Religion (Philosophies of)
- Philosophies of religion Marcel, Jaspers, Levinas William Desmond Gabriel Marcel (1889–1973), Karl Jaspers (1883–1969) and Emmanuel Levinas (1906–) seem like a mere aggregate of thinkers. Jaspers, a German thinker who coined the phrase Existenz Philosophie, was influential in making known Kierkegaard’s importance. Marcel was a French dramatist with a love of music who came to philosophy from a background in idealism, against which he struggled. Yet the influence, for instance, of Royce, the first person on whom he wrote, was strong. Bergson, now a too neglected thinker, was always in the background. Marcel’s Catholicism was extremely significant, yet he bridled at the label ‘Christian Existentialist’. He was a philosopher who happened to be a Catholic. Levinas was instrumental in introducing phenomenology to France. In 1930 he published a book on Husserl’s theory of intuition that was to excite Sartre to say: That is the way I want to philosophize! Yet Levinas always thought in tension with this phenomenological heritage, and most especially its transformation in Heidegger’s fundamental ontology. These three thinkers have received mixed attention. Jaspers laboured in Heidegger’s shadow, as he himself seemed to recognize. Heidegger and he were once friends and Heidegger alone he recognized as being on a par with him. Still Heidegger’s enormous influence has tended to eclipse a proper appreciation of Jaspers’ achievement. Jaspers was opposed to Nazism, as Heidegger was not. This did not prevent him from acknowledging Heidegger’s stature. Indeed Jaspers was more concerned with Heidegger than Heidegger was with Jaspers. Also Jaspers respected the tradition of philosophy, as well as the achievements of science. He did not set himself in contestation with the millennia to hoist himself to unprecedented originality. This, coupled with his restorative efforts vis-à-vis perennial philosophy, meant that no cultformed around his thought. This is not to deny that he was and is deeply admired. Marcel is an insightful existential thinker, but existentialism has been identified widely with its atheistic brands, especially that of Sartre. Because of Marcel’s unashamed refusal to silence his own search for God, there has been a failure to listen properly to him by professional philosophers who too easily become embarrassed with the religious. They fail to listen attentively enough to his sometimes elusive themes—the body, the family, the sense of mystery as eluding all objectifications, meditations on what I would call the intimacy of being. Marcel is difficult to package, though there are recurrent themes which have been packaged as identifiably Marcellian: being and having, problem and mystery, intersubjectivity and embodiment. His style of philosophizing, out of respect for the subject matter itself, refuses to be packaged, even systematically stated in any simple survey. Though he sometimes has a diffuse style of writing, in the very peregrinations of his thinking he hits on some absolutely essential insights. Thus the intimacy of being is always other to technical thinking, eludes complete systematic ordering, is on the edge of completely transparent conceptualization. Philosophy tends to home in on themes that are manageable in a more neutral, public, generalized language. We need that language, but it must be counteracted and complemented with modes of thinking that learn from art, and indeed that allow themselves to be shaped by a certain music of being. Levinas was not widely known in English-speaking philosophy until recently. His work presupposes familiarity with phenomenology, both Husserlian and Heideggerian, and also the currents of intellectual debates that have swept France from the 1930s onwards, over which the shadow of Hegel has hovered in various interpretations and appropriations. Levinas himself distinguishes his own more strictly philosophical writings from his religious studies, but there is little doubt that religion and philosophy cannot be finally insulated from each other. Many of the themes of his major work, Totality and Infinity, are incomprehensible without the sense of the presence/absence of God. Levinas’s stature is now being more widely recognized outside France, partly owing to the impact of deconstruction, and its high priest Derrida, who learned a thing or two from Levinas. The service to Levinas is ambiguous. Levinas has always exhibited a spiritual seriousness that is ill repaid by the postmodern frivolity to which deconstruction is frequently prone. Each thinker is deserving of an entire study. Each has been prolific, Levinas less so, but Marcel and Jaspers have been voluminous. To bring some manageable order to the matter, I will concentrate on three major themes, and as the matter dictates I will mention related ideas, without dwelling on them in the detail they might deserve in another study. These three themes will be: the nature of philosophy; the question of the other; the question of transcendence or God. GABRIEL MARCEL Marcel’s understanding of philosophical thought is determined by a reaction to the idealism of the late nineteenth century. He did some early work on Royce and Schelling. Their themes were to influence him throughout his writing. Thus the theme of loyalty in Royce is transformed into an ontology of intersubjectivity with distinctive emphasis on the notion of what Marcel calls creative fidelity. I mention the struggle of Schelling to break free of the logicism of his own early thought and Hegel’s idealism. The struggle led to Schelling’s positive philosophy that is the progenitor of all existential thought, including that of Kierkegaard. Schelling tried to think evil as radically other to reason. Marcel has later occasion to mention Schelling and Kant on this score, but the point is more generally relevant to the conception of philosophy at issue. Evil as a philosophical perplexity takes idealistic reason to its limit where the philosopher has to think otherwise of what lies on the other side of reason, as idealistically conceived. The desideratum of philosophy as system was bequeathed through Kant, Fichte, Hegel to the whole subsequent history of idealistic and post-idealistic philosophizing. Marcel did intend at an early point to couch his thoughts in a systematic form. He discovered he could not bring it off without forcing his thoughts into a form that went against their grain. Eventually he published his Metaphysical Journal (1927), breaking ground here not only in terms of content but in terms of a different sense of literary form. Marcel’s commitment to what is other to system is forged in deep tension with the sense that thought ought to have some systematic character, certainly an appropriate order in its development and presentation. His Gifford lectures, published as The Mystery of Being (1950), are presented as his most systematic work, but there he disclaims anything like a system. Primarily philosophy is a matter of venture and exploration. System, such as it is, comes after; it ought not to dictate to the matter what it should be. Thinking is open to the matter at issue, even when the matter offers insurmountable resistance to the encroachments of our categories. The drift of his thinking is not forced into a form that betrays, so to say, its improvisatory nature. This sense of philosophy shares a lot with Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, though Marcel does not list these as early influences. One thinks too of the plurality of literary forms used by Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, though one could also mention the non-systematic forms developed by Shestov and the later Wittgenstein. Marcel’s philosophy has a phenomenological as well as an existential side. In no sense was he a disciple of Husserl. But his philosophizing is phenomenological in holding that thinking ought to start by an act of attention to what appears to us. As best as possible we allow the matter to make its appearance, according to its own form and requirements. The first act of philosophical intelligence demands a kind of mindful attention to phenomena, appearing, happenings, in all their nuance and surprise. This requirement is continuous with his rejection of idealism. The stress in idealism on purely autonomous thought tempts the philosopher to impose his categories on being as appearing, hence to see there only what thought has itself put there. Kant himself talked about the mind as only seeing in nature what it has itself put there. Kant was no absolute idealist but the equivocities of some of his pronouncements, like the one just cited, led to the more uncompromising, hence more coherent, idealism of his successors. But the full coherence of idealism is also its undoing in that what is other to thought always gets finally reduced to the construction of a category. Marcel rejects this, for at a critical point the emptiness of the categorial construction makes itself felt. Hence Marcel’s desire for phenomenological fidelity entails the reassertion of a realism which asks the thinker to let things take their own shape without interference from the dictating intellect. Marcel does not deny a critical dimension to philosophy. On the contrary, the appearing of things is shot through with ambiguities that have to be interpreted and evaluated. Letting ambiguity come to appearance is part of the phenomenological requirement of philosophy. Mindless surrender to ambiguity is not. The ambiguities of being have to be sifted. This is especially relevant to the existential side of his thinking. Marcel is an existentialist to the extent that he lays a primary focus on human being and the perplexities that burden it about being and most especially its own being. He used the term ‘existential’ before it became fashionable through Sartre. As finding itself in the ambiguous middle of things, the human being is in quest of the truth of things and most especially its own truth. It is tempted by possibilities that veil or distort or destroy its own truth and the truth of things. Hence the existential philosopher is again involved in a quest or journey. Not surprisingly, Marcel lays great emphasis on homo viator, man the wayfarer, (the title of one of his books). We are on the way, to where we do not exactly know, from where we know not, in a middle often clouded with uncertainty and sorrow. Marcel does not have quite the intense concentrated passion of Pascal, but they share a similar sense of the enigma of existential contingency. Nor can we stand outside the middle and survey our way of passage as a whole. The deficiency of systematic idealism is the false imputation that we have such an Archimedean point whence we can construct the system of categories to make all being transparently intelligible. Such a system is false to our participation in being, and not least to the singularity of the journeying philosopher. We need a different kind of thinking, which acknowledges our intimacy with being, even in our sense of metaphysical homelessness. The great struggle of philosophy is to get some reflective distance on our being thus in the middle, a distance that does not distort our intimacy with being in the middle. Thinking must be shown in its genesis and process, with all its falterings and flights, its matured fruits and undelivered suggestions. Here Marcel makes a distinction between what he calls primary and secondary reflection. Primary reflection shows a tendency to objectify being and the human being. It tries to survey the object from outside, or penetrate it as if it were an alien thing to be mastered or overcome. Such a thinking has one of its major sources in Cartesian dualism where knower and known, mind and nature, self and other are posited as antithetical opposites. It is a mode of thinking that attenuates the thinker’s participation in being. This kind of thinking corresponds to treating being as a problem. Secondary reflection is such that the matter being thought unavoidably encroaches on the one doing the thinking. The thinker cannot escape involvement with the matter that is being thought. A thinking that objectifies and fosters the self-forgetfulness of the thinker will not do. It is not that the thinker now collapses into a mushy subjectivism, softly surrendering to the inarticulate, having given up the stiff precisions of articulate objectivism. Secondary reflection, Marcel says, is a recuperative thinking. Once having lived or been caught up or carried along by a process of living, one struggles to get a thoughtful distance on one’s course, all the more to interiorize mindfully its possible significance. In human existence secondary reflection in some form goes on always, but not necessarily in the accentuated form the existential philosopher cultivates. As Kierkegaard says: life has to be lived forward, but thought backward. Secondary reflection is thus recollective. As such it is not a nostalgic thinking; for to gain a mindful sense of one’s present and past may open a truer orientation to what is to come. Secondary reflection is bound up with the possibility of hope. Hope is a major theme for Marcel. Indeed one can say that Marcel takes very seriously Kant’s question: For what may we hope? The difference of primary and secondary reflection is relevant to Marcel’s treatment of the notions of problem and mystery, and thesein turn influence his critique of the spiritual devastations wrought by the modern hegemony of unrestrained technicism, indeed the idolatry of technique. Like many other thinkers, Marcel recognizes the modern dominance of scientific method and its way of conceiving the world. He does not deny the benefits that come from this way, but is disturbed at the accompanying neglect of issues that fall outside its purview. Scientific method treats of all questions as problematic matters: difficulties that can be solved by means of techniques of objective experimentation and calculation. The hegemony of this approach can lead to the atrophy of human perplexity before the metaphysical enigmas of existence. Consider questions of despair and salvation. These become a matter of psychological adaptation as the singular self becomes a case of maladjustment. The promise of our despair is betrayed, not even guessed. With issues like suffering, the pervasiveness of evil and the inevitability of death we deal with mysteries or meta-problematic themes. These are perplexities that involve us and shake us and make us sleepless. We are threatened and challenged and put on trial. They never yield a univocal answer; indeed they cannot properly be formulated as univocal problems. A constitutive openness and ambiguity remains. We have to return to such perplexities again and again. We never conclusively master them. Marcel does not advocate the abandonment of reason, as if these mysteries were absurdities. They do demand a thoughtfulness not reducible to scientific knowledge, moving the philosopher closer to the poet and the religious. The hegemony of the problem makes us take for granted the existence of things and our own. By contrast, the philosopher for Marcel is stunned into thought by just that fact of existence, astonished at the marvel that things are. That the world is at all is the wonder. This mystery is all around and within us, though to it we are heedless. We look but overlook; we hear but have not listened or heard. The neglect of mystery and the hegemony of problem leads to a world wherein technique reigns with only sporadically disputed sway. There is an anonymity to technique that is antithetical to the singularity of