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Introduction: On the Disappearance and Appearance of Persons

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Abstract

To live is to live with other people. Typically, we assume that we understand the people who are important to us, and especially those with whom we are intimate. But how well do we really know these people, be they our friends or lovers, family members or colleagues, enemies or allies? No doubt we have some awareness of their significance to us, and yet it is easy to lose sight of them as persons with their own lives. Also, recognizing people’s importance to us is by no means the same as understanding their point of view, knowing something of the world they inhabit, and appreciating what matters to them.

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Intersubjectivity is experienced in a primordial way rather than known through proofs.

Maurice Natanson1

We all long for someone with whom we are able to share our peculiar burdens of being alive.

Salley Vickers2

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Notes

  1. Maurice Natanson, “Anonymity and Recognition: Toward an Ontology of Social Roles,” in Condito Humana, ed. W. Van Bayer and R. Griffith (Berlin: Springer Verlag, 1966), 32.

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  2. Salley Vickers, The Other Side of You (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006), 91.

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  3. George Steiner, Real Presences (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991), 139.

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  4. Anita Shreve, The Pilot’s Wife (Boston: Little Brown, 1998).

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  5. cf. Edmund Husserl, The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology, trans. David Karr (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1970).

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  6. Walter Lowrie, A Short Life of Kierkegaard (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1970), 115. The existential tradition in philosophy was so named because it was concerned with addressing the dilemmas and problems of personal existence. In the years roughly subsequent to the 1930s, the existential and phenomenological traditions converged.

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  7. The phenomenological philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty strongly emphasized the necessity of an ongoing movement between the flow of experience and reflection on experience, in the Phenomenology of Perception, trans. Colin Smith (New York: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1962) and especially in his last manuscript, published as The Visible and the Invisible, trans. Alphonso Lingis (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1968).

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  8. John Sallis, Phenomenology and the Return to Beginnings (Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 1973).

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  9. G. K. Chesterton, “The Blast of the Book,” in The Scandal of Father Brown (New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1923), 69–93.

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  10. For a lucid interpretation of Father Brown as a moralist and theologian, see John Peterson’s “Father Brown’s War on the Permanent Things,” in Permanent Things, ed. A. A. Tadie and M. H. MacDonald (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eeerdmans, 1995).

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  11. Charles. T. Onions, ed., Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology (London: Oxford University Press, 1966).

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  12. Gitta Sereny, Albert Speer: His Battle with Truth (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1995), 427–428.

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  13. Joseph E. Stiglitz, Globalization and Its Discontents (New York: Norton, 2002), 24.

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© 2008 Steen Halling

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Halling, S. (2008). Introduction: On the Disappearance and Appearance of Persons. In: Intimacy, Transcendence, and Psychology. Palgrave Macmillan, New York. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230610255_1

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