Universality in the making

The case for an expanded genealogy

  • Josep Maria Bech Università di Barcelona


This paper studies five approaches on the future of alterity that awaits ideas and doctrines. According to these predictions, embedded in texts by Weber, Meinecke, Butterfield, Merleau-Ponty and Koselleck, the coming forms of thinking shall endure the same destiny affecting the ideas of the past because they will evolve without relying on historical sameness. The future of Western thought, in short, is bound to an unpredictable “destiny of otherness”. These claims, taken together, outline a redirection of the genealogical untangling to the future. While they persist on linking present phenomena to realities deemed historically “other”, they also foresee that this fate of alterity will prevail in future times, an enlargement of scope that results in a symmetrically expanded genealogy. This universalized “discourse of historical otherness” makes evident that genealogy, in addition to its involvement with past vicissitudes of ideas and beliefs, is also bound to explore their future emmeshing with alterity. Its “forward-looking inflection” will proscribe historiographic prolepsis, contending that the destiny of otherness awaiting ideas and doctrines excludes any surmise about the meaning they will be given in the future.

Biografia autore

Josep Maria Bech, Università di Barcelona

Professore Associato