Fri, 13 Oct 1995 12:13:20 EST

Scott Holmes mentions the 'concept of the 'Other'. I don't think that
Otherness is only a social construction; every cell/particle exists
within a limited spatiotemporal frame, even if only for a part-
second. Whatever is outside that STF (spatiotemporal frame) is Other.
Peirce, the logician/semiotician, went through this concept of
Otherness within his theory of Secondness, where an entity exists by
virtue of its being involved with an awareness of that Other. (He
uses the terms struggle, force, but I don't think he meant them in
the oppositional way we often use them). Rather, an entity can only
exist within a STF, and a STF necessarily has Other(s) at the
boundaries of the STF. These Others need not necessarily be
identified, which is to say, given values. But in order to exist, one
must have a sense of finiteness to the self. Lacan went through this
analysis in his 'Mirror Stage' of the child.

I think that defining Other as oppositional, ie..oppositional
binarism, is a mistake. cf Hegel, R. Barthes. All one can say about
Otherness, is that the self exists, in interaction with the Other.
The Self (whether as a society or a group) cannot exist without this
finite sense, which is established by interaction. A
society/individual who is conceptually isolate, becomes entropic and
autistic. The Other can be physical or mental, but it/they must exist.

Edwina Taborsky
Bishop's University Phone: (819)822.9600
Lennoxville, Quebec Fax: (819)822.9661
Canada JIM 1Z7