Vol. 41 No. 1 (2021): The body and its surplus

The “extreme passivity” of incarnation: Levinas and the issue of embodiment

Sebastiano Galanti Grollo
Università di Bologna
Teoria, vol 41, issue 1, 2021, cover

Published 2021-06-25


  • Levinas,
  • Incarnation,
  • Sensibility,
  • Passivity,
  • Embodiment

How to Cite

The “extreme passivity” of incarnation: Levinas and the issue of embodiment. (2021). Teoria. Rivista Di Filosofia, 41(1), 209-223. https://doi.org/10.4454/teoria.v41i1.127


The article addresses the issue of embodiment in Emmanuel Levinas's thought, with particular reference to Otherwise that Being, or Beyond Essence and to the late writings, in which sensibility represents the essential dimension of subjectivity. First, I discuss the Levinasian definition of subjectivity as "the Other in the Same", in which the relationship with the other is taken as an internal relationship. Then, I show that in Otherwise that Being Levinas focuses on the vulnerability of the body, which is understood on the basis of the relationship with the other. Levinas addresses the issue of responsibility in terms of incarnation, arguing that the subject's "flesh" is vulnerable to the traumatic contact with the other. Finally, I compare the Levinasian conception of the body with current research on the issue of embodiment, showing its difference from the intellectualistic approaches which are still dominant in the field of cognitive sciences