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Emmanuel Levinas (b. He read the great Russian classics Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Turgeniev, Gogol, Pushkin, and Lermontov. In his magnificent work “God and Philosophy” Emmanuel Levinas develops a new understanding of transcendence. This was the first French book on Husserl. Originally from Lithuania, he is one of the most famous representatives of continental philosophy. In his major work, Totality and Infinity (1961), he contended that, as it is used in Western philosophy, reason enforces “domination” and “sameness” and destroys plurality and otherness. Parallel to his "professional" (i.e., philosophic) writings, Levinas also published a vast body of "confessional" writings that treat Judaism, religious themes, and Talmud. ), The Path of the Spirit. Ethics, which Levinas wanted to discuss philosophically, is for him attested to in the holy life, to which the Bible, Midrashim, and Talmud testify. The first great critical reaction to Totality and Infinity came from Jacques *Derrida. EMMANUEL LEVINAS Best known for his theories of ethics and responsibility, Emmanuel Levinas was one of the most profound and influential thinkers of the last century. He was mainly concerned with the question of how to talk about the Other in the language of the Same. During the late 1940s Levinas studied the Talmud in Paris with the enigmatic figure Monsieur Chouchani (a pseudonym), about whom very little is known. Au-delà du principe d'identité (1991); A. Peperzak (ed. . Levy, The Other and Responsibility: The Philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas (Heb., 1998); J. Llewelyn, Emmanuel Levinas: The Genealogy of Ethics (1995); S. Malka, Lire Lévinas (1984); idem, Emmanuel Lévinas: la vie et la trace (2002); E. Meir, "The Dimension of the Feminine in Levinas' Philosophy," in: Iyyun – The Jerusalem Philosophical Quarterly, 43 (1994), 145–52 (Heb. ); idem, "Guilt and Responsibility as Characteristics of the Answerable Man in the Thought of E. Levinas," in: Y. Amir (ed. The Eliezer Schweid Jubilee Volume, vol. From 1947 until 1951 he studied Talmud with Rabbi Mordechai Chouchani, who was also the teacher of Elie *Wiesel. If ethics means rationalist self-legislation and freedom (deontology), the calculation of happiness (utilitarianism), or the cultivation of virtues (virtue ethics), then Levinas's philosophy is not an ethics. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list. Retrieved January 12, 2021 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/levinas-emmanuel. Insofar as the moral debt one owes to the Other can never be satisfied—Lévinas claims that the Other is “infinitely transcendent, infinitely foreign”—one’s relation to him is that of infinity. In addition to his philosophic work, Levinas began publishing articles on Jewish subjects. In 1934, for instance, he published "Some Reflections on the Philosophy of Hitlerism," criticizing New Germany's primitivism. Levinas does not write about God as Being, but as not assumable "illéité" – Illeity (He-hood, from the Latin "ille," that one, the other one), as alterity – the other than other – that ruptures the unity of the I, orienting it toward other human beings. Abi Doukhan argues that Levinas's philosophy can be understood as a comprehensive … Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list. The contact with the Other face to face is one of demand: the Other addresses the I, resisting its powers and appropriation. Encyclopedia.com. ); idem, "La notion de la révélation dans la 'théologie des profondeurs' de Heschel et la métaphysique éthique de Lévinas," in: G. Rabinovitch (ed. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Emmanuel-Levinas, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy - Biography of Emmanuel Levinas, The New York Times - Emmanuel Levinas, 90, French Ethical Philosopher, San Diego State University - Biography of Emmanuel Levinas. He grew up in a Jewish home that was open to European culture. A person needs to understand that God does not promise anything or follow one’s magical thinking about God. His philosophy places him amongst the most profound thinkers. ), Re-Reading Levinas (1991); R. Bernasconi and D. Wood (eds. Lévinas began his studies in philosophy in 1923 at the University of Strasbourg. Levinas's philosophy has been called ethics. For Levinas, the Other is not knowable and cannot be made into an object of the self, as is done by traditional metaphysics (which Levinas called "ontology"). Brunschvicg, Léon COHEN, HERMANN © 2019 Encyclopedia.com | All rights reserved. Permeated with references to the 'stranger', the 'other' and 'exteriority', the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas signifies a positive understanding of exile. He further tries to avoid the problem of the thematizing of the unthematizable by incessantly unsaying the said (dédire le Dit), because no said may contain the Saying (le Dire) of responsibility. Books by a top Levinas scholar; The