Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




In this dissertation, I examine the concept of teaching as it appears in the work of Emmanuel Levinas. In particular, I show how Levinas's notion of teaching arises out of both a retrieval and a critique of Platonic thought. On the one hand, Levinas embraces the transcendence of Platonism, but at the same time, he is often quite critical of Socratic education. I argue, contrary to Levinas, that Socratic education is, in fact, consonant with Levinas's philosophy, particularly when we recognize that Levinas's notion of a primordial teaching must involve a relation both with "absolute" alterity and with what he calls "feminine" alterity. Socratic education, I argue, helps us to understand the dual nature of the teaching relation as a relation of both intimacy and distance. As such, Socratic education, I argue, rather than being at odds with Levinas's philosophy, can help us to further develop a pedagogy of hospitality inspired by Levinas's ethics.

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