The Problem with Levinas by Simon CritchleyThe Problem with Levinas by Simon Critchley

The Problem with Levinas

bySimon Critchley

Hardcover | August 16, 2015

Pricing and Purchase Info


Earn 225 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


Ships within 1-3 weeks

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


Levinas's idea of ethics as a relation of responsibility to the other person has become a highly influential and recognizable position across a wide range of academic and non-academic fields. Simon Critchley's aim in this book is to provide a less familiar, more troubling, and (hopefully)truer account of Levinas's work. A new dramatic method for reading Levinas is proposed, where the fundamental problem of his work is seen as the attempt to escape from the tragedy of Heidegger's philosophy and the way in which that philosophy shaped political events in the last century. Extensiveand careful attention is paid to Levinas' fascinating but often overlooked work from the 1930s, where the proximity to Heidegger becomes clearer. Levinas's problem is very simple: how to escape from the tragic fatality of being as described by Heidegger. Levinas's later work is a series of attemptsto answer that problem through claims about ethical selfhood and a series of phenomenological experiences, especially erotic relations and the relation to the child. These claims are analyzed in the book through close textual readings. Critchley reveals the problem with Levinas's answer to his ownphilosophical question and suggests a number of criticisms, particular concerning the question of gender. In the final, speculative part of the book, another answer to Levinas's problem is explored through a reading of the Song of Songs and the lens of mystical love.
Simon Critchley is Hans Jonas Professor at the New School for Social Research. His books include Very Little ... Almost Nothing, Infinitely Demanding, The Book of Dead Philosophers, The Faith of the Faithless, The Mattering of Matter, Documents from the Archive of the International Necronautical Society (with Tom McCarthy), and Stay, ...
Title:The Problem with LevinasFormat:HardcoverDimensions:176 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.65 inPublished:August 16, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198738765

ISBN - 13:9780198738763

Look for similar items by category:


Table of Contents

PrefaceAbbreviations of Levinas' WorksLecture OneHegel or Levinas? - Philosophy and Sexual Difference - Why Philosophy? The Problem of Method - Against Aristotle: The Meaning of Drama - Moral Ambiguity - The Seduction of Facticity - At War with Oneself - Heidegger's Comedy Turns Tragic - The Theology of Clothes - Beyond the Tragedy of Finitude -A Happy EndingLecture TwoHitlerism Against Liberalism - Elemental Evil - The Marxist Critique of Liberalism and a Critique of Marxism - Embodiment and Racism - Why Europe is So Great - The Bio-Politics of Fascism - French Philosophy is Not Pornography - Escape: The Ur-Form of Levinas' Thought - Being Riveted and the Needfor Excendence - Desire and Malaise - Pleasure and Shame - I Love Phaedra - The Impotence of Being - Is There a Way Out of Barbarism? - Levinas in CaptivityLecture ThreeThe Break-up of Fate - How to Build an Immonument - Ethics Back to Front - Levinas' Anarchism - Waving Goodbye to the Principle of Non-Contradiction - The Weak Syntax of Skepticism - Escaping Evasion Through That Which Cannot Be Evaded - The Structure of Otherwise than Being - In Itself One: This isNot a Metaphor - Four Problems: Prescription, Agency, Masochism, Sublimation - Love SongLecture FourLevinas' Marvelous Family - The Problem of Eros - Into the Abyss, the Inexistent - Why You Should All Have Children - Pluralism, the Break with the One - The Denouement of Levinas' Comedy - Forgiveness, Reconciliation, Messianism: The End of Totality and Infinity - Occupy Philosophy! Irigaray'sStrategy - Shakespeare's Misogyny - The Song of Songs, Finally - Against Scholem, For Hysterical Extravagance - Mysticism in the Kitchen - All Mouth - Decreation, Annihilation - The Enjoyment of God - Sovereign LoveAfterwordBibliography