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Levinas Studies

Volume 2, 2007

Jean-Marc Narbonne
Pages 29-48

God and Philosophy According to Levinas

Let me begin with a strong affirmation on the part of Levinas, almost a condemnation of all philosophical discourse itself, such as we find in “The Trace of the Other”: Western philosophy coincides with the unveiling of the Other in which the Other, in manifesting itself as being, loses its otherness. Philosophy has been stricken since its infancy with a horror for the Other that remains Other — an insurmountable allergy. That is why it is essentially a philosophy of being, the understanding of being its last word and the fundamental structure of man. That is also why it becomes a philosophy of immanence and autonomy, or atheism. The God of the philosophers, from Aristotle to Leibniz, including the God of the scholastics, is a god adequate to reason.