1st Edition

Levinas for Psychologists

By Leswin Laubscher Copyright 2024
    172 Pages
    by Routledge

    172 Pages
    by Routledge

    Levinas for Psychologists provides a rigorous, yet accessible, examination of Emmanuel Levinas’s philosophy and its implications for psychology and the human and social sciences.

    Comprehensive in scope, this book traces Levinas’s thought across the arc of his oeuvre, from the earliest works to the last interviews and essays. Laubscher provides numerous examples of how Levinas’s thought challenges current clinical and psychotherapeutic work, psychological theory, social science research, and social theory but also offers promising alternatives. Such alternative ways to think and practice psychology are richly illuminated by accessible examples from therapy, research, and the social everyday. The volume makes Levinas’s dense and demanding philosophical language comprehensible and accessible, without losing the radical, profound, and poetic qualities of the original. Issues of justice, racism, and nature are addressed throughout, and these insights and conclusions are placed within a contemporary context.

    This book is essential reading for psychologists, philosophers, and anyone interested in the legacy of Levinas’s work.

    1. Introduction  2. Philosophy, Psychology, and the Knot of Science  3. Introducing Levinas  4. The Early Work  5. Totality and Infinity: Indictment and Promise  6. Totality and Infinity: Order and Ordination  7. Otherwise than Being  8. Challenge and Critique  9. Where Endings are Beginnings


    Leswin Laubscher is Associate Professor at the Department of Psychology at Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, USA. He also serves as "Extraordinary Professor" at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa (and in the past at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa). Dr. Laubscher has authored several scholarly articles and books and, most recently, edited Fanon, Phenomenology, and Psychology (2022) with Derek Hook and Miraj U. Desai.

    "This is simply a marvelous book. Leswin Laubscher’s understanding of Levinas is deep and comprehensive. He is a psychologist who has been inspired by Levinas’s philosophy and has also struggled with its limitations with care and honesty. Accordingly, Laubscher is a trustworthy and seasoned guide for psychologists and others in the social sciences who want to understand the importance of Levinas’s ideas. His writing style is so clear and engaging that as a reader I felt like I was drawn into a conversation with him, a conversation that I did not want to end." Steen Halling, Professor Emeritus, Psychology Department, Seattle University, USA and author of Intimacy, Transcendence and Psychology

    "Leswin Laubscher gives psychologists a roadmap to reading phenomenologist/prophet Emmanuel Levinas so that we clinicians can find ourselves challenged by the primordial, prior, and exorbitant responsibility. Laubscher further challenges the totalizing tendencies – diagnostics, classifying, reifying – of contemporary psychology, and offers us the opportunity to restore psychology to the human sciences through teaching his way through the major works of Levinas. Those who want to humanize clinical psychology, and those willing to tackle a challenging philosopher in the service of this task, will find themselves grateful for this book." Donna M. Orange, Postdoctoral Program in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, New York University, USA

    "Readers of Levinas are often compelled by the power of his writing to imagine the way such thinking might inhabit the work of psychotherapy. Laubscher’s new book moves chronologically and critically through the escalating challenges to philosophy and psychology offered by Levinas. With Laubscher’s help, even the most difficult concepts are given helpful, relevant, and conversational interpretations, a task made difficult by vital but often opaque developments in Levinas’s later work. With a constant eye on clinical application, Laubscher offers a deft and memorable introduction to Levinas for psychotherapists." Eric R. Severson, Associate Teaching Professor of Philosophy, Seattle University, USA

    "Professor Laubscher has written a very welcome and much-needed introduction to the work of one of contemporary philosophy’s most difficult and profound figures, and has done so in a most engaging and thought-provoking manner, one that will be of tremendous service to a wide-range of students of psychology. Although Levinas has a well-earned reputation for difficulty because of the often idiosyncratic, analytically nuanced, and genuinely novel approach he takes to examining some of philosophy’s most fundamental issues, Laubscher has managed to capture not only the essential features and key arguments of Levinasian phenomenology but has also done so in a way that makes its immediate and practical significance to psychology exceptionally clear and persuasive. While others have done much to pave the way for an increased appreciation of Levinas’s ethical phenomenology in psychology, this book represents a significant leap forward in engaging the central themes and ideas of his intellectual project and does so in a way that is accessible to a broad audience of both theorists and practitioners. Whether you are already acquainted with contemporary phenomenological thought or simply interested in learning a bit more about what Levinas might have to offer contemporary psychology, I urge you to read this book." Edwin E. Gantt, PhD, Professor of Psychology, Brigham Young University, United States