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Self and Other: Continental and Classical Chinese Thought



Traditionally, metaphysical notions of self and other presuppose a dualism that underlies much of Western philosophy. This dualism is opposed by accounts of self and other in recent continental philosophy and classical Chinese philosophy, which I compare. I argue that the self is seen in continental and Chinese thought as embedded in (ethical) relations and language, and not as transcendent or prior in the metaphysical sense to them. I argue for this by focussing on three themes: self and language, self as relational and embedded in the world or contextual environment, and self and the particular other. These three themes show that the complexity and dynamic of the self-other relation is much more realistically conveyed by continental and classical Chinese thought than by the traditional metaphysical account.