Closereads: Levinas on Buber (Part One)

Sign up for Closereads at patreon.com/closereadsphilosophy to get future parts on this reading, as well as our previous and future installments of this podcast. We read the first pages of Emmanuel Levinas' 1958 article, "Martin Buber and the Theory of Knowledge." In these initial sections, subtitled "The Problem of Truth" and "From the Object to Being," he's recounting how  Continue Reading …

Facing the Other: Performance Art and Emmanuel Levinas

In one of our recent episodes, while trying to figure out what’s so special about the face-to-face encounter in the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas, Seth mentioned the work of performance artist Marina Abramović. In 2010, the self-dubbed “grandmother of performance art” performed a piece entitled The Artist Is Present, which crowned her retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art  Continue Reading …

Humor and Infinite Responsibility: Can Levinas Use a Little Stand-Up Comedy?

Approaching a philosopher such as Emmanuel Levinas might seem intimidating, both because of his reputation for diving extremely deeply into the most fundamental questions of human existence, and for doing so in a style that is, perhaps adequately, quite heavy and impenetrable. In our latest episodes, Mark, Wes, and Seth took upon themselves the much-needed and difficult task of  Continue Reading …

Episode 146: Emmanuel Levinas on Overcoming Solitude

More Levinas, working this time through Time and the Other (1948). What is it for a person to exist? What individuates one person from another, making us into selves instead of just part of the causal net of events? Why would someone possibly think that these are real, non-obvious questions that need to be addressed? Levinas gives us a phenomenological progression from the  Continue Reading …

Ep. 146: Emmanuel Levinas on Overcoming Solitude (Citizen Edition)

More Levinas, working this time through Time and the Other (1948). What is it for a person to exist? What individuates one person from another, making us into selves instead of just part of the causal net of events? Why would someone possibly think that these are real, non-obvious questions that need to be addressed? Levinas gives us a phenomenological progression from the  Continue Reading …

Episode 145: Emmanuel Levinas: Why Be Ethical?

On "Ethics as First Philosophy" (1984). More existentialist ethics, with a Jewish twist this time! Seth rejoins Mark and Wes to discuss this difficult essay, with a bit of "Time and the Other" (1948) and "There Is: Existence Without Existents" (1946) thrown in, too. Levinas thinks that the whole train of Western thought with the advance of science and all has left us too  Continue Reading …

Ep. 145: Emmanuel Levinas: Why Be Ethical? (Citizen Edition)

On "Ethics as First Philosophy" (1984). More existentialist ethics, with a Jewish twist this time! Seth rejoins Mark and Wes to discuss this difficult essay, with a bit of "Time and the Other" (1948) and "There Is: Existence Without Existents" (1946) thrown in, too. Levinas thinks that the whole train of Western thought with the advance of science and all has left us too  Continue Reading …

Can the Ethical be Primary?

I was listening again to Mark's interview on Douglas Lain's Diet Soap podcast and was struck by an interesting question posed by Doug.  He was talking about how ontology seemed to be the starting point for philosophy (Thales) and asked whether ontology was required for ethics and if Mark knew of any philosophical points of view where the ontological contradicted the ethical.   Continue Reading …