Volume 6, 2006
A Century with Levinas
La dette calculée de Derrida envers Lévinas
Derrida’s intellectual itinerary shows a progressive reconciliation with Lévinas’ ethical thinking. “Violence and Metaphysics”, one of Derrida’s earlier essays, was highly critical of Lévinas’ “phallotheology”, whereas his later works were more receptive to the Levinasian analysis on hospitality, “cities of refuge” (villes-refuges) and justice. This essay will discuss the mutual terminological exchanges between Derrida and Lévinas as well as some divergences between the two thinkers
regarding the deconstruction project. Finally, we will see how Derrida distinguishes himself from Lévinas’ ethics by bringing an end to the search for the conditions of possibility of experience in favour of a more radical experience of the impossible and the inconditional.