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Gift of Death

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Derrida's main concern is with the meaning of moral and ethical responsibility in Western religion and philosophy. He questions the limits of the rational and the responsible that one reaches in granting or accepting death, whether by sacrifice, murder, execution, or suicide. Beginning with a discussion of Patocka's Heretical Essays on the History of Philosophy, Derrida develops Patocka's ideas concerning the sacred and responsibility through comparisons with the works of Heidegger, Levinas, and, finally, ...
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Overview

Derrida's main concern is with the meaning of moral and ethical responsibility in Western religion and philosophy. He questions the limits of the rational and the responsible that one reaches in granting or accepting death, whether by sacrifice, murder, execution, or suicide. Beginning with a discussion of Patocka's Heretical Essays on the History of Philosophy, Derrida develops Patocka's ideas concerning the sacred and responsibility through comparisons with the works of Heidegger, Levinas, and, finally, Kierkegaard. Derrida's treatment of Kierkegaard makes clear that the two philosophers share some of the same concerns. He then undertakes a careful reading of Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling, comparing and contrasting his own conception of responsibility with that of Kierkegaard, and extending and deepening his recent accounts of the gift and sacrifice. For Derrida, the very possibility of sacrifice, especially the ultimate sacrifice of one's own life for the sake of another, comes into question.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Comprises four sections which deal respectively with the development of the notion of responsibility in the Platonic and Christian traditions; the relation between sacrifice and mortality; the contemporary meaning of the story of Abraham and Isaac; and the relation between religious ideology and economic rationality. Originally published in 1992 as Donner la Mort in L'ethique du Don, Jacques Derrida et la Pensee du Don by Metailie-Transition, Paris. Lacks an index and a bibliography. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226143064
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/1996
  • Series: Religion and Postmodernism Series
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 115
  • Product dimensions: 5.52 (w) x 8.44 (h) x 0.39 (d)

Meet the Author

Jacques Derrida (1930–2004) was director of studies at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris, and professor of humanities at the University of California, Irvine. He is the author of many books published by the University of Chicago Press.
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Table of Contents

Translator's Preface
1 Secrets of European Responsibility 1
2 Beyond: Giving for the Taking, Teaching and Learning to Give, Death 35
3 Whom to Give to Knowing Not to Know 53
4 Tout autre est tout autre 82
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