Metaphorical Transcendence: Notes on Levinas's Unpublished Lecture on Metaphor

Journal of Speculative Philosophy 29 (3):366-375 (2015)
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ABSTRACT In his published work, Levinas only mentions metaphor for the sake of dismissing its relevance to his ethics of transcendence. Metaphor is aligned with the poetic imagery and the rhetorical devices that weave together an ontology of immanence, whereas transcendence is said to occur through an immediate encounter with the other. But Levinas's unpublished lecture “La Métaphore” is of interest precisely because it troubles this distinction through the notion of a “metaphorical transcendence.” Although Levinas abandons this terminology after his lecture, this article suggests that an implicit, but unavowed, operation of metaphor persists in the guise of his ethics of substitution.



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Scott Davidson
West Virginia University

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