Levinas and the Daodejing on the Feminine: Intercultural Reflections


LIN MA, Associate Professor, Renmin University of China; Researcher, Higher Institute of Philosophy, University of Leuven. Specialties: Continental European philosophy, comparative philosophy, Wittgenstein. E-mail: lin.ma.2007@gmail.com


This article revisits the theme of the feminine in Levinas's writings and the Daodejing. First it addresses the question why the feminine as thematized through eros (and habitation) in Levinas's early work loses her centrality in his later texts. Second it explores the feminine water metaphor and the Dao of ci 雌 in the Daodejing. On the basis of these interpretations, it attempts at an analysis of relevant ambiguities and problematics concealed in Levinas's philosophical enterprise, and urges for the exigency of an intercultural perspective, instead of remaining within a singular intellectual tradition.