Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, Vol 11, No 1 (2015)

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On the Horizon of Hospitality

Thea Madeleine Potter


A thrown stone raises the question of the position of authority and does so only by remarking us as responsible for our limits and their transgression, but it also raises the problem of boundaries. Are they natural, or are they inscribed in us? In Ancient Athens, boundary-stones were inscribed with a word (horos) that raises the problem of definition by implicating a coincidence of meanings. These stones were never supposed to mark a boundary as an adamantine barrier proscribing transgression from one side to the other. And yet they did not for all that cease to be and mark a boundary. Although the identity between the stone and the word for boundary does not provide any answers as to how boundaries should be maintained or dissolved, it does raise the problem of the relation that the boundary engenders and the bond that it poses between two sides as a question of hospitality.

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