Heidegger’s Ethics and Levinas’ Ontology

In these pages, I intend to show that the constitutive character of Levinas’ account of pre-ontological normativity as well as its subsequent ontological articulation in totalization, may well be read as a vindications of Heidegger’s account of the constitutive primordiality of the implicit normative force of others in Dasein’s everyday modes of being and their posterior ontological thematization. To this avail, I will focus on what I believe are the two fundamental mechanisms to both metaphysics so as to map their relation: pre-ontological normativity—explained in Heidegger as Mitsein and in Levinas as the encounter with the Other—and its ontological, meaning theoretical, articulation—expressed as ontology in Heidegger and totalization in Levinas. I will arguethat while evidently central to Heidegger’s concerns, the cognitive demand of self and
others is ultimately also central to Levinas. My stronger and presumably more
controversial claim will be that this demand—which is openly stated in both of Levinas’ major works—amounts to a vindication of totalization though, in my view, an insufficient one.