From Cogito to the Other: A Persistence of the Fetish (Part 1)

Is it not astonishing that since the world began none of those people who call themselves philosophers dreamt of producing, at least in the classical period, this essential dimension which is the one I spoke to you about under the name of what can be called: autre chose, something other. (Seminar 5, 15.1.1958)

Should there be a coinage, one which could by itself—alone, singly (albeit painstakingly) demarcate the boundaries between Modern Philosophy on the one hand, and Contemporary Philosophy on the other, it must have been the coinage very commonly circulating in ‘post-structuralist’ literatures in Continental thought, namely: the other (at times spelled with a capital letter ‘O’ as in the complex literatures of, but not in any way limited to, Jacques Lacan’s. [1]

This Other, to be directly broad, pertains to that which eludes any possible identification with the self, or subject (be it singular subject or collective subject, physical or not); this coinage painstakingly dares to capture that somewhat enigmatic and phantasmic something that can never overlap with any cohesive identification whatever—thus the apparently pathetic or weak appeal to merely capitalizing the letter ‘O’ in the efforts to refer to some-thing residing in a dimension that can never be grasped by a consciously ruminative thinking subject.

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