Collected Philosophical Papers by Emmanuel Levinas

By Emmanuel Levinas

This assortment, now on hand in a cheap paperback variation, comprises 11 of the main major articles written by means of Emmanuel Levinas. some of the most vital philosophers of the phenomenological-existential culture, Levinas additional explored and built every one of his theses within the vintage philosophical paintings another way than Being, or, past Essence.

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Chapter 10 was translated by Alphonso Lingis and Professor Richard Cohen, of Loyola College in Baltimore. The preparation of this volume was made possible in part by a grant from the Division of Research Programs of the national Endowment for the Humanities, an independent federal agency. Grateful acknowledgement is also due to the Liberal Arts Research fund of the Pennsylvania State University for financial assistance in the preparation of this translation. CHAPTER 1 REALITY AND ITS SHADOW* Art and Criticism It is generally, dogmatically, admitted that the function of art is expression, and that artistic expression rests on cognition.

It is as though ridicule killed, as though everything really can end in songs. We find an appeasement when, beyond the invitations to comprehend and act, we throw ourselves into the rhythm of a reality which solicits only its admission into a book or a painting. Myth takes the place of mystery. The world to be built is replaced by the essential completion of its shadow. This is not the disinterestedness of contemplation but of irresponsibility. The poet exiles himself from the city. From this point of view, the value of the beautiful is relative.

The incomprehensible union of reason and animality, a union underlying their distinctness, makes a mockery of autonomy. But the power of tyranny over reason, which Plato knew, goes much further than he sometimes seems to say. In his execution Socrates is free. He has a fine death. 2 It is an unjust death, but a fine death. Up to the last instant his thinking remains a refusal. He keeps his friends, who do not deny him. Yet we know that the possibilities of tyranny are much more extensive. It has unlimited resources at its disposal, those of love and wealth, torture and hunger, silence and rhetoric.

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