The metaphysics of love : gender and transcendence in by Lévinas, Emmanuel; Lévinas, Emmanuel; Sandford, Stella

By Lévinas, Emmanuel; Lévinas, Emmanuel; Sandford, Stella

Emmanuel Levinas is healthier identified for having reintroduced the query of ethics into the Continental philosophical culture. within the Metaphysics of affection, despite the fact that, Stella Sandford argues that an over-emphasis on ethics within the reception of Levinas's suggestion has lined over either the foundation and the main points of his philosophical project—a metaphysics which affirms the need to contemplate an unqualified transcendence as a primary precept. Sandford's booklet is even as a strong feminist critique of either Levinas's gendered philosophical different types and the try to reclaim points of this philosophy for feminist idea

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The evasion in pleasure is false (trompeuse), a failure accentuated by the phenomenon of shame. Here 'shame' is not introduced as a moral category, and hence is not a feeling related to the limitation of human being or its propensity to sin. Like need, it testifies not to a lack in being but rather to the plenitude of being, specifically the plenitude of my being, where 'what becomes apparent in shame is precisely the fact of being riveted to oneself, the radical impossibility of fleeing in order to hide from oneself.

The Levinasian subject, coded as masculine (or male; the Anglo-American sex/ gender distinction is blurred in French), finds himself in the erotic relation face to face with alterity itself, the feminine, an experience with philosophical significance insofar as it highlights the formal structure of sexual difference as an opening onto the possibility of transcendence. At the same time, the disjunctive relationship between the two terms in or of sexual difference — the moment, precisely, of difference — has an ontological significance that should not be underestimated.

There is no genus or concept to which the designations 'male' and 'female' both belong. Between them is not the distance between two points but the impossibility of measurement or cornmensuration, a radical conceptual diremption or the diremption of conceptuality itself. But why sexual difference, exactly? Is sexual difference an albeit felicitous but ultimately arbitrary example? And given that the formal structure of the idea of infinity becomes central to the elaboration of the idea of the possibility of transcendence in Levinas's later work, what is wrong with 'sexual difference' such that it has to concede this place?

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