From Identity to Alterity and Dialogue, According to Emmanuel Levinas


  • Roger Burggraeve Catholic University Leuven


Alterity, Brother, Fraternity, Identity, Interconvictional Dialogue, Mastership, Responsibility


A crucial question in a pluralist society is how justice can be done to alterity without endangering thereby one’s identity. Levinas’ dialogical phenomenology of the same and the other, and of responsibility, sets us on the track of ‘fraternity’ as human condition. As ethical condition of ‘solidarity’ this fraternity transcends sex and gender, even if the concept is originally rooted in biology. Inspired by Levinas, it is explained how fraternity attains its full sense when, in the brother, the stranger is acknowledged (and not the opposite: ‘when in the stranger the brother is recognized’). This ‘ethical fraternity’ makes it possible to realize equality in society, and to promote a respectful and authentic inter-religious, or rather ‘interconvictional’ dialogue. Such an open dialogue appeals to an asymmetric and reciprocal mastership and critical learning from each other.

Author Biography

Roger Burggraeve, Catholic University Leuven

Prof Roger Burggraeve Prof Roger Burggraeve, SDB (Passendale, Belgium, 1942) is an internationally renowned Levinas Scholar, at the Catholic University Leuven (Belgium). He published numerous books, articles, and contributions on Levinas’ phenomenological, ethical, metaphysical and Talmudic philosophy in Dutch, English, French, German, and Italian. See among others: Proximity with the Other. A Multidimensional Ethic of Responsibility in Levinas, Bangalore: Dharmaram Publications, 2009.


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How to Cite

Burggraeve, R. (2018). “WHEN IN THE ‘BROTHER’ THE STRANGER IS ACKNOWLEDGED”: From Identity to Alterity and Dialogue, According to Emmanuel Levinas. Journal of Dharma, 43(3), 285–310. Retrieved from https://dvkjournals.in/index.php/jd/article/view/249