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1. Levinas Studies: Volume > 15
Emmanuel Levinas, Michael Portal Orcid-ID

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The following is an early, previously untranslated essay by Emmanuel Levinas concerning “the metaphysics of antisemitism.” This essay, published originally in 1938 for Paix et Droit, concerns the shared history and destiny of Jews and Christians, religious groups who maintain a relation of essential “foreignness” to, and so “do not belong” to, the “pagan” world. Levinas distinguishes between the long history of Jewish-Christian antagonism and the newer Nazi-style antisemitism, a particularly insidious “racism” that threatens both Jews and Christians. Levinas calls for a renewed appreciation of the “vocation” common to Jews and Christians to advance Judeo-Christian “solidarity,” a solidarity that Levinas believes is increasingly necessary.
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2. Levinas Studies: Volume > 15
Brigitta Keintzel Orcid-ID

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3. Levinas Studies: Volume > 15
Silvia Richter

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This article reconsiders the influence of Rosenzweig’s thought on Levinas’s work in the light of the captivity notebooks (Carnets de captivité), as well as the lectures given shortly after the war at the Collège philosophique. Levinas’s ongoing dealings with Rosenzweig are discussed in two ways: first, by analyzing the articles he explicitly dedicated to Rosenzweig and, second, by identifying elements of Rosenzweig’s thought in Levinas’s work that are not explicitly mentioned therein. By combining these two approaches, I show that Rosenzweig’s work offered Levinas an ontological narrative that contrasts with Heidegger’s analysis of Dasein, and it motivated a concept of a new mode of transcendence linked to Judaism. Language, as spoken words produced face-to-face, plays a crucial role in this context: just as it opens up the mute Self into a loving Soul in The Star of Redemption, it is the face that speaks in Levinas, opening up the relationship to the Other and the “beyond of being.”
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4. Levinas Studies: Volume > 15
Sergej Seitz Orcid-ID

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As Axel Honneth argues in his early essay “The Other of Justice,” Derrida and Levinas offer convincing arguments for offsetting practical philosophy’s traditional focus on justice with a focus on care. In Honneth, this leads to a strict dichotomy of justice (as equal treatment) and care (as singular responsibility). I show that Derrida and Levinas think of justice and responsibility not as dichotomic, but rather as aporetic. In all ethico-political conflicts, aspects of responsibility and justice are in play that are irreducible to, and in constant tension with, one another. Derrida and Levinas disclose a constitutive . This aporia opens up new perspectives on normativity.
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5. Levinas Studies: Volume > 15
Christina Schües

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Responsibility is central to Emmanuel Levinas as well as Hannah Arendt. A reading of their understanding of the concept and role of responsibility for politics and ethics and in regard to its social-ontological status of primacy, its reference to historical, worldly, and human conditions, brings out the similarities and differences of their work. Regarding their historical context, they could have engaged in a dialogue; but they never did. Their personal temperament and thematic approach to key issues concerning the concept of responsibility—such as subjectivity, primordiality, or relationality—can be used to build pillars for a bridge between the two thinkers’ respective approaches. This essay tries to read each author in light of the other one.
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6. Levinas Studies: Volume > 15
Pascal Delhom Orcid-ID

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There was no dialogue between Simone Weil and Emmanuel Levinas. In many regards, however, their philosophies have much in common. Both defend a conception of human rights as rights of others and as an obligation for the self. Both understand this obligation as an obligation of attention and action for others, based on their needs and their vulnerability. Both find the source of this obligation in the transcendence of the other, and both connect it with a radical passivity of the self, who is subjected to this obligation in spite of itself. At the same time, this proximity between the two philosophers entails and reveals profound differences between them, partially due to the difference between Weil’s metaphysics of light and Levinas’s metaphysics of language. These differences concern the status of subjectivity and of its duty toward the other, as well as the idea of an acceptation of sufferance, especially of the sufferance of others.
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7. Levinas Studies: Volume > 15
François-David Sebbah, Orcid-ID Mérédith Laferté-Coutu

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This article explores the seemingly exaggerated emphasis of Lyotard on the importance of hearing the ethical commandment in Levinas, instead of seeing or perceiving it in sensibility. Lyotard wants to read Levinas as a “Jewish thinker,” and his ethics as deeply connected to “Hebraic ethics.” Such a reading contrasts with phenomenological and Christian interpretations of Levinas, like Jean-Luc Marion’s, that focus on incarnation, the face, love, and the concrete relation to the other. Yet Lyotard outbids the rigor of commandment in Levinas, insisting on the radical heterogeneity of hearing and any phenomenological seeing. Ethics is completely outside phenomenology. This article argues that, instead of reading Lyotard as misreading Levinas, his approach can be one of the names for the skeptical phase that suspends or interrupts the Levinasian Said itself, especially when it tends to become excessively Christian.
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8. Levinas Studies: Volume > 15
Paul Davies

