Reading Group

The Philosophy of Levinas and others, convened by
Prof. Alex Samely

Husserl, Levinas, Merleau-Ponty

Alex Samely, Professor of Jewish Thought, has been a member of various philosophical reading groups at Manchester University, together with staff and PhD students of Manchester Metropolitan University, since 2000. The first reading group began under the name "Manchester Phenomenology Reading Group" in February 2000, and was initially convened by Richard Hamilton. Our first author was Edmund Husserl, the founder of the phenomenological approach in philosophy. It took several years for us to read through his main work, the Logical Investigations, and some of his other works. The second philosopher, subject of a renamed reading group convened by Alex, was Emmanuel Levinas, one of the most important distinctly Jewish voices in modern philosophy. The group spent 2011-2013 with his two key contributions to the development of philosophy in the 20th century, Totality and Infinity and Otherwise than Being. This autumn, finding himself at a loose end after "finishing" Levinas, Alex invited interested staff and students to a third incarnation of this reading group, devoted to Maurice Merleau-Ponty. In October we started on his most important work, the Phenomenology of Perception (1945). This thinker, like Husserl before and Levinas after him, is concerned with laying the foundations for a new understanding of what it means to be human, or to be a "subject" "in" a "world". We meet fortnightly to discuss one or two chapters from this book. If you are interested in joining, please get in touch with Alex at: