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What Other Can Disturb Me? The Temporality of Alterity in Levinas’s Totality & Infinity

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What Other Can Disturb Me? The Temporality of Alterity in Levinas’s Totality & Infinity

Cook, Daniel (2017) What Other Can Disturb Me? The Temporality of Alterity in Levinas’s Totality & Infinity. [Graduate Projects (Non-thesis)] (Unpublished)

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Abstract

This paper investigates the temporal meaning of the alterity of the Other in Emmanuel Levinas’s Totality & Infinity and its implications for the recent debate concerning the possibility of a non- anthropocentric extension of Levinas’s ethical philosophy. Through a close reading of sections from Totality & Infinity, I articulate, first, Levinas’s argument that because pre-reflective experience is characterized as an interiorizing jouissance, discourse is the condition of possibility for objectivity, and, second, that this discourse is afforded only by the asymmetrical ethical relationship that Levinas develops as his main thesis. On my argumentation, this asymmetrical ethical relationship is afforded by the diachronic and discontinuous temporality Levinas exposes in his analysis of fecundity. As such, I argue that the alterity of the Other, which, on Levinas’s
account, shatters egoist jouissance, is inherently and radically futural.
It is my contention that because it is this futural alterity of the Other that calls me into question and inaugurates ethical life, one cannot articulate categorical restrictions on what sort of Other could disturb me in advance or once and for all. As such, and on my argumentation, one need not “extend” Levinas’s account of ethics to include non-human Others, because Totality & Infinity already offers intrinsic provisions for a more-than-human ethics.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Philosophy
Item Type:Graduate Projects (Non-thesis)
Authors:Cook, Daniel
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Philosophy
Date:25 July 2017
ID Code:982707
Deposited By: DANIEL COOK
Deposited On:28 Jul 2017 14:37
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:55
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