existing. Technique involves a set of directives that can be used by all; the directives of a technique do not originate with the user but, if we desire success in the outcome, to these directives we must submit. Thus technique can breed a conformism, a certain standardization of the human being, an averaging. Uniqueness and recalcitrant singularity are levelled down. This is a theme sounded loudly by Kierkegaard and Nietzsche. We have heard it so often that perhaps we are jaded. But weariness with a question does not mean it is solved. Technique shows the calculative mind in action. But there is no technique of human wholeness or integrity; there is no technique of ethical responsibility; there is no technique of honesty and truthfulness. Technicism is in flight from the unexpected and the uncontrollable. The idolatry of technique is really a metaphysical hostility to our vulnerability before the incalculable chance of being. The tyranny of technique drowns the deeper human in a conspiracy of efficiency and a frenzy of industry. It may erect a house but cannot make us a home. Marcel’s philosophizing takes shape at the opposite extreme to this technicism. It is appropriate to mention that this philosophizing owes much to his twin loves: music and drama. He repeatedly resorts to musical images, and was a composer and performer of no little talent. The image of improvisation is important. As applied to philosophy and life it means: the score is not settled before playing; the players are invited to create freely. This is not incidental to the pervasive post-Hegelian concern with the limits of systematic philosophy. Schopenhauer and Nietzsche are the major figures in the nineteenth century who believed that music was the metaphysical art. There are others in the twentieth century, Adorno most notably, who give some privilege to music. Philosophy, particularly in its logicist forms, can run roughshod over the subtleties, intimacies of being. Music may sing these, as it were, in a manner that forces philosophy to raise the question of the unsayable—the unsayable that yet is sung and so somehow said. If music as metaphysically significant raises questions about the limits of philosophy, Marcel has no desire to yield to a dark romanticism. Nor does he thematically focus on the metaphysics of music, but uses musical images and metaphors again and again to illustrate some of his more elusive ideas. One has to conclude that there is an implicit community of meaning between his thought and music. Again consider the improvisatory style of some of his philosophizing: a theme is stated, developed, dropped; then resumed, restated; there come to be echoes back and forth; nor does Marcel offer any simple resolution, though there are moments of revelation. Does his thought then sing? Does his philosophy approach the condition of music? The analytical philosopher will squirm. But there is a rigour and discipline in this thinking that the analytical philosopher hardly suspects; there is a rigour and discipline in music too. Even Rudolp Carnap, one of the avatars of analytical philosophy, sensed a connection between metaphysics and music, though not surprisingly his judgment was topsy-turvy: metaphysics is just poor music. The influence of drama is related to Marcel’s preoccupation with the question of the other. Marcel was himself a successful playwright, with a lifelong interest in the theatre. Drama presents the concrete dilemmas of humans in their otherness and estrangements and solidarities. It imaginatively enacts the resistance and reciprocity of the self and the other. It returns us to a point of emergent significance that is prior to abstract thought. Marcel said that he had interest not in the solitary ‘I am’ but in the concrete ‘We are’. To exist is to be shaped in this solidarity of selves. Drama, of course, is enacted in and through language where again we face the other. Seemingly inconspicuous words may offer the revelation of the significant world of the other, its wounds, its conceit, its hospitality. Words are pregnant with more than can be rendered in the languages of function. Philosophy, like drama, should awaken vigilance for this ‘more’. One senses sometimes that his own plays were more important to Marcel than his philosophy. His preoccupations emerged in pristine form in his plays which were not meant as mere illustration of philosophical theories. What drama brings to birth, philosophy later may take hold of in reflection. It is as if the dramas were closer to the phenomenological matrix of being, wherein the basic perplexities appeared in statu nascendi, in a form more concrete than later conceptualizations could capture. Some readers may find it tedious for Marcel to quote his own plays. I see it as a strategy of saying. In philosophy we always have a problem of writing about matters closest to the personal, to the intimacy of being. We refuse to be confessional. And yet we have to find strategies of confession, of saying the ‘I’ with a kind of elemental honesty. In quoting his plays, Marcel can confess without embarrassment. The citation offers not only a theme closer to the phenomenological matrix but also one with a space of possible distance. We do not have to collapse into the theme; it can become the basis for a secondary reflection. There is then a rhetorical complicity between his dramatic and philosophical writing. In that sense Marcel might be called a plurivocal philosopher. He does not dramatize his philosophizing in the same way as Nietzsche does, who is poet and philosopher in one; or as Plato does in that great achievement of philosophical writing, the Platonic dialogue. Instead he creates a dialogue between his dramas and his philosophizing, in the philosophizing itself. There are times when he should have let the barrier between them break down, as do Plato and Nietzsche. Perhaps he did not, less for the sake of philosophy as out of respect for his dramatic art which one senses he wanted to preserve from the devitalizing encroachments of abstract philosophical categories. To break down the barrier need not encourage this devitalization but rather promote a more radical vitalization of philosophical thinking. Admittedly the bureaucratic separation of philosophy and poetry is hard to get beyond. We should get beyond it, on Marcel’s own terms, since the functionalizing mind, the bureaucratic mind, is an essentially technical mind. If Marcel too strongly insists on separating the function of drama and philosophy, he will show himself captive to the same narrow mind he denounces otherwise so rightly. He does not, to his credit. Beyond the functionalization of poetry and philosophy and religion, the one thing necessary is honesty nourished by spiritual seriousness. It does not matter whether we label it artistic, philosophic or religious. The dialogue of drama and philosophy points to modes of philosophizing outside system, entirely incomprehensible for an analytical philosopher in thrall to the plain prose of univocal writing. The theme of the other is connected with Marcel’s reflection on the body. His emphasis is on the incarnate person. The flesh is where we are in a primary contact with all otherness, both natural and human. The affirmation of being that arises there articulates a sense of the togetherness of the existing self and the rest of being in its otherness. It is as if the incarnate self is initially an inarticulate ‘We are’. Marcel obviously sets himself against any form of Cartesianism and dualism here. There is some affinity with empiricism, stemming from his desire for phenomenological fidelity. The difference is in his interpretation of experience. Empiricist experience is an abstraction from the fullness of original fleshed incarnation. It is as alienated from concrete existence as is Cartesian dualism, from the side of the body in this case, rather than the reflective reason. The subject is an incarnate self defined intersubjectively. The inter, the between of intersubjectivity, does not deny the flesh. The between is stressed by the concretization of spirit in the flesh of the human being. Again the intimacy of our involvement with the other matches the intimacy of our being our own bodies. Marcel is given to criticize the view that we have bodies; the connection of self with flesh is not thus external. Marcel wants to say: we are our body. Here arises his concern with being and having. Like Marx and many other modern thinkers Marcel was concerned with the question of property, of possession, the nature of having. He denies that a person is what a person has. My property is something over which I have power; I can dispose of it as I please; we cannot so dispose of our own bodies, nor of our fellow human beings without a fundamental violation of our own nature and theirs. It is not that we ought not to take care of things. Marcel is quite aware that our care for things can draw them into the orbit of human attachment in a manner which transforms them, releases in them their promise. Our belongings too can have a more intimate relation to our selfhood. But this more authentic belonging is not simply a relation of dominating power. This applies even more radically to our belonging together in human community. The theme of possession of the other has also been a major concern in contemporary European philosophy, especially in the light of different interpretations of Hegel’s dialectic of master and slave. Power and domination have been held to define the essence of human relations. This is currently a much debated issue, but Marcel has things to say that have not been surpassed. I mention here Marcel’s fascination with Sartre’s essentially degraded view of the other where the master/ slave dialectic is concretized as a dialectic of sadist and masochist: either dominate or be dominated is the either/or that runs through all of Sartre. While fascinated with Sartre’s view that hell is the other, Marcel is unrelentingly hostile to it. The Sartrean look is the look of the Gorgon that would reduce the other to stone. This look wants to have the other, wants to objectify the other and disarm by pre-emptive violence the suspected threat to the self’s freedom. Sartre’s sense of the human body is tied to his understanding of our openness to the other. Sartre’s body is the place of negativity, the nothingness that shapes our freedom in its power of refusal, like that of the child that asserts its own difference by repeating its ‘No’. If the body incarnates a ‘We are’ and, in a manner that affirms a solidarity with what is other to self, then we are outside this Sartrean sense of the body, this sense of the other, and this apotheosis of negation as freedom. Against the Sartrean degradation, Marcel recommends the possibility of disponabilité. This availability to the other is not threatened by the other, nor concerned to threaten. It signals a reversal of the normal forself of, say, the Spinozistic conatus essendi. It is the promise of an agape, rather than the drive of eros to possess the other. In opposition to having, our relativity to the other is marked by the gift. The bestowal of a gift is never neutral, never just a transfer of a possession from one to the other. The gift given is the bearer of generosity towards the other and for the other. If human being were exhausted by will to power or conatus as self-insistence, giving would be a mere ruse to use the other for the self again. There would be no true giving as a movement of self towards the other but not for the sake of the self, but simply for the other as beloved. Without this giving over of the giver, a gift is not a genuine gift. Similarly the receiving of the gift is not an indifferent addition to the receiver’s inventory of possessions. The communication of self on one side, of course, can be met by refusal on the other. One might distrust the bestower’s goodness and turn away, or take and suspect and wait for the appearance of the ulterior motive. The Sartrean self lives this suspicion of the goodness of the other. A thing given is received as a genuine gift in being hospitably welcomed. What touches one in the gift is not the thing or the possession. It is the generous freedom of the other that has made itself available without care for itself. The thanks that then may be voiced has nothing to do with abjectness before an other who has one in his or her debt. Thanks is simple, elemental appreciation of the transcendence of self-insistence by the goodness of the giver. Marcel offers some important meditations on the family and on paternity in Homo Viator. He calls attention to a community of spirit beyond all objectification. There are ontological issues at stake in the shaping of a singular destiny by relation to the family. One might here compare Marcel’s respect for paternity and the family to Sartre’s contempt of the father in The Words, and his juvenile baiting of the bourgeois family. Of course, it is not only Sartre who displays this puerile disdain. Marcel distances himself from the pervasive attitude in post-romantic modernity that the father is always the tyrannical lord. Levinas’s remarks on the family also escape the closed dialectic of master and slave. Generosity is a condition of being beyond having which testifies to the human power of sacrifice. Sacrifice literally means to make sacred (sacer facere). Here Marcel’s concern with generosity relative to the human other shades into his meditations on the divine other. For instance, Marcel draws attention to the difference of the martyr and the suicide. Suicides claim that their bodies are their own property and that they can do with them what they will. They claim the freedom to visit the ultimate violence on it. Martyrs look like suicides but are entirely different. They give up their bodies, their lives because neither belong to them. They belong to something higher than themselves and to this their death witnesses. Suicides attest to nothing but their own despair. Martyrs are centred beyond themselves; suicides find a centre in nothing, not even in themselves. The death of a true martyr is living testimony to a higher order of being and worth. Our existence is not our property but a gift of this order. The sacrifice makes sacred; even in this death the martyr gives himself or herself over to this order, gives thanks for its gift. Marcel as philosopher was not primarily or directly interested in the traditional issues of natural theology. He was concerned with an existential phenomenology of significant occasions in human experience where the sense of the divine breaks through or is offered to us. While his conversion to Catholicism was profoundly influential, he tried to stay on the philosophical side of specifically theological reflections. He was reticent about making full-blown theological statements. He expressed some satisfaction when his reflections spoke to individuals outside Catholicism. His philosophical meditations were suggestive of theological possibilities, without determinately articulating anything even approaching a systematic idea of God. Marcel’s greatest fear, I suspect, and precisely out of religious reverence, was the reduction of God to our concepts. Yet clearly his religious faith provided a matrix that nurtured the characteristic ideas of his philosophical reflection. Reflections on the mystery of suffering and evil, and on the love that seeks to outlive death, take his thought again and again to the borders of religious faith. He set himself against the traditional proofs of God as objectifying what ought never to be objectified. The very idea of proving God is