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date: 20 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Levinas’s early work tends to be associated with the idea of alterity even though in his later work the idea of proximity is more prominent. It is true that as time went on Levinas adopted the word neighbor that he had earlier refused; he renounced the word experience; and he replaced his account of paternity with an account of maternity. There is even a growing equivocation in his relation to the I-Thou philosophy of Buber that he had initially defined himself against. Nevertheless these changes do not mark a shift in his thinking so much as a change in emphasis. The two accounts need to be reintegrated which becomes possible once one recognizes the centrality of the persecuted self in his account of subjectivity.

Keywords: Emmanuel Levinas, Martin Buber, alterity, maternity, persecution, proximity, subjectivity, substitution

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