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Hospitality and Identitarian Tensions

Hospitality and Identitarian Tensions

Andreas Gonçalves Lind et al., “Hospitality and Identitarian Tensions,” Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 78, no. 4 (2022): 1195–1202,

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Hospitality and Identitarian Tensions

Type Journal Article
Author Andreas Gonçalves Lind
Author Bruno Nobre
Author João Carlos Onofre Pinto
Author Ricardo Barroso Batista
Abstract The imperative to practice hospitality constitutes a mark of Western civilization. Already in Homer’s Odyssey, the hero Ulysses punishes Polyphemus for not having respected the obligation of hospitality towards him and his companions. In fact, hospitality has been a constitutive element of the West, marked by linguistic, cultural, and religious differences, in a world whose borders are supposed to be well defined. In his discussion of hospitality, Derrida shows how Socrates, in Plato’s dialogue The Apology of Socrates, places himself in the position of a foreigner. In fact, Socrates presents himself as foreigner, that is, someone who is alien to the language and procedures of the court that is judging him. According to Derrida, he shows, in this way, the extent to which the foreigner is forced to ask for hospitality in a language he does not know. The court reduces Socrates to the other, the different. Moreover, the court forces him to deny his difference, his own identity, asking him to adapt himself to a system that he does not control. The paradox arises when Socrates, who regrets being regarded as a foreigner, asks the court to treat him at least as a foreigner. He feels so outraged that he asks to be granted at least the rights of a non-national. In doing so, Socrates shows how recognizing the rights of the foreigner generates hospitality but, at the same time, also limits it. Whenever a human being is recognized as human being, he or she will necessarily be seen as another, as someone different. This person will have to adapt him or herself to a system, culture or world that will define him or her as a foreigner. In short, in the phenomena that we tend to see as hospitality there is always a certain hostility. In a world of ongoing migratory crises, and in the context of a return to nationalisms of exclusion combined with populisms of prejudice and aversion to those who are different, it becomes imperative to rethink the ethics and politics of hospitality. In this context, Derrida’s distinction between conditioned and unconditioned hospitality can be useful. On the one hand, this distinction requires us to respect the other in his or her own difference, being aware of the possibility of looking the other with fear, as if he or she were an alien, a threat to the established identity. In such a context, it is important to avoid reducing the other to a simple foreigner, a refugee, an immigrant, a migrant worker, or even a guest. It is important to go beyond mutual hospitality between host and guest, following, for example, Levinas’ approach. On the other hand, the distinction mentioned above makes also clear the difficulty, perhaps impossibility, of realizing a pure hospitality. With the notion of the “inoperative community,” Jean-Luc Nancy also makes a significant contribution to the debate around hospitality (Inoperative Community, 1991). By “inoperative,” Nancy does not mean that the community fails, collapses, or does not function. The term refers, rather, to a community that is not the result of a social, political, conceptual, technical production. Such a community cannot be reduced to a “simple thing,” by losing necessarily the “in” of being-in-common, but rather preserving the being-with and being-together in the difference of the individuals. Moreover, hospitality is, in a way, an imperative. As Anne Dufourmantelle affirms, the human condition is marked by the experience of exile. In this situation of vulnerability, the human person is forced to exist with others. This is why hospitality, even if impure or imperfect, can never be dispensed. In recent years, especially after the fateful September 11th, numerous publications on this theme have appeared in the most diverse fields of knowledge. From ethics and politics to cultural, sociological and religion studies, the theme is very much alive, also in the context of the digital communities that are emerging. Philosophy, with its different approaches and methodologies, has also dealt with this major theme. The present volume of RPF presents a set of twenty-two articles on the theme, which, taken together, offer a fresh approach to the subject of hospitality in the contemporary context. The section Varia includes one more article. The first part of the volume gathers six articles under the title “Hospitality Under (De)Construction.” In the first article, Alain Cugno proposes that Philosophy is a paradoxical form of knowledge which contradictions can only be resolved by invoking the idea of a hospitality offered to every philosopher. As such, philosophy can itself be defined as a form of radical hospitality. In “The