a misconception, a misconception that might border on a kind of rationalistic sacrilege, if the living God is reduced to a mere toy in a parlour game of conceptual virtuosity. God is never an object, always a Thou that resists reification. Yet Marcel was profoundly disturbed at the godlessness of western modernity. There is in his writings a growing sense of the spiritual waste produced by godless modernity when coupled with the unbridled hubris of a Promethean technicism. He has much in common with Heidegger’s later meditations on the absence of the holy in modernity. Marcel does not fit a common view of existentialism as probing a world from which God has been barred. The atheistic existentialist, reduced to caricature by Sartre, sternly girds his or her loins before this Godforsaken world, and dismisses as a sentimental coward anyone seeking hope and ultimate sense. The stratagem began by being disturbing but ended in a different conformism. Its revolt against the old became its new dogma. To Marcel’s credit he was not consoled by this comfort of negation. He willingly made love, fidelity, hope, transcendence his themes—against the grain of the times. His suspicion of traditional philosophical concepts of God make him the heir of Pascal and his opting for the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Not that he accepted a fideistic rejection of reason, a fideism sometimes imputed to Pascal and Kierkegaard, both of whom are more sophisticated as thinkers than can be captured by a dualism of faith/ reason. Faith and the spirit of truth are bound together, and reason too is bound by the spirit of truth. Marcel’s reflections on human fidelity take us to the border of religious faith. Thus his discussions of death and immortality have little to do with proving the immortality of the soul. They are meditations on a fidelity between the living and the dead others, a fidelity that transcends the divide between the living and the dead. Nor is the issue of death simply a question of my death; it is much more a matter of the death of the other arousing in the still living the promise of a fidelity beyond death. There is no objective certainty with respect to this fidelity. Nor is there with respect to faith in God. It is always on trial in its sojourn in the world. Fidelity is tied to hope, with the promise of being that cannot now be secured with complete certainty. Fidelity itself may flower into witnessing and testimony. Such existential realities—suffering, fidelity, hope, generosity, love, testimony—are the mysteries in which our sense of the sacred is shaped and on which the philosopher must reflect. The kinship with Kierkegaard is noticeable: the impossibility of objective certainty with respect to faith and fidelity. We are dealing with a trans-objective order, which for Marcel is not merely subjective. Like Nietzsche he acknowledged the godless condition of modern man. But unlike Nietzsche, he did not see this condition as a gain for human freedom but as the sign of a catastrophic loss or refusal. Marcel admired Nietzsche’s honest diagnosis about our godlessness but not his proposed solution in the Overman. Nietzsche offered a version of heroic sacrifice when he says: I love the man who creates beyond himself and thus perishes. But in the end there is no genuine beyond for Nietzsche, since all transcendence dissolves into human self-transcendence. Without transcendence beyond human selftranscendence, our sacrifice witnesses to nothing, except perhaps ourselves. The wasteland still grows. Promethean humans may steal divine fire, but in absolutizing their own power they betray their community with the power of transcendence beyond them. The aspiration to transcendence is deformed. Its root is the divine ground; out of this ground, it grows; outside of it, the aspiration to transcendence withers. The howl of Nietzsche’s Madman was heard by Marcel, but he also heard a different music. With neither Marcel nor Nietzsche had the horror of this howl been cheapened into the postmodern kitsch it has now become, with the chirpy nihilists who blithely claim to be at home in the wasteland. KARL JASPERS Karl Jaspers is often identified with German existentialism in that he speaks of one of the tasks of philosophy as the clarification of Existenz. He distinguished empirical being (Dasein) from Existenz which is peculiar to the human being. Some commentators have seen a desire to mark his own thought off from Heidegger’s Dasein, used in the special Heideggerian sense to refer to human existence. The relationship between Jaspers and Heidegger would command a study in itself, yet both helped to mediate Kierkegaard’s philosophy of existence in the twentieth century. Philosophy of existence emphasizes the singularity of the human being, and often in a manner that stresses the recalcitrance of that singularity to inclusion in any system of concepts. Jaspers shares this view but qualifies it with a different respect for the systematic impulse, and indeed a less closed sense of system than had been dominant since German idealism. The tension of Existenz and system, the necessity and the limits of system, the relation of Existenz and transcendence at the limit of all systems, constitute some of his major concerns. Jaspers suffered from ill health since his youth, which he turned to good use by husbanding his strengths for thinking. His sense of philosophy was never that of an academic discipline but that of a noble calling. He was under threat during the Nazi regime, but he re-emerged into public prominence after the war with widespread respect for his ethical integrity. He willingly undertook the public task of raising the question of German guilt, and was always concerned with the spiritual condition of the time, the state of the university, the issues of politics, national and international, especially in a nuclear age, the questions of world religions in an age of mass communication. Jaspers did not publicly commit himself to philosophy until around the age of 40. His background prior to that was in medicine and psychology. His first published work was General Psychopathology (1913), followed by Psychology of Weltanschauungen (1919). He was later to say that these were really philosophy all along, though not as overtly so as his subsequent work. His reverence for philosophy made him reluctant to claim its mantle, especially when professional philosophers frequently fell short of the nobility of its calling. His first major work, Philosophie, was published in 1931 and established him as a major voice. The point has been made that the publication of Heidegger’s Being and Time in 1927 stole his existential thunder and dimmed somewhat the lustre of his achievement. Existenz is Jaspers’s counterpart to Heidegger’s Dasein. For both, only the human being exists in this unique sense: only the human being is questionable to itself. Existenz is marked by this relatedness to self that is unique to human being; we are a being for self which is the possibility of free self-determination. Though Kierkegaard’s influence marks both Heidegger and Jaspers, in Jaspers we find a strong respect for science grounded in his early training. This respect never wavered. Jaspers departs from the standard picture of existentialism as virulently anti-scientific. He never tires of insisting that science is one of the great works of the human mind. Moreover, any serious contemporary philosophizing worth the name must take due cognizance of its pervasive role in the modern world. That said, the philosopher’s task is not simply to be a methodologist of science. In reflecting on the meaning of science one inevitably inquires as to the precise status of scientific truth and science’s role within the full economy of human life. One might even call Jaspers a philosopher of science in this generous sense that up to quite recently was almost unknown in Anglo-American analyses of science: science understood as a human achievement, and hence placed within a larger historical and cultural, indeed spiritual, milieu. To reflect on science is then not to abstract its methodological essence in a pseudo-ahistorical analysis; it is to meditate on the ideal of truth, and in Jaspers’s case to open up a more fundamental sense of truth, which is constitutive of the milieu of scientific truth. Jaspers’s ideal of philosophy here is reminiscent of a certain reading and reconstruction of Kant’s project. Many commentators have remarked on his debt to Kant, and Jaspers always acknowledged the depth of this debt. In Anglo-American philosophy Kant has been primarily read through the Critique of Pure Reason, interpreted as an antimetaphysical tract, interspersed with some epistemological insights. Outside of Anglo- American analysis, Kant’s more comprehensive ambitions are more willingly and widely recognized. Kant spoke of these ambitions in terms of the architectonic impulse. This means that reflection on science is certainly with a view to plotting the limits of valid cognition within a precisely delimited sphere. But—and this is where the more comprehensive sense of philosophy of science is relevant—to plot that limit is not necessarily to impute a merely negative judgment about other modes of meaning that may be other to science. One thinks the limits of science to know its strength but also its weakness in addressing no less pressing perplexities that transcend science. To assert that there are such perplexities that transcend science is not at all to depreciate science. It is to say that science is not the totality. The philosopher thinks what is other to science in thinking the greatness of science. A careful reading of the Kantian enterprise will show that the heart of Kant’s philosophy is not in the First Critique but in the Second Critique, and perhaps to an ambiguous extent (which has proved powerfully suggestive to Kant’s German successors) in the Third Critique. German thinkers have this notable ability to hear voices in Kant’s writing that to the outsider seem mere silences. In the scholastic twists and turns of the Kantian architectonic they sense that Kant was a tortured thinker. A tortured perplexity of thought is incessantly at work behind or beneath the scholastic encasing of concepts wherein Kant sheaths his explorations. Jaspers singles out many great thinkers for mention—Plato, Plotinus, Cusa, Spinoza, Hegel—but it is clear that his heart hears something in Kant that he hears nowhere else. Kant is often taken as a destroyer of Transcendence. Jaspers’s reverence for Kant, I suspect, is as a thinker who tries to plot a winding way from finitude to Transcendence. This sense of philosophy with a kind of Kantian architectonic is in tension with the singularity of human being as Existenz. Granting too the great power of science, there are questions that still exceed its proper competence. I underline the fact that the emphasis must first fall on questioning. We are here not talking about academic textbook puzzles. We are talking about the thinking human being as struck into questioning at the edge of all scientific rationalizing. There can be nothing anonymous or neutral about being struck into such questioning, and this is why the very unique selfhood of the philosopher is at stake in a way that is never quite the case in science. The stakes of perplexity are different in philosophy, for the mode of questioning that erupts is not one that can be completely objectified. In scientific questioning the point is to detach oneself from oneself in the idiosyncrasy of selfhood, and to pose as univocal and determinate a question as possible. The singular I of Existenz becomes the anonymous one of univocal mind, consciousness in general. One represents univocal mind, anonymously the same for every rational consciousness, in search of a univocal answer to a univocal curiosity. This is related to Marcel’s notion of the problem. But in philosophy a transformation of selfhood is called for which is energized in a new mode of perplexity which cannot be terminated by information about this object or that object. This perplexity is not a univocal curiosity about this thing or that thing. It is a kind of indeterminate wondering that may extend to the whole of what is, and indeed to the possibility of nothing. The ‘objects’ of philosophical perplexity are not univocal, determinate objectifiable themes. Nor can the ‘results’ of philosophical thinking be treated thus, be packaged thus. To do this would be to distort the true energy of living philosophical thinking. This indeterminate perplexity is the very selftranscending energy of human thinking. It was the ceaselessness of this that tortured Kant, even when he thought he had finally laid it to rest in the system and its categories. I am putting the matter in terms Jaspers does not use but that do not betray his intent. Thus this perplexity is called forth when philosophy deals with what Jaspers calls ‘boundary situations’ (Grenzsituationen). Questions at the boundary are not just questions about the limits of science, though they are that too. They are questions on the limit, on the edge, simpliciter. The most obvious boundary situation is death. There is no answer to the meaning of death, because there is no determinate univocal concept that would put this event within an objective rational whole. Rather this event puts all objective rational wholes into question, and yet the genuine philosopher has to continue to think despite the severe strain put on the ideal of rational completeness. These are the boundary situations Jaspers considers in Philosophie: that I must die, that I cannot live without conflict and suffering, that I cannot escape guilt. Boundary situations are not unrelated to Marcel’s notion of the meta-problematic or mystery. They burst out of the system of scientific rationality. Yet philosophy does not end at this bursting. A more authentic philosophizing can then begin. Put in terms of Kant: Kant was obsessed with the desire to make metaphysics into a secure science, and to put behind him all the ‘random gropings’ of the past. Did Kant secure metaphysics as a science? The answer must be no. It will always be no. Metaphysics is not exhausted by the rationalistic scholasticism of the Wolffian school. Jaspers is critical of metaphysics in a vein reminiscent of Kant’s attack on rationalistic science of being. But metaphysical thinking feeds on the indeterminate perplexity that takes us to the boundary and that is more radically energized in encounter with the boundary. There is a sense in which metaphysics really only begins at the limits of science. Despite his Kantian critique of ‘metaphysics’, I think Jaspers also hears this in Kant: the old rationalistic metaphysics may perhaps be put in its place; but at the limit, the old and ever fresh wonder is recalled into new life. A different kind of thinking has to take place at the boundary. This thinking Jaspers performs under the rubric of what he calls ‘periechontology’ as distinct from the old ‘ontology’. Consider here Jaspers’s claim that truth cannot be reduced to correctness. Scientific truth does operate with some notion of correctness, Jaspers implies. Putting aside the complex disagreements in current philosophy of science, the ideal of correctness is based upon the presupposition that the ideal of determinate intelligibility is fundamental. A scientific proposition or theory or hypothesis is correct if it somehow ‘corresponds’ to the determinate state of affairs that it purports to report. The scientific proposition or theory or hypothesis must be stated with as much determinate precision