2. Original Plurality: The Terms of Discourse

Jeffrey Dudiak

in The Intrigue of Ethics

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print May 2001 | ISBN: 9780823220922
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235759 | DOI:

Series: Perspectives in Continental Philosophy

2. Original Plurality: The Terms of Discourse

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This chapter presents Levinas's idea of discourse, as proposed in the pages of Totality and Infinity, as providing a description of the conditions of possibility for interparadigmatic dialogue, that is, for engendering a dialogue in situations where the common logos that would mediate a dia-logos cannot be effectively located, and thus cannot perform its mediatory function. Following Levinas's own definitions, the chapter defines discourse as “an original, non-allergic, ethical relationship with alterity productive of a meaning capable of founding communal meaning,”. The exposition follows the elements of this definition in dealing with the way in which the separated terms requisite for discourse (the relation as “non-allergic”) are, for Levinas, evinced, first, in the ethical separation (transcendence) of the other from the same and from the system that, as the same, it operates; and secondly, in the separation of the same from any system of totality.

Keywords: Levinas; discourse; Totality and Infinity; interparadigmatic dialogue; allergy; separation; ethical transcendence; dialogue; logos; dia-logos

Chapter.  21936 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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