Ethics, Exegesis, and Philosophy: Interpretation after Levinas

Ethics, Exegesis, and Philosophy: Interpretation after Levinas

Ethics, Exegesis, and Philosophy: Interpretation after Levinas

Ethics, Exegesis, and Philosophy: Interpretation after Levinas

Synopsis

Emmanuel Levinas (1906-96) is now widely regarded as a major European moral philosopher profoundly shaped by his Jewish background. A pupil of Husserl and Heidegger, Levinas pioneered new forms of Biblical interpretation. Richard A. Cohen's book expands on Levinas' work to explore broader questions of interpretation in ethical thinking. Levinas' views of philosophy are considered in critical contrast to alternative contemporary approaches, such as those found in modern science, psychology, Nietzsche, Freud, Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre and Derrida. Cohen explores a manner of philosophizing that he terms "ethical exegesis."

Excerpt

It was the new science of phenomenology, elaborated by Edmund Husserl, imposing a more stringent method onto Bergsonian intuition and vastly expanding its fields of investigation, which advanced and determined subsequent contemporary thought on the European continent in the twentieth century. Yet Husserl's phenomenology is a method little known outside of professional philosophy and the social sciences. One can make an analogy with contemporary physics. Though very few people actually understand or could rehearse the equations of Einstein, everyone is aware that his discoveries have altered the map of science. Similarly, the phenomenology of Edmund Husserl is barely known by name outside of academia, and in truth is less known by actual acquaintance even there. Nonetheless, Husserl's phenomenology represents one of the great advances of human thought, and has already been quite influential across the humanities and social sciences, because it exploits the fertile philosophical territory opened up by Bergson. Rich as it has been in itself, and fertile as has been its direct influence, Husserl's phenomenology has also served as the motherlode for nearly all of the major continental philosophies of the twentieth century, from Heidegger's ontology to Sartre's existentialism to Claude Levi-Strauss's structuralism to Jacques Derrida's deconstruction.

Levinas, too, was schooled in Husserl's phenomenology. His attachment to phenomenology is both personal and philosophical. After five years at the University of Strasbourg, at the ripe age of twenty-two Levinas traveled to Freiburg to study under Husserl (and under Heidegger) for the 1928–29 academic year. Within two years he had completed his doctoral dissertation on Husserl's . . .

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.