It is clear that Levinas’s critique of the dominance within Western philosophy of the concept of totality in Totality and Infinity was intended as a response to totalitarian-ism, but the extent to which this determines the organization of the book and the way in which this takes place has been largely misconceived. This is because of the failure to take seriously the opening question of whether or not we are duped by morality. The ethical resistance of the face of the Other does not adequately address that question until morality is secured against the challenge issued by a philosophy that equates being with war and that takes place only through the account of the infinite time of fecundity. Fecundity concretized in the family is the site of resistance to the totalitarian tendencies of any state that seeks for the sake of its preservation to legislate procreation. Hence fecundity and Eros are “beyond the face.” This reading draws on the important role given to fecundity in Time and the Other as well as the texts newly available in the first three volumes of Levinas’s Oeuvres.
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