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Aspects of AlterityLevinas, Marcel, and the Contemporary Debate$
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Brian Treanor

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780823226849

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: March 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fso/9780823226849.001.0001

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The Question of Otherness

The Question of Otherness

(p.1) 1 The Question of Otherness
Aspects of Alterity

Brian Treanor

Fordham University Press

The death of the Grand Narrative and the host of questions that followed its demise, like giants rising from the spilled blood of Uranus, are tied directly to what may be called “the question of otherness”. This is because otherness is precisely what Grand Narratives seek to do away with. Anything unknown—that is, anything foreign, novel, surprising, disturbing, or otherwise resistant to the neat categories of the Narrative—challenges the comprehensiveness of the Narrative. Grand Narratives will not tolerate otherness; their motto is “a place for everything and everything in its place”. However, the demise of Grand Narratives leaves open the possibility that some things do not have a neat and tidy place within a comprehensive system. In the most basic sense, the question of otherness asks us to consider what it means for something or someone to be other than the self. This book examines the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas and Gabriel Marcel concerning otherness.

Keywords:   Grand Narrative, otherness, self, Emmanuel Levinas, Gabriel Marcel, philosophy

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