Arquivo para February 14th, 2024

Human fragility in the face of Infinity

14 Feb

One of the important works to understand the linguistic shift from the point of view of ontology is the work of Emmanuel Levinas, highlighting here a work that addresses the entire issue of the impossibility of objectifying the Other and human limitation in the face of weaknesses such as vices, ethical difficulties and war.

Levinas draws part of his experience from what he experienced in the Second World War, where he was held prisoner by the Nazi regime, in addition to having his parents and brothers executed, he saw the atrocities of the so-called “enlightened reason” which proved to be violent and totalitarian, these experiences are in tension in his thinking, and are important in a context of threat of a new world war.

Ontology has its role within metaphysics according to the author, but not its primacy as that of first philosophy, the transcendence of the scope of “self” and “being”, since this movement has been unveiled (the categories of reality) veiling is a new veiling) returning the movement to the self, to the identical, to being and its preservation, not to the recognition of the Other.

In contrast to Heidegger, for whom the relationship between being and others is subordinated to a relationship with being in general and nothing interferes with the emergence of the self, Levinas understands that the self is not due to being, but to the Other, and thus this relationship It is fundamental as in Paul Ricoeur.

The author proposes in Totality and Infinity a new choice for understanding being in which exteriority is not sacrificed, thus the relationship with the Other and with the exterior “world” is a reflection and path to interiority, in which it finds a relationship with the all and infinite.

This relationship between the self and the face of the Other that presents ethical resistance, for the author, is through its epiphany, through its “appearance” (a fundamental category in phenomenology), that the exteriority of infinite being can manifest itself as resistance.

His thinking is more complex, but we can understand that the weakness and limitation of the self, if kept in tension with exteriority and with the Other, reveals the infinite and our relationship with it, which cannot be other than the recognition of its “ transcendence”.

Levinas, E. (1969) Totality and Infinity: An Essay on Exteriority, London: Kluwer Academic Pub.