Le flair animal: Levinas and the Possibility of Animal Friendship



In Otherwise than Being, Levinas writes that the alterity of the Other escapes “le flair animal,” or the animal’s sense of smell. This paper puts pressure on the strong human-animal distinction that Levinas makes by considering the possibility that, while non-human animals may not respond to the alterity of the Other in the way that Levinas describes as responsibility, animal sensibility plays a key role in a relation to Others that Levinas does not discuss at length: friendship. This approach to friendship addresses a gap in Levinas’ work between the absolute Other for whom I am responsible and the “brother” who is my political equal.


Levinas; animal; dog; Homer; Odyssey; friendship; Other; sensibility

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22329/p.v2i2.248

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