From the relative obscurity in which Levinas's work languished until very recently, Emmanuel Levinas must now be judged as one of the most influential figures in contemporary Continental philosophy. There is no better guide than John Lewelyn to lead one through the thickets of Levinas's prose. Bursting with questions, multiple references, cascading citations and multilingual puns and nuances, this book is the compelling record of intellectual obsession. Taking as its guiding thre the theme of genealogy, the book gives a broadly (...) chronological and impressively manageable presentation of the whole sweep of the Levinas's work. Balanced and finely grained, Llewelyn confronts questions of method, Heidegger, phenomenology, the theme of sensibility, religion, enjoyment, feminity, eros, justice and the political. The book reaches a stunning climax in a series of chapters that give a hestitant but tolerant discussion of the question of God in Levinas, the relation to Levinasian ethics to Nietzschean genealogy, and an extraordinary discussion of metaphor that leads into a wholly original analysis of Levinas's poetics and metaphorics. The book concludes with a sensitive reading of the autobiographical epigraphs to Levinas's Otherwise than Being... and a consideration of the Holocaust. (shrink)
"This is a book of scintillating intelligence, a book whose range of references, whose extraordinary ethical sensibility and linguistic creativity, set a standard for philosophy that few if any contemporary thinkers other than Derrida and ...
For philosophers such as Kant, the imagination is the starting point for all thought. For others, such as Wittgenstein, what is important is only how the word 'imagination' is used. In spite of the attention the imagination has received from major philosophers, remarkably little has been written about the radically different interpretations they have made of it. _The HypoCritical Imagination: Between Kant and Levinas_ is an outstanding contribution to this vaccuum. Focusing on Kant and Levinas, John Llewelyn takes us on (...) a dazzling tour of the philosophical imagination. He shows us that despite the different treatments they accord to the imagination, there is much to be gained from comparing these two key thinkers. From Kant, Llewelyn shows how the imagination is the common root of all understanding. He contrasts this with the thought of Emmanuel Levinas, for whom the imagination plays an ambivalent role both as necessary for and a threat to recognition of the other. John Llewelyn also introduces the importance of the work of Heidegger Schelling, Hegel, Arendt and Derrida on the imagination and what this work can tell us about the relationship between the imagination and ethics, aesthetics and literature. _The HypoCritical Imagination: Between Kant and Levinas_ is a brilliant reading of a neglected but important philosophical theme and is essential reading for those in contemporary philosophy, art theory and literature. (shrink)
Pursuing Jacques Derrida's reflections on the possibility of "religion without religion," John Llewelyn makes room for a sense of the religious that does not depend on the religions or traditional notions of God or gods. Beginning with Derrida's statement that it was Kierkegaard to whom he remained most faithful, Llewelyn reads Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Feuerbach, Heidegger, Sartre, Levinas, Deleuze, Marion, as well as Kierkegaard and Derrida, in original and compelling ways. Llewelyn puts religiousness in vital touch with the struggles of (...) the human condition, finding religious space in the margins between the secular and the religions, transcendence and immanence, faith and knowledge, affirmation and despair, lucidity and madness. This provocative and philosophically rich account shows why and where the religious matters. (shrink)
Drawing on modern responses to Scotus made by Heidegger, Peirce, Arendt, Leibniz, Hume, Reid, Derrida and Deleuze, John Llewelyn explores Scotus' influence on 19th-century poet and philosopher Gerard Manley Hopkins.
Playing on the various meanings of Seeing Through God, John Llewelyn explores the act of looking in the wake of the death of the transcendent God of metaphysics. Taking up strategies developed by the Western sciences for seeing and observing, he finds that the so-called tough-minded practices of the physical sciences are very much at home with the so-called tender-minded practices of Eastern religions. Instead of opposing East and West, Llewelyn thinks that blending these spheres leads to a better understanding (...) of aesthetic experience and imagination. In this blending, he presents a phenomenological description of the imagination and the ethical and religious dimensions of the act of imagining. Seeing Through God touches on themes of salvation, the preservation of the environment, and the role of God in our temptation to dishonor the earth. This unique book presents Llewelyn as one of the leading interpreters of the environmental phenomenology movement. (shrink)
Matthew Calarco refers to Derrida's apparently dogmatic “insistence on maintaining the human-animal distinction.” What would it mean to “overcome” this distinction? Can we simply let it go? Derrida's stance is compared with a certain dogma of Heidegger's and the bêtise of frontal endorsement or denial of it. Perhaps the distinction between mention and use makes possible a relocation of Derrida's apparent dogmatism. His reservations over the distinction between mention and use do not prevent his mentioning animals in the neologism animot. (...) What does it mean to say that the human-animal distinction is abyssal? United by a common concern, the parties to the debate focused on in this essay follow different procedures that, however, complement one another. (shrink)
Matthew Calarco refers to Derrida's apparently dogmatic “insistence on maintaining the human-animal distinction.” What would it mean to “overcome” this distinction? Can we simply let it go? Derrida's stance is compared with a certain dogma of Heidegger's and the bêtise of frontal endorsement or denial of it. Perhaps the distinction between mention and use makes possible a relocation of Derrida's apparent dogmatism. His reservations over the distinction between mention and use do not prevent his mentioning animals ( animaux ) in (...) the neologism animot . What does it mean to say that the human-animal distinction is abyssal? United by a common concern, the parties to the debate focused on in this essay (Derrida, Calarco, Har-away, Smuts, Llewelyn) follow different procedures that, however, complement one another. (shrink)
Based on Merleau-Ponty's description of nature as that on which we ultimately rely, this essay cultivates the thought that this description also fits an idea of God and therefore of Deus sive Natura. Guided by an outline for a phenomenology of climbing, it is argued that what Heidegger calls readiness to hand presupposes readiness-to-foot (Zufussenheit). The latter gives ground for gratitude not only because it gives ground for enjoyment as gratification, but because it also gives ground for joy understood as (...) a grace, grace understood as having its ground in Natura. (shrink)
What demands must be met for phenomenology to be the rigorous science Husserl projected? Janicaud complains that some French phenomenologists, while pretending to observe these demands, play fast and loose with them when they apply phenomenology to matters of theology: Derrida, Marion, and Levinas; methodological phenomenology and Henry's phenomenology of the Christian Way. Derrida's deconstructions of the oppositions of immanence and transcendence and of the factual and the transcendental suggest that the rift between him and Henry is not as deep (...) as it must at first seem. Analogical appresentation is a motive of the theological turn. (shrink)
The chief aim of this essay is to draw attention to how in Derrida’s last seminars the hyphenation “life-death” serves as a key to understanding the force of the hyphenation in the expression “animal-human” and how the work of sharing which it stands for there differs from the exclusively separative work for which we might employ the oblique stroke or slash, as in “animal/human” and “life/death.” If we wonder whether and how the hyphen and the oblique stroke share each other’s (...) company, it might occur to us that a name for this relation of sharing could be John Duns Scotus’s distinctio formalis understood in the light of his haecceitas respelled as ecce-itas by Gerald Manley Hopkins. (shrink)
Addressed here are addressing and the address of the here and the there: the direction and indirection of words, whether written or spoken in prayer; but also of pictures, one of them sent to Derrida, one of them an icon presumably destined from God, and a third, the one reproduced on the cover of The Post Card from Socrates to Freud and Beyond, that attends to the difficulty of locating the threshold between the to and the from, perhaps a secular (...) version of the problem of grace—unless that is not a problem but an aporia, wherever the threshold between these has its place. The chance of oversight, επισκoπη, is addressed, and the words Derrida addressed to his friends from the grave. (shrink)