Volume 14, Issue 1, Fall 2009
Levinas on Individuation and Ethical Singularity
Marion has criticized Levinas for failing to account for the individuation of the Other, thus leaving the face of the Other abstract, neutral and anonymous. I defend Levinas against this critique by distinguishing between the individuation of the subject through hypostasis and the singularization of self and Other through ethical response. An analysis of the instant in Levinas’s early and late work shows that it is possible to speak of a “nameless singularity” which does not collapse into neutrality or abstraction, but rather explains the sense in which anyone is responsible for any Other who happens to come along.