Abstract

Abstract:

Emmanuel Levinas and Theodor Adorno are both post-Shoah philosophers who experienced refugeedom. In different contexts, both discuss the question of a linkage between language and soil, and ultimately show that the distinction between the native and the foreign is untenable. I suggest that Levinas’s evocation of linguistic soil illustrates his understanding of Jewishness as defined by a ceding of ground, thus showing that Levinas’s thought relies on a conception of ground in order to then reject it. Adorno, in evoking a “language without soil,” argues for a conception of language that rejects organicism, seeing both loanwords and Jews as examples of difference without foreignness.

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