Emmanuel Levinas has exerted a profound influence on 20th-century continental philosophy. This anthology, including Levinas's key philosophical texts over a period of more than forty years, provides an ideal introduction to his thought and offers insights into his most innovative ideas. Five of the ten essays presented here appear in English for the first time. An introduction by Adriaan Peperzak outlines Levinas's philosophical development and the basic themes of his writings. Each essay is accompanied by a brief introduction and notes. (...) This collection is an ideal text for students of philosophy concerned with understanding and assessing the work of this major philosopher. (shrink)
Ethics as First Philosophy brings together original essays by an outstanding group of international scholars that discuss the work of Emmanuel Levinas. The book explores the significance of Levinas' work for philsophy, psychology and religion. Ethics as First Philosophy comprises an excellent collection of work on this major contemporary thinker. The book presents Levinas philosophy from a wide and well-balanced variety of perspectives. The contributions range from thematic discussions of Levinas central concepts to explorations of his affinities and differences with (...) other key writers such as Kant, Kierkegaard, Rosenzweig, Benjamin, Blanchot and Derrida. Some of the authors focus on the religious and philosophical issues presented by Levinas while others analyze the role of Levinas within phenomenology in or within recent French philosophy. (shrink)
That we are a conversation -- On the unity of thematic philosophy and philosophy as history of thought -- The relevance of intersubjectivity for first philosophy and the history of philosophy -- Education: responsive tradition -- Philosophy: wise about friendship? -- Vocative -- Philosophy versus faith? -- The universality of a Christian philosophy -- Sacrificium laudis, sacrificium intellectus -- Philosophy as mediation between faith and culture.
Philosophers speak—or, rather, they respond to various forms of speaking that are handed to them. This book by one of our most distinguished philosophers focuses on the communicative aspect of philosophical thought. Peperzak’s central focus is “addressing”: what distinguishes speaking or writing from rumination is their being directed by someone to someone. To be involved in philosophy is to be part of a tradition through which thinkers propose their findings to others, who respond by offering their own appropriations to their (...) interlocutors.After a critical sketch of the conception of modern philosophy, Peperzak presents a succinct analysis of speaking, insisting on the radical distinction between speaking about and speaking to. He enlarges this analysis to history and tries to answer the question whether philosophy also implies a certain form of listening and responding to words of God. Since philosophical speech about persons can neither honor nor reveal their full truth, speaking and thinking about God is even more problematic. Meditation about the archaic Word cannot reach the Speaker unless it turns into prayer, or—as Descartes wrote—into a contemplation that makes the thinker “consider, admire, and adore the beauty of God’s immense light, as much as the eyesight of my blinded mind can tolerate.”“ Thinking is a work of genuine and original scholarship which responds to the tradition of philosophical thinking with a critique of its language, style, focus, and scope.”—Catriona Hanley, Loyola College, Maryland. (shrink)
This work renews the basic questions and principles of philosophical ethics and provides a thorough account of how being oneself presupposes freedom and responsibility. _Elements of Ethics_ focuses on the descriptive and conceptual analysis of the experiences through which human lives become aware of themselves and shows how we are provoked to respond appropriately to the various dimensions and phenomena of the universe. Operating on the provocative thesis that "if the ethical is real, it cannot be proved, because it is (...) either nothing at all or an irreducible origin," this book pursues the question that defines ethics: "How should I live?" After setting out a preliminary definition of terms, _Elements of Ethics_ gives insight into the relation of human individuals and the world by showing that the traditional separation between "is" and "ought" overlooks their profound coincidence, and by clarifying the determining, though often overlooked, role of _affectivity _ and _katharsis_ in all ethical experiences. (shrink)
Since the truth is only the whole, no statement or discipline can be true unless we understand how it relates to all other statements and disciplines within one encyclopedic knowledge. This theorem also applies to the perspective from which the exposition of the whole truth can be approached. Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, for example, in a sense gathers the entire truth, but its perspective is the specific phenomenological one of experience and Bildung. All partial perspectives taken together, however, understood in (...) the necessity of their unity, form the one and overall perspective—which no longer is a perspective—that constitutes the truth of the truth beyond which nothing exists or can be known. This one and total Idea can be known by us, finite intelligences, only in the unfolding and time-consuming form of a discursive system. It knows itself in the eternity of its self-differentiating and self-temporalizing identity with itself. (shrink)
