Cont Philos Rev (2011) 44:151–164 DOI 10.


In place of the Other
Bernhard Waldenfels

Published online: 23 April 2011 © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Abstract This paper outlines the basic traits of a responsive phenomenology by focusing on the issue of originary substitution. On the one hand, a phenomenology of alienness or otherness and an ethics of the other in the sense of Levinas will prove to be closely bound up with this sort of substitution. On the other side, this substitution can be concretised by transitional figures such as the advocate, the therapist, the translator, the witness, or the field researcher; they all intervene from the position of a Third without closing the fissure which opens between ourselves and the Other, between the own and the alien. Precisely by focussing on the issue of substitution, we have the opportunity to outline the basis traits of a responsive phenomenology and to discuss some of its institutional consequences. Keywords Substitution · Levinas · The Other · Derrida · Response · Responsibility · Phenomenology

Substitution does not rank with the main concepts of classical thinking. It is completely overshadowed either by a holistic view according to which everyone joins in the common place of a group, a family, a tribe, a nation or finally in the common world of mankind, or it is minimized by an individualistic view according to which everyone first of all occupies his or her own place. As long as our being in the world is fixed on occupying a certain place, either in common or each person for him- or herself, the possibility of speaking from the Other’s place seems to be secondary and provisional. This changes as soon as one’s own position turns out never to be completely one’s own, because we attain our own position only by responding to the Other’s demand. Due to such a shifting of the social perspective, we discover an originary form of substitution. The consequences are enormous.
B. Waldenfels (&) ¨ ¨ Institut fur Philosophie, Ruhr-Universitat Bochum, 44780 Bochum, Germany e-mail:


This is not to be understood as if I would only imagine being there. wondering whether what he or she is doing to the Other is in accordance with the law of nature. lead us to a topical relation: “A appears in place of B. forthcoming). But following Hobbes by referring to the Golden Rule: “Do not that to others. describing given relations without being involved in anyone of them. substitution as we understand it means more than this. we have the opportunity to outline the basis traits of a responsive phenomenology and to discuss some of its institutional consequences. move. Nor do I reach the place of the Other.152 B. The place we are speaking from is more than a given point within a homogeneous space. Substitution must just as little be confused with care or with Heidegger’s solicitude [Fürsorge]. together with “now. Bruchlinien der Erfahrung (2002). we would get stuck in the perspective of a neutral observer.” leads us on the path of equalisation [Gleichstellung] and not of substitution [Stellvertretung]. which you would not have done to yourself. “Here” marks a place in the world. forthcoming). Now. act and where I am and where I find myself according to Heidegger’s Befindlichkeit.” one of those occasional or indexical terms which the early Husserl analysed in his First Logical Investigation. indicated by the word “here. By means of substitution we do not exchange one standpoint for the other. Precisely by focussing on the issue of substitution. It refers to a privileged place. 123 . by taking the place of the Other we do not only change our position. Phenomenology of the Alien—Basic Concepts: Northwestern Press.” “I” or “you. I am precisely in the place where the Other is. On the other side. this substitution can be concretised by transitional figures such as the advocate. speak.1 1 The riddle of substitution The terms “in place of” or “instead of” or. I am not in the place where the Other has been or will be. Engl. On the contrary. but to some extent we enter another world. they all intervene from the position of a Third without closing the fissure which opens between ourselves and the Other. Substitution becomes enigmatic when we consider the fact that I am at once where the Other is. the therapist. trans. by Northwestern Press. uno loco. As we will see.” Here is the place from which I perceive. our phenomenology of alienness or otherness and an ethics of the Other in the sense of Levinas will prove to be closely bound up with this sort of substitution. Waldenfels On the one hand. Hobbes recommends that everyone. It means that somebody takes somebody’s place.” But should we stop here. which leaps in for the Other [Einspringen] or leaps ahead of him 1 Concerning my conception of a responsive phenomenology see my books Antwortregister (1994. the translator. like through an exchange of ideas which makes speaker and hearer change their roles. in other languages. Schattenrisse der Moral (2006b) and the compact presentation of its basic presuppositions in Grundmotive einer Phänomenologie des Fremden (2006a. trans. 26). putting myself into the Other’s position by comprehension or empathy as Theodor Lipps presupposes in his psychology of Einfühlung. between the own and the alien. “should conceive himself to be in that other’s stead” (De cive 3. in loco. the witness or the field researcher. The demonstrative pronoun “here” is. Engl. an Stelle von or au lieu de. ἀντί τινος.

