DOI link for Emmanuel Levinas
Emmanuel Levinas book
Emmanuel Levinas (1906-95) is best known for his insistence that ‘ethics is # rst philosophy’. While the majority of critics of the so-called postmodern or postmetaphysical philosophy condemned its passage beyond good and evil, and the majority of its devotees celebrated this same liberty, Levinas sought a position that cut across these options. He stood almost alone, until perhaps the last decade and a half of the twentieth century, in insisting that postmodernity and the end of onto-theological metaphysics were not incompatible with morality and ethics, but in fact o% ered a unique opportunity for awakening our ethical regard for the Other. A" er the Nietzschean diagnosis of the death of God (see Vol. 4, Ch. 18, “Friedrich Nietzsche”) and a" er the end of metaphysics had put an end to transcendental grounds for moral obligation, Levinas found an injunction whose source survived. is was the face of the Other. e face of the human other issued an undeniable obligation, which Levinas o" en formulated in the ethical injunction ‘thou shalt not murder’, and the hearing of this command altered the very subjectivity of man, leaving behind the self-grounding, autonomous subject of onto-theological metaphysics for a relational subject not determined by representational consciousness.