The fundamental message of Jewish thought in Levinas' version can be summarized by the following quote: It ties the meaning of all experiences to the ethical relation among humans; it appears to the personal responsibility of man, who, thereby, knows himself irreplaceable to realize a human society in which humans treat one another as humans. This realization of the just society is ipso facto an elevation of man to the society with God. This society is human happiness itself and the (...) meaning of life. Therefore, to say that the meaning of the real must be understood in function of ethics, is to say that the universe is sacred. But it is sacred in an ethical sense. Ethics is an optics of the divine. No relation to God is more right or more immediate.The Divine cannot manifest itself except through the neighbor. For a Jew, incarnation is neither possible, nor necessary. After all, Jeremiah himself said it: ‘To judge the case of the poor and the miserable, is not that to know me? says the Eternal’. DL 209. The quote at the end is from Jerem. 22:16.The One who is revealed in this ethical religion differs greatly from the almighty and triumphant God whose image dominates any thought in which politics procures the highest perspective. The ‘Master of the world’ is power-less against human violence and sin, vulnerable and persecuted. His passing by is not in the thunderstorm, not in the earthquake, and not in the fire either, but ‘after the fire there was a voice of subtle silence’ (1 Kings 19:11–12). God penetrates the world almost imperceptibly, in extreme humility. AV 211–212 (ECED). Cf. Kierkegaard vivant (Paris: Gallimard 1966), pp. 286–288. (shrink)
The book begins with the problem of the relationship between systematic philosophy and the history of philosophy. Why does philosophy attach so much importance to history? Consideration of this question is an essential part of metaphysics, and it has important consequences for the methodology of both history and philosophy. An analysis of the problem that begins the book leads to many other fundamental questions concerning the nature of philosophy. In treating these issues the author discusses positions taken on them by (...) Russell, Rorty, Heidegger, Gadamer, Levinas, Ricoeur, Derrida, and others of our century. He also draws inspiration from Plato, Plotinus, Augustine, Spinoza, Kant, Hegel, and Nietzsche. (shrink)
To what extent does Bonaventure’s work contribute to a renewal of negative theology? Rather than answering this question directly, this article focuses on the negative moments which, according to Bonaventure, characterize the human quest for God and the docta ignorantia to which it is oriented. Bonaventure’s synthesis of Aristotelian ontology and Dionysian Neoplatonism is a wisdom that admires God’s being good as manifested in Christ’s human suffering and death.
Shows the way to a postmodern ethics – neither utilitarian nor deontological – by reflecting on its key concepts of freedom, value, intersubjectivity, obligation, responsibility, rights, ethos, history, and culture.
Although Emmanuel Levinas is widely respected as one of the classic thinkers of our century, the debate about his place within Continental philosophy continues. In _Beyond: The Philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas,_ Adriaan Theodoor Peperzak shows Levinas's thought to be a persistent attempt to point beyond the borders of an economy where orderly interests and ways of reasoning make us feel at home--beyond the world of needs, beyond the self, beyond politics and administration, beyond logic and ontology, even beyond freedom and (...) autonomy. Peperzak's examination begins with a general overview of Levinas's life and thought, and shows how issues of ethics, politics, and religion are intertwined in Levinas's philosophy. Peperzak also discusses the development of Levinas's relations with Husserl and Heidegger, demonstrating thematically the evolution of both Levinas's anti-Heideggerian view of technology and his critical attitude toward nature. (shrink)
This article tries to make a contribution to a concrete eidetic of thinking by studying the first nine years of Hegels philosophical development in perspective of the question : Which are the origins and how passed the „prehistory” of his later System ? In Tübingen Hegels thought circles round the ideal of a free, noble and happy nation, of which he means to have discovered the -alas ! - lost prototype in the greek paradise. The political and aesthetic-religious nature of (...) this ideal nation is characterized by spontaneous humanity and freedom. Bern is the period of Hegels revolt. On religious level he makes a first effort to play Jesus off against the positivity of the Churches ; on politic-ethical level his philo: ophy of alienation comes into existence. For the more and more growing sharp antithesis between Mastery and Servitude, Nature and Freedom, Freedom and History, God and Man, Hegel tries to find a solution in the glorification of a revolutionary and heroic „Sollen”. The newness of the fragments Hegel wrote in Frankfort , consists chiefly in an implicit „Logic" that manifests itself at once in Hegels analysis of a number of historic-existential phenomena. In virtue of the basic categories, which this logic contains, „the ideal of his youth reflects itself” - to use Hegels own words - in a reflexive „system”. Ideal, fundamental logic and system are, however, - each one in his own, respectively „mythical”, „logical”, „systematical" way -the transcriptions of a preceding or „a priori” interpretation of existence on the ground of fundamental desires and existential options, that can be revealed to a certain extent by an „existential psychoanalysis”. Hegels thought is rooted in the nostalgia for a terrestrial „salvation” : the union through feeling with the maternal Universe by which inner harmony and „beingwith-oneself” is reached. Some beginnings of criticism are addressed to the pre-philosophical options which are the source of inspiration of Hegels first philosophy. His desire for „Beruhigung” excludes every real Transcendent ; the Feeling of Frankfort and the Reason-Knowledge of Jena deny the existence of every Mystery, that is bigger than Man ; Hegels dialectic is an effort to conquer every tragical moment of life by human power within this world ; his analysis of love fail to appreciate the own character of human individuality and community ; Hegels triad is the résumé of a monism of thought, no real Trinity. (shrink)
Kant's formalism remains unreal if it cannot be concretized in a historical ethos. An ethos belongs—with texts, contexts, structures, processes, networks, etc.—to an economy of customs and opinions, which presupposes that participating individuals have been and are being initiated and acculturated to it. The analysis of education, transmission, and transition unveils the irreducible—noneconomic and non-textual— essence of addressing and interlocution, without which no culture could exist. The otherness that is involved implies, but is not confined to, "you." The third and (...) I myself are also other by imposing the same inescapable responsibility for them on me. (shrink)