But how could it happen that I am at once where the Other is. Substitution in its full sense implies that somebody transfers rights. By such attempts we miss the point. whether by an informal agreement. But how do we arrive at taking the Other’s place and at keeping it open. town or country. for we must respect the Other’s quality of person which makes him or her substitutable. Any complete substitution would extinguish the Other’s chance to occupy a place.2 Finally. But the status of a substitute needs more. 123 . We can distinguish several variants of substitution within the framework of normality. 2 Normal substitution The riddle of the substitution seems to be soluble if it is taken as something secondary. Substitution. considering that our bodily situation touches the uniqueness of our individuality and that occupying a certain place is required for any “sphere of ownness. one may argue. this would mean that I am not properly there where the Other is.In place of the Other 153 [Vorausspringen]. but not replaceable. Delegations take are constituted between different persons. Thus what seems impossible becomes possible without disappearing in the clouds. This switch over reminds us of the obstinate attempts to degrade signs and pictures to secondary remedies. but not completely. but not before it has been cautiously trimmed and normalised. So someone may pinch-hit for the Other without waiting for his or her agreement.” for any Eigenheitssphäre in Husserl’s sense? Must we not admit that a radical substitution would come up either to an expropriation of the Other or to an expropriation of myself? How can I be just where the Other is staying without stepping quasi on the Other’s feet or without displacing and dislodging the Other? Does substitution not require that I am precisely there where you are and where I cannot be? The kind of impossibility that shows up here calls for counter-measures. restricted to mere representations. For example. substitution has nothing to do with sharing common places like bed. duties or competences to another. The German expressions Vormund and Unmündiger are closer to the possibility of Fürsprache (= speaking in name of). being secondarily there where the Other is. § 26. Thus substitution only means that I am primarily there where the Other is not. and substitution would destroy itself. In all these cases there is a need for an auxiliary form of substitution that fills in the vacant place. It concerns provisional and retrospective forms of substitution. yes.3 the testator in the name of the deceased. Sometimes one contents oneself with first steps. and controversially the same. the guardian speaks in the name of the minor. doing both at once? We get a step further by representing substitution as a form of delegation. nobody would be left to be answered for. which might save what seems to be saved. Something takes the Other’s place while it is not yet or any more occupied by the Other. limited to certain periods of a lifetime. The first variant does not raise great problems. In a similar way one treats faintness or insanity as deficiencies which need some Fürsprecher. by a 2 3 See Being and Time. each standing on his or her own feet.

in case of emergency. 16 and De homine. this happens in such a way that the guard anticipates the minor’s agreement and the testator decides in the sense of the deceased. as a mere functionary I could indeed be replaced. The other will only be able to act in my name if I keep my name.4 Normal forms of substitution appear most frequently in the fields of right and politics. to arbitrary decisions.7 Improper forms of substitution that are produced by misuse are to be attacked and curbed. See Derrida’s comment on Rousseau in Grammatology. speaking and acting in another’s name. But it is also exposed to patronizing. nor is it undisputed as we learn from Rousseau or from the early Marx. As to the relation between guardianship and violence see Hirsch (2004.” based on mere autonomy. but I can in no way delegate the signature itself without giving up my personal rights. Socrates insists that his interlocutors witness for themselves 4 Concerning the relations between citizens. Leviathan. Novels dealing with heritage affairs are full of such manoeuvres which pertain to the risk of social life and to its institutional embodiment. Something is only transferable if it can be detached from the represented person. which at its core is free from substitution. and the fictive person. without referring to any mediation. then substitution. moreover it would be a source of social alienation. or for an indefinite time. which at its core is free from domination. Supposing that the people’s will were to manifest itself immediately. In any case. Similar to contracts. substitution remains something secondary as long as it comes from the person to be represented and remains dependent upon his or her responsibility. Hobbes assumes that anyone who represents another does so either by or without the order of the represented (De homine. to the pursuit of one’s own interests. all representation would not only be superfluous.154 B. pp. 1. 15.6 As long as substitution is anchored in the consent of the represented person. accordingly I would speak of a “vertretungsloser Dialog. just like the origin of the language. This concerns. this seems the right order. Waldenfels formal contract or by the election of representatives. the transfer can be performed ad hoc for a certain period. by a simple hint. they are normally based on autonomous self-activities. so to speak. The substitutive speech or action is. both forms of dialogue can only be defended to a certain extent. to falsehood and deceit. speaking and acting in his or her own name.” based on mere arguments. 2). First subsistence. due to the artificial elements of our sociability. 223–230). Substitution always leaves margins for decisions on one’s own discretion. unless the functions are bound to an individual office-holder. The fact that Rousseau explains the origin of the state. There are various ways of delegating.5 But even if institutional representations are accepted as unavoidable. The provisional and posterior substitution mentioned above takes it bearings too from substituting responsible and living persons. I. is complemented by a dialogue. made of lent goods which are lent until they are recalled. ¨ The later Frankfort School around Jurgen Habermas speaks of a “herrschaftsfreier Dialog. shows that the different modes of representation are closely connected. I can delegate an authority or competence by my signature or. We should note that the representative form of parliamentary democracy is neither the primary form. Accordingly. 15. it easily fits into the classical scheme of dialogue. Accordingly. diverse kinds of function. The dialogue. I can yield to others the power to sign “on order”. cf. Hobbes distinguishes between the natural person. first of all. 5 6 7 123 .

