Title

The reason of the Other Western conceptualizations of alterity through freedom and faith

Date of Completion

January 2011

Keywords

Epistemology|Philosophy|Political Science, General

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

The Reason of the Other constitutes primarily a normative survey of conceptualizations of alterity in politico-philosophical texts that have definitional precision above all with respect to freedom and faith. The investigation advances a set of symbols of alterity and the narrative behind them as they are revealed through a textual interpretation which is informed mostly by Gadamer's hermeneutics. The normative aspect implies the assertion that in the absence of a dialogic 'I' or freedom as self-evaluation the disambiguation of alterity tends to represent the Other as antagonistic to the 'I'. Regardless of the array of causes that have determined the political and cultural evolution of the Western World, there is indeed a side of its pride in which there always looms an antagonistic conception of otherness. Today, there are many controversies between Christian and Islamic political thought as well as heated debates around the distinction between goals and means with respect to the support of freedom around the world. They often illustrate the fact that Western tradition still has to achieve a complete understanding of its own stance with respect to freedom and faith before almost always a priori condescending, demoting or entirely dismissing competing views. This is because freedom and faith do not have an immediate denotation. Not even for people that share the same cultural heritage. Consequently, from Plato and Aristotle, going through Augustine, Luther and Kant and arriving to Jung and Derrida, this investigation scrutinizes the Other through conceptualization of freedom and faith which describe some of the main Western modes of self-understanding. In the end we conclude that the non-competitive, non-antagonistic recognition of the Other through freedom and faith is an ongoing restorative process of evaluating 'the Other' in 'Self.' This is an unending agency, although it is teleologically driven. It is a movement in thought which always begins because it responds to the modern condition of unceasing, uninterrupted presencing. As a process, the restoration of 'the Other' in 'Self' never stops because it is mandated for man, as zoon politikon, to look for 'the Other.' ^