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date: 17 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the problem of language in Levinas’s philosophy regarding methodology. Ethics, for Levinas, happens in everyday speech, where the Other demands a response from me. How he describes this relation presents methodological problems for Levinas, because it is resistant to any kind of theoretical approach, including phenomenology. Any writing about ethics, including Levinas’s, would immediately be its betrayal. This chapter describes Levinas’s account of language in Totality and Infinity, the issues that remain there, which it highlights through Blanchot’s and Derrida’s discussion of Levinas’s work. It also outlines a different way of thinking about the alterity of Other that is suggested in Totality and Infinity but comes to the fore in Otherwise Than Being, which is not as an opposition between speech and the visible, but enunciation (the saying) and the sayable (the said).

Keywords: alterity, Blanchot, Derrida, language, Levinas, phenomenology, speech

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