472 b–c). We substitute for each other by means of the said and within the horizon of what can be said. but also from authors such as Lacan and Levinas: the distinction between saying and what is said or between the enunciation and the enunciated. I perform a speech act in place of others by saying what they mean. known from linguistics. one speaks for and by oneself. we shall resort to a distinction. By contrast. but are not in a position to say. p. Consequently. To the extent that our saying and acting does not only show a certain sense and follow certain rules. 34). classical dialogue does not so much care for substitution. ch. while speaking for and from the Other. it is the Other’s demand which speaks through my voice. and this in such a way that my saying covers the Other’s saying. While I am speaking. the event of saying leads us into the region of pathic experience. but cannot defend. taking at once and from the outset the place of the Other. Accordingly. 11. without relying on other witnesses that may perhaps be false (Gorg. In this context I make use of the Greek word pathos which has a triple meaning. 2005b. ch. but it can as well be performed in place of the Other. Were I and the Other to speak with one voice. 7). and I do so by deciding what others will. we would no longer speak for each other. Truth speaks for and by itself. What happens to me in terms of a certain affect or appeal bestows on me the status of a patient. But how does this happen? At this point. joining my own and the Other’s saying. See Waldenfels (2002.9 All substitution would be futile.In place of the Other 155 what they say. 348 b). On the other hand. it denotes the passivity of 8 9 See Waldenfels (2005a. but rather happens here and now.8 On the one hand. and this does not really change when in our days the dialogue turns into a universal hermeneutics or in a rule-governed discourse. 3 Originary substitution I designate a substitution as originary if it makes us stand on our own feet. One and the same logos would speak through each of us. This sort of covering-over [Überdeckung]. Thus the mentioned impossibility. So the advocate pleads for the client by adopting the client’s interests. Thus the true dialogue has no need of a judge because everyone is judge and speaker in one and the same person (Rep. This is part of a speech act I am performing. clearly differs from acts of taking over [Übernahme] common sense contents. what is said corresponds to the intentional or propositional content. the representative difference between the representing and the represented would simply vanish. an originary substitution takes place on the level of saying. even if the agreement remains more or less hypothetical. would be more than a pure chimera. where something occurs to us which is simply said and exchanged. 123 . If my own and the Other’s saying would completely coincide. More precisely. the latter taken in a wider sense. which lets me be where the Other is. Everything the substitute is saying and doing has to suit the expectations of those for whom he or she substitutes. it takes on certain traits of a pathos or Widerfahrnis.

nor with the pathological. provided that we do not conceive affect in terms of subjective states. and this stands in contrast to logical. the Other’s word. and where everything that strikes me. practical. or Befindlichkeit. Anreiz. when I am seized by the Other’s joy. Angehen and so on. 11 12 10 See Waldenfels (2009). A part of them are used by Husserl.12 Just as according to Laplanche’s general theory of seduction. since my response starts from what has happened to me. On the one end of the scale. affectivity. so to speak. Angreifen. and the fervency of passion. ontological. In terms of our The German language contains numerous expressions of addressing. which prevents us from answering for the Other. Ansprechen. Antasten. The latter confronts us with a whole scale of deviations which continue to touch the phenomenon of substitution. the inner tension of substitution can assume an extreme form.156 B. Aside from this. we discover a lack of responsiveness. characterised in this way.11 To the extent that originary substitution takes on pathic features. which causes a sort of apathy in which the pathos is drying up. See Laplanche (1997). on the other end. but doubles that we encounter from a distance out of reach. originary substitution is not characterised by an attempt to occupy the Other’s place by myself. entails a self-splitting off of myself. marked by the prefix an-. Not unlike pathos. Sympathy and antipathy. Further. has its origin. see Anruf. The Other is literally “implanted” in me. I am the Other for whom I substitute. Such a surplus of impossibility that shows up at the core of our experience may be called lived impossibility. 123 . for example. Anspruch. and even more so consent and dissent. Anblick. or technical impossibilities which shipwreck on the given conditions. In contrast with the variants of normal substitution. or concern. coming up from elsewhere. we touch the impossible. pathos. are posterior forms of response. Heidegger and their followers in the context of a phenomenology of affection. but as af-fect. The pathos of Otherness rises. Waldenfels (2005a. the process of substitution rises to a higher power. Andenken. the pathic. we come across a blockade of response. The term affect comes rather close to it. or the Other’s gesture. Whenever I am affected by the presence/absence of the Other. whether the Other’s gaze. it joins the above mentioned paradox of a lived impossibility. Whenever and wherever something happens to us by which we are struck. which on the basis of the participation of the Other in me. the representative is represented for his or her part. interpellation. Anrühren. should neither be confused with the pathetic as an intensified expression of the pathic. I will never be completely in my place and in the right place (in loco). Others are no duplicates of me. I am simultaneously affected by what affects the Other. the seducer is seduced for his or her part. to a higher power. 13). but rather by the fact that I start from the Other’s place. ad-dressing. which means that we are captivated by the pathos. what literally means something “done to. considering that something crosses our intentions. Antun. exceeds our expectations and leaves behind our projects and arrangements. I start from where I cannot be. is doubled and multiplied.” similar to the meaning of words like al-locution. as Jean Laplanche puts and shows it. rising from the depth of pathos. There is a possible over-identification with the Other. Waldenfels endurance. passing through the Other’s pathos. fright. ch. and there is the splitting off from the Other. Finally. which touches substitution. the vulnerability of suffering.”10 The pathic. or ap-peal which suggest a sort of “speaking to. To a certain extent.

