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date: 29 July 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Alterity examines a key notion in phenomenology, viz. that of otherness or alterity, and distinguishes between a broad and a narrow definition of alterity. Broadly understood, “alterity” refers to anything that eludes or transcends a subject’s grasp. Narrowly understood, it refers exclusively to another agent, subjectivity or mind, or what is experienced as such. The chapter outlines classical and contemporary phenomenological analyses of experiences of alterity in the narrow sense of the term. It considers analyses of normal experiences of alterity found in the philosophical literature—focusing in particular on Husserl, Merleau-Ponty, Sartre, and Levinas—as well as analyses of pathological experiences of alterity described in phenomenological psychopathology, such as auditory verbal hallucinations. Finally, it suggests that “radical alterity” is a central feature of the phenomenology of schizophrenia.

Keywords: alterity, otherness, schizophrenia, auditory verbal hallucinations, radical alterity, Husserl, Merleau-Ponty, Sartre, Levinas

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