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date: 09 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This essay explores the role played by food and hunger in the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas. By examining instances in which Levinas mentions food, eating, or hunger, over the course of his career, this essay argues that Levinas was not a “philosopher of food” but, instead, someone for whom food and the body had specific meanings within the tradition of philosophical phenomenology. By engaging with the work of historian of science Steven Shapin, this essay argues Levinas’s work offers an ideal corpus for a reexamination of philosophy’s traditional denigration of the body and its appetites. Furthermore, eating and hunger took on important dual roles in Levinas’s thought, being related both to the creation and maintenance of the self, and to our openness toward the alterity of other persons.

Keywords: Emmanuel Levinas, food, hunger, phenomenology, existentialism, appetite

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