Master Course Tilburg University / Erasmus University Rotterdam 2017-18 Levinas CLOSE READING II: THINKING OF THE OTHER – LEVINAS

Instruction language  English
Type of Instruction   7 x 3 hours
Type of exams   Assignments (50%) and paper (50%)
Level:    Master
Course load:   3 ECTS credits


Without doubt, the work of the French-Jewish philosopher Emmanuel Levinas (1906-1995) belongs to the most influential recent continental philosophies.
The class will focus on the collection of texts called Entre Nous. Essays on Thinking-of-the-Other. Levinas's writings are very demanding to read and understand.  In class we will discuss the main lines of his thinking and then read and examine texts.
During the course, we will examine several texts as collected in Entre Nous, from every stage of Levinas's career, from his early study of Husserl and Heidegger to the emergence of his new understanding of the human condition and the primacy of ethics, the face-to-face encounter with the human other, the role of language and the relationship between ethics and religion, and finally his understanding of Judaism and its relationship to Western philosophy.  We will be interested in his philosophical method, the relevance of his thinking for ethics and religion, the role of language in his philosophy and the problem of the limits of expressibility, and the implications of his work for politics.  We shall also consider his conception of Judaism, its primary goals and character, and its relation to Western culture and philosophy.

Emmanuel Levinas, Entre Nous. Essays on Thinking-of-the-Other (any version)
or (preferably) Entre nous. Essais sur le penser-à-l'autre. Paris 1993.