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Patience has generally been regarded as a virtue, but it has proved very difficult to say why it should be so. A phenomenology of patience quickly turns into ambiguity and confusion, and it does so in a way that seems to hinder any straightforward ethical evaluation of the term. Kant suggests that patience’s moral status can only be recognized if it is supplemented by a less problematic virtue such as, say, courage. Kierkegaard in contrast keeps the focus on patience itself but argues that to do so we need a radical change in our conceptions of time and the self. With those changes in place, however, we can re-evaluate patience as an end rather than a means to an end. Levinas’s cryptic remarks on patience and passivity can seem to cohere with this Kierkegaardian move. But by reading them in the context of his accounts of aging, the passing of time, and the despite oneself (malgré soi), this paper will argue that their real significance lies elsewhere. Even Kierkegaard’s patience relies on a distinction between a bad or problematically passive patience and a good patience. Levinas consistently, and especially in Otherwise than Being, draws our attention back to that excessive, non-redeemable, and “absolute” passivity.
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9. Levinas Studies: Volume > 15
Robert Bernasconi

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The duality or separation of self and me is central to the thinking of Emmanuel Levinas, but it is difficult to understand, not least because of the powerful hold that John Locke’s account of personal identity still has on our thinking of the self. By drawing on Augustine and especially Jean-Luc Marion’s reading of Augustine in In the Self’s Place, it is possible to gain insight into Augustine’s not yet Lockean account of the self so as to arrive at Levinas’s no longer Lockean account.
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10. Levinas Studies: Volume > 15
Gabriella Baptist Orcid-ID

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Derrida’s Glas can be interpreted against the background of a confrontation with Hegel, after and with Levinas. Derrida’s position in front of the great shadows of tradition (see “Violence and Metaphysics”) becomes in Glas an exceeding of the limits, searching for the other than logos, for instance, remains or writing. Glas is interpreted on the background of Derrida’s reading of Levinas: against the archeologic totality of Hegel’s system, Glas does not oppose nevertheless the eschatological infinity of a metaphysical alterity, but rather the finite infinity of a transgressive desire for contingency. Language, art, and literature, much more than the ethical or religious dimension, are external phenomenological transcendence, against which Hegel’s system of absolute knowledge and Genet’s literary experiments are constantly measured.
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11. Levinas Studies: Volume > 15
Brigitta Keintzel Orcid-ID

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Neither according to Hegel nor according to Levinas is it possible to define the person independently of collectivity. For both, dialogues play a strategic role in the orientation towards the collective. For Hegel, the “good conscience” is significant because it is a reference for describing the assumptions, and the results of a dialogue. I describe these implications in my first section. In the second section, I present Levinas’s objections to the “good conscience.” Instead of a “good conscience,” for Levinas, conscience is an instance that does not confirm the subject but accuses it. In the third section, I explore Levinas’s understanding of dialogue. In his view, dialogue resists a “priority of knowledge” and has an antecedence that points to the common origin of language and ethics. In my conclusion, I describe the resulting intersections and breaks and how a dialogue between Hegel and Levinas can be established against this background.
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12. Levinas Studies: Volume > 15
Nicolas de Warren

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Although Levinas’s thinking has generated substantial attention for its emphasis on the irreducibility of alterity, an unconditional responsibility for others, and “ethics as first philosophy,” his accentuation of war and suffering, and hence “evil” in a capacious sense, as endemic to existence, has attracted less notice. In this paper, I explore the originality of Levinas’s reflections on evil in his essay “Transcendence and Evil” against the backdrop of his earlier identification of the “evil of being” and historical conceptions of evil as “privation of the Good” and theodicy. In shadowing the biblical Book of Job, Levinas’s insight into the “transcendence of evil,” with its tear in the fabric of being and disruption of subjectivity, represents, as explored in this paper, a striking departure from his previous considerations on evil and categorical rejection of theodicy, in its secular and theological forms, while nonetheless insisting on the redemptive breakthrough of the Good at the heart of darkness.
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13. Levinas Studies: Volume > 15
Mérédith Laferté-Coutu

