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Addressing Levinas

From Northwestern University Press

Addressing Levinas

Eric Sean Nelson
Antje Kapust
Kent Still

At a time of great and increasing interest in the work of Emmanuel Levinas, this volume draws readers into what Levinas described as "philosophy itself"--"a discourse always addressed to another." Thus the philosopher himself provides the thread that runs through these essays on his writings, one guided by the importance of the fact of being addressed--the significance of the Saying much more than the Said. The authors, leading Levinas scholars and interpreters from across the globe, explore the philosopher's relationship to a wide range of intellectual traditions, including theology, philosophy of culture, Jewish thought, phenomenology, and the history of philosophy. They also engage Levinas's contribution to ethics, politics, law, justice, psychoanalysis and epistemology, among other themes.

In their radical singularity, these essays reveal the inalienable alterity at the heart of Levinas's ethics. At the same time, each essay remains open to the others, and to the perspectives and positions they advocate. Thus the volume, in its quality and diversity, enacts an authentic encounter with Levinas's thought, embodying an intellectual ethics by virtue of its style. Bringing together contributions from philosophy, theology, literary theory, gender studies, and political theory, this book offers a deeper and more thorough encounter with Levinas's ethics than any yet written.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

This entry on Levinas is long and extensive with thorough bibliographies and cited references.

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Specializing in a name...

Is it a good idea to specialize in a single individual philosopher? Simone de Beauvoir? Merleau-Ponty? Irigaray? Or better to specialize in a particular topic, something obscure enough not to attract thousands of people to the questions? It's good to find a topic that is broad enough to insure interest beyond a series of papers. A good topic will gather together a small group of interesting writers/thinkers bringing all sorts of good questions.

Even a single name will draw together a group of names interested in angles and ideas. It's always good to compile a list of people that write on the topic of interest, gather together a bibliography for research and reference. A single figure will always have an array of topics that were or are of interest.

If you do find a philosopher that especially interests you, search out their personal history. Personal journals, both published and unpublished, can be an excellent source of information. Such ontic accounts help to create a sense of living history. Photographs help, too, not only of the philosopher, but of the landscapes and city locales. Novels that were popular at the time can help.

It's also interesting to search out the political events of a particular time whithin which the topic emerges. From world events to local events, if nothing else, it's fun to speculate on what might have influenced a thinker's thought. Trying to bring it close.

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