Derrida essay questions

It is also what I part from, parry, and separate myself from.

Jacques Derrida, Deconstruction, Post-Modernism & Nonduality

Oedipus promises to his accomplice Theseus that if the location of his grave remains secret, their city will be prosperous. This is always the situation of the foreigner, in politics too, that of coming as a legislator to lay down the law and liberate the people or the nation by coming from the outside, by entering into the nation or the house, into the home that lets him enter after having appealed to him.

Derrida and the Philosophy of Law and Justice | SpringerLink

The master and the stranger switch positions, the inviting host becomes the hostage of the guest and thus the guest, the invited hostage, becomes the master of the host, he becomes the one who invites the one who invites. The difference between the unconditional hospitality and the rights and duties as condition for hospitality does not necessary lead to a paralysed desire for hospitality or an abolishment of the demand for hospitality.

Both forms of hospitality are however, indissociable. The law of hospitality requires unconditional welcome and orders that the borders be open to each and everyone. But to invite someone to your home presupposes a certain kind of sovereignty over this home, to be a host is precisely to maintain some mastery over your place, which obviously contradicts to the unconditional welcome of The law.

In this uncertain and undetermined terrain, host and guest meet, negotiating the reciprocal identities that shape hospitable encounters. Hospitality is a self contradictory concept; it deconstructs itself precisely in being put into practice.


It rather poses an important question of trying to transform and improve the laws. It is this equivocal character of hospitality, the tension between the unconditional welcome and the conditional laws of hospitality, which Derrida brings to the fore. Take for example the case law of the European Court of Human Rights on the refoulement prohibition of article 3. One could argue, as has been accomplished eloquently by Hemme Battjes in this issue of Amsterdam Law Forum, that this article reflects an absolute prohibition of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, while it at the same time leaves the possibility for the Court to deviate of this absolute rule, in specific circumstances.

This seems to be a contradiction, or in the words of Battjes.

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Apparently two seemingly contradictory approaches are applicable to one prohibition. On the one hand, the prohibition of refoulement is absolute, leaving no room for derogations.

The Problems of Presence

On the other hand, the search for a fair balance between the general interests of the community and individuals fundamental rights gives a nice opportunity to derogate from this absolute prohibition. Whereas this is indeed a plausible conclusion after his elucidation, I would opt for a different analysis of this specific case law.

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Is it not possible to understand them as if they both imply as well as exclude each other? I think it is the very impossibility of the absolute prohibition of refoulement which enables the hospitality. It is The absolute prohibition of torture which puts to the question the composure of the given positive and restrictive laws of migration.

Unfortunately the Dutch edition is no longer available. Les Styles d e Nietzsche , , translated by G. Groot , p. See for an other illuminating discussion o f Derrida: G. Article Media. Info Print Print. Table Of Contents. Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback. Start Your Free Trial Today. Load Next Page.

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