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Attending One's Own Words: Levinas' Appeal to the Phaedrus

Attending One's Own Words: Levinas' Appeal to the Phaedrus © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2007 DOI: 10.1163/156916407X227866 Research in Phenomenology 37 (2007) 303–323 www.brill.nl/rp R e s e a r c h i n P h e n o m e n o l o g y Attending One’s Own Words: Levinas’ Appeal to the Phaedrus Zeynep Direk Galatasaray University Abstract Th is essay concentrates on Levinas’ reading of the Phaedrus in Totality and Infinity and engages with Derrida’s interpretation of it in “Violence and Metaphysics.” In Levinas’ reading the deliri- ous movement of desire in the Phaedrus is inextricably bound up with the ἐπέκεινα τῆς οὐσίας of the Republic. Derrida, in putting into question Levinas’ appropriation of the priority of the living speech in characterizing the primordial event of signification of the face to face, does not distinguish between the two different ways in which the structure of “attending to” functions in Levinas’ discourse. I argue that “the face’s attending its own manifestation” and “attending one’s own words” must be kept distinct for assessing the privilege of the living speech, not a defense of interiority, but of exteriority. Levinas’ conception of language as “the incessant surpassing of the Sinngebung by signification” paves the way for an http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Research in Phenomenology Brill

Attending One's Own Words: Levinas' Appeal to the Phaedrus

Research in Phenomenology , Volume 37 (3): 303 – Jan 1, 2007

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© 2007 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
0085-5553
eISSN
1569-1640
DOI
10.1163/156916407X227866
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2007 DOI: 10.1163/156916407X227866 Research in Phenomenology 37 (2007) 303–323 www.brill.nl/rp R e s e a r c h i n P h e n o m e n o l o g y Attending One’s Own Words: Levinas’ Appeal to the Phaedrus Zeynep Direk Galatasaray University Abstract Th is essay concentrates on Levinas’ reading of the Phaedrus in Totality and Infinity and engages with Derrida’s interpretation of it in “Violence and Metaphysics.” In Levinas’ reading the deliri- ous movement of desire in the Phaedrus is inextricably bound up with the ἐπέκεινα τῆς οὐσίας of the Republic. Derrida, in putting into question Levinas’ appropriation of the priority of the living speech in characterizing the primordial event of signification of the face to face, does not distinguish between the two different ways in which the structure of “attending to” functions in Levinas’ discourse. I argue that “the face’s attending its own manifestation” and “attending one’s own words” must be kept distinct for assessing the privilege of the living speech, not a defense of interiority, but of exteriority. Levinas’ conception of language as “the incessant surpassing of the Sinngebung by signification” paves the way for an

Journal

Research in PhenomenologyBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2007

Keywords: reason; expression; signification; pluralism; language

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