Adriaan Peperzak: “On Levinas’s Criticism of Heidegger”

•April 22, 2007 • 3 Comments

Examining Levinas’s critique of Heidegger, Peperzak proceeds from the premise that philosophy cannot be separated from the prephilosophical elements of a particular form of life. The distinction between existential and existentiell cannot be upheld because thinking always testifies to an existentiell position, and thus “every philosophy expresses a particular ethos and a morally qualified attitude” (205). Considering Levinas’s conviction that Heidegger was not merely a Nazi collaborator, but a thinker who reflected Nazi mentality and inspiration, Peperzak assumes Levinas’s assertion of profound relationships between philosophy, ethos, and morality and attempts not only to explore Levinas’s critique of Heidegger’s thinking, but also to pursue the relationship Levinas perceives between his thought and his position on Nazi politics. Continue reading ‘Adriaan Peperzak: “On Levinas’s Criticism of Heidegger”’


Francois Raffoul, ‘Being and the Other’

•April 22, 2007 • 1 Comment

I think this is an excellent discussion of the relationship of Levinas to Heidegger and of ethics to ontology. Highly recommended. Two thumbs up.

Raffoul sets out to, as he puts it, “question the pertinence” of the opposition between ontology and ethics which is posited by Levinas on the bass of his interpretation of Heidegger. Raffoul contends that there is a certain aggressiveness to this interpretation which partly misconstrues Heidegger. His aim is not a critique of Levinas for such a perceived shortcoming but rather to deepen the understanding of the both ethics and ontology. Raffoul attempts to trace the basis of Levinasian critiques of Heidegger so as to question the necessity for the departure of ethics from ontology. Continue reading ‘Francois Raffoul, ‘Being and the Other’’

Simon Critchley’s “Clotural Readings II: Wholly Otherwise”

•April 22, 2007 • Leave a Comment

This essay is a chapter taken from Critchley’s book, The Ethics of
. The major project for the book as a whole is to illustrate
Critchley’s contention that deconstruction, as a method of reading philosophy,
necessarily involves an ethical demand. In an earlier chapter of the book
Critchley makes clear that the notion of ethics which the deconstructive method
correlates to is not that of philosophical tradition but rather that of Levinas.
“Clotural Readings II” is the fourth chapter in the book; it engages Levinas’s
readings of Derrida’s work in order to follow Levinas as he attempts to discern
and describe the ethical position of the deconstructive method. Continue reading ‘Simon Critchley’s “Clotural Readings II: Wholly Otherwise”’

Searching for the Other in Vision. First, to complications of sight.

•April 21, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Summary of Chloe Taylor’s essay “Hard, Dry Eyes That Weep: Vision and Ethics in Levinas and Derrida.” 2006

This article may interest you, if you are interested in the following: Ethics in Levinasian discourse, the Other: in vision and language, anti-platonic “non-light”, masculine intrusive vision vs. compassionate vision, the Other for the blindman, and Greek animals that cannot close their eyes. Continue reading ‘Searching for the Other in Vision. First, to complications of sight.’

Hägglund’s “The Necessity of Discrimination”

•April 20, 2007 • Leave a Comment

An example of Derridian dogmatism par excellence (which I think would be enough to make Derrida cringe, with Hägglund’s adherence to what he paradoxically describes as ‘deconstructive logic’), “The Necessity of Discrimination” aims to break apart Derrida and Levinas entirely by pointing to the violence Derrida understands as constitutive of every relation. By reading an ethical motivation into his method of deconstruction – understanding it as an aspiration to a non-violent relation, or an effort to preserve or restore a respect for alterity – one misses Derrida’s rethinking of time as fundamentally disjointed. In his writings on the trace, Derrida elaborates: every event is split between being no longer and being not yet. Continue reading ‘Hägglund’s “The Necessity of Discrimination”’

“The Opposite of Totality:Levinas and the Frankfurt School” C.Fred Alford

•April 20, 2007 • Leave a Comment

In this essay, Alford closely examines the relationship between Emmanuel Levinas and the Frankfurt, but more specifically, between Levinas and Theodor Adorno. One may wonder how such a relationship could possibly exist, being that these two writes in particular have practically nothing in common when examined at face value–which an issue that Alford addresses in his own analysis and critique. Throughout Alford’s examination of both Levinas and Adorno, the similarities between these two thinkers is exposed in regards to the major concepts that they both examine in their respective works, as well as the arguments that both construct in order to support those very concepts. To the same extent, that is also where the differences between Adorno and Levinas emerge as well. Continue reading ‘“The Opposite of Totality:Levinas and the Frankfurt School” C.Fred Alford’

“The Possibility of the Poetic Said” in Otherwise than Being (Allusion, or Blanchot in Levinas) by Gabriel Riera

•April 20, 2007 • 1 Comment

Gabriel Riera’s essay traces the subject of art and the notion of the “poetic said” and the “poetic saying” within Levinas’s thought.

Riera begins by affirming the importance of language to Levinas’s philosophy. He introduces the two central concepts of Otherwise than Being, the said and the saying, and affirms the possibility of an ethical relationship with the Other that is established through them. Continue reading ‘“The Possibility of the Poetic Said” in Otherwise than Being (Allusion, or Blanchot in Levinas) by Gabriel Riera’