Social Imaginaries

Volume 1, Issue 2, Autumn 2015

Kwok-ying Lau
Pages 103-126

War, Peace and Love: The Logic of Lévinas

In this article, I will show that behind Lévinas’s provocative interpretation of the whole history of Western ontology, as a state of war and its denunciation pronounced at the very beginning of Totality and Infinity, there is an internal logic. It is first of all a logic of negation: negation of the rationalization of war and violence committed in the name of the highest truth. It is also a logic of affirmation: affirmation, through love and justice, of plurality and infinity incarnated by the face of all figures of alterity. It is an affirmation of a utopia too: the utopia of an ethical politics aiming at restoration of justice by taking up the absolute responsibility towards the other as non-indifference to the suffering and the death of the Other. This utopia also aims at repairing the wound inflicted to the world by all forms of violence. So, Lévinas’ logic is a logic of politics of non-violence, accompanied by a continuous pathétique cry for love and peace.1