Chapter

Between Mourning and Magnetism

RICHARD KEARNEY and KASCHA SEMONOVITCH

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fordham/9780823234615.003.0017

Series: Perspectives in Continental Philosophy

Between Mourning and Magnetism

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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

Chapter.  7054 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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