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Philosophical Profiles in the Theory of Communication

With a Foreword by Richard J. Bernstein and an Afterword by John Durham Peters

Jason Hannan

Philosophical Profiles in the Theory of Communication is the first book to draw systematic attention to the theme of communication in twentieth-century academic philosophy. It covers a broad range of philosophical perspectives on communication, including those from analytic philosophy, pragmatism, critical theory, phenomenology, hermeneutics, feminism, psychoanalysis, systems theory, and more. What emerges is a vital, long-neglected story about the theme of communication in late modern academic philosophy. Each chapter features a «profile» of a particular philosophical figure, with a brief intellectual biography, an overview of that figure’s contribution to communication theory, and a critical assessment of the significance of that contribution. The clear and accessible organization of the volume makes it ideal for courses in both philosophy and communication studies.

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14 Emmanuel Levinas: Contact and Interruption AMIT PINCHEVSKI 343

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14 Emmanuel Levinas Contact and Interruption AMIT PINCHEVSKI ________________________________________ Emmanuel Levinas was one of the greatest philosophers of the twentieth century, yet has only been recently acknowledged as such. He proposed a radically different way to approach ethical questions—in fact, to approach the question of ethics itself. An heir to the phenomenological tradition of Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger, his thought came to problematize the foundations upon which lies the work of his teachers. While his presence among French academic circles remained relatively marginal for most of his career, his work nevertheless informed some of the key debates in continental philosophy of the latter half of the century, and had a decisive impact on a generation of thinkers such as Jacques Derrida, Maurice Blanchot, Jean-François Lyotard, Jean-Luc Nancy, Jean-Luc Marion, Enrique Dussel, and Luce Irigaray. For the better part of his life, Levinas studied and taught the Talmud, whose wisdom he attempted to introduce to various philosophical and contemporary questions. Indeed, one way to describe his philosophy is as a consistent effort to implicate “Greek” with “Hebrew,” that is, to translate the ethical message of Judaism into the Western philosophical discourse. Looming over Levinas was the dark shadow of the Holocaust, which claimed most of his family and in many respects dominated the development of his work. Born in 1906 in Lithuania to a Jewish Orthodox family, Levinas became acquainted with the Hebrew Bible from a young age. During the First World War, his family fled to the Ukraine,...

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