978-0-415-22712-4 / 9780415227124

On Cosmopolitanism and Forgiveness (Thinking in Action)





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About the book:

Reading Jacques Derrida requires an unusual blend of wit and patience. Ever the magician, Derrida dazzles again in his slim treatise On Cosmopolitanism and Forgiveness. Part of the Thinking in Action series, providing clear and accessible pieces from major thinkers, the book contains two surprisingly lucid essays from a writer notorious for producing difficult prose. Derrida is the consummate French philosopher, and his work has mainly been the province of grad students and the coffeehouse set, which is unfortunate because he has much more to offer. In this volume, he turns his attention to international human rights, asking penetrating questions about our capacity to forgive, heal, and reconcile in a world fraught with incalculable evil.

Derrida's most important contribution to modern philosophy is his infamous technique of textual interpretation, deconstruction. The technique doesn't come easily, but its critical perspective allows one to draw connections between seemingly unrelated ideas. And that's what Derrida does here, tracing lines between cities, asylum, and reconciliation. On Cosmopolitanism and Forgiveness is grounded in the immediacy of present-day happenings, taking up questions about human rights, amnesty, the Gulf War, and East Timor. Of course, readers will do well to have some background in philosophy, but the heart of the book is for all of us. --Eric de Place

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