This implies that even the Third. the Greek word ἀντί. otherwise our experience would properly go to pieces. our sort of originary and not merely subsidiary substitution does not get off the ground unless we assume that no one is completely in his or her place. 123 .15 I only want to stress that there is a radical sort of the “irrepresentative” [Unvertretbare]. followed by emperors and kings by the grace of God. English translation. IL: Northwestern University Press. beyond speaking with and about the Other.” points rather in the opposite direction. ch. This kind of intervention. In the eyes of Levinas. is touched and addressed by those for whom he or she answers. yet without striving after a final mediation. finally. forthcoming). or of being abroad without being at home and of being at home without being abroad.In place of the Other 157 responsive phenomenology I would like to speak alternatively of a pathos without response and a response without pathos. Only under this condition we are able to speak for the Other. God’s ecclesiastic substitutes on earth. the religious aura of a phenomenon suggests something over-determinate. More generally speaking. between the own and the alien. no less than the mediation by pictures and signs. but on the threshold. To that extent.” Whereas the Latin word pro. and transgressing the limits of the ordinary. Its effects are defined in a hyperbolic way as hostage and obsession.” we must be careful not to take the term “für den Anderen” or “pour l’autre” simply as the negation of “against” and in the sense of “in favour of. IV. But both trends have to be taken as asymptotic approximations. The supplement d’origine. has its equivalent in an originary form of substitution. That speaks well for separating the substitutive und the altruistic meaning of für or pour.” is rather different from Hegel’s dialectics. 4 Figures of substitution Let us conclude by presenting some fitting transitional figures that are able to evoke the diversity of the phenomenon of substitution. take the representative force of the Eucharist and. See Levinas. always transgressing the limits of the order it represents. As to the ethical meaning of the term “substitution. instead of staying simply outside. Generally speaking. which achieves an all-encompassing mediation. which in many compounds signifies “against. It is remarkable to see that in our Western tradition the motive of substitution bears a strong religious and theological stamp. Take the idea of expiation: Jesus as a sacrificial lamb prepared by the biblical figure of scapegoat. Here is not the place to go into further details. we will meet with something like the Third Party that intervenes in the relation between me and the Other. the Third is a transitional figure. this substitution is ethical through and through. introduced by Jacques Derrida (1967b) in his debate with Husserl in Voice and the Phenomenon13 and with Rousseau in his Grammatology14 with regard to writing. It remains to ask how a process of secularisation can avoid getting stuck in a mere normalisation. transgressing every form of representation. 13 14 15 English traslation by Leonard Lawlor (Evanston. In each case. Substitution turns out to be a basic component of our experience. suggests such an interpretation. Autrement qu’être (1974). just like the German word für. which literally means “coming between. What has been shown has an important consequence. The Third stands neither inside nor outside.

