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And, he asks, might it be the case that Levantine traditions of hospitality (of welcoming the Other into one's home) transcend more modern conceptions of ethics?For someone constantly accused of relativism, Derrida often sounds in these late works like a man haunted by the absolute.(Or so I figured out the hard way, a few months ago, by reading Rogues first.) "What is currently called deconstruction," said Derrida in 1989, "would not at all correspond (though certain people have an interest in spreading this confusion) to a quasi-nihilistic abdication before the ethico-politico-juridical question of justice and before the opposition between just and unjust...." His goal, in effect, is to point to a notion of justice that would be higher than any given code of laws.
"Jackie" and "JD" -- at a conference called "Derrida/America: The Present State of America's Europe." The throng was down to a third of that size by Monday morning.
Maybe everyone else went off to see "The Gates," Christo's installation of saffron banners running around Central Park.
In welcoming the audience, Peter Goodrich, a professor of law at Cardozo, noted that people who were "unimpeded by any knowledge of what they're talking about" evidently felt an especially passionate urge to denounce Derrida.
Although no speaker mentioned it as such, the most egregious example was undoubtedly the obituary in The New York Times -- a tour de force of malice and intellectual laziness, by someone whose entire knowledge of Derrida's work appeared to have been gleaned from reading the back of a video box for the Woody Allen film Deconstructing Harry.
In 2003, not long before he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, Derrida published a book on the possibility of global democracy called Rogues, just released in an English translation from Stanford University Press.
Many of its themes were anticipated in the Cardozo lecture, making "Force of Law" almost a prerequisite to understanding Derrida's final book.
On Sunday, about 200 people crowded into the Jacob Burns Moot Court of the Cardozo School of Law in New York City to speak of Jacques Derrida -- a.k.a.
Derrida's paper is now most readily available now in Acts of Religion, a collection of his writings published by Routledge.
Among the scores of books and essays that Derrida published over the final 15 years of his life, "Force of Law" looms as one of the most important.