Mystery and Method: The Other in Rahner and Levinas

By Michael Purcell | Go to book overview

ENDNOTES
1
Blanchot also notes the inordinate privilege accorded to sight and its association with the notion of being as luminous. This privilege "is originally and implicitly supposed not only by all metaphysics, but by all ontology (and, needless to add, all phenomenology), and according to which everything that is thought, everything that is said, has as its measure light or the absence of light" ( Blanchot 1993, 439, n.3).
2
"Performance" or "act" is the term used to translate "Vollzug," which is used by both Rahner and Coreth. The basic meaning is that of enacting or placing into act, of going from a potentiality for act (or existence) to the actual being and doing of the act. Despite the prefix "Voll," it does not necessarily imply a full realisation, actualisation or perfecting of an action or a being. Rather, it refers to the process of moving from potency to act, essentially ongoing and incomplete for the finite subject. For a fuller explanation, see, Tallon 1971, 151-165.
3
Coreth expresses the same idea: "When we reduce the activity of thinking to this condition of its possibility, the original knowledge of being can be made explicit and put into concepts. But it can never be grasped adequately in concepts; it is never exhaustively contained by concepts.... Since being is always more than what can be held in concepts, since the being that is known implicitly in the very act of thinking is always more than what is expressed on the conceptual level, we must always keep returning to our transcendental reflection ..." ( Coreth 1963, 415-16).
4
Levinas regards the origin of alterity as illeity. For Levinas, the other is not to be dressed or addressed in the familiarity of a tu (tutoiement), but in the im-personality of the il. He writes, "[t]he illeity of this He is not the it of things which are at our disposal.... Illeity is the origin of the alterity of being in which the in itself of objectivity participates, while also betraying it" ( Levinas 1987, 106).
5
Levinas writes that the whole of Totality and Infinity "aims to show a relation with the other not only cutting across the logic of contradiction, where the other of A is the non-A, the negation of A, but also across dialectical logic, where the same dialectically participates and is reconciled with the other in the Unity of the system" ( Levinas 1979,150).
6
One can trace this thought in Rahner also. Speaking of the theology of the Incarnation, Rahner notes the mystery which is the other person, and that '[t]hat which is absolutely unseen and wholly other is not appropriated by the free act, when it aims at definite and limited objects" ( Rahner 1966i,119). The definite description of the Other is not the object of our love, but the mystery which, beyond the plastic image, offers itself to our gaze.
7
See, for example, the notion of exclusion in Foucault 1989b. Foucault argues that one of the key modes of operation of rationality is exclusion.

-169-

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