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In the Margins of Deconstruction: Jewish Conceptions of Ethics in Emmanuel Levinas and Jacques Derrida
     

In the Margins of Deconstruction: Jewish Conceptions of Ethics in Emmanuel Levinas and Jacques Derrida

by M.C. Srajek
 

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Although this book is a study of the work of Emmanuel Levinas and Jacques Derrida, it would be mistaken to refer to it as a comparison. The book develops a framework which might aide the reader of Levinas and Derrida in determining the scope and significance of their respective projects as far as a discourse of the sacred is concerned. It does so by emphasizing their

Overview

Although this book is a study of the work of Emmanuel Levinas and Jacques Derrida, it would be mistaken to refer to it as a comparison. The book develops a framework which might aide the reader of Levinas and Derrida in determining the scope and significance of their respective projects as far as a discourse of the sacred is concerned. It does so by emphasizing their status as philosophers whose thought correlates but does not compare. Within this correlation, without obscuring either their differences or similarities, we can see a common framework that consists of the following elements. First, it is clear from what and how Derrida and Levinas have written that the general import of their work lies in the area of ethics. However, in many ways it would be justifiable to say that their work is not about ethics at all. Neither of them proposes a moral theory; neither is interested in discussing the question of values vs. social norms, duty vs. virtue and other issues that might pertain to the area of ethics. To be sure, these issues do come up in their work, yet they are treated in a peculiarly different way. For Derrida and Levinas, ethics is not so much an inquiry into the problems of right and wrong but an inquiry into the problem of the ethical constitutedness of human beings.

Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Rather than comparing the two modern thinkers, Srajek (philosophy, U. of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign) offers a reading of them against the backdrop of the philosophy of Hermann Cohen and Franz Rosenzweig and the phenomenology of Husserl and Shutz. He argues that they take similar approaches to ethics, and casts the claim in a Jewish and phenomenological framework to show what the sources of such an ethics might be. Among his perspectives are the absolute and infinite ethics, Judaism as the matrix between Levinas and Derrida, the phenomenology of the face, pure presence and the task of translation, apocalypse, differentiality and negativity, and Khora and minimal community. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780792349532
Publisher:
Springer Netherlands
Publication date:
01/31/1998
Series:
Contributions to Phenomenology Series , #32
Edition description:
1998
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
6.69(w) x 9.61(h) x 0.03(d)

What People are Saying About This

Edith Wyschogrod
Scholars working on Levinas and Derrida or in continental philosophy of religion, ethics, or modern Jewish thought will undoubtedly want to read this book. A 'must read' for anyone interested in an original, meticulously researched discussion of these issues. Indeed, Srajek reveals an impressive control of the history of philosophy, of Biblical sources and of the structuralist and poststructuralist controversies that have animated recent French thought.
—(Edith Wyschogrod, Rayzor Professor of Philosophy and Religious Thought, Rice University)

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