Levinas’s Contribution to the Law of Hospitality

  • Amanda LoumanskyEmail author


This article examines the ethical thinking of Levinas, from which Derrida’s Law of Hospitality is derived, to see if it is sustainable in the face of Badiou’s claim that transcendence cannot be admitted into the body of philosophical thought. Is Levinas, as Badiou argues, seeking to smuggle religion into philosophy and if so does this attempt amount to no more than an anti-philosophy theology which has to be resisted for the integrity of philosophy? Dissenting from this view I return to Levinas and consider the problematisation with ethics which accompanies the arrival of the Third that, on the face of it supports Badiou’s claim he is engaged in a form of virtue signalling which is without relevance to the concerns of life. I then go on and refute Zizek’s claim that Levinas’s Other shares an origin (conceptually) with the Nazi Other. The article concludes by examining the contribution of transcendence. I consider that it does have a place in philosophy and that it is dogmatic and unnecessary to suggest otherwise. I suggest that transcendence allows us to look at the concept of the Good in a way that the thinking of materialists, such as Badiou never can. Levinas allows us to conceive of a conscience of the law that introduces justice and holds the law to account by challenging its claims to be acting justly. This connects our thinking on the subject to Western tradition which materialism would rupture in its pursuit of philosophical purity claiming as it does to be a defence of philosophical integrity.


Levinas Badiou Law Particularism Transcendence 



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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of LawMiddlesex UniversityLondonUK

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