Michael L. Morgan
Oxford University Press
Emmanuel Levinas (1906-1995) rose to prominence as an influential philosophical voice in the latter decades of the twentieth century; his reputation has continued to blossom and grow in our own day. Emmanuel Levinas was born in 1906 and passed away in 1995. His primary concepts, which include the primacy of the ethical and the essence of ethics as our responsibility to and for others, speak to readers from a wide variety of fields of study and points of view. However, both his writings and his philosophy present challenges and difficulties. The Oxford Handbook of Levinas (PDF) is a collection of essays written with the purpose of analyzing and discussing Levinas and his writings from a variety of perspectives. Some of the emphasis is placed on the fundamental ideas of his work, while other of the emphasis is placed on the manner in which he read and was affected by figures ranging from Plato and Descartes through Hobbes and Kant, as well as Blanchot, Heidegger, Husserl, and Derrida. In addition, there are essays that discuss the ways in which his ideas have been used in other areas of thought, such as moral and political philosophy, film criticism, psychology, and other areas, as well as the connection between his ideas and other religious themes and traditions. In the end, a number of the pieces focus exclusively on how the readers have judged him negatively and found him lacking. This volume reveals and investigates both the breadth of applications to which Levinas's philosophical work has been put as well as the depth to which it has been applied. Particular attention is paid to clarifying why his interests in the human condition, the crisis of civilization, the centrality and character of ethics and morality, and the very meaning of human experience should be of interest to the widest possible range of readers.
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