Polemology and xenology: Waldenfels and the sting of the alien

  • Dragan Prole Head of Philosophy Department, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Novi Sad
Keywords: Waldenfels, phenomenology, alien, polemology, xenology


After explaining why phenomenology of the alien cannot be counted among traditional philosophical disciplines, the author explores why all of European history can be read as the “shading of the alien” (Verblendung des Fremden), although not in the sense of mere disregarding, neglecting or denying of the alien, but disciplining it, manipulating and exploiting it. The alien has not been forgotten for centuries, it was always in the European focus, but only as an instance through which the sense of power was traditionally constructed. Following the basic presumptions of Bernhard Waldenfels’ phenomenology of the alien the article presents the shading of the alien as analogous to the process of its naturalization. As if the tradition of European colonialism can be best understood in the key of maître et possesseur de’l étranger. That is to say, the European legacy shows, in an extraordinary manner, that the alien can be transformed into a resource, from which we can appropriate and assimilate everything. A crucial insight for Waldenfels is also that strangeness is not reducible to a narrow segment of reality, whether it is culture, religion or art-based, because strangeness is a radical dimension that transcends all regions.


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