Entre Nous: Essays on Thinking-of-the-Other / Edition 1

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Emmanuel Levinas is one of the most important figures of twentieth-century philosophy. Exerting a profound influence upon such thinkers as Derrida, Lyotard, Blanchot, and Irigaray, Levinas's work bridges several major gaps in the evolution of continental philosophy--between modern and postmodern, phenomenology and poststructuralism, ethics and ontology. He is credited with having spurred a revitalized interest in ethics-based philosophy throughout Europe and America.

Entre Nous (Between Us) is the culmination of Levinas's philosophy. Published in France a few years before his death, it gathers his most important work and reveals the development of his thought over nearly forty years of committed inquiry. Along with several trenchant interviews published here, these essays engage with issues of suffering, love, religion, culture, justice, human rights, and legal theory. Taken together, they constitute a key to Levinas's ideas on the ethical dimensions of otherness.

Working from the phenomenological method of Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger, Levinas pushed beyond the limits of their framework to argue that it is ethics, not ontology, that orients philosophy, and that responsibility precedes reasoning. Ethics for Levinas means responsibility in relation to difference. Throughout his work, Levinas returns to the metaphor of the face of the other to discuss how and where responsibility enters our lives and makes philosophy necessary. For Levinas, ethics begins with our face to face interaction with another person--seeing that person not as a reflection of one's self, nor as a threat, but as different and greater than self. Levinas moves the reader to recognize the implications of this interaction: our abiding responsibility for the other, and our concern with the other's suffering and death.

Situated at the crossroads of several philosophical schools and approaches, Levinas's work illuminates a host of critical issues and has found resonances among students and scholars of literature, law, religion, and politics. Entre Nous is at once the apotheosis of his work and an accessible introduction to it. In the end, Levinas's urgent meditations upon the face of the other suggest a new foundation upon which to grasp the nature of good and evil in the tangled skein of our lives.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews


The most definitive, accessible, and cogently argued statement of his philosophy that Levinas ever published. What makes Entre Nous so remarkable is that it summarizes and clarifies the central arguments of his long career.


The most definitive, accessible, and cogently argued statement of his philosophy that Levinas ever published. What makes Entre Nous so remarkable is that it summarizes and clarifies the central arguments of his long career.

The most definitive, accessible, and cogently argued statement of his philosophy that Levinas ever published. What makes Entre Nous so remarkable is that it summarizes and clarifies the central arguments of his long career.
Arnold I. Davidson
Levinas´s thought has had a profound influence on twentieth-century European philosophy. This collection of essays on religion, politics, and the primacy of ethics presents a superb introduction to his work. It allows us to see the scope and significance of one of the defining thinkers of our time.
Library Journal
Entre Nous contains a number of short essays and conversations by Levinas, dating from 1951 to 1988, that serve as an excellent introduction to one of the most influential Continental philosophers. Levinas, a professor of philosophy at the Sorbonne who died in 1995, maintained that ethics, not ontology, is "first philosophy." The confrontation of one person with another was for him the basic situation from which philosophy starts. When standing face-to-face, people make an unconditional ethical claim on each other. Neglect of this claim vitiates the thought of Heidegger, by whom Levinas was influenced but against whom he rebelled. The essays on French philosophers, including Levy Bruhl and Marcel, are exceptionally stimulating. This important collection is highly recommended for academic libraries.--David Gordon, Bowling Green State Univ., OH
Originally published in France as Entre Nous: Essais sur le penser-a-l'autre (Editions Grasset & Fasquelle, 1991), and spanning the years 1951 to 1988, this collection of 20 essays and interviews presents an overview of the ethical philosophy of French philosopher Levinas. Proceeding from the tradition of Husserl and Heidegger, Levinas argues that ethics precedes ontology as the proper orientation of philosophy. For Levinas, ethics first arises with the face-to-face meeting with another, and the recognition of the other as different and greater than the self. This basic concept is elaborated and explored in connection to a range of philosophical issues. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Emmanuel Levinas was professor of philosophy at the Sorbonne and the director of the Ecole Normale Superieur Israélite Orientale until his death in 1995. He exerted a profound influence on twentieth century continental philosophy, providing inspiration for Derrida, Lyotard, Blanchot, Irigary, and Finkielkraut, among others. Among his works translated into English are Proper Names, Ethics and Infinity, Time and the Other, and Otherwise than Being.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Is Ontology Fundamental?The I and the TotalityLevy-Bruhl and Contemporary PhilosophyA Man-God?A New Rationality: On Gabriel MarcelHermeneutics and the BeyondPhilosophy and AwakeningUseless SufferingPhilosophy, Justice, and LoveNonintentional ConsciousnessFrom the One to the Other: Transcendence and TimeThe Rights of Man and Good WillDiachrony and RepresentationThe Philosophical Determination of the Idea of CultureUniquenessTotality and InfinityDialogue on Thinking-of-the-Other"Dying for..."The Idea of the Infinite in UsThe Other, Utopia, and Justice

Columbia University Press

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