A new translation (by Nidra Poller) of Emmanuel Levinas' 1972 collection of essays originally entitled Humanisme de l'autre homme. The three Levinas essays/chapters included are "Signification and Sense" (first published in 1964), "Humanism and An-archy (1968), and "Without Identity (1970). The text also includes a lengthy introduction by Richard Cohen.
The first chapter, one of Levinas' major considerations of language and method, is by far the most important text of the three. It has been previously translated and published (under the title "Meaning and Sense") in two prior collections of Levinas' writings--the Collected Philosophical Papers, and the Basic Philosophical Writings. The essay moves adroitly though a quasi-historical analysis of the signifier, considered first as a linguistic term inadequate to the task of fully expressing the signified, and second, as a saturated signifier, expressing a super-abundance of significations, and finally, as the face of the other person, whose signification belongs to another, primordial order of meaning--and thereby, opens upon another sense of language. The essay is also noteworthy for its parallel development of methodological differences between Levinas and other major phenomenologists, especially Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty.
The last two essays in Humanism of the Other also appeared in the Collected Philosophical Papers (translated by Al Lingis), and are remarkable primarily for articulating Levinas' response to the (largely) French debates over humanism and culture during the 1960s. They are not among his better essays, however.
The new translations by Nidra Poller correct some inaccuracies in the earlier Lingis translations (though the Lingis renderings are still more readable, in many places, than are Poller's), but none of those corrections are as significant as Cohen's "Introduction" to the text would have readers believe. Cohen's introductory essay (some 35 pages in length) is longer, in fact, than any of the Levinas essays it ostensibly introduces. It does provide an interesting account of the 1929 Cassirer/Heidegger encounter in Davos, but it suffers in both tone and content from what are becoming somewhat tiresome and formulaic criticisms of Heidegger.
In short, this volume is a welcome addition to the bookshelves of Levinas scholars and students, insofar as it preserves the structure of the original text and offers new translations of its chapters, but neither the reworked translations nor the edition itself justifies its purchase by readers who can obtain the same essays (and more) by purchasing the Collected Philosophical Papers or who are interested in reading more important and representative Levinas writings than those included in this volume.