"In today's world, where religious conceptions of exalted higher powers are constantly called into question by theoretical investigation and by the powerful influence of science and technology on our understanding of the universe, has the notion of transcendence been stripped of its significance?
In Levinas's incisive model, transcendence is indeed alive -- not in any notion of our relationship to a mysterious, sacred realm but in the idea of our worldly, subjective relationships to others.
Levinas explores the ways in which Plotinus, Descartes, Husserl, and Heidegger have encountered the question of transcendence. In discourses on the concepts of totality and infinity, he locates his own thinking in the context of pre-Socratic philosophers, Aristotle, Leibniz, Spinoza, Kant, and Descartes. Throughout, Alterity and Transcendence reveals a commitment to ethics as first philosophy -- obliging modern thinkers to investigate not merely the true but the good."
The book is a collection of short essays and dialogues. The work itself is broken into four larger sections. We will read the first section:
THE OTHER TRANSCENDENCE
1 Philosophy and Transcendence 3
2 Totality and Totalization 39
3 Infinity 53
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