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Phenomenologies of the StrangerBetween Hostility and Hospitality$
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Richard Kearney and Kascha Semonovitch

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780823234615

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823234615.001.0001

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Between Mourning and Magnetism

Between Mourning and Magnetism

Derrida and Waldenfels on the Art of Hospitality

Chapter:
(p.258) 15 Between Mourning and Magnetism
Source:
Phenomenologies of the Stranger
Author(s):

RICHARD KEARNEY

KASCHA SEMONOVITCH

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823234615.003.0017

To the canonical phenomenologies of the Stranger in Jacques Derrida and Bernhard Waldenfels, this chapter offers a third voice: that of the eighteenth-century religious thinker David Brainerd. Both Waldenfels and Derrida address the need to avoid both an egocentrism and a logocentrism that would reduce the other to the self or the alien to the familiar. True hospitality involves a creative response to the other, not an absorption of otherness. This chapter shows how these visions of hospitality are marked by a sort of “magnetism”: a mutual affection and repulsion. Brainerd's writing presents a scene in which the approach of the Stranger is fraught with an almost electric tension between invisible forces. Concentrating on the phenomenological disclosure of a difference between what is relative and conditional, on one hand, and what is absolute and unconditional on the other, serves to position us, theoretically and concretely, in a scene marked by the tension between magnetism and mourning.

Keywords:   Stranger, Jacques Derrida, Bernhard Waldenfels, David Brainerd, egocentrism, logocentrism, mourning, magnetism, hospitality, otherness

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