4 de noviembre de 2007

B. Waldenfels: The Question of the Other

Drawn from a series of lectures that Bernhard Waldenfels delivered in honor of the Chinese philosopher Tang Junyi, The Question of the Other is a collection of seven papers introducing what he calls a new sort of responsive phenomenology. This means that our experience does not start from our own intentions or from our common understanding, but from something that happens and appeals to us, disturbing our projects and forcing us to respond. We only become ourselves by responding to the Other. Hence otherness is not restricted to the otherness of the Other or to that of another order, it rather penetrates ourselves. We need a peculiar logic of response which includes items like singularity, inevitability, and asymmetry, and which transgresses the limits of common rules. This general perspective will be specified by dealing with crucial issues such as: the power of events which precede our own initiatives; a special kind of time lag which separates what strikes us from our responding; the intertwining of selfhood and otherness within our bodily experience; and violence as an extreme form of refusing and violating the Other’s demand. At last it will be shown how otherness penetrates the spatial structures of our lifeworld and how hospitality shapes our being in the world. Otherness means being never completely at home.

“Bernhard Waldenfels is the most important systematic thinker of otherness in the phenomenological tradition. These stimulating lectures, delivered at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, discuss the horror of the alien and analyze its occurrence in terms of a preconceptual pathos that elicits a response on the part of the human subject. Just as this deep affectivity precedes linguistic description, so the Other occasioning it bears a surplus that lies beyond whatever is said about it. Readers will find in these lively lectures an original and illuminating understanding of otherness as it enters into their everyday lives.” — Edward S. Casey, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Stony Brook University, State University of New York
(via Phenomenology Newsletter)

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