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The ontological disclosure and ethical exposure of meaning The notion of meaning in Heidegger and Levinas

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Description: The present study concerns the issue of meaning in contemporary continental philosophy. In particular, it develops the two accounts of meaning offered by Heidegger and Levinas, each of whom presents us with a differing break from Husserl. As a first attempt to name the difference between these three thinkers, one could say that Husserl gives us an epistemological notion of meaning; whereas Heidegger gives us an ontological account, and Levinas gives us an ethical account. We will refine and reformulate this division in relation to the issues of each chapter. We will thus see how both Heidegger and Levinas develop their separate notions in relation to Husserl's own revolutionary approach to the question of meaning. Whereas Husserl both replaced the term "experience" with the term "intuition" (because he wanted to claim that what we experience goes beyond the limits placed on "experience" by philosophers of his day) and gave a compelling account of the "prepredicative" roots of the meaningful, Heidegger advances the articulation of such a prepredicative realm of meaning even further than Husserl. He did so, however, in a way that ends up displacing Husserl's notion of intuition. This is the move from Husserl's account of phenomenological intuition to Heidegger's own notion of a more hermeneutic phenomenology (and even a "hermeneutic intuition" as he calls it at one point). I will show how Heidegger articulates an account of meaning as that upon which any projection of understanding takes shape. Meaning becomes a quasi-transcendental, non-subjective notion of that which makes possible the disclosure of any "world." Levinas, on the other hand, offers an account of meaning--in intended opposition to Heidegger--as located primarily in the ethical exposure at the heart of language: in the "face-to-face" relation of Same and Other. He further develops his notion of meaning in terms of the notion of the saying and the said . Both Heidegger and Levinas give us a non-intentional account of the meaningful. For Heidegger it takes the form of a non-intentional background that makes possible both the "worldhood of the world" (or significance) and the possibilities of Dasein (facticity and mineness). For Levinas, the meaningful is thought in terms of an interpersonal, quasi-ethical face to face relation between persons exposed to the vulnerability, obligation, and height of an "Other" in what he calls the "saying." (Abstract shortened by UMI.)
Language: English
Format: Degree Work