Abstract

This essay inquires into the uncanny, unpredictable, and terrifying dimension of Levinasian ethics that retains the trace of impersonal existence or il y a (there is). After establishing that being, labor, and sense are but folds in the infinite fabric of the there is, the folds that Levinas terms "hypostasis," the article follows the double possibility of their unfolding or unraveling into two infinities: that of il y a and that of the ethical relation. The focus is on the inflection of the second infinity by the first, detectable in the "inter-face" of justice and ethics in the unique Other who/that contains the anonymous third (illeity), in the facelessness of the face connoted by the French visage and the Hebrew panim, and in the Other's nocturnal non-phenomenality. "Terror of the ethical" concludes with the hypothesis that ethics does not stifle the primordial horror of the there is but temporalizes it, thriving on the boundlessness and passivity it introduces into my existence and leaving enough time to fear for the Other.

Additional Information

ISSN
1053-1920
Launched on MUSE
2008-08-22
Open Access
No
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