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Emmanuel Levinas, On Escape

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Emmanuel Levinas, On Escape


Emmanuel Levinas, On Escape


Emmanuel Levinas, On Escape


Emmanuel Levinas, On Escape


Emmanuel Levinas, On Escape


The above quote is a line from The IT Crowd, a very funny British comedy series. But it made me laugh because we recently worked on Emmanuel Levinas in my Contemporary Philosophy course. I do not always find myself aligned with his ideas, and actually generally dislike his disposition and writing style. (Another French philosopher, hmf.) If I had to align myself with an ethical philosophy, it would (obviously) be that of Arthur Schopenhauer. I would like to maybe someday compare Schopenhauer’s Metaphysics of Ethics (where the premise is recognizing sameness) with Levinas’ concept of the Other. My lecturer however, objected to this idea (among many others). It wasn’t really a fun module… Nonetheless, I still learnt a great deal.


Emmanuel Levinas, On Escape


“Pleasure is a process; it is the process of departing from being. It’s affective nature is not only the expression or the sign of this getting-out; it is the getting out itself. Pleasure is affectivity, precisely because it does not take forms of being, but rather attempts to break these up. Yet it is a deceptive escape.
For it is an escape that fails. If, like a process that is far from closing up on itself, pleasure appears in a constant surpassing oneself, it breaks just at the moment where it seems to get out absolutely. It develops with an increase in promises, which become richer the closer it comes to its paroxysm, but these promises are never kept.

– Emmanuel Levinas, On Escape


“The social aspect of shame is fainter in nausea, and all the shameful manifestations of our body, than it is in any morally wrong act. The shameful manifestations of our bodies compromise us in a manner totally different than does the lie or dishonesty. The fault consists not in the lack of propriety but almost in the very fact of having a body, of being there.”

– Emmanuel Levinas, On Escape

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