Things at the Edge of the World


in Phenomenologies of the Stranger

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780823234615
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823240722 | DOI:

Series: Perspectives in Continental Philosophy

Things at the Edge of the World

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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

Chapter.  5722 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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