Contextualizing Rosenzweig’s and Levinas’ Notions of the Other by Derrida’s Construal of Difference

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Abstract


The article focuses on juxtaposing the stances of Franz Rosenzweig and Emmanuel Levinas on the notion of the Other based on the metaphysical principles of modernity so as to expose the prerequisites for their attitude to metaphysics in whole. The peculiarity of the proposed approach is the analysis of the notions of the Other in Rosenzweig and Levinas from the perspective of Jacques Derrida’s philosophy. The scrutiny proceeds from the assumption that the national philosophies, having been considered as the specific response to the effects of the encounter of societies to be modernized with the spreading modernity, for that very reason attach great importance to the construal of the Other. It is emphasized that the similarities between the national schools of philosophy indicate correlating the particular with the general as the paradigm for the comprehension of the Other, whereas the Jewish philosophy has previously conceptualized that paradigm by way of the opposition of “Athens and Jerusalem”. In an effort to assess the capabilities of the above-mentioned paradigm the analysis of the relevant range of problems is set into the wider context and they are considered in connection with the transition from essentialism to anti-essentialism that characterizes already the late modernity. It is disclosed that Rosenzweig’s stance was still essentialist, while Levinas tried to abandon the essentialist understanding of the Other, albeit he did not complete the transition to anti-essentialism. Levinas’ break with metaphysics was brought to a close by Derrida whose anti-essentialist stance on identity and difference radically diverges from the thinking that adheres to the “metaphysics of presence”. In the issue, Derrida who does not formally belong to the Jewish philosophy could afford to summarize Rozenzweig’s and Levinas’ approaches to the problem of the Other, and in so doing he makes a contribution to both general and Jewish philosophy.

About the authors

Alexander I. Pigalev

Volgograd State University

Email: pigalev@volsu.ru
Universitetskiy prospekt, 100, Volgograd, Russian Federation, 400062
Doctor of philosophy, professor

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