Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2004




In this paper I present the notion of a ‘representative other,’ an equivocal concept of otherness, which I wish to free from any substantial theological grounding. I arrive at this notion, however, through a survey of the concept of otherness in the work of three religious writers: Søren Kierkegaard, Emmanuel Levinas, and Paul Ricoeur. I argue that all three of these thinkers provide resources to help me liberate the concept of otherness from the concept of Go.d My motive for doing so is fuelled by the recognition of the role that otherness plays in the constitution of selfhood and in ethical understanding. I wish to understand this role independent of theological considerations.


This article was originally published in Philosophical Writing, 25: 19-29. © 2004 University of Durham. Reproduced with permission.