Desire, Dialectic, and Otherness: An Essay on Origins (2nd Edition)

By William Desmond

An erudite post-Hegelian exploration of the metaphysics of human desire and its relevance to philosophical issues of difference and otherness.

ISBN: 9780227174647


Many philosophers since Hegel have been disturbed by the thought that philosophy inevitably favours sameness over otherness or identity over difference. William Desmond here offers a constructive and positive approach to the problem of difference and otherness. He systematically explores the question of dialectic and otherness by analysing how human desire inevitably seeks immanent wholeness in a manner that opens it to irreducible otherness. In a wide-ranging yet unified discussion, Desmond tackles such issues as the nature of the self, the ambiguous restlessness and inherent power of being revealed by human desire, desire’s relation to transcendence, its openness to otherness in agapeic good will and in relation to the sublime as an aesthetic infinitude.

Desire, Dialectic, and Otherness is a remarkable introduction to Desmond’s metaxological philosophy. This second edition contains a substantial new preface and an afterword to each chapter in which Desmond reflects on the material from the standpoint of his current thinking.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 290

Trade Information JPOD

About the Author

William Desmond is Professor of Philosophy at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven as well as David Cook Visiting Chair in Philosophy at Villanova University.


Preface to the First Edition
Preface to the Second Edition

Part 1: Intentional Infinitude
1. Desire, Lack, and the Absorbing God
2. Desire and Original Selfness
3. Desire’s Infinitude and Wholeness

Part 2: Actual Finitude
4. Desire, Transcendence, and Static Eternity
5. Desire, Knowing, and Otherness
6. Desire, Concreteness, and Being
7. Desire, Otherness, and Infinitude

Part 3: Actual Infinitude
8. Desire and the Absolute Original



Endorsements and Reviews

What splendid news that William Desmond’s admirable, insightful, engaging, and – because of its Hegelian involvements – exasperating book is republished! It invites reflection on those conversations with others in which we become other to ourselves. … Desmond’s book initiates just such a badly needed conversation with his readers.
Alasdair MacIntyre, Professor Emeritus, University of Notre Dame

At the time of its publication over twenty years ago, Desire, Dialectic, and Otherness represented the appearance of a truly important and original philosophical voice. It exhibited critical mastery of the entire philosophical tradition and a rare ability both to sift through it and to penetrate to its original and originating core. It was a portend of much to come.
Cyril O’Regan, Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame