Adieu to Emmanuel Levinas by Jacques Derrida

By Jacques Derrida

This quantity includes the speech given by means of Derrida at Emmanuel Levinas's funeral on December 27, 1995, and his contribution to a colloquium equipped to mark the 1st anniversary of Levinas's demise. For either thinkers, the note adieu names a primary attribute of individual: the salutation or benediction sooner than all constative language (in sure conditions, it is easy to say adieu in the meanwhile of assembly) and that given in the mean time of separation, occasionally without end, as in the intervening time of demise, it's also the a-dieu, for God or to God earlier than and in any relation to the opposite.

In this booklet, Derrida extends his paintings on Levinas in formerly unexplored instructions through a thorough rereading of Totality and Infinity and different texts, together with the lesser-known talmudic readings. He argues that Levinas, in particular in Totality and Infinity, bequeaths to us an "immense treatise of hospitality," a meditation at the welcome provided to the opposite. The conjunction of an ethics of natural prescription with the belief of an enormous and absolute hospitality confronts us with the main urgent political, juridical, and institutional matters of our time. What, then, is an ethics and what's a politics of hospitality? And what, if it ever is, will be a hospitality surpassing any ethics and any politics we know?

As regularly, Derrida increases those questions within the such a lot specific of phrases, relocating backward and forward among philosophical argument and the political dialogue of immigration legislation, peace, the kingdom of Israel, xenophobia—reminding us with each circulation that considering isn't really a question of neutralizing abstraction, yet a gesture of hospitality for what occurs and nonetheless may possibly take place.

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Extra resources for Adieu to Emmanuel Levinas

Sample text

Levinas underscores, for a second time in the same paragraph, the word "receive. " In this vein, as we know, he will undertake the most daring analyses of receptivity, of a A u;ord of welcome passivity before passivity, analyses whose stakes will be­ come more and more decisive precisely where the words seem to get carried away and become disidentified in a discourse that opens each signification to its other (rela­ tion without relation, passivity without passivity, "passiv­ ity . . ) The word "welcome" comes up again on the same page.

The one who receives is received, receiv­ ing hospitality in what he takes to be his own home, or in­ deed his own land, according to a law that Rosenzweig also recalled. For Rosenzweig emphasized this originary dispossession, this withdrawal by which the "owner" is ex­ propriated from what is most his own, the ipse from its ip­ seity, thus making of one's home a place or location one is simply passing through: even when it has a home, this people [the eternal people] , in recurrent contrast to all other peoples on earth, is not al­ lowed full possession of that home.

Reason itself is a re­ ceiving. Another way of saying it, if one still wishes to speak within the law of the tradition, though against it, against its inherited oppositions, is that reason is sensibil­ ity. Reason itself is a welcome inasmuch as it welcomes the idea of infinity-and the welcome is rational. Is it insignificant that Levinas speaks in this place of a door [porte] ? Is the place that he designates in this way simply a trope in a rhetoric of hospitality? If the figure of the door, on the threshold that opens the at-home [chez­ soi] , were a "manner [fofon] of speaking," this would sug­ gest that speech is a manner of speaking, a manner of do­ ing or managing [foire] with one's hand held out, address­ ing oneself to the Other so as to give him something to eat or drink, or to allow him to breathe, as Levinas so of­ ten recalls elsewhere.

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