DECONSTRUCTION is philosopher
Derrida's approach consists in conducting readings of texts with an ear to what runs counter to the structural unity or intended sense of a particular text. The purpose is to expose that the object of language and that which any text is founded upon is irreducibly complex, unstable, or impossible. Throughout his readings, Derrida hoped to show deconstruction at work, i.e., the ways that this originary complexity—which by definition cannot ever be completely known—works its structuring and destructuring effects.
Many debates in continental philosophy surrounding ontology ,
epistemology , ethics, aesthetics , hermeneutics , and philosophy of
language refer to Derrida's observations. Since the 80s, they inspired
a range of theoretical entreprises in the humanities, including the
disciplines of law anthropology, historiography , linguistics,
sociolinguistics, psychoanalysis ,
LGBT studies , and the feminist
school of thought.
* 1 Overview
* 3 Application
* 4 Development after Derrida
* 4.1 The
Critical legal studies movement
* 4.3 Deconstructing History
* 4.4 The Inoperative Community
* 4.5 The
* 5 Difficulty of definition
* 5.1 Derrida\'s "negative" descriptions
* 5.1.1 Not a method * 5.1.2 Not a critique * 5.1.3 Not an analysis * 5.1.4 Not post-structuralist
* 5.2 Alternative definitions
* 6 Influences
* 6.1 Influence of Nietzsche * 6.2 Influence of Saussure
* 7 Criticisms
* 8 Related works by Derrida * 9 See also * 10 References * 11 Further reading * 12 External links
Jacques Derrida\'s 1967 work
Of Grammatology introduced the majority
of ideas influential within deconstruction. According to Derrida and
taking inspiration from the work of
Ferdinand de Saussure
Further, Derrida contends that "in a classical philosophical
opposition we are not dealing with the peaceful coexistence of a
vis-a-vis, but rather with a violent hierarchy. One of the two terms
governs the other (axiologically, logically, etc.), or has the upper
hand": signified over signifier; intelligible over sensible; speech
over writing; activity over passivity, etc. The first task of
deconstruction would be to find and overturn these oppositions inside
a text or a corpus of texts. But the final objective of deconstruction
is not to surpass all oppositions, because it is assumed they are
structurally necessary to produce sense. They simply cannot be
suspended once and for all. The hierarchy of dual oppositions always
Finally, Derrida argues that it is not enough to expose and deconstruct the way oppositions work and then stop there in a nihilistic or cynical position, "thereby preventing any means of intervening in the field effectively". To be effective, deconstruction needs to create new terms, not to synthesize the concepts in opposition, but to mark their difference and eternal interplay. This explains why Derrida always proposes new terms in his deconstruction, not as a free play but as a pure necessity of analysis, to better mark the intervals. Derrida called undecidables, that is, unities of simulacrum, "false" verbal properties (nominal or semantic) that can no longer be included within philosophical (binary) opposition: but which, however, inhabit philosophical oppositions, resisting and organizing it, without ever constituting a third term, without ever leaving room for a solution in the form of Hegelian dialectics (e.g. différance , archi-writing , pharmakon , supplement, hymen, gram, spacing).
DECONSTRUCTION ACCORDING TO DERRIDA
Derrida's original use of the word "deconstruction" was a translation
BASIC PHILOSOPHICAL CONCERNS
Derrida's concerns flow from a consideration of several issues:
* A desire to contribute to the re-evaluation of all Western values, built on the 18th-century Kantian critique of reason, and carried forward to the 19th century, in its more radical implications, by Kierkegaard and Nietzsche . * An assertion that texts outlive their authors, and become part of a set of cultural habits equal to, if not surpassing, the importance of authorial intent. * A re-valuation of certain classic western dialectics: poetry vs. philosophy, reason vs. revelation, structure vs. creativity, episteme vs. techne , etc.
To this end, Derrida follows a long line of modern philosophers, who
look backwards to
Main article: Différance
Différance is the observation that the meanings of words come from their synchrony with other words within the language and their diachrony between contemporary and historical definitions of a word. Understanding language according to Derrida required an understanding of both viewpoints of linguistic analysis. The focus on diachrony has led to accusations against Derrida of engaging in the etymological fallacy .
