Dissertation, University of Queensland (2020)

In a world where, as Martin Heidegger puts it, ‘homelessness’ has become its destiny, the colonized/Oriental Other that once exclusively constituted and was neglected from the matrix of the Western imaginary has no longer maintained its distance as ‘out there’. Instead it is embodied as a ‘refugee’ appearing on the borders of the ‘home’ with its complex cultural, colonial history. The majority of refugee studies feature the refugee as the outcome of the interplay of the two concepts of the ‘rights of man’ and the ‘rights of the citizen’, who resides on the threshold of nativity and nationality as the limit phenomenon of the nation-state stands before the law in its totality but cannot be classified under any of its provisions. However, this thesis investigates the philosophical underpinnings of the emergence of the phenomenon of the refugee that appears at the threshold of one’s own experience of home as an alien who does not belong to the privileged normative structure of the home. Drawing on Anthony Steinbock’s approach to the Husserlian phenomenology of generativity, this study phenomenologically examines the possibility of an ethical relation in the Homeworld and Alienworld encounter. Focusing on the mode of givenness of the alien to the home in interpersonal relations, the main question of the thesis is:If phenomenologically the Other is accessible to home in a mode of inaccessibility, then how can the ‘I’ initiate an ethical relation to the Other?As the result of addressing this question, building on Edmund Husserl’s late project of ethical renewal and Bernhard Waldenfels’ phenomenological ethics of Responsivity alongside Jean-Luc Marion’s phenomenology of givenness, I develop a new understanding of the experience of violence versus morally experiencing the Other. Although James Dodd contributed greatly to the development of the phenomenology of violence, this thesis gives a new perspective to the concept of ‘violence’ versus the ‘ethical’ from the perspective of types of phenomena and various modes of givenness. From a phenomenological perspective, by analyzing the mode of givenness peculiar to the experience of the Other in the intersubjective realm, I propose that violence is a disposition toward receiving the Other in experience as a denigrated phenomenon. However, an ethical relation to the Other means to receiving the Other as saturated phenomenon that is non-objectifiable. Chapter One discusses how phenomenology as critique can be a critical reflection on experience in order to justify and turn back to the question that concerns the refugee subject as ‘an alien other’. Applying Besinnung enables me to unravel the meaning structure that is operative in colonial subjectification and de-subjectification and the concept of violence that is embedded in the colonial situation. Dodd’s phenomenological account of violence and Giorgio Agamben’s discussion of ‘the camp’ gives me the opportunity to analyze the current manifestation of colonial violence in Australian offshore refugee detention camps. Considering various sorts of violence that are operative in the colonial structure, Chapter Two focuses on a specific type of violence that is hidden in the cognitive structure of our consciousness: epistemic violence. Building on Miranda Fricker’s notion of ‘epistemic injustice’ and Husserl’s phenomenological notion of ‘horizon-structure of experience’ that he proposed in Experience and judgment I develop a phenomenological analysis of the horizon structure of experiencing two types of epistemic injustice, which are testimonial and hermeneutical injustice. Phenomenologically thematizing the intersubjective structure of the home, Chapter Three investigates the way the institutional violence of the colonial system can affect meaning constitution. A regressive inquiry into the pregiven lifeworld of the colonial situation as a violent situation that emerges out of the disrupted world of sense, the chapter enquires into the relation of the ‘I’ with the ‘alien’, and asks how does the ‘I’ experience the Other and constitute it as alien? Doing so, I argue that I experience the other as always present in its absence in a way that its presence is withdrawn from the accessibility of home as inaccessible. Chapter Four examines the mode of experiencing the alien Other by the home as a liminal experience in which the alienworld is inaccessible and incomprehensible to home. Furthermore, building on the work of Emmanuel Levinas and Steinbock, I intend to liberate the phenomenon of the alien from the constitutive conditions of the home by discussing how the Other person is absolved from a disposal relation with me. This is to discover the most profound relation to the other that is given in moral experience. Chapter Five analyzes the moral experience of the Other in terms of the modality of the givenness of the Other, and in terms of the type of phenomena given in vertical givenness in the intersubjective realm. Reading Steinbock together with Marion, I explore the type of phenomenality of the alien Other who is given in the mode of revelation as a saturated phenomenon. I argue that by abandoning the givenness of the Other as a saturated phenomenon, I open the possibility of violence toward the Other. This way, I propose that the two concepts of violence and ethics are phenomenological orientations toward the reception of the call of the Other as a saturated phenomenon.
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Totality and Infinity: An Essay on Exteriority.Emmanuel Levinas - 1961 - Distribution for the U.S. And Canada, Kluwer Boston.

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