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Levinas and the Elemental

Levinas and the Elemental 152 Levinas and the Elemental JOHN SALLIS The Pennsylvania State University What, then, of nature? Not only in its immediacy but, even more, in that guise in which, after the turn from it, it nonetheless returns. For philosophy-ever since it set out on its 6£OT£pog 1tÂ.oi)ç-has invariably turned away from nature, and always it has been a question of nature's return. Almost as if nature imitated being itself, at least that moment that Levinas out- lines with such unprecedented clarity: the cycle by which being, refus- ing utter negation, returns always in the guise of a phantom, in the elusive form of what Levinas calls the there is (l'il y a). In its return, nature will forsake its immediacy and familiarity. As it returns it will appear strange, as if belonging to a region distant from and alien to the human world. In a sense it will have cast off its dis- guise : it will no longer be the nature that is shaped and formed within the human world and in accord with the measures of that world but rather a nature capable, in its excess, of evoking feelings both of sub- limity and of terror. Such http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Research in Phenomenology Brill

Levinas and the Elemental

Research in Phenomenology , Volume 28 (1): 152 – Jan 1, 1998

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© 1998 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
0085-5553
eISSN
1569-1640
DOI
10.1163/156916498X00092
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

152 Levinas and the Elemental JOHN SALLIS The Pennsylvania State University What, then, of nature? Not only in its immediacy but, even more, in that guise in which, after the turn from it, it nonetheless returns. For philosophy-ever since it set out on its 6£OT£pog 1tÂ.oi)ç-has invariably turned away from nature, and always it has been a question of nature's return. Almost as if nature imitated being itself, at least that moment that Levinas out- lines with such unprecedented clarity: the cycle by which being, refus- ing utter negation, returns always in the guise of a phantom, in the elusive form of what Levinas calls the there is (l'il y a). In its return, nature will forsake its immediacy and familiarity. As it returns it will appear strange, as if belonging to a region distant from and alien to the human world. In a sense it will have cast off its dis- guise : it will no longer be the nature that is shaped and formed within the human world and in accord with the measures of that world but rather a nature capable, in its excess, of evoking feelings both of sub- limity and of terror. Such

Journal

Research in PhenomenologyBrill

Published: Jan 1, 1998

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