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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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From Self to Other

From Self to Other

(p.19) 1 From Self to Other
The Priority of the Other

Mark Freeman

Oxford University Press

This chapter charts the movement from self to Other largely through Martin Buber’s consideration of the “I-Thou” relation, focusing especially on the idea of attention. Following Buber in broad outline, it is suggested that how we attend to the world is of the utmost significance in what we are able to draw from it. His main concern in addressing the I-Thou relation is the dialogue between people, but the I-Thou relation extends to the non-human world as well. In addition to positing these first two spheres of relation, Buber speaks of a third sphere, our relation to “the mystery of being,” especially as it emerges in spiritual and religious life. This threefold living relation is understood to be ingredient both to human flourishing and to full human personhood and provides a useful conceptual scheme for understanding the priority of the Other.

Keywords:   attention, authenticity, devotion, dialogue, dialogicality, other, relationality, religion, self, spiritual life

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