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This essay develops a dialogue between Zhu Xi’s 13th c. Neo-Confucian thought and Levinas’s 20th c. Western philosophy, around the notion of interrelatedness between individuals, between self and other. Despite the fact that Zhu Xi and Levinas belong to different cultural universes, to different philosophical spiritualities, and lived in different historical times, they share the same interest in exploring, interpreting and building interrelatedness, therefore in ethics and ethical relationships. Through an intertextual and hermeneutical approach, the article builds a dialogue between different cultural presuppositions underlying the essence of ethics and of ethical relationship: otherness and sameness. This dialogue allows one to become aware of the existence of transcultural concepts such as interrelatedness, and of their different, cross-cultural meanings (e.g., interrelatedness is grounded in “sameness” in Zhu Xi’s Confucian context and in “otherness” in Levinas’s thought).


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