Spinoza, Heidegger, Levinas en de dood


In dit blog wil ik alleen maar even een puntje op de ‘i’ zetten,
waarvoor de titel eigenlijk wat te zwaar aangezet is. Het gaat me om een bewering over
Spinoza die je vindt bij

Richard Cohen, "Levinas: Thinking Least about Death:
Contra Heidegger." In: Embree, Lester & Nenon, Thomas (Ed.), Phenomenology 2005. Volume 5: Selected
Essays from North America, part 1, Zeta Books, 2007 –

Eerst neem ik z’n samenvatting over, die hij met een
opvallende zin opent, zodat we een idee hebben waar het de auteur om gaat:

Philosophers have traditionally aimed to die in life. From Socrates who argued
that death was nothing to Spinoza who claimed "to think of death least of
all things," the "life" of the mind was an escape from the death
of the body. In a sharp break from this tradition, Martin Heidegger in the
groundbreaking phenomenological-ontology of Being
and Time
(1927), and thereafter, made death—as a person's anxious
"being-toward-death"—the basic revelatory structure, the very
self-understanding of the human person. As such, it is for Heidegger the
privileged access to being's historical revelation of itself to itself.
Emmanuel Levinas, in independent and, as this essay shows, deeper phenomenological
studies, fundamentally criticizes and rejects Heidegger's vision. This is
because without turning back to an escape into the eternal he discovers in
human mortality and suffering a completely different meaning: the moral primacy
of caring for the mortality of the other person before my own mortality, up to
the point of "dying for" the other person and, even beyond this
personal extremity, to the point of caring for the justice of the world
"beyond my own death." These meanings—whose exigency transcends a
purely phenomenological science yet remain bound to human sociality—re
irreducibly ethical. As such, as imperatives of greater and higher bearing than
the call to ontological thinking, they im-pose the demands of ethics as
"first philosophy."