Kant’s Hospitality Right Then and Now
This chapter considers Kant’s reformulation of natural law theory’s traditional hospitality right in the context of contemporary colonial legacies. Kant’s critical hospitality right is increasingly interpreted as a right of communicative contact between culturally distant strangers. But what, more concretely, does such a communicative right imply in the current, self-proclaimed cosmopolitan context? While the abiding legacies of colonial mentality—of ‘thinking like a colonial subject’—continue to bedevil modern African political thought, the converse Western problem of continuing to ‘think like a colonial master’ goes largely unnoticed. The authors argue that the intellectual legacies of colonial mentality must be tackled from both perspectives. Kant’s hospitality right—conscientiously reformulated in the light of colonial abuse of traditional hospitality rights—offers a neglected philosophical resource through which Western thinkers may be enabled both to acknowledge and appropriately to respond to the abiding legacies of ‘colonial mentality’ in current global theorizing.
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