An offence can be punished or repaired. so to speak. which. that is to say. Nevertheless. On the role of justice see Waldenfels (2006b. we must keep in mind that all complainants or defendants stand up for themselves from the outset. yet without being absorbed into it. but it cannot be extinguished by jurisdiction.18 Were the advocate to behave like a simple chess-player. only able to preserve the jurisdiction from being degraded to the mechanisms of a mere law machine. Waldenfels (2005a. The introduction of lawyers. The advocate leaves the lawsuit scene. like the Medical Board. takes care of licensing and of observing the professional ethos. in the popular assembly the citizens took personally part in deliberations and decisions. even if the special role of advocate is provided. Personal violations are more than breaches of law. things are more complicated. are integrated into an 16 17 18 1971.158 B. Waldenfels However. The final judgement does not tolerate any substitute. This conforms to what we called a normal substitution.16 These appear in a crucial phase of the little child’s self-growth. interested only in questions of victory or defeat. at the Athenian court everyone. further. ch. V). whether in the general function of physicians or in the special role of a psychotherapists and psychoanalysts. and they stand definitively for themselves in agreeing or disagreeing on an arrangement and receiving the sentence. or counsels is not self-evident. 2005b. Only in ancient Rome did representation take on distinct contours. 123 . The transitional figures we are going to present resemble “transitional objects” of Donald W. the incompetent lawyer would be the best advocate. a surplus of justice. attorneys. There would not be any need for a Board of Attorneys. Still. 4. Winnicott. ch. Advocates plead for the client’s claims and interests. depicted in detail by Freud. This means that the legal proceedings originate from an event which is filtered and treated by the law.2 Therapist The activities of the therapist. this is only true on the condition that the Third does not fall back upon the role of a normal substitute. 12. charging an advocate. As we know. There is always something left. The lawsuit starts from a personal violation which is going to be interpreted as an infringement of law and to be transformed into a case for trial.17 4. being nothing more than part of the order to be represented. had to defend his own affair even if he ordered a written speech. 1976. but by no means engendered by it. similarly. ch. helping it to come over the mother’s absence. no matter if the client appears as a complainant or as a defendant. they set the legal process in motion. in reference to Levinas. 7). that is to say every full and male citizen.1 Advocate As the first figure we present the advocate who passes for the prototype of substitution. such as the wooden spool in the fort-da-play. only as a second order winner or loser.

on the one hand.In place of the Other 159 institutional framework which is no less complicated than the juridical framework. governed by leading differences such as healthy/ unhealthy or legal/illegal. The shifting of conflicts allows us to live through former experiences anew. or pains. The very place of suffering. What happens to us as pathos cannot be acquired like a knowledge or a skill. the homo legalis or the best known homo economicus. to a certain extent. escapes both the analysand and the analyst. Parallel to the advocate’s client. In this case the analyst would be nothing more than the amplifier of an order. encompassed by the talking cure. This does not mean. the Third cannot be identified with the prevailing embodiment of a code. By contrast. instead of repeating them under constraint. The transference is the special case of a between-event. does not cease to speak from the place of the patient who is touched by something adversarial or threatening. such personal sufferings are transformed into cases of sickness. the due proximity would vanish. but from the outset they are more than general cases. and on the other hand with a meta-voice. the Latin phrase aliquem diligere fratris loco). the distance necessary to him or her would be lacking—a distance that is required to make the analysand respond by him. First. representing the society’s common mores in terms of a moral censor. are to be deconstructed without invoking the phantasm of a “total man”—as yet the younger Marx used to do. Therefore. the therapist’s patient or client appears as somebody suffering from diseases. the same holds true for the relation between the patient and the doctor. is a life construct and by no means a life sphere. analysts are by no means reducible to a neutral instance. the analysis runs through processes of transference and counter-transference. Such constructs of man. for example instead of the mother or the brother (cf. analysts are quite far from playing the role of the Other by attracting the desire of the analysand. which return in the formal approach of the recent system theory in terms of anonymous codes. that one speaks with his or own voice. In addition. The physician too. nor can it be solved like a problem. disturbances. but for the non-substitutable [Unvertretbare] of a pathos to which he is responding as an analyst. there arises the possibility of displacements of affect [Affektverschiebungen] if somebody loves the Other instead of…. This does not change when the patient is deprived of her or his own 123 . If the analyst would take the role of the Other without a Third. By contrast. diagnosing an uneasiness and calling it by its clinical name. already in force. By contrast. Something that at the first sight looks like a special problem of psychoanalysis is really a component of the therapeutic process as such. as if one would perform a sort of reflection à deux.or herself. which prevents the patient’s suffering from being reduced to a normal case of health experts. Let us single out the special part of the analyst which has been thoroughly considered and modelled by Freud and his followers. if the analyst would take the role of a Third without the Other. what takes place is a superposition of the diverse voices through which affects and conflicts find their expression. A sub-system. a Zwischenereignis. The analyst does not stand for the irreplaceable [Unersetzliche] of the other person. Still. as if the cure were a continuation of life conflicts by other means. The analyst stands in the place of further persons with whom the analysand settles his or her old conflicts. such as the homo medicalis. The analyst precisely stands in for something that he himself is not and takes a position that substitutes for somebody else.

