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(1987) Collected philosophical papers, Dordrecht, Springer.

Transcendence and evil

Emmanuel Levinas

pp. 175-186

The attempt to throw doubt on the very meaning of words such as "transcendence" and "beyond" attests to their semantic consistency, since, at least in this critical discourse which concerns them, one recognizes what one is contesting. The reduction of the absolute meaning of these terms to a relative transcendence and a relative beyond, then taken, by the force of some impulse, to the furthest extent and highest degree, already brings transcendence and the beyond into this superlative, or ascribes a transcending power to certain of our psychological forces. And yet is there not lacking something in the intelligibility of these notions, for them to be veritably conceived? In our philosophical tradition veritable thought is true thought, a knowing, a thought referred to being — to being designating an entity, but also to being understood as a verb, expressing the fulfillment by entities of that task or destiny of being, without which we could not recognize an entity as an entity.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-94-009-4364-3_11

Full citation:

Levinas, E. (1987). Transcendence and evil, in Collected philosophical papers, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 175-186.

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