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The Priority of the OtherThinking and Living Beyond the Self$
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Mark Freeman

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199759309

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199759309.001.0001

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Thinking and Being Otherwise

(p.1) Introduction
The Priority of the Other

Mark Freeman

Oxford University Press

Drawing on such varied thinkers as Emmanuel Levinas, Iris Murdoch, and Charles Taylor, this chapter seeks to underscore the significance of the idea of the Other for both psychology and for the process of living our lives. While recent years have seen the rise of more relational and dialogical forms of psychological thinking, psychology remains largely ego-centric in focus, seeing the self as the primary source of meaning and value. Valuable though this focus has surely been, it has obscured the role of both the human and non-human Other in shaping psychological life. As argued herein, the Other is the primary source of meaning, inspiration, and existential nourishment as well as the primary source of our ethical energies, particularly our sense of responsibility to and for other people. The idea of the Other thus provides a radical reorientation of our most basic ways of making sense of the human condition.

Keywords:   aesthetics, attention, devotion, ethics, other, psychology, self, transcendence

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