Ernst M Conradie


This paper discusses David Tracy’s contribution to the (South Africa) ‘dialogue on dialogue’.  It analyses the development of Tracy’s notion of ‘dialogue with the other’ with special reference to his recent articles.  In three subsections it is argued that:  1) Tracy now realizes the ambiguity of both modernity and postmodernity,  2) The notion of the ‘other’ serves to do justice to the insights of postmodernity, understood as a fully ethical response to the ambiguities of modernity, 3) The notion of ‘dialogue’ continues, in fact the hopes of modernity in the liberating possibilities of a dialogical rationality.  Is such a modernist (!?) dialogue with a postmodernist other possible?  After discussing the debate on Tracy’s notion of dialogue, it is argued that one of the dangers of this notion of dialogue is that it tends to become all-inclusive and even assumes quasi-religious characteristics.  Conversation is for Tracy indeed ‘our last best hope’.  The notion of dialogue may become too ‘fat’.  Dialogue is one possible metaphor and strategy for Christian theology but it should be supplemented by others.  Tracy himself has emphasized the importance of solidarity in this respect.


David Tracy; Dialogue with the other

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ISSN 2305-445X (online); ISSN 0254-1807 (print)

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