and by the quis pro quo of parasitic feelings such as jealousy. IX: on “parasitic passions. In any case. introjections. ranging to further languages. being careful to preserve the features of alienness. seductions.20 Translators represent speakers or authors within a linguistic region where the original language is more or less inaccessible. 19 See Waldenfels. one must only neglect everything that is unequal. every translation knows its “lucky finds” that create an osmosis from one text to the other.” 20 21 Heidegger (1979. the otherness or alienness that is immanent to the parole parlante. We learn from Nietzsche the extent to which sentiments are darkened and poisoned by resentments. as Heidegger puts it in his lecture on Heraclitus. However. the search for linguistic equivalencies can be made pragmatic and automatized. The nearer the translation comes to the mere exchange of information. They move between the lines. every conversation. envy or revengefulness. they will only succeed when they present something that has been said or written in a new way. impelled by early identifications. To a certain extent. ch. and when the words that are going to be translated remain perceivable. the transfer pertains to the non-everyday of everyday life. like the special fees that accompany a simple exchange. 7: on “hybrid speech. even a good translation. the more the initial asymmetry between the departing and the aimed at language vanishes—and the more the pathic element vanishes. The pathos to a higher power—“a pathos of a pathos”—emerges again with regard to the fact that translated authors.160 B. 447 f). translators do not move upon the languages like a spirit moving upon the face of the waters. moves between the extremes of over-exactness and an all too large liberty. 123 . To some extent.3 Translator No matter how polyglotal they may be. too. In this way. and where do they ¨ themselves stand? Anyone who translates [ubersetzt] does so by passing over [übersetzen] to another bank. which are beyond simple contents to be conveyed.” and Waldenfels. is double-edged and even hybrid. See Hirsch (1995).21 This is to say. not only the diplomatic talk. p. ch. that translations never occupy the place of the original and that they always show something of their alien origin. without being at one’s own disposal like a secure heritage. projections. according to Walter Benjamin’s demand that a good translation should be trans-parent [durchscheinend]. Schattenrisse der Moral (2006b). Waldenfels voice. Finally. the element that is inherent in the process of speaking and writing. of listening and reading. for their part. Vielstimmigkeit der Rede (1999). They would have little success if they would behave like second authors. Which language do they represent when fluently switching from a language of departure to a language aimed at. bring to language what stimulated their own writing. namely. would be reduced to mere deviations from the normal course and code of the parole parlée. The simple question as to who speaks to whom when we are speaking opens paths to deep events.19 4.

Historians are accustomed to invoke so-called Zeitzeugen. since automats do not understand what they record and do not suffer from it. Obviously. we could make use of monitors to fill in the lacunae of our experience. To a certain extent. or nothing will 22 Even Heidegger’s daseinsmäßige Bezeugung. Qualified as witness are those who have seen with their own eyes and heard with their own ears. Evidently.23 Thus witnesses report what Others have done or endured. Testimonies can be completed and tested by circumstantial evidence and anonymous sources. Hence Plato explains our need for the legal witness by referring to the lack of autopsy which makes us dependent upon knowing by hearsay (Theaet. the witness does not appear as the agent. Being and Time. but in principle. in lawsuits. since they are more or less involved. In this case. they render everything that fits to the program without wonder and pity. Now. and they testify it to Others who failed to be present. living witnesses are in a different situation. recorded by Plinius on the margin of his own death. Testimonies of witnesses are frequently used in court when something has happened elsewhere and those who have to form a judgment on it have not been present. surveillance devices are even more reliable as any living witnesses. the witness refers to what has happened to somebody and what has done by somebody.22 The witness appears just as little as an observer and this for several reasons. we speak of findings. that is to say. If our experience were to be reduced to given data. 201 b–c). even for scientists. § 54). derived from tri-stis. the testimony would amount to an avowal. The fundamental constellation to which they are submitted can be described as follows. considering that they are not lived like lived experiences. contemporaries of what has happened. With this they have to show sufficient credibility which cannot be compensated for by any certainty on the side of the testimony’s addressee. The receiver of testimonies is forced to give credit to the witness words. for this reason. but as a Third of a special kind. Once more. Speaking of the Other’s experience. One can bear testimony of a discovery like that of X-rays or of America. but not of purposeful experiments which are valid as being repeatable in principle. covers the phenomenon of bearing witness only in part. but adheres to a sort of Selbstseinkönnen (cf. things become more complicated. Witnesses testify what has happened to Others or has been done by Others. at the same time they have to answer for what they report. Provided we take into account the course of natural history. We could have seen for ourselves what witnesses had really seen if the appropriate circumstances would have been present. they would be dispensable. or a crime such as the murder of the widow by Raskolnikov.4 Witness An especially revealing figure of transition proves to be the witness who—as the Latin word testis. 23 123 .In place of the Other 161 4. which does not refer to acts of witness. Testimonies are basically unrepeatable. this kind of substitution would be nothing more than secondary. suggests—stands by as a Third. With respect to fossils. This may be either a natural catastrophe such as the eruption of the Vesuvius. defendants have the right to remain silent in their own affair. Yet if this were the whole affair we would certainly need witnesses to compensate for the limits of our life experience. but no less produced by experiments. they are less remote from witness than experiments are.