Hospitality between Humanity and Nature: from Ecology to a Sympoiethic Form-of-life,” Andreas Lind and Gianfranco Ferraro show how Derrida’s deconstruction of modern individualism, exemplified by Robinson Crusoe’s attitude toward nature, addresses the contemporary debate on the Anthropocene. Using Morton’s conception of hospitality and Haraway’s notion of Chthulucene, the authors argue that a new individual and collective conversion to nature may result in an era in which human beings can conceive of themselves as ethical parts of nature. Sónia da Silva Monteiro, in the article “Hospitality in the Public Realm: An Arendtian Account of the Role of Action and Forgiveness,” explores the meaning of forgiveness and its role in the public space. Addressing the theme of “political forgiveness,” the author investigates the implications of Arendt’s understanding of action and forgiveness for the life of the polis, in particular the promotion of a more hospitable public space. Within the general framework of Western Personalism, Vincenzo Nuzzo argues that the philosophical-metaphysical and philosophical-religious criterions, usually employed in the Personalism, are more effective than other approaches (purely philosophical of scientific) in the task of finding in the person the source of human dignity. As such, the author suggests that the concept of person seems us the best way to approach in a strong and correct manner the question of the “hospitality.” Yves Vendé, in “L’hospitalité langagière, point critique de la philosophie comparée entre la Chine et l’Europe,” explores the theme of translation-comparison of cultural and cultural and philosophical traditions. Translation in philosophy implies comparing concepts or arguments and considering all the cultural references involved, which implies taking a risk and accepting a limit, and demanding “linguistic hospitality.” In his article, the author presents two interpretations of the translation-comparison processes and describes the necessity of linguistic hospitality in the context of comparative philosophy. In “«L’estraneo sulla soglia». Per una filosofia dell’ospitalità,” Antonio Di Chiro argues that identity can only be defined in relation to otherness and that the latter does not come from an external dimension but from an internal dimension. As such, “the stranger who must be welcomed is the one who is always on the verge of arriving and who in his coming always crosses the threshold, the limit that establishes the division between the inside and the outside, between the proper and the foreign.” The second part gathers three articles which take as their theme the “experience of hospitality.” The first article, with the “Rereading Notions of ‘Reciprocity’ and ‘Hospitality’ in the Work of Martin Buber and Jacques Derrida,” is authored by Thomas Froy. The author puts Martin Buber and Jacques Derrida in dialogue with regard to the notion of “reciprocity.” It is his intent to show that Derrida’s work on hospitality – in particular, his introduction of a notion of “identity” – produces a necessary contribution, or response, to Buber’s notion of “dwelling as reciprocity.” Manuel Porcel Moreno, in “La hospitalidad como debate filosófico en Derrida y Levinas: ¿un fenómeno im-posible?,” presents a contrastive hermeneutic between the thought of Derrida and Levinas on the question of hospitality and reception. The author proposes a new reading of the constant and irresolvable dialectical tension between unconditioned hospitality and conditioned hospitality, from the point of view of the “phenomenological logic of the symbol”. In “L’hospitalité derridienne au prisme de l’événementialité,” Léopold Mfouakouet explores the theme of hospitality within the migration phenomenon. In dialogue with Derrida, the author discusses a concept of hospitality whose unconditionality is defined as “hospitality to reality”, “hospitality to the event”. The third part addresses the theme of hospitality from the point of view of ethics and justice. Saul Newman, in “Anarcho-Cosmopolitanism: Towards a New Ethos of Hospitality,” develops a new understanding of hospitality on the basis of an anarchist philosophy of cosmopolitanism. The author argues that anarchism is primarily a philosophy and politics of hospitality. In “Rawls Theory of International Justice: A Brief Reconstruction and Critical Commentary,” Charis Stampoulis presents an account of Rawls’ theory of international justice, and addresses issues such as the recognition of peoples as the fundamental subjects of international law and the toleration of the so-called decent peoples. Robby Mandiangu Ngofo, in “Éthique de l’hospitalité, relation au frère à partir du paradigme de l’éthique henryenne,” argues that Michel Henry’s phenomenology of Life can be used to establish a foundation for an ethic of hospitality. The author suggests that this approach may enlighten the debate on the migration crisis in the Mediterranean Sea and the humanitarian crisis associated with it. Focusing her discussion on Europe, Fernanda Bento, in “Rêver l’Europe. L’Europe – l’arche de Noé de l’avenir? Derrida, l’Europe et l’Hospitalité,” explores