as possible. The limit of this precision would be a mathematical univocity, a completely determinate formulation of a matter without any shade of equivocity or ambiguity or indefiniteness. Moreover, the reality thus propositionally determined is itself taken to be a more or less determinate manifestation of being. To be scientifically objective is thus to epitomize an objective mode of thinking relative to a reality that is objectified in just that sense of being appropriated as completely determinate. Scientific correctness objectively dispels the ambiguities of being. There is no objective mathesis of ambiguity, only a mathesis that dissolves ambiguity. Within its sphere this is to the point, as Jaspers acknowledges. But philosophical thinking is already outside this sphere as reflecting upon this ideal of truth as correctness and the will to objective knowing inherent in it. Philosophy is thus already a nonobjectifying thought. Jaspers pursues the question relative to truth as correctness by suggesting that determinate objects could not appear as determinable and hence as scientifically intelligible did they not appear out of or against a background that is not itself an object. This is the horizon of intelligibility that makes possible the appearance of determinate objects as determinate. The background horizon relative to which scientific truthdeterminately appears is not itself a determinate truth. There is no truth as correctness possible about this horizon. The horizon is truth in a sense that is not determinable or objectifiable. Again one is hard put to forget Heidegger’s analysis of the primordiality of alētheia relative to truth as orthotes or adaequatio. We might say that this indeterminable truth is the non-objective other to the indeterminate perplexity that drives the self-transcending thinking of philosophy. One wonders if in his own way Kant was aware of this finally indeterminable sense of truth. One of his most suggestive phrases in the Third Critique was ‘purposiveness without purpose’, (Zweckmässigkeit ohne Zweck). Kant does not extend the meaning of this phrase beyond the aesthetic, yet it has implications for the very self-transcending orientation of the human being towards truth as beyond every determinate truth. This is truth as the ultimate horizon of the truths of science and the determinate intelligibilities it discloses. There is, of course, a deep equivocity in Kant in tending to restrict truth to what is scientifically validated, and Jaspers shares in this equivocation, even while in practice extending the notion of truth well beyond scientific correctness. Jaspers’s name for this horizon of truth is ‘the Encompassing’ (Das Umgreifende), one of the major ideas in his philosophy as a whole. Das Umgreifende—the word carries the suggestion of being englobed by something that cannot be reduced to any definite object within the globe, the circle. Is this a variation of Parmenides’ well-rounded truth? Yes. But any implication of a closed totality is something against which Jaspers will fight. The very language seems almost unavoidably to connote the closed circle. But if so, this is not something Jaspers intends. To close the circle would be to determine the indeterminable and so to objectify its nonobjectifiable transcendence. Jaspers also claims that there is a plurality of modes of the Encompassing, and hence a Parmenidean monism will never do. This plurality of modes includes: Being in itself that surrounds us—this is further specified in terms of world and Transcendence; the Being that we are, further specified as empirical existence (Dasein), consciousness as such and spirit (Geist); finally the Encompassing as Existenz and reason (Vernunft). Jaspers’s philosophy is here a post-Kantian Kantianism of finitude in which the singularity of Existenz is thrust into the ambiguities of the Kantian architectonic. Jaspers’s Kantianism appears again in that the ultimate indeterminability of the Encompassing makes it impossible to capture as a totality. Hegelian idealism makes what for Jaspers is the false claim to totality. To claim totality would be to imply a standpoint external to the Encompassing and this is impossible. Every determinate standpoint is relative to a determinate, objectified other, and hence is itself only possible on the basis of its englobement by the Encompassing. We humans are not the encompassing of Encompassing. Still there is a sense in which for Jaspers we humans are the Encompassing; somehow our self-transcending thinking participates in the Encompassing; we are not determinate things but as Existenz participants in the truth in this more ultimate sense. We ourselves are a certain horizon of truth in a sense that cannot be reduced to objective correctness. The ‘Kantianism’ in this again brings us back to a certain finitude of thought, even in the indeterminate selftranscending of thought. The rejection of totality makes Jaspers join hands with Marcel in rejection of the speculative whole of Hegelian idealism. Marcel is very explicit in saying that the concept of totality is completely inappropriate to the idea of the spirit. Jaspers, in my view, learned more from Hegel than he always explicitly acknowledged. His willingness to acknowledge the debt was spoken more clearly in his later life, but at the time of his earlier writing Hegel was not seen as an interlocutor that one could be respectably associated with, except to try to thrash. Nevertheless, Jaspers is very much a post-Hegelian philosopher in his refusal of totality, something he shares also with Heidegger. We will see in Levinas a divergence of totality and infinity, where the infinite ruptures every totality, beyond recuperation in any higher totality. Our failure to determine the indeterminability of the Encompassing does not mean a surrender to the merely indefinite. The other thinking at the boundary of objective thought must be complemented by the project of Existenz clarification. Jaspers has some very important reflections on what he calls ‘foundering’ (Scheitern) and ‘shipwreck’ (Schiffbruch). Philosophy too founders, but in its foundering the possibility of breaking through to something other cannot be closed off. I cannot dwell on foundering here, but we can appropriately situate Jaspers relative to two exceptional predecessors he singles out for special mention: Nietzsche and Kierkegaard. These two could be said to live a sense of philosophical foundering that is deeply significant for all subsequent philosophizing. Jaspers’s writing shows a clear awareness that these two figures signal the end of a epoch, the end of modernity. Without exaggeration one can say that, to the extent that he appropriated their significance, Jaspers himself was a postmodern philosopher. I use the phrase with hesitation, since now postmodernism wastes itself with an academic antiacademic frivolity, the hermeneutics of suspicion gone chic, a scholastic scepticism without spiritual substance. A postmodern philosopher in any genuine sense is one who recognizes the spiritual sickness of modernity. Of course, a sick being is not a dead being, and a sick being continues to live, hence it must be in some other respects healthy. Modernity is sick in this ambiguous sense. Kierkegaard and Nietzsche not only diagnosed this sickness, they lived this sickness within themselves. Both were experimental thinkers, both experienced the illness they tried to cure in themselves, the illness of nihilism. Kierkegaard’s Christian cure, Nietzsche’s Dionysian pharmakon, diverge. Jaspers thinks that philosophy can never be the same after them. They represent the radical rupture with idealistic totality. They stand before our future as exceptional thinkers who have lived through the spiritual sickness of modernity. Both founder for Jaspers. But this living through and foundering is informed by its own spiritual greatness. This greatness makes one reluctant to ally them completely with ‘postmodernism’, where the desire for spiritual seriousness or greatness seems feeble, if not terminal. Nietzsche and Kierkegaard would shudder at what passes for their current postmodern appropriations. Nietzsche would see the last men mouthing his songs, and sounding cacophonous. Kierkegaard would be dismayed at the aestheticization of his work, as if he did not call us to God—God, God and nothing but God. Let readers ask themselves if my reiteration of the word ‘God’ has not sent a shudder of uneasy embarrassment up their spines. Understand Nietzsche and Kierkegaard well. They are embarrassing thinkers; they shame us. They call into question the traditional pretensions of reason. Jaspers is quite clear about this. Do they bring philosophy to an end? Perhaps philosophy of totality, but philosophy: no. Jaspers is himself a thinker of the end of philosophy, but he has a more nuanced historical sense than the fashionable proclaimers of the end of philosophy. There is an historical fairness. He does not totalize the tradition of philosophy in order to denounce it for totalizing thought—a blatant equivocation not avoided by anti-totalizing totalizers like Adorno, Derrida, Heidegger, Nietzsche himself. Though Jaspers is no Hegelian, there is much about him not entirely antipathetic to Hegel. He acknowledges that for a long time he got great sustenance for his own lectures from Hegel. Granting his greatness, eventually the totalizing Hegel became ‘grotesque’ for him. I mention his relation to Hegel again in that both have a much more generous attitude to the tradition of philosophy than almost all other post-Hegelian philosophers. Hegel, Jaspers and Heidegger are perhaps the three greatest thinkers of the last 150 years who have tried to embrace, albeit very diversely, the heritage of millennia in their thinking. Jaspers’s generosity to the tradition makes him finally distance himself from the exceptionality of Kierkegaard and Nietzsche. Their provocation of reason has to be balanced by the greatness of reason, as seen from a proper appropriation of the great thinkers of the past. Against the modern will to unprecedented originality—infecting Nietzsche and Heidegger—Jaspers wants to reaffirm the idea of philosophia perennis. A major undertaking of Jaspers was to write a universal history of philosophy. This was never completed. Jaspers was interested not in a history of ideas but in a dialogue with the great thinkers by a genuine philosopher. The truth persists across time, though mediated through time. Nor is this truth identifiable with Heidegger’s historicity of being, since Jaspers is not unwilling to invoke eternity, granting, of course, all the cautions and qualifications necessary in any such invocation. The tradition of philosophy is the privileged conversation of great thinkers. He includes himself in that conversation. Across the centuries a great thinker still calls to other thinkers. We later thinkers have to resurrect the greatness of the past thinker, not merely debunk them in the interests of spuriously elevating ourselves into a position of false originality. It is the spiritual truth of philosophical honesty that the great thinkers share. Each concretizes the self-surpassing transcendence of thinking, a personification of the extremity of honest perplexity before ultimacy. Jaspers has not been as fashionable as Nietzsche and Heidegger precisely because of the generosity of his respect for tradition. In modernity we have been so infatuated with futurity that we have shortchanged the spiritual greatness of the past. In the future it will be great, it will be new, it will be unprecedented. A rhetoric of originality masks a lot of intellectual conceit. Nietzsche and Heidegger were not immune from thus puffing themselves up. As if a philosopher must strut and preen and crow: How different I am, how new! Cockcrow: and no, not dawn, as Nietzsche said; but flourish, flourish of the postmodern cock. Jaspers addresses the theme of the other, especially in that philosophy for him is inseparable from communication. The dialogue with the tradition is one instance of communication. Communicative reason opens beyond monadic thinking at both ends: towards the past, towards the future. Nor did Jaspers deny the responsibility of the communicative reason of philosophy to shape the spiritual present. Again the other has to be accorded a different place in thought from that allowed for in idealistic totality. Reason in Existenz is always marked by a boundless will to communication. One sees some harbingers of Habermas. The communicative relation to the other is constitutive of the activity of reason. Indeed Existenz is not itself at all apart from the relation of the self to the other. The demand of communication with the other must be met for Existenz to be itself. Likewise we must be awakened to ourselves as Existenz if we are to do justice to the demand of communication. Jaspers confessed to loneliness and incapacity to communicate inhis youth. This was exacerbated by the isolating effects of his illness. Just as Existenz cannot be objectified, so our relatedness to the other can never be reduced to an objective relation such as might hold between things. Jaspers’ primary emphasis is on the mutual reciprocity of communication between humans. He is a severe critic of the substitution in modernity of mass society for genuine community. The flattening of human beings into averageness, and hence the impoverishment of singularity, diminish, if not deform, what is essential to real community. In the singularity of Existenz there is always an opening to what is other than closed subjectivity. As with Kierkegaard and Marcel, Jaspers offers a critique of the functionalization of man and the massification of societies. The sacrifice of singularity as Existenz is the defect of totalitarianism. But this defect also marks the competitive individualism of capitalism, for here singularity is merely atomized, and between atoms there is no deep bond of community. He does not display Nietzsche’s elitist disdain for the many. He was deeply and ineradicably influenced by Weber. In many respects he also shares the sense of community at work in Kierkegaard’s neglected social critique: each of us is an absolute singularity; this singularity is preserved in community, but genuine community is ultimately a community of spirit under God. The will of Existenz to communicate with the other stands under Transcendence as the absolute other. Nor does Jaspers deny conflict in a mushy communitarianism. As already indicated, guilt and conflict are discussed as boundary situations in Philosophie. His suffering through Nazism was itself exposure to the violence of evil. He does underscore the possibility of a loving struggle. Love is not devoid of conflict, but the conflict is a creative war, polemos, as it were. Communication can be a contestation which is a mutual challenge to more authentic Existenz. His love for his wife, Gertrude, seem to have epitomized for him this creative contestation. This is close to Marcel’s creative fidelity, and certainly beyond sadism and masochism, the degraded form of erotic struggle given so much attention by Sartre. Communication is also central in Jaspers’s ideas of reason and truth. Reason is an opening to the universal, but the true universal is not an anonymous generality in which singularity is submerged. So also for Jaspers truth is incomplete if it does not embody itself in a will to total communication. Truth is not closed on itself, timeless and unaffected by historicity. Jaspers even implies that truth actualizes itself in the movement of communication itself. Truth comes to completion