or an eruption of collective violence. “mixed actions” (cf. the records of lie detectors. 24 For good reasons. Blutzeugen [martyrs]. martyrdom may warrant the authenticity of a conviction. and they respond in a specific way. 26 An especially perverse arrangement of giving evidence. We may qualify witnesses as powerless or unconcerned. The witness is not like a reporter who is interested in certain events. but it does not prove its truth. 25 123 . the Blutzeugnis. creating the possibility of a mediated co-presence. Close to Aristotle. are redubbed. although only male witnesses are admitted. ordered in the name of the people. disaster or crime. the witness becomes a witness nolens volens. is a borderline case that is generally attributed to the martyr. prescribes that women have to prove their rape. Witnesses respond to something happening. that is to say bloody victims. They are forced to speak from an event. not only by intervening to the best of their power. but once confronted with an event. every bearing witness starts from something happening to someone. of the patrie. performed under constraint. which calls for invention. the reporter can be urged to play the part of the witness. Various fixed and fanatic ideas find their martyrs as well. Swearing in court does not increase the epistemic. which in the meantime are improved by more sophisticated procedures like neuronal introspection.25 In any case. but above all. Many traditional memorials of war bear testimony to an ordered substitution. which by the way does not discover lies but only the excitement of a supposed liar.24 There is something more that closely touches our issue. are not admitted in court. either spontaneously or by order. but as well our reminding words and pictures. in war actions like the thrust of tanks. we can approximate the corresponding case of witness by speaking of “mixed testimonies”. 1). among them the suicidal assassins who recently populate our political everyday life. III. before speaking about it. Here we meet again with an originary form of substitution. being involved in an indirect way. Eth. From time to time we see how Blutopfer. alluding those who commit an offence because of their convictions [Überzeugungstäter]. Certainly. extorted by torture. No doubt. To what extent the situation of a witness that is involved in the situation differs from the condition of an uninterested observer can be seen from the fact that anyone who becomes a witness of an event can be held accountable (juridically or at least morally) because he or she withheld succour or refrained from doing something. who decided to call actions. Waldenfels happen. none of us turns out to be a simple free-rider or deadbeat. That testimonies of this kind are especially important in the cases of misfortune. an injury. a Duce or a Caudillo. The Iraq war has contributed to blur the roles by permitting to take along reporters as witnesses. but only the moral certainty. whether an accident or an assault.26 The testimony written in blood. In this respect it differs from taking finger prints or using a lie detector. Nic. We should also take a special interest in so-called live transmissions which represent a mixed form of report. and at the very least in the name of a Führer. is due to the fact that victims do not only need our help. by bringing to light or to language what they have seen—or by refraining from doing this.162 B. That resembles statements. reported from Pakistan. Witnesses are involved in the event that they are giving witness to. We would like to speak of victims by virtue of their convictions.

but we are to be reproached for the tendency to Europeanize and Americanize the whole world. Since the time of the Polish explorer Boris Malinowski. even if it continues dealing with it in the framework of a certain order. participant observation does not postulate that the researcher converts and simply joins in. as can already be seen in Malinowski’s diaries. Even ethnologists. are tempted to seek shelter behind their own interpretations and constructs. who work as Fremdheitswissenschaftler. Explorers speak and write about those with whom they live together for a while and to a certain extent. From this perspective.In place of the Other 163 4. as Mephistopheles is mocking in Goethe’s Faust. even if one pretends to follow the lines of a continuous universalisation.5 Field researcher Let us take as a last example the researcher working in the field.27 Still. Provided this tendency prevails. implying something like a double look. in the end we will never speak of the Other without speaking from the Other. it seems to be precisely the originary form of substitution. the ethnologist assumes the task of a cultural interpreter.28 Viewed from this perspective. we will never properly speak in place of the Other. All attempts to join both sides together lead to half-hearted compromises. Belonging to a common field of action is unavoidable. this time applied to the task of ethnography. What appears as highly problematic is the simultaneity of contact and distance. in order to enable the explorer to have an eye for what is alien or heterogeneous and to give voice to it. the results often betray nothing more than “the masters of their own spirit” [der Herren eigner Geist]. ethnology or cultural anthropology has adopted and disseminated the method of participant observation. The “strange moons of reason. Vielstimmigkeit der Rede (1999). but always exclusively in and from our own place. a double ear and a double speech. all that is alien or heterogeneous would be crammed into one and the same frame of reference. and expressions simply from the outside as if looking from another star. We Europeans or occidentals are not to be reproached for being who we are. yet the same field functions at once as a field of observation. I refer to the chapter “Paradoxien ethnographischer Fremddarstellung” in Waldenfels. rituals. This mixture of nearness and remoteness preserves the explorer from observing ethnic customs. 123 . as investigators of the alien. they cannot be united in a third position. or the experience of the alien. However. Darmann (2005). This pertains to the ABC of every phenomenology 27 28 ¨ cf. I have proposed a sort of double game. Today this tendency passes under the cloak of globalisation. In another context. starts from what is alien. This would render possible a special kind of Fremddarstellung—a presentation of the alien—which.” explored by Marcel Mauss in his ethnological studies. even a special sort of ´ ethnological epoche. in accordance with Fremderfahrung. here the author returns to the same prejudices which he had combated on the terrain of research. fade away when the great sun of reason outshines everything. If there is something to protect the research from these consequences. Exploration needs a certain distance. including the place from where we are invited to respond.

