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In this book, Derrida extends his work on Levinas in previously unexplored directions via a radical rereading of Totality and Infinity and other texts, including the lesser-known talmudic readings. He argues that Levinas, especially in Totality and Infinity, bequeaths to us an "immense treatise of hospitality," a meditation on the welcome offered to the other. The conjunction of an ethics of pure prescription with the idea of an infinite and absolute hospitality confronts us with the most pressing political, juridical, and institutional concerns of our time. What, then, is an ethics and what is a politics of hospitality? And what, if it ever is, would be a hospitality surpassing any ethics and any politics we know?
As always, Derrida raises these questions in the most explicit of terms, moving back and forth between philosophical argument and the political discussion of immigration laws, peace, the state of Israel, xenophobia—reminding us with every move that thinking is not a matter of neutralizing abstraction, but a gesture of hospitality for what happens and still may happen.
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