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date: 16 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Most attempts to articulate the relevance of Levinas’s philosophy to the project of rethinking nature, ecology, and “the environment” in view of the perceived impending planetary crisis focus on his key ethical concepts such as the face-to-face, transcendence, absolute alterity, and Infinity. The implicit anthropocentrism of this dimension of his schema is often found to be a decisive impasse regarding the question of the ethical status of the nonhuman. This chapter explains why recurrent focus on the ethical relation and “the beyond” should be balanced by attention to his philosophy of existence; his empiricism; and his analyses of individuation, immanence, and Totality. Focussing on the “dark side” of the face-to-face and Levinas’s notion of the milieu will show the relevance of nature and ecology to the human-nonnhuman relation.

Keywords: nature, ecology, environment, anthropocentrism, milieu, individuation, existence, nonhuman, immanence, Levinas

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