Levinas ja il y a – eli kun moderni subjekti ei saakaan unta

Levinas and il y a, or, when the modern subject can't get any sleep

Levinas's ethics is here read as a critique of the modern conception of the self-conscious subject. The article asks whether the integrity of the self-conscious subject is dissolved primarily by the horror of the il y a and the meaninglessness of human finality or by ethical responsibility for the Other. Three aspects of Levinas's thinking are here of particular importance. Firstly, the basic feature of the Being of beings is the "presence" of the anonymous and indeterminate il y a, which directs the subject to a non-in-different relation to the Other. Secondly, in his analysis of the concept of "future" Levinas finds that the il y a is analogous with death: realizing the radical otherness of death, the subject can no longer be the master of its own existence. And, thirdly, when Levinas examines the "past" he writes about how being precedes conscious being from which responsibility arises. The il y a is still present as a background of Levinas's later thinking, and it keeps reminding us of the priority of ethics.

Login Form