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Derrida and the Ethics of the Im-possible

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Derrida often insists that ethics must be the experience and encounter of a certain impossible. A proposition all the more troubling, as it is proposed by Derrida in the context of a return precisely to the conditions of possibility of ethics. It will appear that returning to the possibilities of ethics implies a return to its limits, to its aporias, which are both constitutive and incapacitating, possibilizing and impossibilizing. The purpose of this paper is to begin exploring this aporetic structure of ethics and to identify how it is tied to the impossible. I will pursue this inquiry by reconstituting how Derrida appropriates Heidegger's expression of "possibility of the impossible," and by reconstituting the aporias of the law, of moral decision, of responsibility, and of an ethics of hospitality as welcome of the event of otherness.

Affiliations: 1: Louisiana State University

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