Levinas–Really?

I guess I should defend my early articles, which for some strange reason were on Heidegger and Levinas: I should say I don’t see what Graham is on to by rating Levinas one of the best reader of Heidegger in France:

LevinasThis is an article on Totality and Infinity and on what I see as three separate criticisms of Heidegger found there. Levinas is far from used up, he’s simply been viewed so far in a caricatured sort of way. I’ve always seen him as the most innovative of Heidegger’s readers in France, and yes I’d certainly rate him above Derrida in that respect. It’s still a minority view, but one I’m willing to bank on.

That makes me want to see the article, though I strangely realize that my first articles on this were probably published around the time OOP wrote his, so it’s like having a discussion five years too late. But for me Levinas represents the overwrought political readings of Heidegger, and I’m not sure how OOP can side with a reading that, in essence, says “Heidegger was not transcendental enough.” Now, I guess logically, this might be a better reading of Heidegger, since he would be less transcendental than Levinas, but that’s not where I think OOP is going. I agree that Levinas’s reading of Heidegger is not simple rejection—this was the point of one of my articles—but on the other hand, I’m not sure I see how Levinas is a more subtle reader than Derrida or Janicaud or other figures in France. That said, the Levinas of the late 40s did excellent phenomenology. Great discussion of time and Bergson in the lectures of the mid-70s. But, I guess I would say it’s still hard for me to get past all the Levinasians “that’s totality, that’s totality!” “I’m not hearing you…” maneuvers that come from Totality and Infinity. People doing epistemology are not Hitlerites, and Levinas, at least, deserves fault for TI‘s preface and all manner of writings later that were dismissive of non-mystical philosophical work.

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