in the process of communication. One senses the shadow of Kant again. One is reminded of the Kantian progressus, the infinite task of the regulative ideal. WhenJaspers indicates a call on self-transformation in communication, to my mind he is talking about truthfulness, both singular and communal. Obviously this is constituted in the coming to truthfulness by the self and the community. This is a becoming truthful which would not be possible in the solitude of the self-communing thought, self-thinking thought. What about a sense of truth that is not constituted by what comes to be in a process of communication, but that makes possible that process of coming to be of social truthfulness? This sense of truth makes possible the constitution of truthfulness but is not itself constituted by truthfulness. This is truth that a process of communication unfolds or reveals, rather than creates or constitutes. Residues of the constitutive language of Kantian idealism are here evident in Jaspers. The otherness of truth as for itself is compromised by this constitutive language. Jaspers does not want to deny this otherness but his submission to Kantian ways of thinking conditions a certain emphasis in his efforts to speak of Transcendence. This is applicable with respect to metaphysical transcendence, but also with respect to the possibility of divine revelation. The movement of our transcending, even in the communication of truthfulness, mingles with Transcendence as communicating with us out of its own integral otherness, such that we do not really know if there is this other otherness. What we do, our becoming truthful, seems hard to distinguish from what is done to us, our patience to truth. Does what is done to us collapse into what we do? How then are we to avoid a wrong appropriation of the other? There is a principle of tolerance in Jaspers’s sense of communicative reason. He knows that vis-à-vis Existenz we cannot just say there is one univocal truth. The truth is refracted singularly in the specific truthfulness of every singular Existenz. Reason must be honestly vigilant to the particularities of just that singular refraction. Communication is this vigilance, and this vigilance is respect for the other as other. I use the term ‘refraction’, which is not the language of constitutive idealism. And even though there is a quasiconstitutive language in Jaspers, his language of foundering must be seen to plot the limit of this, and indirectly to open a moment of radical receptivity in which we do not communicate but in which the other is communicating with us. Jaspers does not explicitly address the question of symmetrical and asymmetrical relativity in a manner that Levinas does. Throughout I have referred to Transcendence. Here we approach the question of God. Transcendence for Jaspers is the ground of human Existenz and freedom. Jaspers treats of transcendence in volume III of Philosophie under the heading Metaphysics. The heading is not insignificant in the light of his critique of ontology from the standpoint of periechontology. The sense of metaphysical transcendence returns,proves unavoidable, even when all the Kantian strictures about metaphysics have been taken to heart. Transcendence is the absolute other. Again the Kantian modulation for Jaspers is that Transcendence is not to be known cognitively but to be reached existentially. There is no positive knowledge of Transcendence. Moreover, Transcendence grants itself gratuitously. Of course, if this is true the autonomy of reason is breached, and every trace of idealism, even Kantian idealism, will have to been reinspected. Jaspers speaks of Transcendence as the absolute Encompassing, the Encompassing of all the encompassings. Transcendence is not the world, nor is it empty possibility, though Jaspers says that it shows itself only to Existenz. Transcendence is the absolute other in which Existenz is grounded. Wherever Existenz is authentically existing, it is not completely through itself. The human existent does not create itself. Relative to Transcendence I know that I have been given to myself. The more decisively Existenz is aware of its freedom the more it is aware of its relation to Transcendence. I am tempted to think of both Augustine and Kierkegaard. Augustine speaks of being concerned with the soul and God and nothing more. This Augustinian theme is sounded in the correlation of Existenz and Transcendence. Moreover, Augustine speaks of God as intimior intimo meo: God is more intimate to me than I am to myself. The intimacy of this relation is beyond the world of objectivity; it happens in the deepest interiority of non-objectifiable Existenz, selfhood. Truth is subjectivity in Kierkegaard’s sense: the truth of Transcendence will never be reduced to a set of general, public concepts. Perhaps this is why Jaspers insists, in Kantian manner, on our relation to Transcendence as noncognitive. Why not speak of knowing in a different, non-objectifiable sense, a wisdom of idiocy, idiot wisdom of the intimacy of being? Why the obsessive insistence that validated cognition be confined to objective science? Surely we can expand the notion of cognition without having to give ourselves over to full-blown Hegelian reason? For that matter, without this expansion does not Jaspers’s way of talking fall foul of Hegel’s critique of Kant’s unknowable: If it is unknowable, you can say nothing; you cannot even know that it is unknowable; but you are saying something, then it must not be unknowable. I am enjoining the Hegelian question, not endorsing Hegel’s answer to Kant in terms of a dialectical knowing of Transcendence. Hegel’s answer sins in the opposite direction of cognitively subordinating Transcendence to immanence. We need a knowing other than Hegelian knowing and a non-knowing other than Kantian agnosticism. Transcendence is, but is never adequately manifest in appearance. It eludes all thinking if we mean to think it as a determinate object. Itseems easier to name it negatively than to say what it is positively. There is a sense in which we can find no final firm place in trying to say it, whether positively or negatively. Jaspers allows that there are many names for it. We can call it Being, Actuality, Divinity, God. Relative to thinking, he says we can call it Being; relative to life, it can be called Authentic Actuality; as demanding and governing, it can be called Divinity; relative to our encounter with it in our singular personhood, it can be called God. Again we find a denial of cognitive content in favour of the naming of an existential experience. Self-transformation can occur in encounter with Transcendence; it can become a source out of which I live and towards which I die. Amor Dei can lead to a transformation of how we love and hate the world. Jaspers mentions the magnificent love of the world in Chinese life and the hatred of life in gnostic thought. This latter is finally a nihilism and despair: the godless creation of the world is brought forth by Lucifer. This diabolical creation is counter to God. When the world is God’s creation the world is loved and God is loved in God’s creation; the promise of human existence is affirmed. We are always within the world and hence our relation to Transcendence is marked by finitude and foundering. We need the symbol and the cipher to articulate what in the end is beyond all articulation. In his later life Jaspers undertook a major dialogue with religious faith. He himself claimed the standpoint of what he called philosophical faith. Philosophy is often in tension with religion but their quests of ultimacy are akin. Like Hegel, Jaspers insists on the autonomy of philosophy, sometimes to the point of showing traces of a residual Enlightenment hostility to the claims of revealed religion. The same question can be put to both Hegel and Jaspers: To what extent are philosophical ideas rational transformations of religious themes, and hence not autonomous but heteronomous? Is philosophical faith religious faith rationalized? For Hegel, of course, there is no philosophical faith; philosophy is knowing. Jaspers again stands closer to Kant. His philosophical faith attempts, among other things, to render articulate the ‘faith’ in favour of which Kant is willing to deny knowledge. This philosophical faith cannot be assimilated to poetry or science or religion. If philosophy is other to religion, it is with respect to critical self-consciousness, not with respect to any Hegelian speculative knowing wherein religion is dialectically aufgehoben. This critical self-awareness of limits nurtures a vigilance to the idolatry, whether fideistic or rationalistic, which mistakes the cipher of Transcendence for Transcendence itself. Religion and philosophy are different, not as opposites but as polar approaches to Transcendence. In this polarity they comprise a community of ultimates that are perennially a contestation and a challenge to each other. EMMANUEL LEVINAS Emmanuel Levinas was born in Lithuania into an orthodox Jewish family but has spent most of his life in France. His experience of the Second World War was to shape his thought deeply. He has written Talmudic studies, though he claims that his philosophy belongs in another category. Husserl’s phenomenology and Heidegger’s fundamental ontology influenced his first philosophical studies, influenced in the double sense of supporting his thinking and yet provoking him into struggle against that very support. His mature thought is expressed in Totality and Infinity (1961). Subsequently he has published collections of essays leading to Otherwise than Being or Beyond Essence (1973). He has also continued to write Talmudic studies of a more strictly religious character. Starting from phenomenology he has moved towards a recovery of metaphysical transcendence and an affirmation of what he calls ‘ethics’ as first philosophy. Levinas became better known in English-speaking philosophy in the 1980s, partly mediated through the impact of deconstruction. English-speaking readers will find Levinas difficult without some sense of the context out of which he writes. Many consider Totality and Infinity to be his masterwork. It is a difficult book, for many philosophers as well as non-philosophers. Levinas’s thinking is haunted by a whole host of philosophical ghosts. To get some sense of the peculiarities of his philosophizing, relative to his influences and claims, I name some of the ghosts. There is the Cartesian heritage that seeks cognitive certainty in the foundation of the cogito, the ‘I think’. Levinas evinces high respect for Descartes, surprising respect in that Descartes is often criticized as the originator of an understanding of mind that locks thought within itself, within its own immanence. Levinas wants to break out of that closed circle of immanence, without denying a certain inner integrity to the subject. There is the phenomenological tradition, which can be interpreted as an ambiguous continuation of the Cartesian heritage. Levinas’s first work was on the theory of intuition in Husserl, and his practice of phenomenology is not without debt to Husserl. He came to question the phenomenological doctrine of the intentionality of consciousness. He points to modes of consciousness where intentionality as a directedness on an object is not the final story. His discussion of enjoyment, for instance, reveals an engagement of consciousness, which cannot be reduced to the intention of an object. The structure of intentionality seems to point to a certain mastery of the object; but if there are modes of the subject beyond intentionality, then objectifying, hence dominating, consciousness does not have the last word. The presence of Heidegger shadowed Levinas. Heidegger’s stature is not denied. Yet the accusation against him is that his Being is an anonymous power that ultimately leads to an account of history as impersonal destiny. The person in its singularity is sacrificed to an ontology of anonymous powers. Heidegger’s thought epitomizes ontology as a philosophy of power. Levinas opposes this with a metaphysics of the good wherein a nameless universal Being does not have final sway. Heidegger produces an ontology of the neuter; there is no basis for an ethics. Levinas speaks against the neutering of being which he tends to identify with the horror and anonymity of what he calls the element. A different view of the elemental is possible, but for Levinas it is the faceless indefinite of the prima materia (sometimes wrongly identified with to apeiron). His account of the impersonality of the ‘There is’, as he calls it, reminds one of Sartre’s account of being-in-itself, for instance in his phenomenology of the viscous: always threatening the integrity of the personal, the self as an integrity of innerness for itself. Levinas rejected the view of human being as derelict, as well as Sartre’s alienated vision of man as nothingness. Heideggerian thrownness is counteracted by a phenomenology of enjoyment. Happiness, a prior agreement with being, is a more primordial condition of elemental being. The question as to why Heidegger was an ardent Nazi is as important to Levinas as it was to Jaspers. Levinas spent time in a prisoner-of-war camp. Nazi philosophy was articulated in terms of a world-historical destiny as expressed in the German people. The others do not finally count; will to power subordinates all ethical concern to the victory of the mighty. This relates to the influence in French philosophy of Kojève’s reading of Hegel through the eyes of the master/slave dialectic in the Phenomenology. Hegelianism here becomes reduced to an all-devouring logic of domination and servitude. Sartre takes up a related interpretation in his infamous identification: hell is the other. Against the violence of the Sartrean look, Levinas sees the defencelessness of the other in the unguarded eyes, a powerlessness that nevertheless commands in the ethical injunction: Thou shall not kill. Levinas rejects the identification of death as the master in Kojève’s Heideggerian- Marxist Hegelianism. Contrary to the dialectic of master and slave and its violence, there is a pacific relation to the other that Levinas stresses as underlying the entire economy of labour and dwelling. This relates to the feminine. The grace of the feminine founds the home and the dwelling, out of which the labouring self is articulated, and with this the entire realm of economical, political and historical being. Things are conceived differently at the origins. These origins are not identicalwith the fullness of the ethical relation but they are consistent with it in a way that the dialectic of master and slave is not. Kojève’s Marxist Hegelianism also expresses a philosophy of history which culminates in the modern state as the earthly embodiment of the absolute. The world-historical universal sacrifices the intimate singularity of the self as person to the Moloch of the state. As worldhistorical universals, the state and history are ultimately idolatrous absolutes. Hegelian philosophy, like Heideggerian ontology, is seen by Levinas as an ontology of power which always is tempted to relate to the other by murder. The class struggle historically concretizes the master/slave dialectic. The course of history is war, the goal of history a homogeneous state in which otherness, the dissident other is suppressed in a universal sameness. Though this is abhorrent to Levinas, he is still concerned with labour, property, possession, reminding us of Marcel’s concerns with being and having. Levinas’s repeated references to the philosophies of existence are guarded. He