Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Review: Otherwise Than Being - Emmanuel Levinas

My review on an unnamed online bookstore of Otherwise Than Being: Or Beyond Essence by Emmanuel Levinas

Levinas' best work, but not easy to understand

Much though I am fascinated with Levinas, I do find it nearly unreadable. His text is so dense, it requires (but definitely merits) slow reading.

Although it might be helpful to have read earlier Levinas, this book takes a bit of a departure from the philosophy he espoused in his younger days. I don't believe it is such a radical departure so much as a reorientation and increased sophistication, but that's a topic for another discussion!

I highly recommend this read if you are familiar with phenomenology, particulary Husserl and Heidegger, and Kant. I believe they are essential to understanding his arguments.

If you are willing to put in the time and mental effort to unpack this, it is a very rewarding book. For some additional explanation, a good companion is Beyond by Peperzak.

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