What does otherness mean?

What is Otherness

Otherness from the Latin alteritas (“ other ”) is the conception that every social human being interacts with and is interdependent on the other . It is a term approached by philosophy and anthropology.

For this reason, the “ I ” in its individual form can only exist through contact with the “ other ”.

With alterity, one culture does not point to the extinction of another. This is because otherness implies that an individual can put himself in another’s place , in a relationship based on dialogue and appreciation of existing differences.


Otherness in Philosophy

In the realm of philosophy, it is the opposite of identity .

Presented by Plato as one of the five “ supreme genres ”, he refuses to identify being as identity and sees an attribute of being in the multiplicity of ideas, among which is the relationship of reciprocal alterity .

Otherness also plays an important role in Hegel ‘s logic : “ anything ”, which is determined qualitatively, is in a negative relationship with “ the other ” (herein lies its limitation), but it is destined to become something else.

The use of the term also arises in 20th century philosophy ( existentialism ), but with non-equivalent meanings.

Alterity in Anthropology.

Anthropology is known as the science of alterity , because its objective is the study of man in his fullness and the phenomena that surround him.

With such a vast and complex subject, it is imperative to be able to study the differences between various cultures and ethnicities . Since alterity is the study of differences and the study of the other, it assumes an essential role in anthropology .

What does Anthropology mean?


  • otherness


Principle that prohibits the criminalization of conduct that does not offend any legal asset . This sets up a situation that is constituted by the contrast ratio. Thus, a suicide attempt can be said to run counter to the alterity principle .

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