What is Separation?
-The Jump in Levinas's Analysis of Language-
This paper argues that there are two distinct notions of separation at work in Levinas's philosophy. The first notion of separation argues that, since there are certain moral dimensions of the other which are not reducible to ourselves, the other is separate in part. The second notion of separation argues that there is a radical moral break between the other person and myself, the other is separate in toto. Levinas primarily operates under the first conception of separation; he employs this in his writings on the infinite other, his argument against what is understood today as the simulation theory, and finally in elucidating his asymmetrical relationship to the other . In his analysis of language, however, he argues for the more radical separation in toto. I ultimately argue that the notion of separation in toto used in his analysis of language, employed as a positive testification to his writings on the infinite other, his argument against the simulation theory, and his asymmetrical theory, leads to two undesirable consequences: irreconcilability with the rest of his philosophy and a severe distortion of the command of the other.
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