Derrida’s dream of an Europe that is able to offer universal hospitality and, accordingly, approve new legislation, guaranteeing the right of asylum. These new laws of hospitality would make of it the “Noah’s Ark of the 21st century.” Any discussion on hospitality has to address the political implications of the subject. Four authors undertake this crucial task, in the fourth part of this volume. David Inglis, in “Masks, Cosmopolitanism, Hospitality: on Facial Politics in the Covid-19 Era” discusses the impact on human relations of the COVID-19 pandemic. The author argues that a simple act such as wearing a mask can be seen as “a quotidian act of cosmopolitan concern and hospitableness towards other people, including those perceived to be very unlike oneself.” Rui Alexandre Novais and Viviane Araújo, in “Tensioned Civility: Presidential Delegitimization of the Press,” offer a contribution to the theoretical debate on political incivility, putting political philosophy and media research in dialogue and going beyond Western-centric approaches. The article offers empirical evidence of Bolsonaro’s delegitimizing criticisms and uncivil expressions toward the press, a behavior that can be classified as political incivility, pushing the limits of civility in political discourse by employing verbal manifestations of impoliteness. In “Il diritto umano all’ospitalità sinodale: oltre la contrapposizione tra demos ed ethnos nell’era della globalizzazione,” Gianfranco Longo and Sergio Salles, inspired by the Word and documents of Pope Francis, defend the value of experiences of mutual bonds of memory and humanitarian revelation, and propose that peace has to be sustained by the “synodal” consolidation of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and that social and community dignity is only beyond the economic-financial constraints of globalization. Retrieving two courses by Michel Foucault on the theme of biopolitics, Marcos Nalli, in “Inospitabilidade e Estranhamento do Outro: A Discriminação do Mercado,” proposes that a new form of racism, economically fomented, is emerging. The author calls this new type of racism “a market racism.” The characteristics of “market racism” must be sought not exactly in economic theories, but among entrepreneurs in the exercise of their businesses. The last part of the present volume is devoted to the theme of “identities and identitarian tensions.” Rafael Pérez Baquero, in “Hospitalidad, identidad y “transtierro” en el exilio español de 1939: El neologismo de José Gaos desde la teoría del trauma,” explores José Gaos’s notion of “transtierro.” The author offers a critical analysis of this notion and explores its potentiality when it comes to underscore new collective identities in the exile and to overcome the traumatic legacies of forced migrations. In “Para uma Espiritualidade Cristã Personalista da «Identidade de Género»: Conciliação dos Modelos Essencialista e Existencialista,” Samuel Dimas develops an “empathetic and non-homophobic” dialogue with constructivist and existentialist theories that separate gender difference from the deterministic biologism of sexual difference. The author discusses the possible contribution of Christian personalist models to a spirituality of gender identity that reconciles culturalist and essentialist theses about the intelligibility of gender identity. Valeria Sonna, in “La obliteración de la trascendencia política de la maternidad en la teoría erótica de Simposio,” retrieves Plato’s theory of eros and explores Plato’s conception of procreation and its metaphorical usage, in the sense that biological procreation, with the union of man and woman, is presented as a metaphor for intellectual or spiritual procreation. Finally, Ana Maria Eyng, Bárbara Pimpão Ferreira, and Laueni Ramos Padilha, in “Hospitalidade no (des)tensionamento das identidades via educação intercultural,” describe the contemporary tendency to normalize some identities and exclude others and propose that it is possible to create a culture of hospitality towards different identities by means of cultural education. The section Varia includes an article by Catalina Elena Dobre, with the title “La Belleza Ética como Realización del Telos Interior en Kierkegaard.” The author explores the concept of beauty in the thought of Kierkegaard, with the intent of showing that Kierkegaard’s conception of beauty retrieves the Greek concept of kalokagathía, giving it a modern interpretation. Accordingly, Kierkegaard’s conception of beauty is more ethical than aesthetical. It is our hope that the present volume will be stimulating to all those who are interested in the theme of hospitality. May it offer, also, a small contribution to the construction of a more human and hospitable world.
Date 2022
Language English
Rights © 2022 by Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia
Volume 78
Pages 1195-1202
Publication Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia
DOI 10.17990/RPF/2022_78_4_1195
Issue 4
ISSN 0870-5283 ; 2183-461X
Date Added 1/31/2023, 5:39:29 PM
Modified 1/31/2023, 7:09:27 PM


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