Levinas and the definition of philosophy: an ethical approach

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Emmanuel Levinas’ thought seems to be strictly neither rational, phenomenological nor ontological, and it thus intentionally exposes itself to the asking of the question ‘why call it philosophy at all’? While we may have trouble containing Levinas’ thought within our traditional philosophical boundaries, I argue that this gives us no reason to exclude him from philosophy proper as a mere poser, but rather provides the occasion for reflection on just what it means, in an ethical manner, to call something ‘philosophical’. Instead of asking whether or not philosophy can ‘contain’ Levinas’ thought, I contend that it would be more ethical to instead re-phrase the question in terms of ‘sociality’. When we do this, I argue, we can indeed justifiably call Levinas’ thought philosophy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-46
Number of pages10
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Publisher. Article originally published in Crossroads : an interdisciplinary journal for the study of history, philosophy, religion and classics, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp 37-46. The original article can be found at http://www.uq.edu.au/crossroads/archives.html#v1i1. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and Crossroads and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


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