Category : levinas

Dogs, God, Goya, and Levinas

Goya’s “The Dog”

Here is an blog post on the connection between dogs and spirituality. It includes a touching anecdote from Levinas on a dog’s recognition of his humanity:

There were seventy of us in a forestry commando unit for Jewish prisoners of war in Nazi Germany. . . . We were beings entrapped in their species; despite all their vocabulary, beings without language. . . . How to deliver a message about one’s humanity which, from behind the bars of quotation marks, will come across as anything else than the language of primates.

And then, about halfway through our long captivity, for a few short weeks, before the sentinels chased him away, a wandering dog entered our lives. One day he came to meet this rabble as we returned under guard from work. He survived in some wild patch in the region of the camp. . . . He would appear at morning assembly and was waiting for us as we returned, jumping up and barking in delight. For him, there was no doubt that we were [human].

“What Sensation Does for Levinas and Deleuze,” Lecture by Tom Sparrow, Northwestern, Nov. 14

The After-Life of Phenomenology Workshop

sponsored by The Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities


“What Sensation Does for Levinas and Deleuze”

a lecture by

Tom Sparrow Slippery Rock University, Philosophy
Wednesday, November 14th, 4:00 PM
Kresge Hall, 2-301

(Spanish & Portuguese Seminar Room)
Northwestern University
1880 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL 60208 map it
The Event is Free and Open to the Public.

This event series has been generously co-sponsored by:

The Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities and the Departments of
Philosophy, Religious Studies, French & Italian, Political Science, English, and German

It is often thought that phenomenology and poststructuralism represent two divergent paths out of modernity. One way to construe this divergence is to take phenomenology as the path of transcendence, while poststructuralism represents the path of immanence. If anyone is a philosopher of immanence, we are told, it is Deleuze. If anyone is a philosopher of transcendence, we are told, it is Levinas. This talk aims to show–by examining the unlikely alliance of Levinas and Deleuze–that such neat distinctions obscure the points of convergence that exist between phenomenology and poststructuralism. In their aesthetics, Levinas and Deleuze share a lot in common, especially when it comes to the functions that sensation, representation, force, and violence play in aesthetic experience. Furthermore, given his approach to aesthetic experience, this investigation raises the question of whether or not Levinas can even be called a phenomenologist.