"Nothing could limit the homage due him" - such was Emmanuel Levinas's estimation of Martin Buber (OS, 41). The numerous essays Levinas dedicated to the examination of Buber's thought reveal the high esteem in which he held Buber.1 Yet these essays also demonstrate the profound disagreement between the two thinkers on a number of fundamental issues - a disagreement that has not been sufficiently explored.2 In the following pages, I shall focus on Levinas's critique of Buber's notion of reciprocity, contrasting it with the prominent place of the "other" in Levinas's thought. Levinas's emphasis on the other contributes notably to contemporary ethical discourse, particularly in a time characterized by increasing intolerance towards the other and the violence that accompanies this intolerance. However, Buber's thought does not lend itself to an ethical relation that commences with the other, or to an ethical relation founded upon the other. Unlike Levinas, Buber believed that "if all were clothed and well nourished, then the real ethical problem would become wholly visible for the first time" (PMB, 723).
|Title of host publication||Levinas and Buber|
|Subtitle of host publication||Dialogue and Difference|
|Publisher||Duquesne University Press|
|Number of pages||18|
|ISBN (Print)||0820703494, 9780820703497|
|State||Published - 1 Dec 2004|