There is one statement by Derrida which has been of great interest to
his opponents, and which appeared in an essay on Rousseau (part of the
Of Grammatology , 1967), It is the assertion that
"there is no outside-text" (il n'y a pas de hors-texte), which is
often mistranslated as "there is nothing outside of the text". The
mistranslation is often used to suggest Derrida believes that nothing
exists but words.
For example, the word "house" derives its meaning more as a function of how it differs from "shed", "mansion", "hotel", "building", etc. (Form of Content, that Louis Hjelmslev distinguished from Form of Expression) than how the word "house" may be tied to a certain image of a traditional house (i.e. the relationship between signified and signifier ) with each term being established in reciprocal determination with the other terms than by an ostensive description or definition: when can we talk about a "house" or a "mansion" or a "shed"? The same can be said about verbs, in all the languages in the world: when should we stop saying "walk" and start saying "run"? The same happens, of course, with adjectives: when must we stop saying "yellow" and start saying "orange", or exchange "past" for "present? Not only are the topological differences between the words relevant here, but the differentials between what is signified is also covered by différance.
Thus, complete meaning is always "differential" and postponed in language; there is never a moment when meaning is complete and total. A simple example would consist of looking up a given word in a dictionary, then proceeding to look up the words found in that word's definition, etc., also comparing with older dictionaries from different periods in time, and such a process would never end.
METAPHYSICS OF PRESENCE
Main article: Metaphysics of presence
Derrida describes the task of deconstruction as the identification of
metaphysics of presence or logocentrism in western philosophy.
Metaphysics of presence is the desire for immediate access to meaning,
the privileging of presence over absence. This means that there is an
assumed bias in certain binary oppositions where one side is placed in
a position of one over another, such as good over bad, speech over the
written word, male over female among other oppositions. Derrida
writes, "Without a doubt,
DECONSTRUCTION AND DIALECTICS
In the deconstruction procedure, one of the main concerns of Derrida
is not to collapse into Hegel's dialectic where these oppositions
would be reduced to contradictions in a dialectic that has the purpose
of resolving it into a synthesis. The presence of Hegelian dialectics
was enormous in the intellectual life of France during the second half
of the 20th century with the influence of Kojève and Hyppolite, but
also with the impact of dialectics based on contradiction developed by
Marxists, and including the existentialism from Sartre, etc. This
explains Derrida's concern to always distinguish his procedure from
Derrida's observations have had a large influence on literary criticism and post-structuralism.
Derrida's method consisted in demonstrating all the forms and varieties of the originary complexity of semiotics , and their multiple consequences in many fields. His way of achieving this was by conducting thorough, careful, sensitive, and yet transformational readings of philosophical and literary texts, with an ear to what in those texts runs counter to their apparent systematicity (structural unity) or intended sense (authorial genesis). By demonstrating the aporias and ellipses of thought, Derrida hoped to show the infinitely subtle ways that this originary complexity, which by definition cannot ever be completely known, works its structuring and destructuring effects.
Derrida initially resisted granting to his approach the overarching name "deconstruction," on the grounds that it was a precise technical term that could not be used to characterize his work generally. Nevertheless, he eventually accepted that the term had come into common use to refer to his textual approach, and Derrida himself increasingly began to use the term in this more general way.
CRITIQUE OF STRUCTURALISM
Derrida's lecture at
Johns Hopkins University
DEVELOPMENT AFTER DERRIDA
THE YALE SCHOOL
Further information: Yale school
Between the late 1960s and the early 1980s many thinkers were influenced by deconstruction, including Paul de Man , Geoffrey Hartman , and J. Hillis Miller . This group came to be known as the Yale school and was especially influential in literary criticism . Derrida and Hillis Miller were subsequently affiliated with the University of California, Irvine .
Miller has described deconstruction this way: "
CRITICAL LEGAL STUDIES MOVEMENT
Further information: Critical legal studies
Arguing that law and politics cannot be separated, the founders of "Critical Legal Studies Movement" found necessary to criticize its absence at the level of theory. To demonstrate the indeterminacy of legal doctrine, these scholars often adopt a method, such as structuralism in linguistics or deconstruction in Continental philosophy , to make explicit the deep structure of categories and tensions at work in legal texts and talk. The aim was to deconstruct the tensions and procedures by which they are constructed, expressed, and deployed.
For example, Duncan Kennedy , in explicit reference to semiotics and deconstruction procedures, maintains that various legal doctrines are constructed around the binary pairs of opposed concepts, each of which has a claim upon intuitive and formal forms of reasoning that must be made explicit in their meaning and relative value, and criticized. Self and other, private and public, subjective and objective, freedom and control are examples of such pairs demonstrating the influence of opposing concepts on the development of legal doctrines through history.
