Re: Tausig and otherness vs alterity

Mon, 10 Oct 1994 13:40:41 +1200

Joseph Agassi argues that one should play with ideas first then
research their validity second: the following response/reaction is in
this spirit.

It has been 3 years since I glanced at Tausig as an undergraduate
and I probably missed the point completely but it seems to me
that discussions of alterity, and indeed of mimiesis are dependant on
a pervasive dualism present in the language but not necesarily in the
experience itself. It is a pity I can not recall Tausig's intent.

It seems to me that any discussion framed on the basis of a
arbitary separation of "subjects" and "objects" is prone to the
obvious problem of ethnocentrism. At the very least appears to assume
that subjects is a separate ie. distinct category from self and
perhaps in doing so subsumes these aspects within an prescriptive
system that disavows there true relationships.

Can anyone out there tell me why it is; that this type of argument
sounds illogical, and whilst contradicting itself (the very use of
relationship appears to imply categorical distinctions) still makes
sense when it is possible for one to experience or conceptionalise
merged identities in which otherness/alterity plays no part because
the praxis of relationship are identity cf. Linnekin J and Poyer eds.
1990 who discuss consocial identities amonst Pacific peoples as
'Performed relations and behavioural criteria'. One strand of their
argument stems from the importance of place in Polynesian (esp)
identity which I would extend in part to those whose cultural roots
originate in the dynamic between colonist and colonised (thinking of
Maori and "Pakeha" in New Zealand).
**Is this worth pursueing??

John Waldmann