"Other" as the central problem of the ethics of Emmanuelle Levinas





Other, totality, asymmetry, transcendental reduction, Face


The original views of E. Levinas on "Other" are observed in the article. It is stressed that "Other" has been placed in the centre of many ethical discussions since M. Buber, and Levinas continues and develops some of main Buber's intuition that concerns the place "between" I and You. The main idea of Levinas is that "Other" can't be neither reduced nor dissolved in any ontological basis such as transcendental Ego, Being, Logos, God etc. Levinas criticizes the Heidegger's conception of being ("il y a"), which seems to be anonymous and giving rise to irresponsibility, atrocity and all the fears of totalitarian society. According to Levinas, it is not "I" that creates "Other" as alter ego in some kind of symmetry, but it is "Other" that appeals for me, so that my identity completely depends on "Other", or, in a word, is "the Other's gift". "I" and "You" are doomed to be asymmetrical. Thus the central ethical event is Rendezvous (meeting) with "Other", which is considered to be absolute transcendental "face" ("visage") that transgresses the sum of empirical characteristics. The way to reveal the transcendental face of "Other" is the special phenomenological procedure ("epoche") that eliminates the "violence of theory", i.e. all the attempts of objectification of "Other" in abstract notion. It is assumed that this ethical conception of incognizable transcendental face is extrapolation of ancient Jewish theological conception, in which God's otherness is completely transcendental to the world, so that the gap between the divine and the created can never be filled. 

Author Biography

Andrіі Morozov, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv

Candidate of Sciemces in Philosophy, Doctorate


Деррида Ж. Насилие и метафизика / Ж. Деррида // Левинас Э. Избранное: тотальность и бесконечное / Э. Левинас. - М., СПб. : Университетская книга, 2000. - 463 с.

Eskin M. Ethics and dialogue: In the works of Levinas, Bakhtin, Mandel'shtam, and Celan / M. Eskin. - Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2000. - 294 p.

Ямпольская А. В. Эмманюэль Левинас: философия и биография / А. В. Ямпольская. - К. : Дух і літера, 2011. - 376 с.

Вдовина И. С. Э. Левинас и Э. Гуссерль / И. С. Вдовина // История философии. - М. : ИФ РАН, 2003. - Вып. 10. - С. 101-114.

Филоненко А. С. Богословие общения и евхаристическая антропология [Електронний ресурс] / А. С. Филоненко // Научный богословский портал Богослов.ru. - Режим доступу : http://www.bogoslov.ru/text/876935.html.

Левинас Э. Этика и бесконечность. Диалоги с Филиппом Немо / Э. Левинас // История философии. - М., 2000. - № 5. - С. 170-186.

Левинас Э. Тотальность и бесконечное // Избранное: тотальность и бесконечное / Э. Левинас. - М., СПб. : Университетская книга, 2000. - 463 с.

Левинас Э. Избранное: трудная свобода / Э. Левинас. - М., 2004. - 373 с.

Достоевский Ф. М. Братья Карамазовы // Собр. соч. : в 15 т. / Ф. Достоевский. - М., 1990. - Т. 9. - 520 с.


Derrida J. (2000), Violence and metaphysics, in E. Levinas, Favourites: totality and infinite, University book, Saint-Petersburg, pp. 380-412 (rus).

Eskin M. (2000), Ethics and Dialogue in the Works of Levinas, Bakhtin, Mandel’shtam, and Celan, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 294 p. (engl).

Yampolskaia A. (2011), Emmanuelle Levinas: philosophy and biography, Dukh i Litera, Kyiv, 376 p. (rus).

Vdovina I. S. (2003), E. Levinas and E. Husserl, Istoriya filosofii, issue 10, IFRAN, Moscow, pp. 101-114 (rus).

Filonenko A., The theology of communion and the Eucharistic anthropology, available at: http://www.bogoslov.ru/text/876935.html.

Levinas E. (2000), Istoriya filosofii, issue 5, Moscow, pp. 170-186 (rus).

Levinas E. (2000), Totality and infinity, University book, Moscow, Saint-Petersburg, 463 p. (rus).

Levinas E. (2004), The selected works: hard freedom, AST, Moscow, 373 p. (rus).

Dostoyevskiy F. (1990), The brothers Karamazov, Works, Vol. 9, 520 p. (rus).



How to Cite

Morozov, A. (2014). "Other" as the central problem of the ethics of Emmanuelle Levinas. Skhid, (2(128). https://doi.org/10.21847/1728-9343.2014.2(128).24680