Deconstructive readings of history and sources have changed the entire discipline of history. In "Deconstructing History", Alun Munslow examines history in what he argues is a postmodern age. He provides an introduction to the debates and issues of postmodernist history. He also surveys the latest research into the relationship between the past, history, and historical practice, as well as forwarding his own challenging theories.
THE INOPERATIVE COMMUNITY
Jean-Luc Nancy argues in his 1982 book The Inoperative Community for an understanding of community and society that is undeconstructable because it is prior to conceptualisation. Nancy's work is an important development of deconstruction because it takes the challenge of deconstruction seriously and attempts to develop an understanding of political terms that is undeconstructable and therefore suitable for a philosophy after Derrida.
THE ETHICS OF DECONSTRUCTION
Simon Critchley argues in his 1992 book (2nd edition: 1999; 3rd
edition: 2014) The
DERRIDA AND THE POLITICAL
Richard Beardsworth, developing on Critchley's
DIFFICULTY OF DEFINITION
There have been problems defining deconstruction. Derrida claimed that all of his essays were attempts to define what deconstruction is, and that deconstruction is necessarily complicated and difficult to explain since it actively criticises the very language needed to explain it.
DERRIDA\'S "NEGATIVE" DESCRIPTIONS
Derrida has been more forthcoming with negative (apophatic) than positive descriptions of deconstruction. When asked by Toshihiko Izutsu some preliminary considerations on how to translate "deconstruction" in Japanese, in order to at least prevent going contrary to its actual meaning, Derrida therefore began his response by saying that such question amounts to "what deconstruction is not, or rather ought not to be".
Derrida states that deconstruction is not an analysis, a critique, or a method in the traditional sense that philosophy understands these terms. In these negative descriptions of deconstruction Derrida is seeking to "multiply the cautionary indicators and put aside all the traditional philosophical concepts." This does not mean that deconstruction has absolutely nothing in common with an analysis, a critique, or a method because while Derrida distances deconstruction from these terms, he reaffirms "the necessity of returning to them, at least under erasure". Derrida's necessity of returning to a term under erasure means that even though these terms are problematic we must use them until they can be effectively reformulated or replaced. The relevance of the tradition of negative theology to Derrida's preference for negative descriptions of deconstruction is the notion that a positive description of deconstruction would over-determine the idea of deconstruction and that this would be a mistake because it would close off the openness that Derrida wishes to preserve for deconstruction. This means that if Derrida were to positively define deconstruction as, for example, a critique then this would put the concept of critique for ever outside the possibility of deconstruction. Some new philosophy beyond deconstruction would then be required in order to surpass the notion of critique.
Not A Method
Derrida states that "
Derrida is careful to avoid this term because it carries connotations of a procedural form of judgement. A thinker with a method has already decided how to proceed, is unable to give him or herself up to the matter of thought in hand, is a functionary of the criteria which structure his or her conceptual gestures. For Derrida this is irresponsibility itself. Thus, to talk of a method in relation to deconstruction, especially regarding its ethico-political implications, would appear to go directly against the current of Derrida's philosophical adventure.
Beardsworth here explains that it would be irresponsible to undertake a deconstruction with a complete set of rules that need only be applied as a method to the object of deconstruction because this understanding would reduce deconstruction to a thesis of the reader that the text is then made to fit. This would be an irresponsible act of reading because it becomes a prejudicial procedure that only finds what it sets out to find.
Not A Critique
Derrida states that deconstruction is not a critique in the Kantian
sense. This is because Kant defines the term critique as the opposite
of dogmatism . For Derrida it is not possible to escape the dogmatic
baggage of the language we use in order to perform a pure critique in
the Kantian sense. For Derrida language is dogmatic because it is
inescapably metaphysical . Derrida argues that language is inescapably
metaphysical because it is made up of signifiers that only refer to
that which transcends them — the signified. In addition Derrida asks
rhetorically "Is not the idea of knowledge and of the acquisition of
knowledge in itself metaphysical?" By this Derrida means that all
claims to know something necessarily involve an assertion of the
metaphysical type that something is the case somewhere. For Derrida
the concept of neutrality is suspect and dogmatism is therefore
involved in everything to a certain degree.
