ABSTRACT

The proposed chapter is a comprehensive interpretation of Levinas’s notion of truth as presented in Totality and Infinity. The first part of the chapter discusses various features of Levinas’s characterization of truth: why truth requires separation of the same from the other; truth and the relation to the other; the links between truth, ethics, and justice, etc.

The second part of the chapter suggests a framework for unifying the different aspects of Levinas’s notion of truth on the basis of approaches to truth developed within the analytic philosophy tradition, with special emphasis on the functional conception of truth. The functional conception of truth was developed in response to problems associated with the correspondence theory of truth. On the functional conception, no single notion of truth is the correct one, but rather, truth functions differently in different contexts. I show that, for the purpose of interpreting the notion of truth in Totality and Infinity, versions of the functional conception of truth developed by Michael Lynch and Gila Sher are particularly relevant.