This paper examines Derrida's treatment of the quasi-transcendental structure of hospitality, particularly as it pertains to religious traditions, conceptions of human rights, and modern secularism. It begins by looking to the account Derrida presents in 'Hostipitality', focusing especially on his treatment of the work of Louis Massignon. It then proceeds to an exploration of Kant’s concept of cosmopolitanism and some of its contemporary descendants before returning to Derrida’s treatment of hospitality by way of his critique of this Kantian heritage. The (...) paper argues both that religious traditions exhibit (though, perhaps, often not explicitly) the kind of structures of openness to difference to which Derrida’s notion of hospitality refers, and that modern Western conceptions of secularism too easily preclude understanding and fostering those aspects of religious traditions which can contribute to more peaceful coexistence in pluralistic environments. (shrink)
This paper contends that Ananda Abeysekara’s notion of un-inheritance, developed via a Derridean analysis of contemporary Sri Lankan politics and society, can act as a helpful supplement to the concept of justice. What one finds in Abeysekara’s analysis is an interpretation of justice as ultimately aporetic: justice both opens up to the possibility of its ever greater concrete realization and continually defers its completion. This paper begins by examining the aporetic character of justice as articulated by Derrida. It then proceeds (...) to Abeysekara’s account, situated as it is within a largely political consideration of Sri Lanka’s multicultural heritage and the recent conflicts that have arisen there. Abeysekara offers the notion of un-heritance as a way of thinking the possibility of justice precisely when political—and also religious—traditions come to an impasse, thus recognizing the inescapably aporetic structure of justice itself. (shrink)
Jacques Derrida’s ‘Faith and Knowledge’ presents an account of the complex relationship between religion and technoscience that disrupts their traditional boundaries by uncovering both an irreducible faith at the heart of science and an irreducible mechanicity at the heart of religion. In this paper, I focus on the latter, arguing that emphases in Derrida’s text on both the ‘sources’ of religion and its interaction with modern technologies underemphasize the ways in which a general ‘mechanicity’ is present throughout religion. There is (...) no faith, I contend, that is not in some way materially constituted according to a mechanicity operative not only at its origin but continuously and in ever-changing forms, and not only in its interactions with other fields and institutions but within its own structure and daily life. By closely examining ‘Faith and Knowledge’—along with examples from his essay ‘A Silkworm of One’s Own’ and Michael Naas’s Miracle and Machine—I argue that more attention should be paid to the mechanisms, both human and non-human, that populate and perform religion in its factical life. Mechanical bodies and practices are enlisted by religious traditions in order that these traditions continue to exist by continually reconstituting themselves in, for example, the repetitive use of religious objects or the vocal recitation of creeds. Such mechanical acts of religion are not ultimately opposed to the faithful experience that is often taken to be the wellspring of religious life; on the contrary, they are the conditions for the possibility of this experience. (shrink)
Religious Pluralism Religious pluralism, broadly construed, is a response to the diversity of religious beliefs, practices, and traditions that exist both in the contemporary world and throughout history. The terms “pluralism” and “pluralist” can, depending on context or intended use, signify anything from the mere fact of religious diversity to a particular kind of philosophical … Continue reading Pluralism, Religious →.
In his Rules for the Direction of the Mind, Descartes elevates arithmetic and geometry to the status of paradigms for all the sciences, because of the potential for certainty in their results. This emphasis on certainty is present throughout the Cartesian corpus, but in the Rules and other early works the substance dualism characteristic of Cartesian philosophy is not as obvious. However, when several key concepts from this early work are considered together, it becomes clear that Cartesian dualism necessarily follows. (...) The most important of these concepts are: Descartes’s rejection of the Scholastic theory of sense data in favor of a telecommunicative theory of perception; his innovative reconceptualization of mathematics in which he treats number and magnitude as interchangeable, making use of the symbolism of algebra; his frequent use of visual metaphors to describe perception in general, as well as other cognitive activity. It is in consideration of this third point that Descartes’s treatment of the imagination shows its importance, for the relationship of the imagination to the intellect parallels that of geometric figures to algebraic formulae. Though the role of the imagination in the Rules seems to make the status of a dualist ontology in this work more ambiguous, this paper will argue that in fact it is precisely in the treatment of imagination that one can find the traces of a fully developed substance dualism. (shrink)