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Journal Articles Levinas Studies Year : 2021

Levinas in Lyotard’s Ear


This article explores the seemingly exaggerated emphasis of Lyotard on the importance of hearing the ethical commandment in Levinas, instead of seeing or perceiving it in sensibility. Lyotard wants to read Levinas as a “Jewish thinker,” and his ethics as deeply connected to “Hebraic ethics.” Such a reading contrasts with phenomenological and Christian interpretations of Levinas, like Jean-Luc Marion’s, that focus on incarnation, the face, love, and the concrete relation to the other. Yet Lyotard outbids the rigor of commandment in Levinas, insisting on the radical heterogeneity of hearing and any phenomenological seeing. Ethics is completely outside phenomenology. This article argues that, instead of reading Lyotard as misreading Levinas, his approach can be one of the names for the skeptical phase that suspends or interrupts the Levinasian Said itself, especially when it tends to become excessively Christian.


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hal-04463063 , version 1 (16-02-2024)



François-David Sebbah, Mérédith Laferté-Coutu. Levinas in Lyotard’s Ear. Levinas Studies, 2021, 15, pp.107-119. ⟨10.5840/levinas2022101822⟩. ⟨hal-04463063⟩
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