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Archive for the ‘The other’ Category

Yeah, I know — frankly, I agree with you. The language of the “other” is ubiquitous in many circles. There is talk about what it means to recognize the other, to relate to the other, to allow space for the other, etc., etc., etc. It can be a bit tiring; in fact, Ben Myers over at F&T is currently imposing “a five-year moratorium on all talk about ‘the other’ in ethical and theological discourse!” Of course, I agree that the terminology is mostly misunderstood and (frankly) functions as an emotional/psychological trigger (– posturing); however, I think there is a sense in which even if one has misread/misunderstood Levinas, the language of “others” is not necessarily inconsequential in toto. While I have not conceded to the moratorium in my day-to-day life, I must admit that it often shows up in superego-ic fashion anytime I use the word. What I am wondering is this: how can we begin to create a framework in which we can discuss the notion of “others”/”otherness”, etc.? I am not yet in a position to write such a book, but I am hoping that in the near future someone will publish something detailing the historical and modern usages of the notion of “others” so that we can get on the same page.

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