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The Self Found Elsewhere: Phenomenological Faith meets Deconstructive Doubt

Martis, John (2009) The Self Found Elsewhere: Phenomenological Faith meets Deconstructive Doubt. Pacifica, 22 (2). pp. 198-214. ISSN 1030-570X

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Abstract

The phenomenological approach taken in our lifetime by Emmanuel Levinas — and, in broad continuity, by Jean-Luc-Marion — envisages an original disruption of the self by an “other”, thereby opening the phenomenological insights of Edmund Husserl to consonance with religious faith. But this description of an “other-oriented” self, and implicitly a God nameable as wholly Other, does not obviously escape assimilation to the futile essentialism by which, in the light of deconstructive critique, any self-oriented-to-other remains oriented to “the same”, or to itself. On the other hand, the deconstructive insight itself seems unavailable for proposing a self which, under disruption by the other, retains those minimal attributes of identity and self-present subjectivity consonant with moral accountability for the human self, and in the case the divine, a self-identity as Other. Is a harmonisation of both approaches possible, mediating, despite everything, between their founding assumptions? Focussing on Levinas (for phenomenology) and Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe (for deconstruction), this article proposes that a particular meta-representational framing — en abyme representation — can accommodate equally the radically differing perspectives from which the two approaches offer the description of “the subject as another” (or, “self as other”). The approaches thus come to be seen as bridged, in a mode preservative of the essentialist and deconstructive resources in both, and thereby of the complex thread linking phenomenological faith and deconstructive doubt.

Item Type: Published Articles
Repository Version: Published Version
Keywords: Emmanuel Levinas, Phenomenological Faith, Deconstructive Doubt, self, Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe
Fields of Research: 22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2204 Religion and Religious Studies > 220401 Christian Studies (incl. Biblical Studies and Church History)
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970122 Expanding Knowledge in Philosophy and Religious Studies
Type of Activity: Pure Basic Research
Subjects: A - Philosophy
College/Association with University of Divinity: UFT-JTC: United Faculty of Theology - Jesuit Theological College
Depositing User: Cate Headey
Date Deposited: 14 Jan 2011 00:03
Last Modified: 04 Dec 2014 03:44
URI: http://repository.divinity.edu.au/id/eprint/747

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