The racialization central to modernity orients otherness in terms of what is human, and what is, in some iteration, humanity’s “other”.

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other kris sealey

"Other" by Kris Sealey

From The Philosopher, vol. 110, no. 3 (“The New Basics: Person“).

The following remarks on the question of the Other are explicitly political. We inherit our practices of othering and of navigating an intersubjective world from modernity, which is a political project. More specifically, modernity’s project is one in which ordering genres of life hierarchically (along a great chain of lesser to higher value) is central to its metaphysics. It is also a project that includes the epistemologies needed to legitimize the practices of domination that unfold in response to that metaphysical ordering. Questions of the Other ought to be engaged in this context. For this reason, these remarks on othering and difference are ultimately a brief overlay of our inheritances from modernity’s commitment to its differential valuation of life-worlds in general, and then of human lives in particular. In other words, I show the ways in which modern “othering” practices are intimately entangled with a metaphysics of de-/under-/sub-valuing the Other. Hierarchy, manifested in the economic, cultural, political and existential, is the grammar of modernity’s signification of the Other.

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