Hospitality in and beyond Religions and Politics

Derrida Today 8 (2):215-237 (2015)
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This paper examines Derrida's treatment of the quasi-transcendental structure of hospitality, particularly as it pertains to religious traditions, conceptions of human rights, and modern secularism. It begins by looking to the account Derrida presents in 'Hostipitality', focusing especially on his treatment of the work of Louis Massignon. It then proceeds to an exploration of Kant’s concept of cosmopolitanism and some of its contemporary descendants before returning to Derrida’s treatment of hospitality by way of his critique of this Kantian heritage. The paper argues both that religious traditions exhibit (though, perhaps, often not explicitly) the kind of structures of openness to difference to which Derrida’s notion of hospitality refers, and that modern Western conceptions of secularism too easily preclude understanding and fostering those aspects of religious traditions which can contribute to more peaceful coexistence in pluralistic environments.
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