• A
  • A
  • A
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
Regular version of the site

Book chapter

The idea of the Infinite in Lévinas et Koyré

P. 287-300.

We explore the influence that Koyré’s early work on history of religion had on the development of French phenomenology, with focus on Emmanuel Levinas. It is well known that Koyré played a prominent role in spreading Husserl’s phenomenology in France, for example, as the editor of the French translation of Husserl’s Cartesian Meditations and the managing editor of the revue Recherches philosophiques. Although Koyré’s affiliation to the phenomenological movement is debatable, his thought owns much to Husserl’s phenomenological method: what matters to him is not the problem of existence, whether in the intellect or outside of the intellect, but the ways in which our consciousness deals with certain fundamental ideas and the ways in which such ideas affect consciousness. In his books on St Anselm and Descartes, Koyré focuses on the idea of God and the idea of the infinite. He praises Descartes for giving the infinite priority over the finite, thereby making the notion of the finite dependant on that of the infinite, much as in Cantor’s set theory. We trace the influence of Koyré’s analysis of the infinite in its relation to the finite on the development of the idea of the infinite in Levinas. We also show that Levinassian approach to the idea of God as a thought that “thinks more, or better, than it thinks” goes back to Koyré’s interpretation of the ontological proof of St Anselm

In book

Louvain-la-Neuve: Peeters, 2012.