Constellations: Gabriel Marcel's philosophy of relative otherness

Abstract
This paper examines the postmodern question of the otherness of the other from the perspective of Gabriel Marcel’s philosophy. Postmodernity—typified by philosophical movements like deconstruction—has framed the question of otherness in all-or-nothing terms; either the other is absolutely, wholly other or the other is not other at all. On the deconstructive account, the latter position amounts to a kind of “violence” against the other. Marcel’s philosophy offers an alternative to this all-or-nothing model of otherness. His thought can satisfy the fundamental (and legitimate) ethical and philosophical concerns of postmodern thinkers without resorting to the paroxysmal hyperbole that characterizes philosophies of absolute otherness. Moreover, Marcel’s critique of the “spirit of abstraction” offers a unique perspective on what might motivate such paroxysmal hyperbole
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