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21. Levinas Studies: Volume > 11
Brigitta Keintzel “Like a Virgin”: Levinas’s Anti-Platonic Understanding of Love and Desire
22. Levinas Studies: Volume > 11
Jolanta Saldukaitytė The Strangeness of Alterity
23. Levinas Studies: Volume > 11
Richard A. Cohen Levinas on Art and Aestheticism: Getting “Reality and Its Shadow” Right
24. Levinas Studies: Volume > 11
Rossitsa Varadinova Borkowski On the Way to Ethical Culture: The Meaning of Art as Oscillating between the Other, Il y a, and the Third
25. Levinas Studies: Volume > 11
Kevin Houser Facing the Space of Reasons
26. Levinas Studies: Volume > 11
James Mensch Europe and Embodiment: A Levinasian Perspective
27. Levinas Studies: Volume > 11
Chung-Hsiung Lai On (Im)Patient Messianism: Marx, Levinas, and Derrida
28. Levinas Studies: Volume > 11
29. Levinas Studies: Volume > 11
About the Contributors
30. Levinas Studies: Volume > 11
James McLachlan Translation of Levinas’s Review of Lev Shestov’s Kierkegaard and the Existential Philosophy
31. Levinas Studies: Volume > 2
Jacob Meskin The Role of Lurianic Kabbalah in the Early Philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas
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In 1982 the American philosopher and Levinas scholar Edith Wyschogrod conducted an interview with Emmanuel Levinas, the transcript of which she published seven years later. Early in the interview, Wyschogrod proposed to Levinas that his philosophy constituted a radical break with western theological tradition because it started not with a Parmenidean ontological plenitude, but rather with the God of the Hebrew Bible. The God Levinas began with, according to Wyschogrod, wasan indigent God, a hidden God who commands that there be a world apart from God, because God needs the multiplicity of the world in order for there to be justice. Levinas responds to this proposal: That’s quite right. Justice, I call it responsibility for the other, right? There is even in Totality and Infinity, the evocation of the tzimtzum [the idea in kabbalistic writings of the self-contraction of God in order to create the void in which creation can take place], but I won’t venture into that.
32. Levinas Studies: Volume > 2
About the Contributors
33. Levinas Studies: Volume > 2
Claire Katz Educating the Solitary Man: Levinas, Rousseau, and the Return to Jewish Wisdom
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Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778) opens his book The Social Contract (1762) with his famous statement, “Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains.” An Enlightenment thinker, Rousseau understands himself to be responding to the two dominant traditions of political thought at this time: the voluntarist tradition of Hobbes, Pufendorf, and Grotius; and the liberal tradition of Locke and Montesquieu. The latter group argues that civil society exists to protect certain natural rights, one of which is liberty. The former group supports an absolute monarchy (benevolent or not), with the famous statement by Hobbes, as its signature: in the State of Nature, life is nasty, poor, brutish, and short. The only solution is to surrender one’s freedom to the sovereign and thus escape the brutality and depravity of life in the state of nature.
34. Levinas Studies: Volume > 2
Jacques Taminiaux Levinas and the History of Philosophy
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Levinas has sometimes been reproached for a certain laxness toward the history of philosophy. By dint of denouncing, as the central thread of this long history, the persistence or recurrence of an ambition to totalization, he would have failed to recognize the diversity of steps articulated along its course, thus ceding to the very thing he placed in question — the prestige of the same — to the detriment of the alterity of the other. I propose to submit this alleged failure to some examination.
35. Levinas Studies: Volume > 2
36. Levinas Studies: Volume > 2
37. Levinas Studies: Volume > 2
38. Levinas Studies: Volume > 2
Joseph Lawrence Schelling and Levinas: The Harrowing of Hell
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When Emmanuel Levinas writes (in the preface of Totality and Infinity) that Franz Rosenzweig’s Stern der Erlösung is “a work too often present in this book to be cited,” he effectively names his debt to F. W. J. Schelling as well, for Rosenzweig’s work was a sustained attempt to carry to completion Schelling’s great philosophical fragment, the Weltalter. Scholars of Levinas have explored Levinas’s relationship to Schelling, but I confess that, as a Schelling scholar, I knew nothing of this connection until rather recently. I credit above all the energetic work of Jason Wirth for helping me see its importance — and more generally the importance of reading Schelling in the context of recent work in continental philosophy. None of this has been easy. The very thing that Schelling and Levinas have in common, their resistance to the implicit solipsism of overcoming mystery with clarity, make them poor candidates for quick appropriation and comparison. Indeed, Schelling anticipated Nietzsche by openly mocking the scholars who make it their business to “appropriate and compare.” Mockery and ridicule is, ofcourse, not Levinas’s way of going about things. Even so, he too is so relentless in his polemic against the totalizing desire to know that he forces his reader to pause and question just what a proper scholarly response to his work might be. As such, the very first result of taking up the question of Schelling and Levinas might be that we are forced to set aside the scholarly mask, testimony of one’s acquiescence to the order of the same, in order to step forth as the human beings that we are. Whether this is an act of humility or of arrogance is not at all clear. Dispensing with the pretense of knowledge takes a kind of boldness on our part — for what but knowledge might give us a claim to the attention of others?
39. Levinas Studies: Volume > 2
Adriaan T. Peperzak From Politics to Ethics (Hegel) or from Ethics to Politics (Levinas)?
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Modern philosophy has had difficulty attempting to show the unbreakable unity of the individual with communal aspects of human existence. A number of modern thinkers began their treatises by rationally, even geometrically, constructing a more or less real or ideal community based on a multiplicity of individuals. Yet others, convinced that no form of individualism could ever supply insight into the communal structure of human life, saw all individuals from the outset as members — or even as organs — of a collective whole. While the former struggled in vain to show that contracts or other forms of freely chosen exchangenecessarily mutate into communal dispositions and institutions, the latter had to cope with the modern dogma that all philosophy must begin from an autonomous (individual or transcendental) ego. Modern philosophy, then, has not produced a wholly satisfactory synthesis of individualism and communitarianism. This failure could be a symptom of a faulty start, which may be due to the initial questions: Can individuality and commonality be opposed? Does their distinction concerntwo aspects, two levels, two dimensions of one reality? How do they evoke, provoke, imply, and fortify one another?
40. Levinas Studies: Volume > 2
Jeffrey Bloechl Editor’s Introduction