Volume 17, Issue 2, Fall 2013
Éthique, Politique et Subjectivité chez Michel Foucault
Clarence W. Joldersma
An Ethical Sinngebung Respectful of the Non-Human
A Levinasian Environmental Ethics
In the following paper, I connect Levinas’s notions of il y a and hypostasis to nature as alterity via Sallis’s interpretation of nature in its return. I interpret Levinas’s idea of the elemental as an unpossessable milieu, an excess with indirect traces, indicating alterity, something strange. I then turn to Levinas’s idea of the ruin of representation to argue for a contextual reversal in which meaning arises from the non-human other. This reversal uncovers the possibility of understanding non-human things as existents, sites where nature in its return reveals the need for respect of the other—an ethical Sinngebung.