Download PDF by Peter Atterton: On Levinas

By Peter Atterton

ON LEVINAS, like different titles within the Wadsworth Philosopher's sequence, bargains a concise, but entire, creation to this philosopher's most crucial rules. featuring crucial insights of good over 100 seminal philosophers in either the jap and Western traditions, the Wadsworth Philosophers Series--edited through Daniel Kolak of The William Paterson collage of recent Jersey--contains volumes written by way of students well-versed in each one featured philosopher's significant works and contributions. those titles will end up useful in a couple of methods. for college kids, they are often learn as standalone texts or, while learn along those philosophers' frequently conceptually daunting works, they are often beneficial assets in picking out the major principles. For teachers, those books are convenient "refreshers." For a normal viewers, those titles have confirmed themselves to be an obtainable and compelling technique of enticing those philosophers' many wealthy recommendations.

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But Levinas is clear about this much: there is something wearisome about life without the Other. It is as though the 49 Eros sheer fact ofbeing—which early on in his career he called the "there is" ("// y a")—were in the words of the French poet, Charles Baudelaire: "tedium, fruit of the mournful incuriosity that take on proportions ofimmortality" ("Spleen"; quoted by Levinas [ T l 307]). With these words Levinas closes Totality and Infinity. " For Levinas, on the contrary, hell is being alone.

Permits the subject who had committed himself in a past instant to be as though that instant had not passed on, to be as though he had not committedhimself (TI 283) The Other—in a relationship called fecundity, my child as it were— liberates me from the consequences o f my own past actions. It is not that I literally did not do X or Y, but it is as though I did not do tiiem. l'he Other permits me to disburden myself of any unfortunate choices or mistakes in the past, turning them into a felix culpa (literally, "fortunate fall"), ln the measure that I am responsible for the Other in the future, I am relieved of the weight of responsibility for the past.

The passage in question concerns Ivan's final realization that he is indeed going to die, that his life was not as it should have been, but there was still time to put it right: "Yes, I am making them wretched," he thought. "They are sorry, but it will be better for them when I die. " He wished to say this but had not the strength to utter it. "Besides, why speak? I must act," he thought. With a look at his wife he indicated his son and said: "Take him away. . sorry for him . . sorry foryou too.

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On Levinas by Peter Atterton


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