SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.10 issue2Disciplinarity in phenomenological perspectiveHeidegger and Levinas: Metaphysics, ontology and the horizon of the Other author indexsubject indexarticles search
Home Pagealphabetic serial listing  

Services on Demand



Related links

  • On index processCited by Google
  • On index processSimilars in Google


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.



“Full text available only in PDF format”




Benner, P. (1985). Quality of life: A phenomenological perspective on explanation, prediction, and understanding in nursing science. Advances in Nursing Science, 8(1), 1-14.         [ Links ]

Benner, P. (Ed.). (1994). Interpretive phenomenology: Embodiment, caring, and ethics in health and illness. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.         [ Links ]

Benner, P. (2000). Links between philosophy, theory, practice, and research. Canadian Journal of Nursing Research, 32(2), 7-13.         [ Links ]

Bernasconi, R. (1989). Rereading totality and infinity. In A. B. Dallery & C. E. Scott (Eds.), The question of the other (pp. 22-34). New York: State University of New York Press.         [ Links ]

Burns, L. (2008). Identifying concrete ethical demands in the face of the abstract other. Philosophy and Social Criticism, 34(3), 315-335.         [ Links ]

Churchill, S. (2000). 'Seeing through' self-deception in narrative reports: Finding psychological truth in problematic data. Journal of Phenomenological Psychology, 31(1), 44-62.         [ Links ]

Churchill, S. D., & Wertz, F. J. (2002). An introduction to phenomenological research psychology: Historical, conceptual, and methodological foundations. In K. J. Schneider, J. F. T. Bugental, & J. F. Pierson (Eds.), The handbook of humanistic psychology: Leading edges in theory, research, and practice (pp. 247-262). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.         [ Links ]

Dahlberg, K., Drew, N., & Nystrom, M. (2001). Reflective life-world research. Lund, Sweden: Studentlitteratur.         [ Links ]

Dahlberg, K., & Halling, S. (2001). Human science research as the embodiment of openness: Swimming upstream in a technological culture. Journal of Phenomenological Psychology, 32(1), 12-21.         [ Links ]

Frank, A. W. (1978). Anxiety aroused by the dying: A phenomenological inquiry. Journal of Phenomenological Psychology, 9(1-2), 99-113.         [ Links ]

Garza, G. (2004). Thematic moment analysis: A didactic application of a procedure for phenomenological analysis of narrative data. The Humanistic Psychologist, 32(2), 120-168.         [ Links ]

Garza, G. (2006). A clarification of Heidegger's phenomenology: A response to Kendler. American Psychologist, 61(3), 255-256.         [ Links ]

Garza, G. (2007). Varieties of phenomenological research at the University of Dallas: An emerging typology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(4), 313-342.         [ Links ]

Giorgi, A. (Ed.). (1985). Phenomenology and psychological research. Pittsburgh, PA: Duquesne University Press.         [ Links ]

Giorgi, A., & Giorgi, B. (2003). The descriptive phenomenological psychological method. In P. M. Camic, J. E. Rhodes, & L. Yardley (Eds.), Qualitative research in psychology: Expanding perspectives in methodology and design (pp. 243-273). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.         [ Links ]

Halling, S., Kunz, G., & Rowe, J. O. (1994). The contributions of a dialogal psychology to phenomenological research. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 34(1), 109-131.         [ Links ]

Heidegger, M. (1962). Being and time (J. Macquarrie & E. Robinson, Trans.). New York: Harper & Row. (Original work published 1927)        [ Links ]

Kearney, R., & Levinas, E. (1984). Emmanuel Levinas. In R. Kearney (Ed.), Dialogues with contemporary continental thinkers (pp. 47-70). Dover, NH: Manchester University Press.         [ Links ]

Keen, E. (1970). Three faces of being: Toward an existential clinical psychology. New York: Irvington.         [ Links ]

Kendler, H. H. (2005). Psychology and phenomenology: A clarification. American Psychologist, 60(4), 318-324.         [ Links ]

Kunz, G. (2006). Interruptions: Levinas. Journal of Phenomenological Psychology, 32(2) 241-266.         [ Links ]

Landrum, B. (2008). Hear and there: An existential-phenomenological inquiry into women's frequent cell phone use (Unpublished undergraduate thesis). University of Dallas, Irving, Texas.         [ Links ]

Levinas, E. (1969). Totality and infinity (A. Lingis, Trans.). Pittsburgh, PA: Duquesne University Press. (Original work published 1961)        [ Links ]

