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

Cover Page

Cite item


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

Doctor of philosophy, professor Universitetskiy prospekt, 100, Volgograd, Russian Federation, 400062


  1. Hollander D. Exemplarity and Chosenness: Rosenzweig and Derrida on the Nation of Philosophy. Stanford (CA): Stanford University Press; 2008.
  2. Barker C. Cultural Studies: Theory and Practice. London, Thousand Oaks (CA), New Delhi: SAGE Publications; 2003.
  3. Frank DH. What is Jewish Philosophy? In: Frank DH, Leaman O, editors. History of Jewish Philosophy. London, New York: Routledge; 1997. P. 1-8.
  4. Morgan ML, Gordon PE. Introduction: Modern Jewish Philosophy, Modern Philosophy, and Modern Judaism. In: Morgan ML, Gordon PE, editors. The Cambridge Companion to Modern Jewish Philosophy Cambridge (UK) et al. Cambridge University Press; 2007. P. 1-13.
  5. Löwy M, Sayre R. Romanticism against the Tide of Modernity. Trans. by P.C. Durham (NC), London: Duke University Press; 2001.
  6. Dvorkin I. Jewish Philosophy as a Direction of the World Philosophy of Modern and Contemporary Times. In: RUDN Journal of Philosophy. 2020; 23(4): 430-442. doi: 10.22363/2313-2302-2019-23-4-430-442.
  7. Hughes AW. Rethinking Jewish Philosophy: Beyond Particularism and Universalism. Oxford (UK): Oxford University Press; 2014.
  8. Berman M. All That Is Solid Melts Into Air: The Experience of Modernity. New York: Penguin Books; 1988.
  9. Rosenzweig F. Hegel und der Staat. Aalen: Scientia; 1962. (Reprint München and Berlin: R. Oldenbourg; 1920. 2 Vols.)
  10. Rosenzweig F. The Star of Redemption. Trans. by Galli BE. Madison (WI): The University of Wisconsin Press; 2005.
  11. Pollock B. Franz Rosenzweig and the Systematic Task of Philosophy. Cambridge (UK): Cambridge University Press; 2009.
  12. Rubinstein E. An Episode of Jewish Romanticism: Franz Rosenzweig’s “The Star of Redemption”. Albany (NY): SUNY Press; 1999.
  13. Bielik-Robson A. The Story Continues … Schelling and Rosenzweig on Narrative Philosophy. International Journal of Philosophy and Theology. 2019; 80 (1-2): 127-142. doi: 10.1080/21692327.2017.1402693.
  14. Levinas E. Is Ontology Fundamental? In: Levinas E. Entre nous: On Thinking-of-the-Other, trans. by Smith MB, Harshav B. New York: Columbia University Press; 1998. P. 1-12.
  15. Levinas E. Totality and Infinity: An Essay on Exteriority. Trans. by Lingis A. The Hague: Nijhoff; 1979.
  16. Levinas E. Otherwise than Being, Or Beyond Essence. Trans. by Lingis A. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers; 1994.
  17. Levinas E. On Escape, trans. by Bergo B. Stanford (CA): Stanford University Press; 2003.
  18. Vries, de. H. Levinas. In: Critchley S, Schroeder W, editors. A Companion to Continental Philosophy. Malden (MA): Blackwell; 1999. P. 245-255.
  19. Critchley S. The Problem with Levinas. Oxford (UK): Oxford University Press; 2015.
  20. Spinosa C. Derrida and Heidegger: Iterability and Ereignis. In: Dreyfus HL, Hall H, editors. Heidegger: A Critical Reader. Oxford, UK, Cambridge (MA): Blackwell; 1992. P. 270-297.
  21. Spinosa, C. Derridean Dispersion and Heideggerian Articulation: General Tendencies in the Practices That Govern Intelligibility. In: Schatzki TR, Knorr Cetina K, von Savigny E, editors. The Practice Turn in Contemporary Theory. London, New York: Routledge; 2001. P. 209-222.
  22. Derrida J. Of Grammatology. Trans. by Spivak GC. Baltimore (MD), London. The Johns Hopkins University Press; 1997.
  23. Derrida J. Envoi. Trans. by Caws MA, Caws P. In: Derrida J. Psyche: Invention of the Other. Vol. 1. Camuf P, Rottenberg E, editors. Stanford (CA): Stanford University Press; 2007. P. 94-128.
  24. Derrida J. The Post Card: From Socrates to Freud and Beyond. Trans. by Bass A. Chicago (IL), London: Chicago University Press; 1987.
  25. Derrida J. Cogito and the History of Madness. In: Derrida J. Writing and Difference. Trans., with an intro. and additional notes, by Bass A. London, New York: Routledge; 2001. P. 36-76.
  26. Derrida J. Violence and Metaphysics. In: Derrida J. Writing and Difference. Trans., with an intro. and additional notes, by Bass A. London, New York: Routledge; 2001. P. 97-192.
  27. Derrida J. We Other Greeks. Trans. by Brault P-A, Naas M. In: Leonard M, editor. Derrida and Antiquity. Oxford (UK), New York: Oxford University Press; 2010. P. 17-40. doi: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199545544.003.0002.
  28. Derrida J. Abraham, the Other. Trans. by Anidjar G. In: Judeities: Questions for Jacques Derrida, trans. by Bergo B, Smith. MB. New York: Fordham University Press; 2007. P. 1-35.
  29. Heidegger M. Overcoming Metaphysics. In: Heidegger M. The End of Philosophy. Trans. by Stambaugh J. New York et al.: Harper and Row; 1973. P. 84-110.

Copyright (c) 2020 Pigalev A.I.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

This website uses cookies

You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website.

About Cookies