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14. Levinas Studies: Volume > 15
Kaitlyn Newman

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15. Levinas Studies: Volume > 14
Emmanuel Levinas, Mendel Kranz, Denis Poizat

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he following is an essay by Emmanuel Levinas, newly translated by Mendel Kranz, concerning Jewish culture and education, Hebrew studies, and Zionism. The essay was first published in 1954 in the United States by The Alliance Review, a small journal affiliated with the Alliance israélite universelle, and has since been almost entirely forgotten. In 2011–2012, it was republished in French by Denis Poizat based on the original draft found in the Alliance archives. Preceding Levinas’s essay is a preface by Kranz that situates it at the intersection of Levinas’s postwar project for Judaism, his relation to Zionism, and the colonial backdrop of the ENIO—three issues that are rarely considered together in Levinas scholarship. Poizat also provides some commentary on the question of education and the similarities between this and other essays by Levinas.
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16. Levinas Studies: Volume > 14
Nicolas de Warren

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The aim of this article is to develop a novel interpretation of the significance of trauma and substitution in Levinas’s ethical thinking in light of the problem of temporality, language, and the question of what it means to be a created being. With an emphasis on Levinas’s style of writing, the intersections of Derrida, Husserl, and Freud in his thinking, and the “two-times” of traumatic temporality, the argument of this article seeks to understand how responsibility for the other is crystallized through the trauma of the Goodness and expiation for the impossibility of enduring its unforgiving demand.
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17. Levinas Studies: Volume > 14
Pascal Delhom

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Levinas’s conception of justice in Totality and Infinity is very different from the one developed in Otherwise than Being. Both are bound to the presence of the third party next to my neighbor. But whereas in the later work this presence leads to transform the responsibility of the I for the Other, to compare the neighbor and the third party for the sake of justice, hence to enter the sphere of visibility in which retributive justice is possible, it opens in the early work to a fraternity of all humans, understood as a community of language, of expression, teaching, and commandment. Here, justice is a right to speak. I argue that these conceptions of justice are not only different. The early one can also be seen as the condition of the later one. And Levinas refers explicitly to it in Otherwise than Being as a justice that passes by justice.
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18. Levinas Studies: Volume > 14
Sarah Hammerschlag

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By examining the ambivalence around the application of the concept of religion to Judaism at the first meeting of the Colloque des Intellectuels Juifs de langue Francaise, this essay shows how Levinas’s employment of the term in Totality and Infinity and after emerged in and through the cloaking of Judaism in the terminology of Christianity, a procedure which began with Levinas’s reception of Catholic thinkers such as Paul Claudel and Jacques Maritain in the 1930s and developed through his interpretation of Franz Rosenzweig’s Star of Redemption at the second meeting of the Colloque in 1959. Rather than a straightforward appropriation of the Christian conception, religion is a term for Levinas designated to register what it is to be stunned by the Christian gaze. The reclamation of the term, the essay argues is itself a kind of therapy that embraces the designation of scapegoat as Judaism’s historical mission.
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19. Levinas Studies: Volume > 14
Brigitta Keintzel Orcid-ID

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For Kant and Levinas, the categorical imperative is the only possible formula for universalization. It has a structural necessity. Its claim is ultimate, valid without exception, and therefore reason-based. What differentiates Levinas from Kant is Kant’s assumption that “pure reason, practical of itself” is “immediately lawgiving.” Levinas contradicted this form of reason legislating itself as an end in itself: according to Levinas, reason has no self-generated power. Although both agree that the achievement of an ethical insight depends on “passivity,” in contrast to Kant Levinas does not consider this “passivity” to be part of a conceptual insight. Its place is outside the subject. Instead of an “archetype” that already exists in the subject, Levinas advocates the conception of a counter-image whose form is based on the face. This face is not speechless. His speech is based on a universalizable commandment, namely the commandment: You shall not kill me. In its full extent, this claim can only be understood via a body-based understanding of the categorical imperative.
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20. Levinas Studies: Volume > 14
Jill Stauffer

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A question opens up a space between self and other in the very act of expecting a response. As such, it can be a form of world-building. Posing a question might reveal what is or it might push interlocutors to revise what is. Levinas counsels us to question the first attitude toward questioning in order to open ourselves up to the second. Using questions and answers from a trial of a former child soldier at the International Criminal Court, this paper explores the ethical ramifications of the choices we make when we pose and respond to questions.
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