Levinas on searching and dying

‘Time and death: these themes are subordinated to the search for the signification of the being of beings, a search that itself does not come from the curiosity of the explorer, but is a search essential to man, characteristic of his essence, his esse. Being qua being is already to-be-in-question. This essence in question is equivalent to being-there as the humanity of man, who is a being whose being is equivalent to the essence in question. This placing in question is also a pre-comprehension of being; it is effectuated in the form of a taking charge: a taking charge within Dasein and a charge imposed in the most incontestable way—to the point of becoming properly my own. This superlative thus takes the meaning of mineness, in such a way that being qua being-in-question is the affair of ipseity. This taking charge is the mode of the human beings to-be, which unfolds as being-there, as being-the-there, and this unfolds as being-in-the-world, which itself unfolds as care, where care is broken into a triple structure: being-out-ahead-of-oneself (ec-sistence) as already-in-the-world (facticity), alongside of things (dispersion or dereliction among things) … Death is a possibility that is absolutely certain. It is the possibility that makes all possibility possible’.

– Emmanuel Levinas, God, Death, and Time (trans. Bettina Bergo; California: Stanford University Press, 2000), 46, 49.

3 thoughts on “Levinas on searching and dying

  1. “ipseity” – not a word I know (ignoramus that I am!). I looked up the Concise Oxford English dictionary, not there. “ipse dixit” was though. Same meaning?

    Like

Comments welcome here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s