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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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Things at the Edge of the World

Things at the Edge of the World

(p.67) 3 Things at the Edge of the World
Phenomenologies of the Stranger



Fordham University Press

This chapter turns to liminal experiences, this time of “things at the edge of the world.” It reposes Martin Heidegger's question, What is a “thing”? Phenomenologically revealed, things open worlds and worlds within worlds. Through a “productive strangeness,” things at the edge of the world serve as sites that permit reversals and transformations. The chapter suggests we would perhaps do better to think of ourselves as involved in an event with these strange, other-than-human faces. After dismantling our paradigm of “things,” it moves on to provocatively address our presuppositions about the animal and human other. It also proposes an ethics of what it calls “fractalterity” that might emerge through such reversals and estrangements; this would be an ethos that safeguards strangeness. Finally, it addresses the neglected question of hospitality to others such as animals and purportedly “inanimate” objects, and asks when we legitimately, justly attribute a soul, a psyche, an interiority to the “thing.”.

Keywords:   Martin Heidegger, things, liminal experiences, edge of the world, productive strangeness, reversals, transformations, ethics, fractalterity, hospitality

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