Levinas's Other and the Culture of the Copy

Edith Wyschogrod

in Crossover Queries

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print June 2006 | ISBN: 9780823226061
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235148 | DOI:

Series: Perspectives in Continental Philosophy

Levinas's Other and the Culture of               the Copy

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This chapter puts Emmanuel Levinas's notions of same and other to the test by considering their possible destabilization in a culture of the copy in which the distinction between original and replica is undermined. The chapter turns first to the Levinasian subject, for whom repetition is lived as re-identification and re-creation of the self, of an ipseity that is a precondition for cognition. It then examines some widely disseminated views of gene replication and a theory of artificial life that undermine his description of ipseity, before considering Levinas's view of fecundity as the reproduction of oneself in one's progeny and Søren Kierkegaard's analysis of repetition in relation to the time of ipseity. Finally, the chapter suggests how Chilean biologists Humberto R. Maturana and Francisco Varela, who interpret replication in terms of recursiveness within autonomous living systems, can be seen to offer some surprising prospects for effecting an accommodation with the Levinasian account of the subject.

Keywords: Emmanuel Levinas; same; other; copy; self; reproduction; repetition; replication; ipseity; Søren Kierkegaard

Chapter.  6763 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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