On Cosmopolitanism and Forgivenessby Jacques Derrida
Pub. Date: 07/28/2001
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
On Cosmopolitanism and Forgiveness is a fascinating and telling work by one of the world's leading thinkers. In an accessible but provocative manner, Jacques Derrida unravels and confronts two pressing problems: the explosive tensions between refugee and asylum rights and the ethic of hospitality; and the dilemma of reconciliation and amnesty where the bloody traumas of history demand forgiveness.
Throughout the book, Derrida makes use of compelling examples to argue that true forgiveness consists in forgiving the unforgiveable. These include the emotive issue of "open cities" where migrants may seek sanctuary from persecution and exile, the widely publicised Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, and ethnic strife in France and Algeria. Derrida asks whether, in the face of these problems, it is still possible to uphold international hospitality and justice. Should cosmopolitanism be grounded publicly or privately? Should we look to the city rather than the state for protection of basic freedoms?
On Cosmopolitanism and Forgiveness is a bold and incisive example of how philosophy can help us understand contemporary issues. It is essential reading for anyone interested in what makes an ethical society. It also includes a short introduction by Simon Critchley and Richard Kearney, clearly setting out the arguments of the two essays that make up the book.
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