Ethics and the Other

One way of reconciling [the] project of a cosmopolitan anthropology with an ontology that is mindful of the social nature of the self is to turn the universal figure of Everyone into a someone, in particular into someone else, that is, into an other.

The other, who never really can be reduced to an alter ego or an object of knowledge, whom we never will be able to grasp by means of representation, is a different Being. As Emmanuel Lévinas pointed out, this otherness is a primordial human experience. It sets limits on understanding and truth and makes ethics an irreducible condition of human existence. To be human is to face others, which makes human existence essentially ethical.

Ronald Stade, pp. 228-229 in:

Rapport, N., & Stade, R. (2007). A cosmopolitan turn – or return? Social Anthropology 15(2), 223-235.