By John Llewelyn
Taking as its guiding thread the subject of family tree, the e-book offers a largely chronological and impressively achievable presentation of the complete sweep of Levinas's paintings. Balanced and finely grained, Llewelyn confronts questions of process, Heidegger, phenomenology, the subject matter of sensibility, faith, leisure, femininity, eros, justice and the political. The booklet reaches a gorgeous climax in a sequence of chapters that supply a hesitant yet tolerant dialogue of the query of God in Levinas, the relation to Levinasian ethics to Nietzschean family tree, and a unprecedented dialogue of metaphor that leads right into a entirely unique research of Levinas's poetics and metaphorics.
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Extra info for Emmanuel Levinas: The Genealogy of Ethics
Given the biological ‘root’ of the word’s meaning, one cannot read without a sense of irony Heidegger’s repeated demands for con-creteness (from crescere, ‘to grow’), despite the fact that he is analysing what he allows himself to call Dasein’s everyday life. Do these last three words not verge on incoherence in the context of the strictures he puts upon philosophical biologism? Do not these strictures make it very difficult for him to agree that all human life is there, da? Or are we meant to imagine that the last of those three words is flanked by inverted commas?
Before attention is turned to some of the other details of what Levinas writes in connection with fatigue rigour requires that attention be returned to a difficult detail in what he writes about dilatoriness in a paragraph of which a part has been previously reproduced. The difficulty becomes visible when other parts of that paragraph are also reproduced: Dilatoriness is related to the beginning as if existence did not accede to it straight off [n ‘y accédait pas d’emblée], but had a life previous to it [la prévivait] in inhibition.
Nor again is it the impower over our coming into existence, the already-having-beenthrownness (Geworfenheit) of our birth. It is the impower of the very accomplishment of our existence, of its plêrôsis, that is to say, its total lack of lack. An accomplishment. Not a negation or privation, but the positivity of the self s self-posing, the affirmation of its being. A sui generis accomplishment, Levinas writes, using a word (in which resounds among others Vollziehung, Husserl’s word for ‘accomplishment’, ‘performance’ or ‘fulfilment’) that will recur in later works, a word that may be a key to an understanding of the genealogicality of his ethics and of how a non-generality can emerge from generation or what he will call ‘creation’, adopting the word from Bergson— though one should not forget the role this word also plays in Nietzsche’s genealogy of morals.
Emmanuel Levinas: The Genealogy of Ethics by John Llewelyn