Death and Responsibility: The "Work" of Levinas
The work of Levinas has, for the most part, been too easily read. Levinas's use of words like "responsibility" and "God" gives some readers reason to dismiss his work as insufficiently attentive to the whispered suspicions of our times, while giving others reason to accept his work as a clarion call guiding them out of this wilderness of disorienting whispers. Richly informed by readings of Heidegger, Derrida, and Blanchot, Keenan argues that the notion of responsibility at the heart of Levinas's notion of ethics is intimately dependent upon his account of death.
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absolute responsibility according to Levinas Alphonso Lingis alterity analysis of death aporetic aporia of death aporia of responsibility articulates authentic body cogito condition constituted context contradiction Dasein dead death as impossibility death as possibility Derrida writes elemental Emmanuel Levinas emphasis added enjoyment equivocation essence evil genius existential analysis finite genealogy of death genealogy of responsibility Gift of Death Hegel Heidegger idea of infinity insofar interrupted irreducible ambiguity irreducibly ambiguous Jacques Derrida Judaism le temps mort leaves a trace Levinas writes Levinas's reading logical Maurice Blanchot Meditations merely movement of descent negation nihilism nothingness oneself ownmost passage Phenomenology of Spirit Philosophy possibility of impossibility possibility turns produced se produit question read alongside reading of death reading of Descartes reads death relation without relation relationship representation rereading revealed revelatory event Robert Bernasconi sibility signification step suggest Talmudic theodicy thought tion Totality and Infinity tout autre transcendence Translated turns into death