An Ethics of Love



This is why through the face
filters the obscure light
coming from beyond the face,
from what is not yet,
from a future never future enough,
more remote than the possible. 1


Calin, Rodolphe, and Sebbah, François-David. Le vocabulaire de Levinas. Paris: Ellipses, 2011.

Derrida, Jacques. “Violence and Metaphysics.” In Writing and Difference. Trans. Alan Bass. London, UK: Routledge, 2012.

Girard, René, Oughourlian, Jean-Michel and Lefort, Guy. Things Hidden since the Foundation of the World. Trans. Stephen Bann and Michael Metteer. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1987.

Levinas, Emmanuel. Existence and Existents. Trans. A. Lingis. Dordrecht, Kluwer Academic, 1978.

Levinas, Emmanuel. Time and the Other. Trans. Richard A. Cohen. Pittsburgh, PA: Duquesne University Press, 1987.

Levinas, Emmanuel. Totality and Infinity: an Essay on Exteriority. Trans. A. Lingis. Pittsburgh, PA:  Duquesne University Press, 1992.

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  1. Emmanuel Levinas, Totality and Infinity: an Essay on Exteriority, trans. A. Lingis (Pittsburgh, PA:  Duquesne University Press, 1992), 254-255.

    In place of an introduction: a footnoted warning. This essay is not only inspired by the views of Levinas on love in Totality and Infinity; it is also inspired by the form of Levinas’s writings. Through his unique prose, Levinas gives philosophy the possibility of becoming a creative discourse, a voice that does not stop at describing or commenting the world, but also one that contributes to the world through its very nature as commentary. Levinas, a student of Heidegger, also makes of philosophy an introspective experience, where the philosopher-subject investigates inwardly the possible linguistic expressions that may emerge out of an initial intuition. The philosopher thus becomes a weaver, the inceptive energy that slowly disappears behind a thread, a textile, a text that takes form through the very act of weaving, and not in response to a pre-planned mental scenario. The reader expecting an erudite, ‘neutral’ of theoretical demonstration giving its due to a pantheon of other philosophical authorities, would thus face some disappointment at the reading of this essay. The audience only eager to hear what is nothing but a story may enjoy it slightly more.