The year 2011 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Emmanuel Levinas's Totality and Infinity, which w stands as one of the classic texts of the second half of the twentieth century. At this anniversary, this collection of essays suggests that a revitalized understanding of the text is needed. While readers can easily fall into routine readings and discussions of this originally provocative--even intoxicating--text, Totality and Infinity at 50 invites students of Levinas to explore new avenues into the work by charting a map of Levinas scholarship for the next 50 years. From the problem of the other, the emphasis of ethics as first philosophy, the text's theological implications, and the focus on the role of the feminine, Totality and Infinity has been the subject of a wide range of interpretations and scholarly interests since its publication. While these various emphases have contributed to a greater understanding of Levinas's philosophy, they can also have the cumulative effect of leading us to believe that all of the different options have been explored. In contrast, this volume argues that there is still more to be said about this seminal book, inspiring readers to look beyond routine readings and worn themes of Totality and Infinity.
Scott Davidson is associate professor and chair of philosophy and rhetoric at Oklahoma City University. He is the editor of Ricoeur across the Disciplines and translator of two books by Michel Henry. Diane Perpich is associate professor of philosophy and associate director of women's studies at Clemson University. She is the author of The Ethics of Emmanuel Levinas and of articles on phenomenology, French feminism, and ethics.