XIV). 1998. Engl.U.164 B. Spielraume des Moglichen und Uberschusse des Unmoglichen. Laplanche. 1962. Hirsch. Frankfurt/M: Fischer. Waldenfels.S. Originary substitution means that we will never speak of the Other and even with the Other without speaking from the Other’s place. Evanston: Northwestern Press. In ¨ Unmöglichkeiten. Recht auf Gewalt?. Munchen: W. Frankfurt/M: Suhrkamp. Sein und Zeit. of Grammatology (trans: Spivak. Fink.). Bernhard. Le primat de l’’autre. The transitional figures we have presented could be like guards on the threshold of otherness. Frankfurt/M: Klostermann. forthcoming. Grundmotive einer Phänomenologie des Fremden. Jean. 1979. Bernhard. ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ Waldenfels. Voice and Phenomenon (trans: Lawlor.. Tubingen: Niemeyer. 1953. The Hague: M. Bruchlinien der Erfahrung. Bernhard. Heidegger. Playing and reality. References ¨ ¨ Darmann. 7. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. Levinas. Still. forthcoming. 2011. La voix et le phénomène. De la Grammatologie. London: Tavistock Publications. forthcoming. Jacques. ¨ Hirsch. Waldenfels. Symptom und Angst (GW. Jacques. ¨ Heidegger. Schattenrisse der Moral.). Waldenfels. or Beyond Essence (trans: Lingis. 2005b. Bernhard. Derrida. ed. New York: Harper and Row. Bernhard. ed. 55). Kapust and K. Sigmund. vol. 2002. 1995. Frankfurt/M: Suhrkamp. Bernhard. Waldenfels.) Northwestern Press. vol. 2009. Let me sum up what has been explained. Engl. Autrement qu’être ou au-delà de l’essence. A. 1971. Bernhard. Idiome des Denkens. Engl. Munchen: W. Frankfurt/ M: Suhrkamp. This holds true as long as we do not fall into the sleep of pure normality. and Robinson. L. Being and Time (trans: Macquarrie. Tubingen: Siebeck. G. Studien zum Sprach. 2005a. 1976. 1994. Martin. E. 2006a. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. A. E. Munchen: W. Engl. In Addressing Levinas. (trans. 1981. 1967a.) Northwestern Press.C. Hemmung. 123 . Der Dialog der Sprachen. Fink. ed. Nijhoff. Hunziker. Waldenfels of otherness or alienness. Heraklit (GA. Donald W. 2005. (trans. Stoellger and A. Nelson. 1999. Eurocentrism as well as any other form of ethnocentrism seems to amount to something like a repressed substitution. Otherwise than Being. 1967b. Nijhoff. Waldenfels. Dalferth. Waldenfels. 2006b. 1974. Bernhard. 2004. Antwortregister. Levinas on the Saying and the Said.). Freud. Iris. Vielstimmigkeit der Rede. Fink.). Waldenfels. Fremde Monde der Vernunft. Alfred. Emmanuel. I. Frankfurt/M: Suhrkamp. The Hague: M. Frankfurt/M: Suhrkamp. Engl. Alfred. Derrida. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins.und Übersetzungsdenken Walter ¨ Benjamins und Jacques Derridas. J. Paris: Minuit. Frankfurt/M: Suhrkamp. Engl. Northwestern Press. Martin. Die ethnologische Provokation der Vernunft. Ph. 1997. Winnicott. Deutsch-Französische Gedankengänge II.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful