Vol. 1 No. 1 (2023)
Thematic Section

On Hospitality, or “The Power to Rise above one’s Life”

Joanny Moulin
Aix-Marseille University
Pázmány Papers vol. 1. nr. 1.

Published 12/18/2023 — Updated on 06/13/2024


  • hospitality,
  • Jacques Derrida,
  • enclave,
  • Bergson,
  • life,
  • Lebensphilosophie,
  • Husserl,
  • Heidegger,
  • Hegel,
  • Aufhebung,
  • Freud,
  • Plato,
  • Maine de Biran,
  • Bataille


What habitat does the notion of hospitality find in the philosophy of life? First terminological snag: “philosophy of life” is a vocable silted up in history, for one hears Lebensphilosophie, vitalism, Bergson, Simmel, Dilthey, etc. Further upstream, of course, Hegel, his distinction between the life of nature and the life of spirit (from which were derived the Geisteswissenschaften, in the time of Wilhelm Dilthey, long before they became the human sciences, and what in several points of his oeuvre Derrida said about it, more particularly in La vie la mort, and twenty years later in Hospitalité. But from the very start, even before any reference to what anyone may have said about it, life demands hospitality in some place, to live is to inhabit, and in this uniqueness, this identity of the living and of the inhabiting we understand, immediately, the ambivalence of the notion that Derrida signals by the portmanteau word ‘hostipitalité’, that he links to the notion of enclave ‘that a general typology of the enclave must organize any theory of ipseity as hospitality or hostipitality’. Naturally, ‘enclave’ must be understood in the sense of inclusion, but while remembering that etymologically enclave derives from the Latin inclavatus, locked up, under lock and key.