Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Face is a pivotal term—together with the Other —in the work of Emmanuel Lévinas. Lévinas thought that there are two main tendencies in Western philosophy: autonomy and heteronomy, and that in modern times the former dominates. In Immanuel Kant's works, for example, the rational subject freely legislates and subjects itself to the moral law. Lévinas prioritized responsibility over freedom. In his view, the core of ethical experience is being's inescapable affectivity as it is confronted by the face of the other calling it into question and demanding it to respond. In his phenomenology, Lévinas argued that the empirical other affectsme more than I can see and think, and in that sense, functions otherwise than as an object of my intentionality (namely otherwise than how I understand/imagine it in the context of my habits and knowledge). Although the other's particular characteristics can always be seen/ known/imagined, classified, compared, and so on, ...