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Studia Phaenomenologica

Volume 6, 2006

A Century with Levinas

Richard A. Cohen
Pages 117-137

Some Notes on the Title of Levinas’s Totality and Infinity and its First Sentence

Alternative oppositions to “infinity” and “totality” are suggested, examined and shown to be inadequate by comparison to the sense of the opposition contained in title Totality and Infinity chosen by Levinas. Special attention is given to this opposition and the priority given to ethics in relation Kant’s distinction between understanding and reason and the priority given by Kant to ethics. The book’s title is further illuminated by means of its first sentence, and the first sentence is illuminated by means of the book’s title. Special attention is given to explicating the nature and significance of the hitherto unnoticed “informal” fallacy contained in the first sentence.

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