Levinas, E. (1986). Trace of the other (A. Lingis, Trans.). In M. C. Taylor (Ed.), Deconstruction in context: Literature and philosophy (pp. 345-359). Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press. (Original work published 1963)        [ Links ]

Levinas, E. (1989). Is ontology fundamental? Philosophy Today, 33(2), 121-129. (Original work published 1951)        [ Links ]

Levinas, E. (1990). Reflections on the philosophy of Hitlerism (Seán Hand, Trans.). Critical Inquiry, 17(1), 63-71. (Original work published 1934)        [ Links ]

Levinas, E. (1998). Otherwise than being or beyond essence (A. Lingis, Trans.). Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press. (Original work published 1974)        [ Links ]

Levinas, E. (2003). On escape (B. Bergo, Trans.). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. (Original work published 1982)        [ Links ]

MacRae, R. (2004). Notions of 'us and them': Markers of stratification in clubbing lifestyles. Journal of Youth Studies, 77(1), 55-71.         [ Links ]

Merleau-Ponty, M. (1963). The structure of behaviour (A. L. Fisher, Trans.). Pittsburgh, PA: Duquesne University Press. (Original work published 1942)        [ Links ]

Moustakas, C. (1990). Heuristic research: Design, methodology, and applications. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.         [ Links ]

Moustakas, C. (1994). Phenomenological research methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.         [ Links ]

Parsons, A. S. (1973). Constitutive phenomenology: Schutz's theory of the we-relation. Journal of Phenomenological Psychology, 4(1), 331-361.         [ Links ]

Peperzak, A. (1989). From intentionality to responsibility: On Levinas's philosophy of language. In A. B. Dallery & C. E. Scott (Eds.), The question of the other (pp. 3-21). New York: State University of New York Press.         [ Links ]

Peperzak, A. (1997). Beyond: The philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press.         [ Links ]

Polkinghorne, D. E. (1989). Phenomenological research methods. In R. S. Valle & S. Halling (Eds.), Existential-phenomenological perspectives in psychology: Exploring the breadth of human experience (pp. 41-60). New York: Plenum Press.         [ Links ]

Pollio, H. R., Henley, T. B., & Thompson, C. J. (1997). The phenomenology of everyday life: Empirical investigations of human experience. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.         [ Links ]

Rolland, J. (1997). Getting out of being by a new path. In E. Levinas, On escape (A Lingis, Trans.) (pp. 2-48). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.         [ Links ]

Schutz, A. (1979). The phenomenology of the social world (G. Walsh & F. Lehnart, Trans.). Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press.         [ Links ]

Schutz, A., & Luckman, T. (1973). The structures of the life-world (R. M. Zaner, Trans.). Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press.         [ Links ]

Smith, D. L. (1983). The history of the graduate program via existential-phenomenological psychology at Duquesne University. In A. Giorgi, A. Barton, & C. Maes (Eds.), Duquesne studies in phenomenological psychology: Volume 4 (pp. 259-331). Pittsburgh, PA: Duquesne University Press.         [ Links ]

Smith, D. L. (2002). Fearfully and wonderfully made: The history of Duquesne University's graduate psychology programs (1959-1999). Pittsburgh, PA: Simon Silverman Phenomenology Centre, Duquesne University.         [ Links ]

Sorrell, J. (2006). The pleasure of dissent: A critical theory of psychotherapy as an emancipatory practice. American Journal of Psychotherapy, 60(2), 131-145.         [ Links ]

Thibodeau, J., & MacRae, J. (1997). Breast cancer survival: A phenomenological inquiry. Advances in Nursing Science, 19(4), 65-74.         [ Links ]

van Kaam, A. (1959). Phenomenological analysis: Exemplified by the study of the experience of "really feeling understood". Journal of Individual Psychology, 15, 66-72.         [ Links ]

van Manen, M. (1990). Researching lived experience: Human science for an action sensitive pedagogy. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.         [ Links ]

van Manen, M. (1997). From meaning to method. Qualitative Health Research, 7(3), 345-369.         [ Links ]

von Eckartsberg, R. (1998). Existential-phenomenological research. In R. S. Valle (Ed.), Phenomenological inquiry in psychology: Existential and transpersonal dimensions (pp. 21-61). New York: Plenum Press.         [ Links ]

Zizek, Slavoj (2005). Neighbours and other monsters: A plea for ethical violence. In S. Zizek, E. L. Santner, & K. Reinhard (Eds.), The neighbour: Three inquiries in political theology (pp. 134-190). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.         [ Links ]



Creative Commons License All the contents of this journal, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License