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David Michael Kleinberg-Levin

Professor Emeritus

B.A. Harvard University, Ph.D. Columbia University

Kleinberg-Levin taught in the Humanities Department at MIT from 1968 until 1972, when he joined the Department of Philosophy at Northwestern. The heart of his work is disclosive hermeneutical phenomenology, which, after major alterations in the method itself, he brings to bear in innovative ways on questions and problems in aesthetics, clinical psychology, moral philosophy and critical social theory. The philosophers most important to his work are, in addition to the German philosophers of the late eighteenth and early nineteeenth century, Nietzsche, Marx, Heidegger, Adorno, Benjamin, Merleau-Ponty, Levinas, and Foucault. One of his recent books is Gestures of Ethical Life: Hölderlin's Question of Measure after Heidegger (Stanford University Press, 2005), with chapters examining the treatment of this question in Plato, Hölderlin, Rilke, Primo Levi, Marx, Adorno, Benjamin, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, and Levinas.


Books Edited


  • "Eros and Psyche: A Reading of Merleau-Ponty", in Keith Hoeller (ed.), Merleau-Ponty and Psychology, Review of Existential Psychology and Psychiatry, vol. XVIII, nos. 1-3 (1982-1983), 219-239.
  • "Logos and Psyche: A Hermeneutics of Breathing", Research in Phenomenology, vol. XIV (1984), 121-147.
  • "The Discursive Formation of the Human Body in the History of Medicine," Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, vol. 15, no. 5 (October, 1990), 515-537.
    • Reprinted in a revised version in Noetic Sciences Review, no. 33 (Spring 1995),5-12
  • "Justice in the Flesh," in Galen Johnson and Michael Smith (eds.), Ontology and Alterity in Merleau-Ponty (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1990), 35-44
  • "Visions of Narcissism: Intersubjectivity and the Reversals of Reflection," in Martin Dillon (ed.), Merleau-Ponty Vivant (Albany: State University of New York, 1991),47-90
  • "Psychology as a Discursive Formation: The Postmodern Crisis," The Humanistic Psychologist, vol. 19, no. 3 (Autumn 1991),1-27
  • "Keeping Foucault and Derrida in Sight: Panopticism and the Politics of Subversion," in David M. Levin (ed.), Sites of Vision: The Discursive Construction of Sight in the History of Philosophy (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1997), pp. 397-465.
  • "Cinders, Traces of Darkness, Shadows on the Page: The Holocaust in Derrida's Writing", in Alan Milchman and Alan Rosenberg (eds.), Postmodernism and the Holocaust, Value Inquiry Book Series (Amsterdam and Atlanta: Rodopi, 1998), pp. 265-286.
    • Published in Hungarian translation in Magyar Filozofiai Szemie (Budapest, Hungary), vol. XXXIX, nos. 5-6 (1995), pp. 821-45.
  • "Liberating Experience from the Vice of Structuralism: The Methods of Merleau-Ponty and Nagarjuna," in Debra Berghoffen and John Caputo (eds.), Selected Studies in Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy, vol. 22, Philosophy Today, vol. 41, no. I (Spring 1997), pp. 96-111.
    • Revised version published in Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology, vol. 28, no. 2 (May 1997). pp 116-141.
  • "Tracework: Myself and Others in the Moral Phenomenology of Merleau-Ponty and Levinas," in International Journal of Philosophical Studies (University College, Dublin), vol. 6, no. 3 (October 1998), pp. 345-392.
  • "The Ontological Dimension of Embodiment: Heidegger's Thinking of Being," in Donn Welton (ed.), The Body: Classic and Contemporary Readings, in Simon Critchley (Series Editor), Blackwell Readings in Continental Philosophy (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1999), pp. 122-149.
  • "The Embodiment of the Categorical Imperative: Kafka, Foucault, Benjamin, Adorno and Levinas", Philosophy and Social Criticism, vol.27, no.4 (July 2001), pp.1-20.
  • "What Measure Now? A Survivor's Reflections on the Holocaust", Philosophy Today, vol.45, no. 2/4 (Summer 2001), pp. 184-95.
  • "Civilized Cruelty: Nietzsche's Critique of the Disciplinary Practices of Western Culture,"New Nietzsche Studies, vol. 5, nos. 1/2 (Spring/Summer 2002), pp. 72-94.