Talk:Emmanuel Levinas

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IPA transcription of Levinas' name[edit]

Can someone provide an IPA transcription of Levinas' name? 23:12, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

More important, is there an accent on the "e" or isn't there? --ND 22:39, 31 August 2007 (UTC)

"Knowledge of Love"[edit]

I would caution the use of this phrase, as it seems to simplify the profundity of Levinas's argument. The way I understand, Levinas believes that the fundamental groundwork for an ethics is not the same as the phenomenological accounts of "Eros," "Fecundity", and "Filiality" to be found in Totality and Infinity. "As Levinas was fond of putting it, the entirety of his philosophy can be summarized in the simple words, 'Apres vous, Monsieur," sites Simon Critchley; it is a move towards the obligatory and infinite nature of the ethical bond resting on the invocation and vertical relationship with the Other. "Knowledge" and "love" can conjure images of possession and self-fulfillment, which seem antithetical to this argument.

Removed "Some of his work is rather hard to understand, but one could say that." Seems subjective, as I understand it just fine. Bodhidharma 02:51, Feb 28, 2005 (UTC)

External links[edit]

Starting Points?[edit]

Thought I'd start a discussion about how and with what work to begin if you want to read Levinas. Personally, I found the gentlest approach was to start with the essay "is Ontology Fundamental" and then read "Totality and Infinity." the Ontology essay is a pretty easy read that gives a good cursory explanation of where he's coming from, so that when you read "Totality & Infinity" its easier to keep up. Any other thoughts or recommendations? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Themanfromlamancha (talkcontribs) 21:42, 15 February 2007 (UTC).

I got into Levinas by first reading his 1946-47 lectures, "Time and the Other". A good dictionary for words like 'hypostasis' and some knowledge of phenomenology will help as well. The work is short, reads well, has a well written conclusion, and everything is spelled out very clearly. If someone is looking for a good general introductory essay on the philosophy of Levinas I highly recommend Hilary Putnam's essay "Levinas and Judaism" which is found in the Cambridge Companion to Levinas.


Reformatting the Article[edit]

In its current state the article seems to be some what disjointed. There is a discussion of Levinas' life and philosophy and only then a discussion of his war time experience. However, it would seem more appropriate to have a traditional biography section and then a discussion of Levinas' philosophy, particularly because Levinas' war time experiences play an influential role in his philosophy. However, I thought I would bring this suggestion up on the discussion page before moving ahead with changing the article. Thanks, Golem88991 04:01, 24 April 2007 (UTC)


I made a comment above but it went unanswered, so I'll try again: how is Levinas' last name spelled: with an accent on the "e" or without? This article uses an accent but judging from the books & catalogue entries I've seen this is probably wrong. --ND 14:31, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

Full Descriptions of Major Works and Terminology[edit]

I think there should be a seperate section or summary for 1) his critique of husserl 2)his critique of heideggar 3) a overview of T&I 4) derrida's "violence in metaphysics" 5) otherwise than being 6) postmodern ethics 7) major terminology- other, Other, excendance, face to face, subject, 'living from,' le tiers, the Saying, the Said, and sensibility... for beginners interested in his work this information is critical. Any comments to further this? Zeldy345 (talk) 07:48, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

Broken Links[edit]

The last external link was broken so I removed it. Ali Altaf Mian, "Islamic Morality vis-à-vis Levinas." Abo 3adel (talk) 08:41, 29 March 2008 (UTC)

This man is not a philosopher, is just a moralist who thoght that a decadent religion like christianity (an all its derivateds) could be the model of our conduct. Altruism, and all the ethics out of the own subject, or that give preference to the other before the ego, are just rubbish, pseudo-philosophy. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:05, 26 December 2009 (UTC)

Learn how to argue and sign your posts, simple cracker. Hineini. Teetotaler

Merger proposal[edit]

I propose merging Face-to-face to this article. Face-to-face doesn't really make for a good separate topic. It would be better in this article. Bhny (talk) 14:52, 18 September 2012 (UTC)

I don't agree. Face-to-face is certainly an important concept for Levinas, but it's not his only concept. We have many pages dedicated to terms used by philosophers. (The more famous the philosopher, the more pages on their terminology... for better or for worse.) Keeping face-to-face separate allows for more growth of that page, including discussion of future uses of the concept in philosophy. groupuscule (talk) 03:09, 19 September 2012 (UTC)
Oppose - Thanks Bhny (talk) for your interest in Emmanuel Levinas (1996-1995) and his face-to-face concept. Unfortunately I agree with groupuscule (talk): keeping the face-to-face article separated allows for more growth on that article page including discussions on future uses of this concept in philosophy. Sorry. Maurice Carbonaro (talk) 09:29, 29 October 2012 (UTC)
Oppose Face-to-face is a separate issue from, and is explored by people in addition to, Levinas. Saylors (talk) 02:11, 11 November 2012 (UTC)

