The ethics of interruption: Toward a Levinasian philosophy of communication

Amit Pinchevski*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


This essay attempts to mobilize some key concepts developed in the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas into communication thought framework. The main argument is that Levinas's speculation on ethics as first philosophy provides an alternative perspective from which to view the relation between communication and ethics. At its core is the concept of interruption. It is suggested that ethical communication may lie in the interruption of communication in instances where lateral exchange or concurrence between minds are troubled. Such interruptions, however, do not mark the end of concern for another, but rather its very beginning, for it is in such instances that communication faces the challenge of alterity. While bringing one to the verge of discursive possibilities, interruption gives rise to communication otherwise conceived, to exposure and vulnerability, and thereby to the possibility of responding to the Other.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)211-234
Number of pages24
JournalSocial Semiotics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2005


  • Alterity
  • Communication ethics
  • Levinas
  • Philosophy of communication


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