Not An Analysis
Derrida states that deconstruction is not an analysis in the traditional sense. This is because the possibility of analysis is predicated on the possibility of breaking up the text being analysed into elemental component parts. Derrida argues that there are no self-sufficient units of meaning in a text. This is because individual words or sentences in a text can only be properly understood in terms of how they fit into the larger structure of the text and language itself. For more on Derrida's theory of meaning see the page on différance .
Derrida states that his use of the word deconstruction first took place in a context in which "structuralism was dominant" and its use is related to this context. Derrida states that deconstruction is an "antistructuralist gesture"because "Structures were to be undone, decomposed, desedimented". At the same time for Derrida deconstruction is also a "structuralist gesture" because it is concerned with the structure of texts. So for Derrida deconstruction involves "a certain attention to structures" and tries to "understand how an 'ensemble' was constituted". As both a structuralist and an antistructuralist gesture deconstruction is tied up with what Derrida calls the "structural problematic". The structural problematic for Derrida is the tension between genesis, that which is "in the essential mode of creation or movement", and structure, "systems, or complexes, or static configurations". An example of genesis would be the sensory ideas from which knowledge is then derived in the empirical epistemology . An example of structure would be a binary opposition such as good and evil where the meaning of each element is established, at least partly, through its relationship to the other element.
It is for this reason that Derrida distances his use of the term deconstruction from post-structuralism , a term that would suggest philosophy could simply go beyond structuralism. Derrida states that "the motif of deconstruction has been associated with "post-structuralism" but that this term was "a word unknown in France until its "return" from the United States". In his deconstruction of Husserl, Derrida actually argues for the contamination of pure origins by the structures of language and temporality and Manfred Frank has even referred to Derrida's work as "Neostructuralism".
The popularity of the term deconstruction combined with the technical difficulty of Derrida's primary material on deconstruction and his reluctance to elaborate his understanding of the term has meant that many secondary sources have attempted to give a more straightforward explanation than Derrida himself ever attempted. Secondary definitions are therefore an interpretation of deconstruction by the person offering them rather than a direct summary of Derrida's actual position.
Paul de Man was a member of the
Yale School and a prominent
practitioner of deconstruction as he understood it. His definition of
deconstruction is that, "t's possible, within text, to frame a
question or undo assertions made in the text, by means of elements
which are in the text, which frequently would be precisely structures
that play off the rhetorical against grammatical elements."
* John D. Caputo attempts to explain deconstruction in a nutshell by stating:
"Whenever deconstruction finds a nutshell—a secure axiom or a pithy maxim—the very idea is to crack it open and disturb this tranquility. Indeed, that is a good rule of thumb in deconstruction. That is what deconstruction is all about, its very meaning and mission, if it has any. One might even say that cracking nutshells is what deconstruction is. In a nutshell. ...Have we not run up against a paradox and an aporia ...the paralysis and impossibility of an aporia is just what impels deconstruction, what rouses it out of bed in the morning..." (Caputo 1997, p.32) * Niall Lucy points to the impossibility of defining the term at all, stating:
"While in a sense it is impossibly difficult to define, the
impossibility has less to do with the adoption of a position or the
assertion of a choice on deconstruction's part than with the
impossibility of every 'is' as such.
signifies a project of critical thought whose task is to locate and 'take apart' those concepts which serve as the axioms or rules for a period of thought, those concepts which command the unfolding of an entire epoch of metaphysics. 'Deconstruction' is somewhat less negative than the Heideggerian or Nietzschean terms 'destruction' or 'reversal'; it suggests that certain foundational concepts of metaphysics will never be entirely eliminated...There is no simple 'overcoming' of metaphysics or the language of metaphysics. * Paul Ricœur defines deconstruction as a way of uncovering the questions behind the answers of a text or tradition. * Richard Ellmann defines 'deconstruction' as the systematic undoing of understanding.
A survey of the secondary literature reveals a wide range of
heterogeneous arguments. Particularly problematic are the attempts to
give neat introductions to deconstruction by people trained in
literary criticism who sometimes have little or no expertise in the
relevant areas of philosophy that Derrida is working in relation to.
These secondary works (e.g.
Derrida's theories on deconstruction were themselves influenced by
the work of linguists such as
Ferdinand de Saussure
INFLUENCE OF NIETZSCHE
In order to understand Derrida's motivation, one must refer to Nietzsche's philosophy.
