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Project: Emmanuel Levinas
Transcript of Project: Emmanuel Levinas
The Uniqueness of Things
The Face of the Other
“There is first the very uprightness of the face, its upright exposure, without defense. The skin of the face is that which stays most naked, most destitute. It is the most naked, though with a decent nudity.... The face is meaning all by itself...it leads you beyond.” - Emmanuel Levinas
The face is naked and vulnerable
When one encounters the Other, one is able to acknowledge the Other's vulnerability or weakness
The Other is a stranger who challenges us to accept and aid them; to bring out the good within us
Coming face to face with the Other is described as a non-symmetrical relationship
Developed the first philosophy, and it was not traditional nor metaphysics.
Not an ethical philosophy but it explores transcendence, existence, and the human other.
and Human Other
Levinas values the importance of human relationships as a way of connecting to God
We are not meant to depend on someone else, but to work harmoniously together because “no man is an island”
the appearance of the other calls upon the commandment: “thou shalt not kill”
The “face to face” relationship calls on the issues of social existence and injustice
Goodness does not set any limits
Levinas prohibits make up and coloured lenses.
Could cause an alter-ego, which is a chance to hide\cover up
Describes encounters with another person based on vision.
Born in Kaunas, Lithuania in 1906
Grew up speaking French, Russian, became fluent in German and read the Bible in Hebrew
Began studying philosophy at Strasbourg University
Called for military duty in 1939 and after one month was captured
After the war he began learning from Jewish teacher Mordachi Couchani and philosopher Martin Heidegger
Doctoral thesis was called Totality and Infinity
Began teaching and ended his career after teaching at the Sorbonne in Paris
The Sorbonne in Paris
In Emmanuel Levinas’ book,
Totality and Infinity
, he writes “Everyone will readily agree that it is the highest importance to know whether we are not duped by morality. Does not lucidity, the mind’s openness upon the true,consist in catching sight of the permanent possibility of war”
For Levinas, it meant that we first must understand the concept of war in order to understand
- Total war: the use and excuse of any means to engage in war, such as not distinguishing enemy citizens and soldiers from one another.
- Totalitarianism: Inclusion of all life as under state control.
According to Levinas:
- War is an example of totalization; it does not grasp the other as an individual.
- Instead it does as a generality, missing the individuality of that person altogether.
-There is no individualism-
it is a denial of alterity.
The Uniqueness of Things
Thank you for watching!
- Contrasted the western idea of Being.
- Our unique traits are traces of God.
-Nothing that is tangible is identical to God, so everything is finite.
-We do not have God within us, rather traces that He has left behind, providing uniqueness.
-Good and God are essentially the same thing, which is why the Good is Infinite.
- Was influenced by his Jewish roots.
- Western philosophy focuses on eliminating our differences and finding an element of sameness within us.
-Levinas believed we should each embrace our unique qualities as.