The Face-to-face article just rambles on without ever defining a topic. I tried to create one but found nothing. If it's going to be a separate article it needs a definition Bhny (talk) 13:58, 29 October 2012 (UTC)

Oppose as per Saylors. Note that a defintion has been provided by Saylors in the meanwhile. --Omnipaedista (talk) 00:14, 12 November 2012 (UTC)
What is this supposed to mean, it's unreadable- "the responsibility of face-to-face contact "ordains" a person with a responsibility that is an unlimited responsible, no matter how our responsibility is reciprocated" Bhny (talk) 00:28, 12 November 2012 (UTC)
I clarified the definition. It is based on a quote from Ethics and Infinity (p. 97): "The face orders and ordains me" --Omnipaedista (talk) 02:17, 12 November 2012 (UTC)

Levinas NOT Lévinas[edit]

This is tiring: the French write Levinas, not Lévinas and this backed up by Larousse the authority on French language. At the Sorbonne where he taught he was "Levinas" and if you check in French you will see that he published under the name of Levinas. So, can someone rid the English wiki of this erro?. It is moronic. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:27, 9 April 2013 (UTC)

"At the Sorbonne where he taught he was 'Levinas'": may you cite a source stating this? "if you check in French you will see that he published under the name of Levinas": I checked, there are works published under "Lévinas" as well. --Ebdòmero (talk) 17:30, 6 May 2013 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

Emmanuel LévinasEmmanuel Levinas — Per the comment above. It was an ill-considered move anyway and there was no consensus behind it. (Note that such page moves can only be done by administarors (Wikipedia:Requested moves).) --Omnipaedista (talk) 17:39, 4 May 2013 (UTC)

It's "Lévinas" according to, among others. Behind the move there was not consensus because there is plenty of reliable, cited sources. Also it is clear that moves like that can be done by every user, otherwise the system would prevent them. The comment "Levinas NOT Lévinas" is written by a charlatan; according to him, on only books published under "Levinas" are listed, but this is false, just see this, this, this or this, for example. --Ebdòmero (talk) 17:23, 6 May 2013 (UTC)
No, reverting your move cannot be done by every user. Charlatan or not did provide a tertiary source where the alternate spelling is employed. In fact most reliable sources on Levinas either in French or English (see The Cambridge Companion to Levinas and references therein) do not use the accented form of the name, and unless I am terribly mistaken, Levinas himself did not use it either. So your move was indeed contentious. --Omnipaedista (talk) 00:38, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
My point is that primary and secondary references (books published by Levinas and by Levinas scholars) are more authoritative than tertiary references (encyclopedia articles). See also a somewhat relevant discussion on the French wikipedia. --Omnipaedista (talk) 00:31, 28 June 2013 (UTC)
The page is not move-protected, so I moved the article, made the relevant fixes, and also added a new footnote/reference. Please discuss before making any changes related to this issue. --Omnipaedista (talk) 00:43, 28 June 2013 (UTC)
  • I provided tertiary sources too.
  • I gave BOTH versions of the possible pronunciation.
  • You invite me to discuss before editing, but you should do that too.
  • You contradict yourself: "reverting your move cannot be done by every user", "The page is not move-protected".
  • I wasted enough time here

--Ebdòmero (talk) 18:13, 7 September 2013 (UTC)

Possessive form of Levinas[edit]

According to both the Chicago Manual of Style (16th ed., section 7.16) and the Oxford Manual of Style (ed. 2002, section 5.2.1), the correct possessive form of Levinas is Levinas's, not Levinas'. This has been corrected in several places. Piperh (talk) 14:03, 10 June 2014 (UTC)

Early education[edit]

I am modifying the "life and career" section to expand the section on early life and to make it chronological. I've eliminated the vague formulation "traditional Jewish education". Levinas did attend a all-Jewish gymnasium for the final two years before he started university in France, but that was after his family had spent its years in Ukraine. There doesn't seem to be evidence that his education up until that point was steeped in Jewish traditions, although his family and community was Jewish. His parents owned a Russian-language bookstore, and he attended an integrated Russian school as a young child, which likely focused more on mainstream European culture and history. I know that the role of Jewish heritage in Levinas's intellectual itinerary is a site of disagreement, so please assume my good faith in these edits. Jazzcowboy (talk) 13:51, 17 February 2017 (UTC)

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