Autochthony and Welcome

Edith Wyschogrod

in Crossover Queries

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print June 2006 | ISBN: 9780823226061
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235148 | DOI:

Series: Perspectives in Continental Philosophy

Autochthony and Welcome

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  • Philosophy of Religion


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The inquiry into the private and the political, into the meaning of friend and enemy, is not an excursus in the analysis of hospitality but exposes the risks and paradoxes built into the discussions of hospitality in the works of Emmanuel Levinas and Jacques Derrida. The personal is shown to remain personal yet is at the same time already demonstrably political; autochthony persists while engaging in its own deterritorialization. As Derrida argues, “Absolute hospitality requires that I risk opening my home to the stranger... to the absolutely unknown, who remains anonymous” so that the other can “have a place in the place that I offer him”. Although the absence of physical boundaries in the virtual spaces of the new communication technologies radically alters biblical accounts of the home, one does not feed the hungry and shelter the destitute from the nowhere of a Web site. Virtual space is infiltrated by an ethical subject who is always already corporeal.

Keywords: hospitality; Emmanuel Levinas; Jacques Derrida; personal; autochthony; virtual space

Chapter.  3571 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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