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Humanism of the Other [Paperback]

Emmanuel Levinas , Richard A. Cohen , Nidra Poller
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: £12.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

30 Jan 2006
In "Humanism of the Other", Emmanuel Levinas argues that it is not only possible but of the highest exigency to understand one's humanity through the humanity of others. In paperback for the first time, Levinas's work here is based in a new appreciation for ethics and takes new distances from phenomenology, idealism, and skepticism to rehabilitate humanism and restore its promises. Painfully aware of the long history of dehumanization that reached its apotheosis in Hitler and Nazism, Levinas does not underestimate the difficulty of reconciling oneself with another. The humanity of the human, Levinas argues, is not discoverable through mathematics, rational metaphysics, or introspection. Rather, it is found in the recognition that the other person comes first, that the suffering and mortality of others are the obligations and morality of the self.

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Humanism of the Other + Totality and Infinity: An Essay on Exteriority (Philosophical Series) + Otherwise Than Being, or, Beyond Essence
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Product details

  • Paperback: 136 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press; Reprint edition (30 Jan 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0252073266
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252073267
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 14 x 4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 346,432 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"Jewish, philosophical, timely, and aided by a brilliant introduction."

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First Sentence
There would seem to be a distinction between the reality given to receptivity and the signification it can acquire. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Levinas, Humanism and Meaning. 17 Feb 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Levinas's book 'Humanism of the Other'[Humanisme de l'autre homme] is a compilation of three seperately published articles. The first and longest is entitled 'Signification and Sense', the second and third are,respectively; 'Humanism and An-archy' and 'Without Identity'. All are fairly hard and require some knowledge of Levinas's other writings. On saying that; it is an immensely rewarding book which shows clearly Levinas's difference from Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty on the subject of meaning or signification. It also elaborates Levinas's own theory of meaning as primarily ethical. There is an explication of Levinas's notion of 'the trace' and a criticism of structuralism. The work aims at exposing certain modern notions of meaning - those that arise from Heidegger's thinking - as issuing in a kind of anti-humanism. The primary thesis being that the ethical relation to the other person, displayed in our encounter with the 'face' of the other, is the fundamental event. Theories of meaning which attempt to ground themselves upon man as essentially situated, socially and historically [As Heidegger's and Merleau-Ponty's are said to do. Though this could also be claimed of Wittgenstein.];do not allow sufficient space for the ethical criticism of cultures.

Since multi-culturalism is a hot topic, it might well be worth consulting what one of the most important thinkers of the modern age has to say.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating 4 May 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bought this for my studies into otherness and found this to be a fascinating read. With considering alongside the work of Buber and Kristeva.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A word of warning--you may already own this book 30 Mar 2004
By M. PARADISO-MICHAU - Published on Amazon.com
All five of the essays collected and (re)translated in this volume, _Humanism of the Other_, have previously appeared as chapters in Levinas' _Collected Philosophical Papers_, edited and translated by Alphonso Lingis (Duquesne Univ Press, 1998: ISBN#:0820703060). That is not to say that the essays here collected are no good. The new translation is self-avowedly more accurate to Levinas' French than the Lingis translation.
With the above proviso in mind, the five essays collected and published as _Humanism of the Other_ are wonderful representations of the radicality of Levinas' notions of ethics. Of particular is the essay "No Identity." Students and scholars of Levinas in particular and Continental ethics in general are well served by being or becoming familiar with this work.
The introductory essay by Richard Cohen is very clear and worthy of a serious reading in its own right. Cohen is a top-notch Levinas scholar and translator.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but non-essential Addition to Levinas Literature 2 Feb 2010
By T. Anderson - Published on Amazon.com
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.
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