Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thomson on Heidegger and Levinas AND Co-incidence

I am not really convinced by Thomson's interpretation that Levinas is committed to an implicit understanding of Heideggerian phenomenology, particularly about death -- to get his thought "off the ground." It is as Thomson observes a "non-standard interpretation." I do agree that Levinas is one of the more thoughtful and creative interpreters of Being and Time. Although I do not agree Levinas is as beholden to it as Thomson suggests, it is an amazing article with a commanding depth. Moreover, Thomson has such a command over these thinkers that when he writes on "Continental" philosophy, I think we should take stock of actually how he writes Continental philosophy. It is rather clear and lucid.

Reading this article comes as I am amidst a Heidegger seminar on Being and Time.

I find myself navigating through Division II, part 2 in BT. I will argue that Levinas's description of conscience better fit the phenomenology of conscience, but our reasons for rejecting Heidegger's description cannot be that Heidegger can clearly be said to not take ethics seriously. He is very ambiguous on this point with his ethically charged language. Rather, Heidegger's ambiguity on the possibility of ethics opens up need for meditations like Levinas to centrally articulate the phenomenology of our moral experience. We do have to reject, however, that ethics is an ontic inquiry and is, as Levinas suggests, a more constitutive experience than ontology can thematize.

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