Saying beyond phenomenology: Levinas's response to Derrida



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Tartu Ülikool


This thesis presents a study of Emmanuel Levinas’s Otherwise than Being or Beyond Essence as a response to the main philosophical problems and criticism that Jacques Derrida presents to Emmanuel Levinas’s earlier philosophy in his essay “Violence and Metaphysics”. The main philosophical question is: How can Emmanuel Levinas criticize ontology while using ontological language if ontological language carries with it the ontological presuppositions that he wants to avoid? This same question is treated in a way that leads us to deal with other major philosophical topics, mainly: ethics, subjectivity and tradition. In the last chapter of this thesis I claim that Otherwise than Being or Beyond Essence makes it easier to present Emmanuel Levinas’s philosophy as a critique of “metaphysics of presence”, and thus much closer to Jacques Derrida than it may seem.



phenomenology, philosophy