Emmanuel Levinas web page by Peter … ), Religion and State in Twentieth-Century Jewish Thought (2005), 409–24 (Heb. Koyré’s work was threefold. C. Vanhove-Romanik (1985); C. Chalier, Lévinas: L'Utopie de l'humain (1993); idem, Pour une morale au-delà du savoir: Kant et Levinas (1998) = What Ought I To Do? ), Textes pour Emmanuel Levinas (1980), 21–60; E. Feron, De l'idée de la transcendance à la question dulangage: L'Itinéraire philosophique d'Emmanuel Lévinas (1992); A. Finkelkraut, La Sagesse de l'amour (1984); R. Gibbs, Correlations in Rosenzweig and Levinas (1992); J. Greisch and J. Rolland (eds. In Levinas' ethics, the Other with his constitutive strangeness puts the self into question. He introduced phenomenology to France through his translation of Husserl’s Cartesian Meditations into French, and he developed a lifelong friendship with Maurice Blanchot. COHEN, HERMANN (1842–1918) was a Jewish philosopher of religion and founder and exponent of Marburg Neo-Kantian philoso…, KoyrÉ, Alexandre Viewed from this perspective, Heidegger’s attempt to develop a new “fundamental ontology,” one that would answer the question of the “meaning of Being,” is misguided, because it continues to reflect the dominating and destructive orientation characteristic of Western philosophy in general. Making Ethical Sense of Useless Suffering with Levinas Emmanuel Levinas, “Ethics as First Philosophy” (), in The Levinas Reader, ed. However, the date of retrieval is often important. A masterful series of interviews with Levinas, conducted by French philosopher Philippe Nemo, which provides a succinct presentation of Levinas's philosophy. Two years later he published the first substantial French article on Heidegger (a revised version in En découvrant l'existence avec Husserl et Heidegger). Only a heaven empty of … Corrections? Lescourret, Emmanuel Lévinas (1994); Z. Levinas does not strive for harmonization between his "professional" and "confessional" writings, but discusses one truth beyond ontology that can be discussed in different manners. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). After having suffered from Ukrainian antisemitism, the family returned to Kovno in July 1920, where he attended the Jewish lyceum that was organized by Joseph Carlebach and directed by Moses Schwabe. An Introduction (1996); J. Derrida, "Violence et métaphysique: Essai sur la pensée d' Emmanuel Lévinas" (1964), in: L'Écriture et la difference (1967), 117–228; idem, "En ce moment même dans cet ouvrage me voici," in: Laruelle (ed. Encyclopedias almanacs transcripts and maps. His work is based on the ethics of the Other or, in Levinas's terms, on "ethics as first philosophy". Emmanuel Levinas (1906–1996) has exerted a profound influence on 20th-century continental philosophy. During the 1928–29 academic year he went to nearby Freiburg, Germany, where he studied under Edmund *Husserl and Martin Heidegger. Levinas thought that humanism of the other person and Judaism were compatible, and he considered being Jewish a form of being human. Emmanuel Lévinas, (born December 30, 1905 [January 12, 1906, Old Style], Kaunas, Lithuania—died December 25, 1995, Paris, France), Lithuanian-born French philosopher renowned for his powerful critique of the preeminence of ontology (the philosophical study of being) in the history of Western philosophy, particularly in the work of the German philosopher Martin Heidegger (1889–1976). He found the idea of rupturing totality in Franz *Rosenzweig's Star of Redemption (1921) which he read before World War ii, and he admitted to having made extensive use of Rosenzweig's anti-totalitarian thought. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. ); idem, "Levinas's Thinking on Religion as beyond the Pathetic: Reflections on the First Part of Difficult Freedom," in: E.L. Fackenheim and R. Jospe (eds. Emmanuel Levinas (Kaunas, 1905-Paris, 1996) Lithuanian philosopher of Jewish origin, naturalized French in 1930.He completed his first studies in philosophy in Strasbourg.In 1928 he moved to Freiburg, where he discovered Husserl's phenomenology and Heidegger's thought.In France he attended Leon Brunschvicg's courses at the Sorbonne.At the end of World War II, after a period of … The face by Levinas. The principal theme of Lévinas’s work after World War II is the traditional place of ontology as “first philosophy”—the most fundamental philosophical discipline. This is Levinas’s first great work of original philosophy, and his descriptions of the ways in which we are always called to be open to and respect and responsive to the experience of others informs much of my thinking. Ethics as first philosophy. He spent the academic year 1928–9 in Freiburg, Germany, where he took seminars with Husserl and then with Heidegger. He developed an early interest in Husserl’s … Already in his early publication De l'évasion (1935), Levinas looked for what exceeds the Being, maintaining that the relation of man to Being is not only ontology. He is known for studying the particular