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Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology

On-line version ISSN 1445-7377
Print version ISSN 2079-7222

Indo-Pac. j. phenomenol. (Online) vol.10 n.2 Grahamstown Oct. 2010 

doi: 10.2989/ipjp.2010.


Ethics and the primacy of the Other: A Levinasian foundation for phenomenological research



Gilbert Garza; Brittany Landrum




This paper compares Heidegger's "dasein-centric" existential hermeneutic to Levinas's primacy of the Other and the importance the latter places on the ethical relationship. Invoking the concepts of totality and infinity, the paper discusses the ways in which one encounters the Other and how signification arises from the ethical relationship. This is followed by a discussion of how Levinas's ethics might influence existential phenomenological research methodology, pointing to the ethical demands described by Levinas as seeming to have priority over the praxis of research insofar as the Other calls us beyond the methodological framework. Finally, the paper considers the extent to which the ethical demands of Levinas's phenomenology are met by the special place of the research participant and the attitude of empathic presence prescribed within the Heideggerian framework.



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