Meanings of Otherness

By | November 25, 2019

Otherness is called the condition or state of being another or of being different. As such, it applies to the discovery that the other does it and the whole range of images and representations of the other and the us that this entails.

The word, as such, comes from the Latin alterĭtasalteritātis, which in turn derives from the Latin alter, which means ‘other’.

For philosophyotherness is the opposite of identity and in this sense can be defined as the ratio opposition is recorded between the thinking subject, ie I, and the object thought, that is, the no I . Thus, alterity is the philosophical principle that allows one to alternate or change one’s perspective with that of the other.

In this sense, otherness implies that an individual is able to put himself in the place of the other, which allows him to establish relations with the other based on dialogue and awareness and appreciation of existing differences.

Thus, according to otherness, in order to constitute an individuality, it is necessary, first, the existence of a collective, since the self exists from the other and from its vision. The other allows the self to understand the world from a different perspective in relation to its own.

In fact, one of the principles of the theory of otherness is that the self, in its individual form, can only exist through contact with the other, since the human being, as a social subject, inherently has a relationship of interaction and dependence with the other.

Hence, it is affirmed that difference constitutes the basis of social life and its dynamics and, at the same time, the source of its tensions and conflicts.

Otherness in Anthropology

Anthropology, whose object of study is man and its biological and social aspects, is known to be the science of otherness, because it basically focuses on the study of the differences that exist between different cultures and ethnicities, that is, other. Hence, otherness has a fundamental role in this discipline.