contributors to... During the late 20th century the thought of the French Jewish philosopher. Yet, the inegalitarian moment of the ethical encounter remains in vigor. Lévinas claims that ontology also displays a bias toward cognition and theoretical reason—the use of reason in the formation of judgments or beliefs. He survived; his wife and daughter also survived, having fled from Paris with the help of Maurice Blanchot and finally finding a hiding place in a French monastery. Levinas made German phenomenology known in France. After detention in France, he was deported to a pow camp near Hanover, Germany, which bore the infamous number "1492." LEVINAS, EMMANUEL (1906–1995), philosopher and Jewish thinker. Levinas prefers to think of philosophy as the "wisdom of love" rather than the "love of wisdom" (the usual translation of the Greek "φιλοσοφία")… Levinas thought that humanism of the other person and Judaism were compatible, and he considered being Jewish a form of being human. Levinas was born in Kovno, Lithuania. The Jewish message is one for all humanity. Levinas’s formal reflections on Jewish thought first appeared in a collection of essays published in 1963 as Difficile liberté (Difficult Freedom). Encyclopaedia Judaica. Some of these essays on Judaism were collected in Difficult Freedom (1963), in Beyond the Verse (1982), and In the Time of the Nations (1988). ), Emmanuel Lévinas: L'Éthique comme philosophie première (1993); J. Halpérin and N. Hansson, Colloque des intellectuels juifs. ISBN 978-1-4020-4124-2; Adina Bozga and Attila Szigeti (2006) "A Century with Levinas. In working toward an understanding of "ethics as first philosophy," it will do to examine Husserl and Heidegger, since their … "Levinas, Emmanuel 6 (2002), 111–33 (Heb. He did not conceive the subject as a consciousness, but as welcoming the Other, as "responsibility," "exposure," "witness," and as "in proximity." Figures of Estrangement (1997); M.A. In the Jewish writings, Abraham becomes the prototype of the one, characterized by hospitality, who transcends the narrow world of the self in order to follow an always exterior voice. Levinas played a pioneer role in the dissemination of phenomenology in France. Updates? Author Information: EMMANUEL LEVINAS, a major voice in twentieth century philosophical thought, died in late 1995. ), La lettura ebraica delle Scritture (1995), 465–95; idem, "Criticism of the 'Myth' of Unio Mystica in E. Levinas," in: H. Pedayah (ed. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites: http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html. ." Philosophers and theologians all over the world are interested in Levinas' work. In 1923 Levinas moved to France, where he studied in Strasbourg under people like Maurice Pradines, Henri Carteron, Maurice Halbwachs, and Charles Blondel. In this respect ontology is philosophically inferior to ethics, a field that Lévinas construes as encompassing all the practical dealings of human beings with each other. 1995) was a philosopher famous for having developed an original interpretation of Edmund Husserl’s phenomenological method, using the latter to address the foundations of ethics and normativity. After the war, Levinas became director of enio, the Oriental Israelite Normal School, attended by Moroccan Jews who had immigrated to France. ), Levinas and Buber. https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/levinas-emmanuel, "Levinas, Emmanuel Levinas' parents and his brothers in Kovno were murdered. Levinas retakes Plato's terms of the "Same" and the "Other" and points to the frequent absorption of the Other by the Same in the history of philosophy. ), Lévinas e la cultura del xx secolo (Cultura Filosofica e Scienze Umane, 3), (2001), 209–35 (= Daat, 50–52 (2003), 423–39); idem, "Ethics, Politics and God in the Writings of E. Levinas," in: Democratic Culture, vol. The relationship is not reciprocal as in Martin *Buber, it is asymmetrical. ); idem, "Teaching Levinas on Revelation," in: R. Jospe (ed. Ethics as first philosophy. This first philosophy is neither traditional logic nor metaphysics, however. Rosenzweig was born in Kassel, Germany,…, Derrida, Jacques Actes du xxxvie Colloque des intellectuels juifs de langue française (1998); S. Handelman, Fragments of Redemption: Jewish Thought and Literary Theory in Benjamin, Scholem, and Levinas (1991); M.-A. ), Emmanuel Lévinas – Philosophie et judaïsme (Pardès, 26; 1999) 101–4; R.A. Cohen (ed. He asks: “What kind of strange magician did you project as the inhabitant of your heaven.” Only an empty heaven allows one to take on the responsibilities of justice in this world. Our century has seen the man’s face disappear behind the multiplicity of determinations (biological, social and linguistic) that science has revealed: the death of the man announced by Foucault. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates. Brunschvicg, of Alsatian origin, achieved a brilliant record at the Lycée Condorcet. 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