1. Take Flight! Explore little-known chapters of the Christian story from far-flung destinations around the globe.
Desire, Dialectic, and Otherness: An Essay on Origins, 2nd Edition
This image is for illustration only. The product is a download.

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


Wipf & Stock 2013

Runs on Windows, Mac and mobile.

Your Custom Discount

Reg. Price $24.95
Pre-order Price $18.95
Your Price $18.95
You Save $6.00 24%
Your Price What’s Pre-Pub?
Reg.: $24.95
Gathering Interest


Many philosophers since Hegel have been disturbed by the thought that philosophy inevitably favors sameness over otherness or identity over difference. Originally published at a time when the issue was not so widely discussed in the English-speaking world, 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 analyzing how human desire inevitably seeks immanent wholeness in a manner that opens it to irreducible otherness. He faces the difficulties bequeathed to Continental thought by Hegelian dialectic and its tendency to subordinate difference to identity, whether appropriately or not.

Unlike many recent critics of Hegel, he argues that we must preserve what is genuine in dialectic. Granting the positive power of dialectic, Desmond offers his first articulation of a further philosophical possibility—what he terms the Metaxological—a discourse of the “between,” a discourse doing justice to desire’s search for wholeness without any truncating of its radical openness to 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. Finally, Desmond brings this metaxological understanding to bear on the metaphysical question of the ultimate origin.

This book is a remarkable introduction to Desmond’s metaxological philosophy, prefiguring many of the ideas with which his later thought is associated. 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.

In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Scripture citations link directly to English translations, and important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Key Features

  • Examines the philosophical ideas of dialectic and otherness
  • Introduces the idea of ‘metaxological philosophy’
  • Applies these concepts to the metaphysical question of origin


  • Part 1: Intentional Infinitude
    • Desire, Lack, and the Absorbing God
    • Desire and Original Selfness
    • Desire’s Infinitude and Wholeness
  • Part 2: Actual Finitude
    • Desire, Transcendence, and Static Eternity
    • Desire, Knowing, and Otherness
    • Desire, Concreteness, and Being
    • Desire, Otherness, and Infinitude
  • Part 3: Actual Infinitude
    • Desire and the Absolute Original

Praise for the Print Edition

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. And in hindsight, one can see in this still amazingly fresh work the seeds of Desmond’s great trilogy in metaphysics, which has made him one of the essential philosophers of his generation.

—Cyril O. Regan, professor of theology, University of Notre Dame

Product Details

  • Title: Desire, Dialectic, and Otherness: An Essay on Origins, 2nd Edition
  • Author: William Desmond
  • Edition: 2nd
  • Publisher: Wipf & Stock
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Pages: 292
  • Christian Group: Catholic
  • Resource Type: Topical
  • Topic: Postmodern Philosophy

About William Desmond

William Desmond is professor of philosophy at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven as well as David Cook Visiting Chair in Philosophy at Villanova University. He earned his MA from the National University of Ireland and PhD from Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Desmond is a Hegel expert, and he specializes in philosophy and religion. He is the author or editor of over a dozen scholarly works.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition