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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