If Creation is a Gift: From Derrida to the Earth (An Introduction)
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In the late 1990s I was introduced to Continental philosophy. I was particularly drawn to Jacques Derrida's thoughts on the gift. As many of you will know, Derrida's Given Time (published in English in 1992) scandalously problematized one of our most treasured and—one would think—straightforward phenomena: gift-giving. For those of you unfamiliar with this argument, it goes something like this: the gift is a problem or aporia because, while it is ordinarily understood as that which is given gratuitously (without condition), there is nevertheless always an exchange of some kind, ranging from responses like gratitude, thanksgiving, counter-gifting, indebtedness, and so on.