创了一个 "异域", 即 "价 值"、"伦理" 和 "宗教" 的领域,强调伦理学才是形而上学。不是 "存在" 包容 了 "他者" 而是 "他者" 包容了"存在"。伦理学问题得到了哲学上大幅度的提 升。他不是完全否定 "存在论" 而是把 "存在论一真理论" 和 "价值论→仓理学" 的关系颠倒了过来,将前者置于后者的 "制约" 之下。哲学作为一门学科,仍以 "存 在" 为研究主题与思考 "对象", 只是这个 "存在" 作为 "对象" 并非完全在 "客 体" 意义上来理解,而仍是一个 "主题一主体", 该存在不仅展示为一物,展示为 一 "属性", 而且展示为一种 "意义"。作为哲学 "主题一对象" 的不是 "诸存在 者", 而是 "时间性的一历史性的一自由的" "存在"。.

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Lin Zhang
Shanghai JiaoTong University

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