Transcendence, Taxis, Trust: Richard Kearney and Jacques Derrida

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Whatever else it takes to drive a taxi, it takes trust. Day after day, the driver has to decide whether the other is or is not trustworthy. I take the taxi as a test case to analyze and assess Richard Kearney’s diacritical hermeneutics of the other. I argue that Kearney functionalizes the concept of transcendence in order to connect the transcendence of the finite other to the transcendence of the infinite other. However, in his central critique of the deconstructionists following Jacques Derrida, Kearney counters his connection. While Kearney’s critique of Derrida’s account of absolute alterity is correct and compelling, I argue that Derrida’s critique of a distinction between the trustworthy other and the non-trustworthy other might be more crucial than Kearney contends. Insisting on openness to the other’s otherness, Derrida provokes any hermeneutic of the other to trust in transcendence. The taxi is taken as a test to illustrate the implications which diacritical and deconstructive drivers might have for evaluating the entanglement of ethics and eschatology—inside and outside the taxi.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 9 Mar 2017


  • alterity
  • immanence
  • Jacques Derrida
  • otherness
  • Richard Kearney
  • transcendence
  • trust


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