Thursday, August 10, 2006

(Dis)interested in Levinas?

(back to Levinas. The 3rd party must wait for meaningless philosophy!)

The reasion I am (dis)interested in Levinas is because of many contrasting themes and approaches to other philosophers I’ve been reading (of which I’ve already noted from Badiou and Zizek), all of which have political/ethical ramifications.

Briefly, concerning Lacan, I note:

1) the similarity that the subject is broken from something Other (for Levinas it is the Infinite of the Other outside; for Lacan it is the unconscious inside, which Zizek calls the Inhuman).

2) For Levinas it is the Desire (the disinterested desire) which reveals the Other before us, but, oppositely, for Lacan it is desire which ensnares/captures us in the Other (which dominates us), for we don’t have a Desire (interested or not), but rather we are always overtaken by the “desire of the Other,” the “Other’s Desire” within us.

3) For Levinas the goal is to give up on Desire (to be dis-interested), but for Lacan the goal is to ‘never give up on your desire,’ with the emphasis on your desire, not the Other's desire.

4) For Levinas the trauma is the Infinite outside us, but for Lacan it is the Inhuman within us (the death drive).

Each of these contrasts highlight the fundamental difference between the ethical uses of Levinas, and the more recent political uses of Lacan (via Badiou and Zizek).

But before I get to this ethical/poltical divide, I will finish these reflections on Levinas via Riceour. So soon I’ll note how Riceour helpfully (dis)places Levinas, and offers a helpful move forward through Hegel, which will set up the problematic between American pragmatism (its use of Hegel) and Zizekian psychoanalytic(ism?) (and its use of Hegel via Lacan via Hegel via…).

till then...

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