Doing justice to the Derrida–Levinas connection: A response to mark Dooley

Philosophy and Social Criticism 29 (4):427-450 (2003)
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Abstract

Mark Dooley has recently argued (principally against Simon Critchley) that the attempt to establish too strong a ‘connection’ between Jacques Derrida and Emmanuel Levinas not only distorts crucial disparities between their respective philosophies, it also contaminates Derrida’s recent work with Levinas’s inherent ‘political naivety’. In short, on Dooley’s reading, Levinas is only of ‘inspirational value’ for Derrida. I am not concerned with defending Critchley’s own reading of the ‘Derrida–Levinas connection’. My objective is rather to demonstrate, first, the way in which Dooley’s argument hinges upon a misreading of Levinas and Derrida, and, second, why Derrida’s recent thinking is in fact fundamentally Levinasian. Key Words: contingency • guilt • Holocaust • hospitality • institutions • nature • suffering • third party • violence.

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Bob Plant
University of Aberdeen (PhD)

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