To the Other: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas

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Purdue University Press


The fruit of the author's many courses on Emmanuel Levinas in Europe and the United States, this study is a clear introduction for graduate students and scholars who are not yet familiar with Levinas's difficult but exceptionally important oeuvre. After a first chapter on the existential background and the key issues of his thought, chapters 2, 3, and 4 concentrate on and include a short text, "Philosophy and the idea of the Infinite," which contains the program of Levinas's entire oeuvre. Chapter 5 is a companion to the reading of Levinas's first opus magnum, Totality and the Infinite. It analyzes the structure of this book and shows how its questions and answers adhere together. "Through phenomenology toward a saying beyond phenomena and essence" could be the summary of Levinas's attempt to think, with and against Martin Heidegger, the otherness of the Other. This is brought out even more clearly in his second opus magnum, Otherwise Than Being or Beyond Essence, whose significance is shown in chapter 6. A bibliography is added to facilitate further study.