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Emmanuel Levinas (1905-1995)

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by

Rayane Hatoum

on 17 March 2014

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Transcript of Emmanuel Levinas (1905-1995)

Levinas and WW2
Mobilized into the French army when ww2 broke out but was later captured by the German’s
Was a prisoner for 5 years and escaped, but unfortunately his family died
Wife and daughter had also escaped but had no communication with him
The war and the horrific Nazi’s heightened Levinas awareness of his Jewish roots

Philosophy Career
At 68, levinas was named the professor of philosophy at the most prestigious school in Paris, The Sorbonne
After that he obtained recognition by the philosophical world
After a few year at Sorbonne, he retired


Emmanuel Levinas (1905-1995)
Biography
Marked by the tragedies of the 20th century; holocaust
Born in 1905 in Kaunas, Lithuania to Jewish parents
Moved to France at 17 to study philosophy

Ethical Thinking
Jewish teacher, Mordachi Chouchani, instructed Levinas on the Jewish Talmud
Levinas began lecturing young Jewish students about the Talmud
Completed his Doctoral thesis at 55 “totality and infinity”
Never forgot his jewish roots
Missed a lecture because of the Sabbath
Continued to write and lecture until he died in 1995

Philosophers ethical theory
Levina’s ethical theory is a concept based on infinite responsibility. Basically Levinas explains that the “other” is what defines the “self” and because of this we are automatically
prone to looking for the similarities between us and others, as a result we feel an obligation to other people and begin to feel a sense of responsibility for the encounters that we
have. It is also said by Levinas that good isn’t found within commonalities but rather uniqueness
of the person and that the face of the person isn’t forthcoming but the eyes are, they never lie
and because of the eyes, we as people, are unable to reduce others to being alike to yourself or another.

His deeply rooted jewish
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