'Bringing me more than i contain ...': Discourse, subjectivity and the scene of teaching in totality and infinity

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JournalJournal of philosophy of education
DatePublished - Aug 2007
Issue number3
Volume41
Number of pages20
Pages (from-to)411-430
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This paper explores the relationship between language, subjectivity and teaching in Emmanuel Levinas's Totality and Infinity. It aims to elucidate Levinas's presentation of language as always already predicated on a relationship of responsibility towards that which is beyond the self and the idea that it is only in this condition of being responsible that we are subjects. Levinas suggests that the relation with the Other through which I am a subject as one uniquely responsible is also the scene of teaching. Through examining these ethical conditions of subjectivity, I suggest that this notion of the self as oriented towards the Other in a relation of passivity presents a challenge to many of the standard topoi of teaching and learning and invites us to consider the nature of teaching in a provocative new manner.

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