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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

(p.258) 15 Between Mourning and Magnetism
Phenomenologies of the Stranger



Fordham University Press

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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