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|Title:||Levinas, Singularity, and the Restless Subject|
|Keywords:||philosophy, Levinas, singularity|
|Abstract:||<p>This dissertation argues that Emmanuel Levinas' s is first and foremost a philosopher of subjectivity. I argue that the themes of restlessness of singularity and restlessness govern Levinas' s account of subjectivity and that these themes directly inform the account of the relationship with the Other found in his mature works. Chapter I presents Levinas' s early reflections on identity and escape as arising from his encounter with Husserl's and Heidegger's respective philosophies. The first chapter establishes restlessness and singularity as central themes in Levinas's philosophy. The second chapter argues that Levinas' s account of the relationship with existence found in From Existence to Existence further develops these themes by establishing the subject as originating from a pre-cognitive event that Levinas calls "hypostasis." Chapter III turns to Totality and Infinity and argues that the notion of the "anterior posterior" condition, by which Levinas means a "logical" condition that precedes a "chronological one," is conceptually similar to the idea of "hypostasis" found in the earlier works and that it allows him to develop the theme of singularity as an ethical category. Chapter IV focuses solely on the connection between singularity and the Face, and argues that Levinas's notion of the Face follows from his earlier accounts of singularity but that Levinas fails to address the precise relationship between the different forms of meaning that make up interior life and the relationship with transcendence, and that these problems lead to further questions concerning the roles of politics and justice in his later philosophy. The final chapter will show that in his later works Levinas rehabilitates the theme of restlessness, which is absent in Totality and Infinity, and that it allows him to show that the singularity of the self anci the singularity of the Other are both bound in the same moment. Thus, Levinas returns to the theme of restlessness as a way of addressing the problems that I find in Totality and Infinity. These later developments lead to further questions concerning the role of context in Levinas's idea of the "political." The last chapter concludes by arguing that Levinas is unable to address everyday moral decisionmaking because of his account of the ethical as a "meaning without context."</p>|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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