Correlations in Rosenzweig and Levinas

Correlations in Rosenzweig and Levinas

Correlations in Rosenzweig and Levinas

Correlations in Rosenzweig and Levinas

Synopsis

"Robert Gibbs radically revises standard interpretations of the two key figures of modern Jewish philosophy - Franz Rosenzweig, author of the monumental Star of Redemption, and Emmanuel Levinas, a major voice in contemporary intellectual life, who has inspired such thinkers as Derrida, Lyotard, Irigaray, and Blanchot. Rosenzweig and Levinas thought in relation to different philosophical schools and wrote in disparate styles. Their personal relations to Judaism and to Christianity were markedly dissimilar. Finally, they were divided by history: Rosenzweig's premature death occurred before the advent of Nazism, while Levinas' life has been "dominated by the presentiment and memory of the Nazi horror." To Gibbs, however, the two thinkers possess basic affinities with each other. Correlating traditional Jewish themes in social ethics with postmodern philosophy, Rosenzweig and Levinas not only discover new resonances in Jewish thought but also reorient philosophy itself, so that it takes its bearing from the individual's unavoidable responsibility for others. Levinas, who was the first expositor in France of Husserl, Heidegger, and the phenomenological method, has been read as a philosopher with little concern for his Jewish thought, and Rosenzweig has been seen exclusively as an existentialist theologian. Gibbs maintains, on the other hand, that Rosenzweig strives to elucidate universally accessible concepts and social practices and that Levinas is a Jewish thinker in exactly that same sense. Through this argument, the book offers important insights into how philosophy is continually being altered by its encounter with other traditions." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

Ever since Hegel proclaimed himself to be the end of philosophy, philosophy has been resurrected in a strange, almost Hegelian, dialectical move. a thinker claims that something stands outside philosophy and so refuses the systematic logic that thinks everything. Philosophy sits rejected and chastened by this recourse to something other than itself. But this very effort to stand outside philosophy, independent of reason's empire, produces a new point of orientation for philosophy. the existing self, or everyday language, or the written text, or the will to power, or “the body,” or … produce new philosophies: philosophy of the existing self, philosophy of writing, philosophy of the will…. At first glance Hegel seems to have won all too easily, for what looks more like the dialectic of sublation than philosophy recovering itself by moving through its others? But the philosophy that emerges after this recovery is not Hegel's, but is rather one which has become significantly other through the process— and so the notions we have of reason, of argument, of the purpose of philosophy, and indeed of the very orientation of philosophy are profoundly changed. Philosophy is replaced periodically with altered philosophies and thus cannot reign as the self-consciousness that assimilates everything else into its program, system, or project.

This process of altering philosophy, or of philosophy's conquest by its others, displays not the will to power of philosophy, but rather the perennial needs for a reexamination of reason and for reason itself to undergo alteration from its others, discovering in the process that reason is not clear to itself. the other teaches philosophy—philosophy resists, but ultimately is educated by the other and forgoes only its claim that philosophy is sovereign and complete, grounded and secure, a claim which even its others accepted in order to distance themselves. When the spokespeople for philosophy's others claim that they will not be philosophers, that their work is not philosophy, or in the academic context, that they cannot teach in Philosophy Departments, they are reacting to this claim which philosophy and its professors advance. But the thought and writing of philosophy's others redefine philosophy and become new philosophies, again vulnerable to still other others. Each other comes forward to claim its distinct critique of philosophy; each claims to have what has been missing all along, or at least since a wrong turn. Whether each other needs philosophy is more complex, but a certain striving for universal intelligi-

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.