The ethics of the other

Luis Ruben Diaz, University of Texas at El Paso


I consider that our society is going through a globalization process where different vantages are being forced to face other cultures. This process revealed the weakness of our traditional moral systems where conflicts could be solved through a belief system that was accepted by the majority of the individuals of a given society. Since a global society needs to incorporate different beliefs systems in its moral considerations, and this implies that there will undoubtedly be a clash between the different moral codes, we need to find a way where individuals relate to the other in an ethical way. In my thesis I propose that Levinas' philosophy is the best alternative to build this ethical relationship between the I and the Other. I analyze Levinas' idea of Ethics as first philosophy, as well as the way language is affected by this ethical need. I also use Antonio Caso and Samuel Ramos' philosophies to support Levinas' position that contrary to an individualistic society-where individual independence is of the highest importance-interdependency between the I and the Other is necessary for it is in this ethical relationship where the individual actualize himself. The last chapter of my thesis is a sketch of my ideas of the relationship between the I and the Other. In this chapter I propose that the Other plays a more active role that just questioning the I. I argue that the Other, understood here as the person that does not fit mainstream society, is an active member of society that is not only a form of resistance, but has his own identity. He uses this identity to support the idea of diversity as opposed to standardization, as the best way to create a society where the individual can achieve a well-rounded life.^

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Recommended Citation

Diaz, Luis Ruben, "The ethics of the other" (2009). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1468292.