Wednesday, October 14, 2015
The TLS reviews recent books on Levinas.
In his great unfinished work, Being and Time, Heidegger sought to realize phenomenology’s full potential, using it as a means to unearth essential structures buried beneath everyday experience. Through his account of the human – the being for whom its own being is a question – Heidegger developed his “fundamental ontology”, an investigation into the meaning of being “as such”. He saw this as a continuation and radicalization of Husserl’s legacy. The young Levinas was convinced: “Knowledge of Heidegger’s starting point”, he wrote in his doctoral thesis in 1930, “may allow us to better understand Husserl’s end point”. Whereas Husserl’s philosophy was “tainted with intellectualism”, Heidegger’s “flowering of the Husserlian method” realized in full “the miracle of phenomenology”. To guarantee a seat at Heidegger’s late-afternoon lectures, Levinas would arrive before lunch.
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