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2. On Transcendental Violence

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Chapter Summary

Violence has always been a much debated concept in the history of philosophy, but in the course of the twentieth century a radicalization has taken place in the philosophical reflection on violence. Emmanuel Levinas recognizes violent forces on a transcendental level of perception and knowledge. Jacques Derrida has labelled this as 'transcendental violence'. This chapter analyzes what exactly their views on violence consist of. Then, a critical discussion of these approaches follows, which shows, on the one hand, that the approaches of Levinas and Derrida are so radical that they become contradictory. One of their mistakes is that they see violence as a necessary result of finitude. On the other hand, it is also shown that the concept of violence cannot be discussed without reflection on its functioning on a transcendental level.

Keywords: Emmanuel Levinas; Jacques Derrida; radicalization; transcendental violence

10.1163/9789004259782_004
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