Face to Face with Animals

Levinas and the Animal Question

Edited by Peter Atterton & Tamra Wright

Subjects: Philosophy, Continental Philosophy, Ethics, Animal Rights, Jewish Philosophy
Hardcover : 9781438474090, 264 pages, May 2019
Paperback : 9781438474083, 264 pages, January 2020

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Table of contents


Editors' Introduction: Extending the Boundaries of "The Ethical"

Part I. Levinas on Animals

1. The Animal Interview (English and French)
Emmanuel Levinas
Part II. Phenomenology

2. Levinas and the Other Animals: Phenomenological Analysis of Obligation
Alphonso Lingis

3. Vulnerable Lives: Levinas, Wittgenstein, and "Animals"
Bob Plant

4. Dog and Philosophy: Does Bobby Have What It Takes to Be Moral?
Peter Atterton

Part III. Responsibility toward Animals
5. Animals, Levinas, and Moral Imagination
Michael L. Morgan

6. Small Justice: The Rights of the Other Animal
Jonathan Crowe

7. Ecce Animot: Levinas, Derrida, and the Other Animal
Matthew Calarco

8. Facing Animal Research: Levinas and Technologies of Effacement
Sophia Efstathiou
Part IV. Traditions: Greek/Hebrew/Asian

9. Homo Homini Lupus: Levinas and the Animal Within
Katharine Loevy

10. What Is the Trace of the Original Face? Levinas, Buddhism, and the Mystery of Animality
Brian Shūdō Schroeder
11. "Now We're Talking Pedagogy": Levinas, Animal Ethics, and Jewish Education
Tamra Wright


Explores Levinas’s approach to animal ethics from a range of perspectives.


This is the first volume of primary and secondary source material dedicated solely to the animal question in Levinas. Drawing on previously unpublished material, including the recent discovery and digitization of the original French recording of an interview with Levinas that took place in 1986, it seeks to give fresh impetus to the debate surrounding the moral status of animals in Levinas's work. The book offers ten essays by leading scholars, along with a general introduction that places Levinas's philosophy in the context of the growing field of animal ethics. The aim of the volume is to encourage dialogue on how we can extend Levinas's ethics beyond its traditional human confines and to spur further research on the opportunities and challenges it raises.

Peter Atterton is Professor of Philosophy at San Diego State University. He is the coeditor (with Matthew Calarco) of Radicalizing Levinas, also published by SUNY Press. Tamra Wright is Director of Academic Studies at the London School of Jewish Studies and the author of The Twilight of Jewish Philosophy: Emmanuel Levinas' Ethical Hermeneutics.


"Face to Face with Animals is an extraordinarily important and timely contribution. Although the question of the animal has weighed heavily upon Levinas scholars for more than two decades, it has not until now formed the subject of a book-length study. This volume rectifies that absence and proves to have been well worth the wait. It is more than scholarly. It is also, in its own way, a rousing call to thinking and acting otherwise in the face of the unsettling gazes of animal others and in the shadow of their useless suffering. Reading Levinas both with and against the grain, Face to Face with Animals makes clearer than ever that injustice is irreducible to inhumanity. " — David L. Clark, coeditor of Intersections: Nineteenth-Century Philosophy and Contemporary Theory

"This book contributes the most sustained and multifaceted engagement with Levinas on animals and animality to date. In particular, it makes an important and unique contribution to the interdisciplinary field of animal studies, in which Levinas has long been a figure of great interest in light of the promise his ethics of alterity would seem to hold for developing an ethics that encompasses nonhuman animals. " — Karalyn Kendall-Morwick, Washburn University