shares much with some existentialists, Kierkegaard for instance, in defending the singularity, the ipseity of the human self. Levinas’s phenomenological background and its pretence that philosophy must be rigorous, indeed scientific, makes him uneasy with the so-called ‘irrationalism’ of the existentialists. He distances himself from a philosophy that is merely a protestation against the impersonal reason of the idealists and rationalists. He wants to defend a different sense of reason against individualistic irrationalism. This sense of reason will defend the ethical community of the same and the other. Though Levinas shuns the way of solitary genius, his sense of singularity aligns him with what is best in the philosophies of existence. This is an emphasis on what I called the intimacy of being with respect to Marcel. I find strong echoes of Marcel in some of the themes Levinas dwells on: the family, paternity, filiality, the home, enjoyment. There is a groundswell of influence from Levinas’s Jewishness. It is indicated very explicitly in his admiring reference to Rosenzweig’s The Star of Redemption. Rosenzweig was initially a Hegelian who had written on Hegel’s doctrine of the state. Then he had an astonishing quick conversion—reversion really—to Judaism, out of which The Star of Redemption sprung. This book is considered one of the landmarks of modern Jewish thought. Against the lure of Hegelian totality, a metaphysics of creation, as well as an affirmation of singularity as recalcitrant to inclusion in totality, is pursued. Though in Totality and Infinity Levinas says he is working in a purely philosophical vein, the distinctiveness of his philosophical voice owes much to the subterranean fermenting of the Jewish heritage. In contrast to not a few poststructuralist thinkers, Levinas’s philosophy has always exhibited a spiritual seriousness that refuses to playact with the matter itself. The return of sacred otherness in Levinas reminds us of Shestov’s contrast of Athens and Jerusalem. Shestov is unjustly neglected today but he is a profound, radical thinker of the limits of philosophy in relation to religion as an other, and with a sense of the tradition of speculative metaphysics in some ways more profound than Levinas’s. With Heidegger and many post-structuralists, Levinas tends to totalize the tradition of philosophy. All philosophy is said to be only an imperialism of identity or the same. Levinas speaks of philosophy as allergic to otherness, an allergy that reaches its culmination in Hegel. This is surely not true of the philosophical tradition as a whole. This fact is revealed by Levinas’s retraction: there is some philosophical acknowledgement of the other, as in Plato’s doctrine of the Good beyond being. The strategy is: totalize the tradition as imperialism of the same; suggest a different thinking of the other that is without precedent; then smuggle back ideas that in some form are found in the tradition; finally, acknowledge instances of such ideas in the tradition. Of course, most readers will have forgotten the first step by the time they reach the last. In fact, the total claim made in the first step is now effectively abolished. Why not acknowledge the last step at the start? But one cannot if one wants to claim to ‘overcome the tradition’. That claim would be dissolved; suspicion would be cast on the hermeneutics of suspicion. To take the last step first would require a hermeneutics of generosity and perhaps also a different interpretation of the philosophical tradition. Levinas is not to be confused with Derrida and Heidegger. He is very critical of Heidegger, and his writings evidence a spiritual seriousness that is lacking in Derrida. He mixes suspicion and generosity towards the philosophical tradition in his distinction between what he calls ‘ontology’ and ‘metaphysics’. Ontology marks a philosophy of being that always ends up reducing the other to the same. Ontology is a philosophy of the neuter which cannot do justice to the other, and especially the other as ethical. It is built upon the logic of a movement from the same to the other which is always for the same, and always returning to the same. One is reminded of that strand of the tradition that privileges the movement of thought thinking itself. By metaphysics Levinas implies a movement of thought that exceeds totality, most especially in the surplus to thought of the idea of infinity and the face-to-face relation of the ethical. Metaphysical thought goes from the same to the other, but not in order to return to the self. This metaphysical movement of mind has always been a philosophical possibility, evidenced in Levinas’s own citation of Plato’sGood. Beyond thought thinking itself, thought thinks what is other to thought. Levinas shows a tendency to identify the assumptions and analyses of Cartesian and transcendental idealism with the essential possibilities of philosophy. Relative to the Cartesian heritage, the cogito is privileged as the origin of all rigorously grounded philosophizing. Even Sartre’s Cartesianism shows this: the availability of consciousness to itself seems to augur for a mode of philosophizing that is rigorously in possession of its own procedures and contents, for none of its thoughts escape its own immanence, and hence its own certainty and certification. Levinas differently underscores the Cartesian notion of infinitude to find a renewed pathway to the other beyond all mastering thought. Obviously phenomenology offers a more embracing sense of philosophizing than classical Cartesianism, but their basic presuppositions overlap significantly: immanence to consciousness is fundamental to phenomenology. This is just how the ‘phenomenon’ of phenomenology is defined: not as the Sache as given in itself, but as given to and for consciousness. Nevertheless, starting with many of phenomenology’s presuppositions and methodical strategies, Levinas ends up with conclusions that produce the subversion of phenomenological immanence, as well as classical versions of idealism. Consider an important example: the discussion of representation in Totality and Infinity. Long passages are expository of an essentially Husserlian version of representation: representation is representability to consciousness; the immanence of the other is objectified as a representation for the same. This notion of representation has also been attacked by Heidegger, Derrida, Foucault and others. But to take this as the analysis of representation is questionable. We are offered analyses of representation and intelligibility which seem to cover the whole field, but do not at all. An account could be given which does not coincide with Husserl’s view. Levinas himself goes on to do this, by claiming that there is an uprooted quality to the Husserlian analysis which privileges the theoretical consciousness. Turning to the phenomenon of enjoyment, Levinas finds a more primordial stratum in the genesis of representation that undercuts the analysis of the uprooted version. The ‘intentionality’ of enjoyment does not privilege self-constituting, or the primacy of the same over the other, as representation allegedly does. One need not quarrel with this second aim. But Levinas sets up his account as undercutting the philosophical primacy of representation and intelligibility. In fact he is essentially criticizing representation and intelligibility as defined by Husserl’s transcendental method. One could give an account of representation in which the privilege of the other over the self is primarily stressed. Instead of representation simply being a commandeering of the other to appear before the self as the self would dictate for itself, it might be an openness to the other in which the truth of the representation is a submission to heterogeneity, a humility before the other which the representation tries to approximate and respect. Consider: if you ask me to represent you at a meeting, and if I truly want to represent you, I must subordinate my views to you and yours; I as representative must speak for you, the other; I cannot make you, the other, speak for me and yet honestly claim that I am representing you, the other. I am for you, as your representative. Representing is hence being-for-the-other in which the self subordinates the for-self of its own egoism to the truth of the other as it is for the other. This is exactly the opposite of the ‘essence’ to which Levinas reduces representation. Husserlian phenomenology is one philosophy; it is not philosophy, not the essence of philosophy. Nor is it the touchstone of all comparisons. Indeed its account is not true to the truth of representation as just indicated: a standing for the truth of the other as other. I dwell on this example, for the standard moves of many poststructuralist thinkers, Derrida included, are already contained in Levinas’s account of representation. But all philosophical discourse becomes skewed if Husserlian transcendentalism becomes the standard of philosophy against which other views are to be pitted. There is a certain historical, hermeneutical myopia here. When Marcel or Jaspers criticizes idealism, we do not find any tendency to hermeneutical special pleading. They do not totalize philosophy and its traditions. They are more judicious. Yet they too want to get beyond thought thinking itself to thought thinking what is other to thought. It is impossible to separate Levinas’s philosophy of the other from his sense of infinity and hence the idea of the divine other. Instead of conceiving the world as a fall or an emanation from the One, or a projection of constitutive subjectivity, Levinas’s rethinking of the idea of infinity points towards a renewal of the metaphysics of creation. Metaphysics here again means a mode of thinking that is for the other as other, not simply for the same. Creation names the radically originative act by which the singular creature comes into being for itself, and is given its finite being for itself. The Creator absolves His creation from the Creator to let be the other as finite in its given freedom. In that sense, God is the ultimate other that is the giver of all otherness, including the radical otherness that is let be for itself, and in no way coerced into a return that would subordinate a part to an engulfing whole. The strategic ambiguity here is that Levinas describes the for-self as atheist. On initial reading one might be inclined to think that Levinas espouses atheism. As I understand him, he is saying that the being of finitude as given in creation is atheist; it is a-theist in the most literal sense that it is not-God. God does not create Himself in creating the world, as Hegel and Spinoza might claim. God’s creation is the giving of what is radically other to God, radically not-God; and this ‘not’ is the measure of an incommensurability between the Creator and the created being. This incommensurability is not a merely negative or lamentable disproportion; the ‘not’ of a-theism is the very space of transcendence in which the freedom of the creature can be enacted and called forth. The atheism of the self is the promise of its possible being-for-itself, and in its being-for-self its possible free relation across an irreducible difference to the divine source itself. Atheist being is then the product of divine generosity; atheism is the precondition of a different relativity between the human and divine which absolves the relata of complicity in relations of domination and violation. Is there a little disingenuousness here? Totality and Infinity was written at a time when atheistic existentialism and Marxism were in their heyday. For well over a century and a half, the spiritual ethos of Europe has been dominated by a de rigueur atheism, as is nowhere more evident than in the popularizing of Sartrean existentialism. Levinas is a crafty writer in that he incorporates the truth of atheism within a project that aims to renew the metaphysical affirmation of God as transcendent. In the ambiguous creation, the human being as for-itself is atheist being; but atheist being can know its real otherness to ultimate transcendence and hence out of its atheist being turn towards the other, not as a part returns to its whole, not as an instance subordinates itself to its general, but as a free centre of ethical existence wills to enact the good of the Creator, the good of the creature and neighbour. This ethical affirmation stands sentinel against descent into the anonymous powers of demonic universality, the world-historical universal, whether idolized in Marxist or in Nazi form. In the latter we become agents, instruments of the anonymous universal, and all the more vile when we become judges and executioners of those who will not bow the knee before our murderously exacting idol. This is the malice of atheist being, which does not receive the expression or consideration in Totality and Infinity that it should. Levinas’s emphasis on infinity invokes a tale that spans the history of speculative metaphysics, from the pre-Socratics to our own time. Levinas exploits the Cartesian idea of infinity in a direction that I suspect would have astonished Descartes himself. Pascal was correct and saw right through Descartes when he said: ‘I cannot forgive Descartes; in his whole philosophy he would like to do without God; but he could not help allowing him a flick of his fingers to set the world in motion; after that he had no more use for God.’ Levinas, who often cites Pascal with approval, seems hardly to suspect the possible godlessness of Cartesianism. There is also a strange approval of Cartesian doctrines of sensibility, praised because sensibility is held to be essentially other to thought and the concept. Kant is here praised on the same score for insisting on a heterogeneity between sensibility and understanding. One sees the point. The continuity of sensibility and thought, whether in Leibniz or in Hegel, is to be ruptured in defence of a heterogeneity not subsumable under the rational concept. But there is a sense in which such a thing as Cartesian sensibility hardly exists. There is a sensible body in Descartes but it is not the body of flesh; it is not the bodied self; it is the shape of the res extensa that in itself is lifeless. How can this lifeless res extensa enjoy life, since it is already a dead body? And from where could a Cartesian res extensa get a face? The res extensa has no face. The Cartesian body is like the featureless wax of Descartes’ own example, entirely faceless, except for its automated mechanical movements. But human flesh has a face—just what Levinas wants to uphold. In another place the Cartesian order is said to be prior to the Socratic order relative to teaching. But again what can the res cogitans teach to an other, or be taught itself? What is it taught by the idea of infinity? That God exists. But this is about all that is taught. Descartes is entirely lacking in the passion of religious inwardness that we find, for instance, in Augustine, Pascal and Kierkegaard. In fact, for Descartes the self and God are the two things most easily known, and once Descartes has placed them as foundational concepts to certify rational knowing methodologically, he gets down to the real business at hand: mathematicized science of nature. This Cartesian order of objective mathesis proves all but oblivious of the inward otherness of the self and the superior otherness of the divine transcendence. These become methodological means to an end, not enigmatic, mysterious realities that tax all thinking to the utmost, indeed defeat all its claims to the conceptual mastery, such as Descartes ardently pursued. How superior here is the Socratic dialogue wherein the promise of openness to the other is inscribed from the outset. Levinas has nothing to say about dialogue as already articulating a concept of the soul that in its being is essentially relational; thought is never kath’ auto in a manner that excludes relativity; for such a kath’ auto would exclude the possibility of the face-to-face. Socratic dialogue is philosophical speech face-to-face. There is an implied Socratic sense of bodied speech—speech in the sight and in the hearing, and indeed within the touch of the other. Speech in a Socratic dialogue is as much a self saying as a something said. Levinas’s theme of the face-to-face must be noted here. This is his distinctive contribution to the discussion of ‘intersubjectivity’. German idealism and phenomenology bequeathed the problem of the other: starting with subjectivity how do we genuinely constitute relatedness to the other as other? Is the other merely the means by which I recognize myself and return to myself? Is the other, seen from the primacy of the subject, just the mirror in which the self sees essentially itself, hence no radical otherness can ever be defended? As an heir of phenomenology and not German idealism, Levinas confronts phenomenology’s same starting point in the subject. Levinas too starts with the self, in that earlier parts of Totality and Infinity are predominantly devoted to showing us a sufficiently strong sense of the separation of the self for itself. The self for itself is an irreducible ipseity that cannot be subsumed into an impersonal reason, or made the instance of an abstract universal. And yet this for-self in its radical separateness is not a transcendental ego. It is invested with the concreteness of the existing I in its primordial enjoyment of being. How then is the problem of the inter, the ‘between’, tackled? The self expresses itself and enters into discourse and language. Expression for Levinas is such that the speaking subject always attends his or her expression. He or she does not abandon expression but attends it as willing to justify it, or indeed justify himself or herself, that is to say, apologize. To apologize does not here mean to ask pardon simply; it implies one standing there for oneself and owning up in expression to what one is or does. An apology, like Socrates’, is a self-justification; the justice of the self in its personal particularity is at stake. But one apologizes always before the other. One attends one’s expression in the sight of an other. Hence expression and the apologetic attending of expression by the self is an entry into social relatedness, is the social relation. This entry of justification, justice, apology, attention of self before the sight of the other, comes to expression in the face-to-face. I encounter the face of the other and the other looks on me, not like Sartre’s other that would petrify me and reduce the freedom of interiority to an objectified thing. The face of the other calls me to justification, to justice. The face presents itself with a nudity and destitution that is beyond all conceptualization. The face cannot be totalized, for the infinite comes to epiphany there. I cannot conceptually determine the face of the other; the eyes of the other look at me with an unguarded vulnerability, and call me to a response that is beyond power. This unguarded vulnerability of the eye of the other is radically opposite to Sartre’s look. If looks could kill, Sartre’s subject would be a mass murderer. In Levinas’s case, the look offers itself as the other offering itself in unguarded frankness; in that look there appears the command ‘Thou shalt not kill’. The ethical is not an instrumental contract that the self of will to power, be it Nietzschean or Sartrean or Hobbesian, makes to defend itself against the other and to launch its self-aggrandizing onslaught on the freedom of the other. The unguarded face is beyond all instrumentality and beyond all finality in the sense that it does not constitute a determinate purpose or telos that could be conclusively comprehended and mastered or encompassed. Something overflows in the face of the other that is infinite, and this infinite is the command of goodness. The overflow of infinity into the between, the inter, calls the subject in its separateness to a relatedness with the other that does not compromise separateness, since the very between is an ethical respect of justice between the self and other. Levinas finds the face absolutely irreducible, primordial. One cannot break it down into more basic constituents; it is elemental, though not in Levinas’s sense. It cannot be contained within the economy of classical subjectivity, whether idealistic or transcendental/ phenomenological. These latter finally give hegemony to the same over the other. While Levinas defends the separateness of the subject, the face-to-face and the overflowing of the other’s infinitude reverse the hegemony of autonomy. There is a heteronomy more ultimate than autonomy. The self is for the other; and the other comes from a dimension of height, even when the other is the abject self, the poor, the widow, the orphan. Levinas intends to transcend the master/slave dialectic, but there are occasions where the other is referred to as the master, and where the asymmetry between the same and the other seems to skirt dangerously another form of the master/slave relation. We find a peculiar mixture of elements: the radical separateness of the subject, who is not really separate, since he or she puts himself or herself in the between by his or her expression; the subject who in the between encounters the face of the other who commands against murder in the nakedness of the vulnerable eye; the separate self whose ineluctable destiny seems social. How then is the other radically other and the self still irreducibly separate? For it is their co-implication and infinite responsibility that seem the most important things. Is this no more than a verbal problem? Levinas defends the irreducibility of the self in its personal singularity, and yet against Enlightenment modernity he reinstates a heteronomous ethics, where the justice of the other, assumed in infinite responsibility, is absolutely central. Eros is important for Levinas in breaking out of monadism and the ‘egocentric predicament’. This is linked with his stress on fecundity. One is reminded of the speech of Socrates/Diotima concerning eros as generating on the good/beautiful. Eros generates beyond itself on the beautiful/good. This is a somewhat strange saying. I take it to mean that the highest point of eros is not, in fact, erotic in the sense of yielding just a completion of a lack in the self, and hence a culminating self-satisfaction in a final selfrelatedness. Eros seems to start in lack and in final satisfaction makes the erotic being self-sufficient again by overcoming the lack. But this is not enough. Rather, the self generates beyond itself on the good. There is a transcendence of self that goes beyond the most embracing self-sufficiency and self-relativity. Fecundity is the self generating beyond itself. I would prefer to call it the promise of agape rather than eros, in that it does not fill a lack of satisfaction but goes beyond self in an overflowing of being that is already full, overfull. As already full in itself the self agapeically goes towards the other as other; in this case goes towards the child as an other who is not yet known as a this, and who is the promise of the future, a continuation and a rupture, a relativity and a radical separateness at once. It is noticeable here that Levinas emphasizes the father/son relation, rather than the relation of father/daughter, or mother/son. Paternity and filiality become the means of expressing the fecundity, the infinitude of time in its generative power. The feminine reduces to a certain equivocal form of being. There is ambiguity in the relation of the father and son: I the father am the son; I the father am not at all the son. Levinas makes much of the infinity of time against what he seems to see as the jealous self-enclosure of eternity. It seems as if the fecundity of infinite time will pardon all. I think this will not do relative to the singularity and sociality Levinas wants to emphasize. Time, even infinite time, will not radically pardon radical evil. Later generations cannot provide justification for the radical evils visited upon present generations. Levinas does not want to instrumentalize present evil. But is infinite time enough to prevent time from being swept up into the instrumental justification of world history? It can only be from an entirely different dimension that the pardon for radical evil can come. This would be eternity in another sense to the one that Levinas plays with, namely, the catatonic absolute identity that knows no relativity to otherness. Levinas’s reference to messianic time at the end of Totality and Infinity indicates that the work is a truncated book; its real import lies elsewhere. For all the talk about the frankness of the face, and the person attending his expression, Levinas is perhaps a dissimulating writer. The entirety of Totality and Infinity points beyond itself to God, but God is foxily talked about throughout the entire book. One is reminded of the equivocation of discourse imputed to some Jewish thinkers, Spinoza for instance, or Derrida for that matter. In the present case, one speaks the language of atheism, while being a theist behind it all. Today the metaphysicians and theologians have to hide themselves from the inquisition of the atheist, while for the main part of recorded intellectual history it was the atheist who had to go in hiding in fear of the inquisition of the believer. In Levinas’s later work the sense of responsibility for the other is accentuated further. The claim that ethics is first philosophy is developed more fully. The central essay of Otherwise than Being or Beyond Essence is titled ‘Substitution’. Here Levinas develops the idea of an anarchic subjectivity that is prior to all thematization. One is reminded of Sartre’s non-positional consciousness, except that in Levinas’s case the sense of being summoned by the other is to the fore; the self prior to the ego is marked by an obsession with the other. Levinas ties this with being a creature in which the trace of the absolute other is in passage. ‘Substitution’ is a bold and provocative meditation, brilliant and profound in many respects. I cannot do justice here either to its claims or to the questions it provokes. Levinas does claim that prior even to the absolute priority claimed for the transcendental ego, the call of the other in an infinite responsibility is at work. The concept of ‘substitution’ refers to the manner in which this anarchic self is a hostage for the other. It is in the place of the other; this power to be in the place of the other is the ground of all other acts of solidarity or sociality. The self is a subject in being subject to the other in infinite responsibility. Levinas likes to quote Dostoevsky’s Alyosha Karamazov: ‘We are all responsible for everyone else—but I am more responsible than all the others.’ This is a claim of hyperbolic responsibility, and some would criticize it as such. It may even ironically suggest an ethical hubris in which I place myself in the role of the absolute, substitute myself for God. Only God could be responsible thus, no mortal creature could. Yet Levinas wants to insist, and insist is the word, that human creatures are disturbed by this call of infinite responsibility. There are ambiguities here too complex to unravel in the space allotted. For substitution is a divine responsibility, substitution even to the point of death and sacrifice. Levinas is often presented as without precedents, and his singular style helps to foster this impression. But I cannot but remind the reader of the emphasis on testimony, witness and sacrifice in Marcel. Read in a certain way, Marcel’s Catholicism and Levinas’s Judaism generate some very deep affinities. Levinas sets himself against transcendental phenomenology here and its regress to grounding in originary selfhood. He emphasizes the passivity, the patience to the other of the pre-synthetic self. Yet his mode of thinking, like transcendental philosophy generally, is regressive, a matter of what both call ‘reduction’. Is there not after all a strange ‘transcendentalism’ in this? A transcendentalism of passivity rather than activity, or rather of patience to the other prior to both activity and passivity? This would be prior to the a priori of transcendental idealism. Substitution would be the condition of the possibility of all meaning, linguistic, cognitive, pragmatic as well as ethical. Ethics as first philosophy would then be a transcendental philosophy, though since it does not deal with the transcendental ego as the ultimate originary presence, it might be called an atranscendental ethics or a negative transcendentalism, on the analogy of negative theology. Many of Levinas’s ways of saying are strongly reminiscent of negative theology: It is not this, not that…; it is as if it were, as though…it is neither this, nor that…. There is a sense in which we here have to make a leap beyond phenomenology. There are times when that leap could be made more intelligible for the reader if Levinas provided some phenomenological examples from human relations, for instance in the telling way Marcel appeals to the examples from his own dramatic works to suggest imaginatively the nonobjectifiable. There is generally a tendency to dualistic thinking in Levinas, for example, ontology versus metaphysics, being versus the good. This tendency can lead to significant equivocity. I will conclude with a relevant example and question. In ‘Substitution’ Levinas unrelentingly stresses the irreplaceability of the self that is summoned in ethical responsibility. But how can the irreplaceable be substituted? There cannot be a replacement for the non-substitutable, nor a substitute for the irreplaceable. The concept of hostage carried the idea of equivalence: one for the other, a tooth for a tooth. But the concept of equivalence is impossible without the idea of identity, and Levinas’s whole discourse of the irreplaceable claims to be prior to the idea of identity and its cognate concepts like equivalence. This is a logical problem with substitution, but it points to a tension that is not merely logical. If we privilege the irreplaceable, there must be a limit to human substitution; by contrast, if we privilege substitution, we compromise the absolute singularity of the irreplaceable. How then can we affirm substitution and the irreplaceable both together? Put this way: Job’s second set of children seem to be replacements for the first dead children, they seem to be substitutes. But the whole thrust of Levinas’s thought must be that there can be no replacement for the first irreplaceable children; there are no human substitutes. Do we reach the limit of human substitution? And a limit of the fecundity of infinite time? Is there such a thing as divine substitution which would radically transfigure the notion of selfhood as irreplaceable? Do we need the idea of re-creation, the idea of a new creation to deal with the irreplaceability of the first creation, relative to the horrors we have heaped on it and its seemingly senseless death? SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY Marcel Primary texts 5.1 ‘La Métaphysique de Josiah Royce’, Revue de métaphysique et de morale, January- April 1919. Reprint: La Métaphysique de Royce, Paris: Aubier, 1945. 