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Religions 2019, 10(2), 67;

The Place and Face of the Stranger in Levinas

Department of Philosophy and Cultural Studies, Faculty of Creative Industries, Vilnius Gediminas Technical University, 01132 Vilnius, Lithuania
An earlier version of this article, entitled “Stranger as Foreigner from Elsewhere”, was presented at a conference on “Levinas, Displacement, and Repair”, organized by North American Levinas Society at Western Carolina University, NC, USA, on 1 August 2018, and again later, under the title “Face and Place in Levinas”, at a conference on “Problems and Research in Contemporary Phenomenology”, at Vilnius University, Lithuania, on 20 December 2018.
Received: 31 December 2018 / Revised: 16 January 2019 / Accepted: 17 January 2019 / Published: 22 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Levinas and the Political)
PDF [213 KB, uploaded 22 January 2019]


This essay addresses the topic of place, more specifically it raises the question how and why place is essential for defining the strangeness of the other person. In Levinas’ philosophy the Other as stranger is the one whom I welcome to my home and country, i.e., to my place. This essay takes up three interrelated topics: (1) the general notion of place; (2) the ethical notion of place in Levinas’ philosophy, contrasted with an ontological notion of place. The deepest significance and virtue of place appears not in my dwelling or my compatibility with being but at the site from which the I is able to welcome the Other. Furthermore, the “ownness” of my place is always contested by the stranger as I have no necessity, no ultimate right to be; (3) the strangeness of the Other in Levinas’ philosophy defined not by topology but by vulnerability. To welcome the stranger and give up my place comes from my infinite responsibility for the Other. On the ethical level, the vulnerable face of the Other cannot be objectified and classified. View Full-Text
Keywords: Levinas; other; stranger; face; place; ethics; vulnerability Levinas; other; stranger; face; place; ethics; vulnerability
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Saldukaitytė, J. The Place and Face of the Stranger in Levinas. Religions 2019, 10, 67.

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