Levinas, Plato, and the Metaphysics of Separation

  • Bernardo Andrade (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentationScientific


Talk at the Metaphysical Society of America

In this paper, I argue that Levinas discovers in Plato a fundamental ingredient for understanding the very structure of the ethical relation: the notion of ‘separation’ (chorismos). It is well known already that ethics involves, for Levinas, the interruption of the Same by the presence of the Other; but what is not often acknowledged is that such interruption presupposes an initial separation between the terms under consideration. Same and Other must affect each other while remaining separate, that is, irreducible to each other. They must enter into a mutually-determining relation that neither dissolves the Same into the Other, nor reduces the Other to the Same. Surprisingly, it is platonic metaphysics—specifically the interaction between sensibles, forms, and the Good—that allows Levinas to formalize an ethics of absolute alterity.
PeriodMar 2022
Held atMarquette University, United States
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Levinas
  • Plato
  • Platonism