Before the Voice of Reason: Echoes of Responsibility in Merleau-Ponty's Ecology and Levinas's Ethics

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Provides a critique of reason, demanding that we take greater responsibility for nature and other people.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Kleinberg-Levin is that rare phenomenologist who continually ‘does phenomenology,’ instead of just talking about its necessity. He finds in Merleau-Ponty’s work the concrete phenomena of childhood and language progression that justifies the distinctions that are made about the priority of the phenomena. Kleinberg-Levin demands that phenomenological description not be speculative and metaphysical, but rather have a basis in the human developmental process. The work on Levinas in the second half of the book is equally exquisite, if not more so.” — Glen A. Mazis, author of Earthbodies: Rediscovering Our Planetary Senses
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Product Details

Meet the Author

David Michael Kleinberg-Levin is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Northwestern University. He is the author of several books, including Gestures of Ethical Life: Reading Hölderlin’s Question of Measure After Heidegger and The Philosopher’s Gaze: Modernity in the Shadows of Enlightenment.

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Table of Contents


1. A Human Voice

2. The Project

3. The Ethical Root of the Voice

4. The Voice of Reason

5. Reconciling Voices: the Political Register

6. Conversation

7. Reading This Book

Part I. The Singing of the World Variations on a Theme After Merleau-Ponty

Chapter 1. The Remembrance of Nature in the Voice of the Subject

1. Invocations of Nature

2. The Song of the Winds

3. The Song of the Earth

Chapter 2. The Question of Origins

1. Silence

2. Song

Chapter 3. The Voice of Ecological Attunement in a Practice of Caring for the Self

1. Prologue

2. The Singing of Language

3. Caring for Oneself: The Three Phase-Dimensions of the Voice

4. Dying Echoes: What Must Be Remembered

Part II. Levinas On the Claim of the Ethical

Chapter 4. The Saying and the Said: Giving Time to the Voice of the Other

1. Unavoidable Violence

2. Responsibility: Claiming the Voice

3. Inspiration

4. Heterology, Heteronomy: The Lyrical Voice

5. The Ethical Dimensions of the Voice

6. Ethical Saying: The Claim in Dialogue

Chapter 5. The Pre-Originary Dimension of Saying

1. Preliminary Soundings

2. The Voice of Reason

3. The Pre-Originary Voice

4. Palimpsest: The Trace of the Other in the Text of our Flesh, or, The Echo of the Other in the Trembling of the Flesh

5. Enigmatic Echoes: Retrieving the Trace


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