top_2_1.jpg top_2_2.jpg
Before the Voice of Reason
Echoes of Responsibility in Merleau-Ponty's Ecology and Levinas's Ethics
Before the Voice of Reason
Click on image to enlarge

David Michael Kleinberg-Levin - Author
SUNY series in Contemporary French Thought
Price: $95.00 
Hardcover - 306 pages
Release Date: September 2008
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-7549-2

Price: $33.95 
Paperback - 306 pages
Release Date: July 2009
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-7550-8

Available as a Google eBook
for other eReaders and tablet devices.
Click icon below...

Summary Read First Chapter image missing

Provides a critique of reason, demanding that we take greater responsibility for nature and other people.

Before the Voice of Reason is a phenomenological critique of reason grounded in our experience of the voices that already address us and summon us prior to the emergence of the voice of reason. In part one, David Michael Kleinberg-Levin explores the voices of nature and draws on Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology to offer a new way of thinking about environmental responsibility. In part two, he looks at the voice of the moral law and the voices of other human beings, advances a more nuanced account of Levinas’s distinction between “Saying” and “Said,” and proposes a new argument for our responsibility to the other.

“Kleinberg-Levin is that rare phenomenologist who continually ‘does phenomenology,’ instead of just talking about its necessity. He finds in Merleau-Ponty’s work the concrete phenomena of childhood and language progression that justifies the distinctions that are made about the priority of the phenomena. Kleinberg-Levin demands that phenomenological description not be speculative and metaphysical, but rather have a basis in the human developmental process. The work on Levinas in the second half of the book is equally exquisite, if not more so.” — Glen A. Mazis, author of Earthbodies: Rediscovering Our Planetary Senses

“Kleinberg-Levin has brilliantly rendered the phenomenology and ontology of Merleau-Ponty and the ethical philosophy of alterity developed by Levinas as an address to the ecological crisis of the earth and sky. He has done so with both wide-ranging scholarly erudition and a sense of practical urgency. This is a work of true philosophical wisdom for our times, written in a voice of compassion and strength.” — Galen A. Johnson, author of Earth and Sky, History and Philosophy: Island Images Inspired by Husserl and Merleau-Ponty

David Michael Kleinberg-Levin is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Northwestern University. He is the author of several books, including Gestures of Ethical Life: Reading Hölderlin’s Question of Measure After Heidegger and The Philosopher’s Gaze: Modernity in the Shadows of Enlightenment.

Bookmark and Share

Table of Contents


1. A Human Voice

2. The Project

3. The Ethical Root of the Voice

4. The Voice of Reason

5. Reconciling Voices: the Political Register

6. Conversation

7. Reading This Book

Part I. The Singing of the World Variations on a Theme After Merleau-Ponty

Chapter 1. The Remembrance of Nature in the Voice of the Subject 

1. Invocations of Nature

2. The Song of the Winds

3. The Song of the Earth

Chapter 2. The Question of Origins  

1. Silence

2. Song

Chapter 3. The Voice of Ecological Attunement in a Practice of Caring for the Self 

1. Prologue  

2. The Singing of Language

3. Caring for Oneself:   The Three Phase-Dimensions of the Voice  

4. Dying Echoes: What Must Be Remembered

Part II. Levinas On the Claim of the Ethical

Chapter 4. The Saying and the Said: Giving Time to the Voice of the Other

1. Unavoidable Violence   

2. Responsibility: Claiming the Voice

3. Inspiration

4. Heterology, Heteronomy: The Lyrical Voice

5. The Ethical Dimensions of the Voice 

6. Ethical Saying: The Claim in Dialogue

Chapter 5. The Pre-Originary Dimension of Saying

1. Preliminary Soundings 

2. The Voice of Reason

3. The Pre-Originary Voice

4. Palimpsest: The Trace of the Other in the Text of our Flesh, or, The  Echo of the Other in the Trembling of the Flesh

5. Enigmatic Echoes: Retrieving the Trace


Related Subjects

Related Titles

Lectures on the Theory of Ethics (1812)
Lectures on the Theory of Ethics (1812)
Democratizing Technology
Democratizing Technology
Naturalism and Historical Understanding
Naturalism and Historical Understanding
The Gift of Truth
The Gift of Truth
Whitehead's Religious Thought
Whitehead's Religious Thought
Gender after Lyotard
Gender after Lyotard
Transforming the Hermeneutic Context
Transforming the Hermeneutic Context
How to Build a Theory in Cognitive Science
How to Build a Theory in Cognitive Science
Sources of Hermeneutics
Sources of Hermeneutics
Centering and Extending
Centering and Extending