Kierkegaard and Levinas

Kierkegaard and Levinas

Ethics, Politics, and Religion
Edited by J. Aaron Simmons and David Wood
Distribution: World
Publication date: 10/29/2008
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-253-22030-1
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Recent discussions in the philosophy of religion, ethics, and personal political philosophy have been deeply marked by the influence of two philosophers who are often thought to be in opposition to each other, Søren Kierkegaard and Emmanuel Levinas. Devoted expressly to the relationship between Levinas and Kierkegaard, this volume sets forth a more rigorous comparison and sustained engagement between them. Established and newer scholars representing varied philosophical traditions bring these two thinkers into dialogue in 12 sparkling essays. They consider similarities and differences in how each elaborated a unique philosophy of religion, and they present themes such as time, obligation, love, politics, God, transcendence, and subjectivity. This conversation between neighbors is certain to inspire further inquiry and ignite philosophical debate.

Author Bio

J. Aaron Simmons is Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Hendrix College.

David Wood is Centennial Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University and Honorary Professor of Philosophy at the University of Warwick. He is author of many books, including Time After Time (IUP, 2007).


“A book of this nature is long overdue.”
 — Martin Beck Matustik, Purdue University

“Presents a variety of perspectives on the relation of Levinas and Kierkegaard and represents a debate on how to read these two together and against each other.”
 — Merold Westphal, Fordham University

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Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations

Introduction: Good Fences May Not Make Good Neighbors After All / J. Aaron Simmons and David Wood

Part 1. Levinas on Kierkegaard
1. The Many Faces of Levinas as a Reader of Kierkegaard / Merold Westphal
2. Existential Appropriations: The Influence of Jean Wahl on Levinas's Reading of Kierkegaard / J. Aaron Simmons

Part 2. On Love and Transcendence
3. Who or What or Whot? / John Llewelyn
4. Kierkegaard and Levinas on Four Elements of the Biblical Love Commandment / M. Jamie Ferreira
5. The Greatest Commandment? Religion and/or Ethics in Kierkegaard and Levinas / Jeffrey Dudiak

Part 3. Time, Alterity, and Eschatology
6. Hearing, Patiently: Time and Salvation in Kierkegaard and Levinas / David Kangas and Martin Kavka
7. Kierkegaard, Levinas, and "Absolute Alterity" / Michael Weston
8. What Kierkegaardian Faith Adds to Alterity Ethics: How Levinas and Derrida Miss the Eschatological Dimension / John J. Davenport

Part 4. Ethico-Political Possibilities
9. The Challenge of Justice: The Ethics of "Upbuilding" / Edith Wyschogrod
10. Levinas and Kierkegaard: Ethics and Politics / Zeynep Direk
11. Works of Justice, Works of Love: Kierkegaard, Levinas, and an Ethics Beyond Difference / Stephen Minister
12. "More Than All the Others": Meditation on Responsibility / Martin Beck Matu<s,HAC>tík

List of Contributors