5.2 Journal Métaphysique, Paris: Gallimard, 1927. Reprint: 1935. 5.3 Etre et avoir, Paris: Aubier, 1935. 5.4 Du refus à l’invocation, Paris: Gallimard, 1940. Reprint: Paris: Aubier, 1945. 5.5 Homo Viator: Prolégomènes à une métaphysique de l’espérance, Paris: Aubier, Editions Montaigne, 1944. 5.6 Les Hommes contre l’humain, Paris: La Colombe, 1951. Reprint: Paris: Fayard, 1968. 5.7 Le Mysterè de l’être, vol. 1, Réflexion et mystère, Paris: Aubier, 1951. Contains the Gifford Lectures of 1949. 5.8 Le Mysterè de l’être, vol. 2, Foi et réalité, Paris: Aubier, 1951. 5.9 Le Déclin de la sagesse, Paris: Plon, 1954. 5.10 Fragments philosophiques, 1909–1914, Philosophes contemporains: Textes et études 11, Louvain: Nauwelaerts, 1962. 5.11 La Dignité humaine et ses assises existentialles, Collections Présence et pensée, Paris: Aubier, Editions Montaigne, 1964. 5.12 Pour une sagesse tragique et son au-delà, Paris: Plon, 1968. 5.13 Coleridge et Schelling, Paris: Aubier-Montaigne, 1971. Translations 5.14 Royce’s Metaphysics, trans. V. and G.Ringer, Chicago: Henry Regnery Co., 1956. 5.15 Metaphysical Journal, trans. B.Wall, Chicago: Henry Regnery Co., 1950. Reprints: 1952, 1967. London: Barrie & Rockliff, 1952. 5.16 Being and Having, trans. K.Farrer, Westminster: Dacre Press; Glasgow: University Press, 1949; Boston: Beacon Press, 1951. Reprinted under the expanded title Being and Having: An Existentialist Diary, London: Fontana Library and New York: Harper & Row, Harper Torchbooks, 1965. 5.17 Creative Fidelity, trans. R.Rosthal, New York: Farrar, Strauss, Cudahy, Noonday Press, 1964. 5.18 Homo Viator: Introduction to a Metaphysic of Hope, trans. E.Crauford, London: Victor Gollancz and Chicago: Henry Regnery Co., 1951. New York: Harper and Row, Harper Torchbooks, 1962. 5.19 Men Against Humanity, trans. G.S.Fraser, London: Harvill Press, 1952. 5.20 Man Against Mass Society, trans. G.S.Fraser, foreword by D.MacKinnon. Chicago: Henry Regnery Co., 1952. Reprint: Chicago: Henry Regnery Co., Gateway, 1962. 5.21 The Mystery of Being, vol. 1, Reflection and Mystery, trans. G.S.Fraser, London: Harvill Press and Chicago: Henry Regnery Co., 1950. Reprint: Chicago: Henry Regnery Co., Gateway, 1960. 5.22 The Mystery of Being, vol. 2, Faith and Reality, trans. R.Hague, London: Harvill Press and Chicago: Henry Regnery Co., 1951. Reprint: Chicago: Henry Regnery Co., Gateway, 1960. 5.23 The Decline of Wisdom, trans. M.Harari, London: Harvill Press and Toronto: Collins, 1954. New York: Philosophical Library, 1955. 5.24 The Influence of Psychic Phenomena on My Philosophy, London: London Society for Psychical Research, 1956. The Frederic W.H.Myers Memorial Lecture, December 1955. 5.25 Philosophical Fragments, 1909–1914, trans. L.A.Blain, published together with The Philosopher and Peace, trans. V.H.Drath, Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1965. 5.26 The Existential Background of Human Dignity, Harvard University: The William James Lectures, 1961–2, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1963. 5.27 Philosophical Fragments 1909–1914, trans. L.A.Blain. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1965. 5.28 Tragic Wisdom and Beyond, trans. S.Jolin and P.McCormick, Northwestern University Studies in Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy , Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1973. Criticism 5.29 Appelbaum, D. Contact and Attention: The Anatomy of Gabriel Marcel’s Metaphysical Method, Lanham: University Press of America, 1986. 5.30 Davy, M.M. Un Philosophe itinérant: Gabriel Marcel, Paris: Flammarion, 1959. 5.31 Gallagher, K.T. The Philosophy of Gabriel Marcel, New York: Fordham University Press, 1962. 5.32 Hocking, W.E. ‘Marcel and the Ground Issues of Metaphysics’, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 14:4 (June 1954):439–69. 5.33 O’Malley, J.B. The Fellowship of Being, The Hague: Nijhoff, 1966. 5.34 Peccorini, F. Selfhood as Thinking in the Work of Gabriel Marcel, Lewiston: Mellen Press, 1987. 5.35 Prini, P. Gabriel Marcel et la méthodologie de l’invérifiable, Paris: Desclée de Brouwer, 1953. 5.36 Ricoeur, P. Gabriel Marcel et Karl Jaspers: Philosophie du mystère et philosophie du paradoxe, Paris: Editions du temps présent, 1948. 5.37 Schilpp, P. and Hahn, L. (eds) The Philosophy of Gabriel Marcel, The Library of Living Philosophers, vol. XVII, La Salle: Open Court, 1983. Jaspers Primary texts 5.38 Allgemeine Psychopathologie, Berlin: Springer Verlag, 1913; 4th completely rev. edn, Berlin, Göttingen and Heidelberg: Springer Verlag, 1946; 8th edn, 1965. 5.39 Psychologie der Weltanschauungen, Berlin: Springer Verlag, 1919:5th edn, Berlin, Göttingen, Heidelberg: Springer Verlag, 1960. 5.40 Philosophie, 3 vols, Berlin: Springer Verlag, 1932. 5.41 Vernunft und Existenz: Fünf Vorlesungen. Gröningen: J.B.Welters, 1935; 4th edn, München: R.Piper, 1960. 5.42 Die Schuldfrage, Heidelberg: L.Schneider Verlag, and Zürich: Artemis Verlag, 1946. 5.43 Von der Wahrheit: Philosophische Logik, Enter Band. München: R.Piper, 1947; 3rd edn, 1980. 5.44 Der philosophische Glaube: Gastvorlesungen, Zürich: Artemis Verlag and München: R.Piper & Co., 1948; 7th edn, München: R.Piper, 1981. 5.45 Vom Ursprung und Ziel der Geschichte, Zürich: Artemis Verlag and München: R.Piper, 1949; 4th edn, München: 1963. 5.46 Die grossen Philosophen: Enter Band, München: R.Piper, 1957; 3rd edn, 1981. 5.47 Die grossen Philosophen, Nachlass 1, ed. H.Saner, München and Zurich: R. Piper, 1981. 5.48 Die grossen Philosophen, Nachlass 2, ed. H.Saner, München and Zürich: R. Piper, 1981. 5.49 Der philosophische Glaube angesichts der Offenbarung, München: R.Piper, 1962; 3rd edn, 1980. 5.50 Weltgeschichte der Philosophie: Einleitung, ed. H.Saner, München and Zürich: R.Piper, 1982. Translations 5.51 General Psychopathology, trans. J.Hoening and M.W.Hamilton, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1963. 5.52 Philosophy, 3 vols, trans. E.B.Ashton, Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1969–71. 5.53 Reason and Existenz, trans. W.Earle, London, Toronto and New York, 1955. 5.54 The Question of German Guilt, trans. E.B.Ashton, New York: Dial Press, 1947. 5.55 Tragedy is not Enough, (excerpt from Von der Wahrheit), trans. H.A.T. Reiche, H.T.Moore and K.W.Deutsch, Boston: Beacon Press, 1952 and London: V.Gollancz, 1953. 5.56 Truth and Symbol (excerpt from Von der Wahrheit), trans. J.T.Wilde, W. Kluback and W.Kimmel, New York: Twayne Publishers and London: Vision Press, 1959. 5.57 The Perennial Scope of Philosophy, trans. R.Manheim, New York: Philosophical Library, 1949 and London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1950. 5.58 The Origin and Goal of History, trans. M.Bullock, New Haven: Yale University Press and London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1953. 5.59 Philosophical Faith and Revelation, trans. E.B.Ashton, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1967. 5.60 Anaximander, Heraclitus, Parmenides, Plotinus, Lao-tzu, Nagarjuna, New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, n.d. (excerpt from The Great Philosophers: The Original Thinkers). 5.61 Anselm and Nicholas of Cusa, New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, n.d. (excerpt from The Great Philosophers: The Original Thinkers). 5.62 The Great Philosophers: The Foundations, The Paradigmatic Individuals: Socrates, Buddha, Confucius, Jesus; The Seminal Founders of Philosophical Thought: Plato, Augustine, Kant, ed. H.Arendt, trans. R. Manheim, New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1962. 5.63 The Great Philosophers: The Original Thinkers: Anaximander, Heraclitus, Parmenides, Plotinus, Anselm, Nicholas of Cusa, Spinoza, Lao-Tzu, Nagarjuna, ed. H.Arendt, trans. R.Manheim, New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1966. 5.64 Kant, New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, n.d. (excerpt from The Great Philosophers: The Foundations). 5.65 Plato and Augustine, New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, n.d. (excerpt from The Great Philosophers: The Foundations). 5.66 Socrates, Buddha, Confucius, Jesus, New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, n.d. (excerpt from The Great Philosophers: The Foundations). 5.67 Spinoza, New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, n.d. (excerpt from The Great Philosophers: The Original Thinkers). Criticism 5.68 Allen, E.L. The Self and Its Hazards: A Guide to the Thought of Karl Jaspers, New York: Philosophical Library, 1951. 5.69 Ehrlich, L.H. Karl Jaspers: Philosophy as Faith, Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1975. 5.70 Kane, J.F. Pluralism and Truth in Religion: Karl Jaspers on Existentialist Truth, Chico: Scholars Press, 1981. 5.71 Lichtigfeld, A. Jaspers’ Metaphysics, London: Colibri Press, 1954. 5.72 Olson, A.M. Transcendence and Hermeneutics: An Interpretation of Karl Jaspers, The Hague: Nijhoff, 1979. 5.73 Ricoeur, P. Gabriel Marcel et Karl Jaspers, Paris: Editions du Temps Présent, 1948. 5.74 Samay, S. Reason Revisited, Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1971. 5.75 Schilpp, P. (ed.) The Philosophy of Karl Jaspers, 2nd edn, Lasalle: Open Court, 1981. Contains Jaspers’s ‘Philosophical Autobiography’ (including chapter: ‘Heidegger’), critical contributions by twenty-four authors, and Jaspers’s ‘Reply to His Critics’. 5.76 Schrag, O.O. Existence, Existenz, and Transcendence, Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 1971. 5.77 Wallraff, C.F. Karl Jaspers: An Introduction to His Philosophy, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1970. 5.78 Young-Bruehl, E. Freedom and Karl Jaspers’s Philosophy, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1971. Levinas Primary texts 5.79 La théorie de l’intuition dans la phénoménologie de Husserl, Paris: Alcan, 1930 (Vrin, 1963). 5.80 De l’existence à l’existant, Paris: Fontaine, 1947 (Vrin, 1973). 5.81 En découvrant l’existence avec Husserl et Heidegger, Paris: Vrin, 1967. 5.82 Totalité et infiní: Essai sur l’extériorité, The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1961. 5.83 Difficile liberté, Paris: Albin Michel, 1963 (2nd edn, 1976). 5.84 Quatre lectures talmudiques, Paris: Editions de Minuit, 1968. 5.85 Humanisme de l-autre homme, Montpellier: Fata Morgana, 1972. 5.86 Autrement qu’être, ou au-delà de l’essence, The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1974. 5.87 Sur Maurice Blanchot, Montpellier: Fata Morgana, 1975. 5.88 Noms propres, Montpellier: Fata Morgana, 1976. 5.89 Du sacré au saint, Paris: Editions de Minuit, 1977. 5.90 Le Temps et l’autre, Montpellier: Fata Morgana, 1947 (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1983). 5.91 L’Au-delà du verset, Paris: Editions de Minuit, 1982. 5.92 De Dieu qui vient a l’idée, Paris: Vrin, 1982. 5.93 De l’evasion, Paris: Fata Morgana, 1982. 5.94 Ethique et infini, Paris: Fayard, 1982. 5.95 Transcendance et intelligibilité, Genève: Labor et Fides, 1984. Translations 5.96 The Theory of Intuition in Husserl’s Phenomenology, trans. A.Orianne, Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1973. 5.97 Existence and Existents, trans. A.Lingis, The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1978. 5.98 Difficult Freedom, trans. S.Hand, London: Athlone, forthcoming. 5.99 Otherwise than Being or Beyond Essence, trans. A.Lingis, The Hague, Martinus Nijhoff, 1981. 5.100 Time and the Other, trans. R.Cohen, Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 1987. 5.101 Ethics and Infinity, trans. R.Cohen, Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 1985. 5.102 Collected Philosophical Papers, trans. A.Lingis, Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff, 1987. Criticism 5.103 Bernasconi, R., and Wood, D. (eds) The Provocation of Levinas: Rethinking the Other, London and New York: Routledge, 1988. 5.104 Burggraeve, R. From Self-Development to Solidarity: An Ethical Reading of Human Desire in its Socio-Political Relevance according to Emmanuel Levinas, trans. C.Vanhove-Romanik, Leuven: The Centre for Metaphysics and Philosophy of God, 1985. 5.105 Cohen, R. (ed.) Face to Face with Levinas, Albany: State University of New York Press, 1986. 5.106 Derrida, J. ‘Violence and Metaphysics’, in Writing and Difference, trans. A. Bass, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul and Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1978, pp. 79–153. 5.107 Libertson, J. Proximity, Levinas, Blanchot, Bataille and Communication, Phaenomenologica 87, The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1982. 5.108 Lingis, A. Libido: The French Existential Theories, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1985.
Routledge History of Philosophy. Taylor & Francis e-Library. 2005.
Look at other dictionaries:
RELIGION — L’ÉTYMOLOGIE du terme religion reste incertaine; elle est controversée depuis l’Antiquité. À la suite de Lactance, de Tertullien, les auteurs chrétiens se plaisent à expliquer le latin religio par les verbes ligare, religare , lier, relier. La… … Encyclopédie Universelle
Religion ancienne — Religion Une religion est un ensemble de rites, croyances généralement théistes[Note 1], composé de règles (éthiques ou pratiques), de récits, de symboles ou de dogmes adoptés comme conviction par une société, un groupe ou une personne. Par… … Wikipédia en Français
Religion antique — Religion Une religion est un ensemble de rites, croyances généralement théistes[Note 1], composé de règles (éthiques ou pratiques), de récits, de symboles ou de dogmes adoptés comme conviction par une société, un groupe ou une personne. Par… … Wikipédia en Français
Religion canadienne-française — Religion Une religion est un ensemble de rites, croyances généralement théistes[Note 1], composé de règles (éthiques ou pratiques), de récits, de symboles ou de dogmes adoptés comme conviction par une société, un groupe ou une personne. Par… … Wikipédia en Français
Religion de Dieu — Religion Une religion est un ensemble de rites, croyances généralement théistes[Note 1], composé de règles (éthiques ou pratiques), de récits, de symboles ou de dogmes adoptés comme conviction par une société, un groupe ou une personne. Par… … Wikipédia en Français
Religion des parents — Religion Une religion est un ensemble de rites, croyances généralement théistes[Note 1], composé de règles (éthiques ou pratiques), de récits, de symboles ou de dogmes adoptés comme conviction par une société, un groupe ou une personne. Par… … Wikipédia en Français
Religion dogmatique — Religion Une religion est un ensemble de rites, croyances généralement théistes[Note 1], composé de règles (éthiques ou pratiques), de récits, de symboles ou de dogmes adoptés comme conviction par une société, un groupe ou une personne. Par… … Wikipédia en Français
Religion du devoir — Religion Une religion est un ensemble de rites, croyances généralement théistes[Note 1], composé de règles (éthiques ou pratiques), de récits, de symboles ou de dogmes adoptés comme conviction par une société, un groupe ou une personne. Par… … Wikipédia en Français
Religion du peuple — Religion Une religion est un ensemble de rites, croyances généralement théistes[Note 1], composé de règles (éthiques ou pratiques), de récits, de symboles ou de dogmes adoptés comme conviction par une société, un groupe ou une personne. Par… … Wikipédia en Français
Religion exclusive — Religion Une religion est un ensemble de rites, croyances généralement théistes[Note 1], composé de règles (éthiques ou pratiques), de récits, de symboles ou de dogmes adoptés comme conviction par une société, un groupe ou une personne. Par… … Wikipédia en Français