Nietzsche's project began with Orpheus, the man underground. This foil to Platonic light was deliberately and self-consciously lauded in Daybreak, when Nietzsche announces, albeit retrospectively, "In this work you will discover a subterranean man at work", and then goes on to map the project of unreason: "All things that live long are gradually so saturated with reason that their origin in unreason thereby becomes improbable. Does not almost every precise history of an origination impress our feelings as paradoxical and wantonly offensive? Does the good historian not, at bottom, constantly contradict?"
Nietzsche's point in Daybreak is that standing at the end of modern history, modern thinkers know too much to be deceived by the illusion of reason any more. Reason, logic, philosophy and science are no longer solely sufficient as the royal roads to truth. And so Nietzsche decides to throw it in our faces, and uncover the truth of Plato, that he—unlike Orpheus—just happened to discover his true love in the light instead of in the dark. This being merely one historical event amongst many, Nietzsche proposes that we revisualize the history of the west as the history of a series of political moves, that is, a manifestation of the will to power, that at bottom have no greater or lesser claim to truth in any noumenal (absolute) sense. By calling our attention to the fact that he has assumed the role of Orpheus, the man underground, in dialectical opposition to Plato, Nietzsche hopes to sensitize us to the political and cultural context, and the political influences that impact authorship. For example, the political influences that led one author to choose philosophy over poetry (or at least portray himself as having made such a choice), and another to make a different choice.
The problem with Nietzsche, as Derrida sees it, is that he did not go far enough. That he missed the fact that this will to power is itself but a manifestation of the operation of writing. And so Derrida wishes to help us step beyond Nietzsche's penultimate revaluation of all western values, to the ultimate, which is the final appreciation of "the role of writing in the production of knowledge".
INFLUENCE OF SAUSSURE
Derrida approaches all texts as constructed around elemental
oppositions which all discourse has to articulate if it intends to
make any sense whatsoever. This is so because identity is viewed in
non-essentialist terms as a construct, and because constructs only
produce meaning through the interplay of difference inside a "system
of distinct signs". This approach to text is influenced by the
Ferdinand de Saussure
Saussure is considered one of the fathers of structuralism when he explained that terms get their meaning in reciprocal determination with other terms inside language:
In language there are only differences. Even more important: a difference generally implies positive terms between which the difference is set up; but in language there are only differences without positive terms. Whether we take the signified or the signifier, language has neither ideas nor sounds that existed before the linguistic system, but only conceptual and phonic differences that have issued from the system. The idea or phonic substance that a sign contains is of less importance than the other signs that surround it. A linguistic system is a series of differences of sound combined with a series of differences of ideas; but the pairing of a certain number of acoustical signs with as many cuts made from the mass thought engenders a system of values.
Saussure explicitly suggested that linguistics was only a branch of a more general semiology, of a science of signs in general, being human codes only one among others. Nevertheless, in the end, as Derrida pointed out, he made of linguistics "the regulatory model", and "for essential, and essentially metaphysical, reasons had to privilege speech, and everything that links the sign to phone". Derrida will prefer to follow the more "fruitful paths (formalization)" of a general semiotics without falling in what he considered "a hierarchizing teleology" privileging linguistics, and speak of 'mark' rather than of language, not as something restricted to mankind, but as prelinguistic, as the pure possibility of language, working every where there is a relation to something else.
Derrida has been involved in a number of high-profile disagreements
with prominent philosophers including
See also: Limited Inc
In the early 1970s, Searle had a brief exchange with Jacques Derrida regarding speech-act theory. The exchange was characterized by a degree of mutual hostility between the philosophers, each of whom accused the other of having misunderstood his basic points. Searle was particularly hostile to Derrida's deconstructionist framework and much later refused to let his response to Derrida be printed along with Derrida's papers in the 1988 collection Limited Inc . Searle did not consider Derrida's approach to be legitimate philosophy or even intelligible writing and argued that he did not want to legitimize the deconstructionist point of view by dedicating any attention to it. Consequently, some critics have considered the exchange to be a series of elaborate misunderstandings rather than a debate, while others have seen either Derrida or Searle gaining the upper hand. The level of hostility can be seen from Searle's statement that "It would be a mistake to regard Derrida's discussion of Austin as a confrontation between two prominent philosophical traditions", to which Derrida replied that that sentence was "the only sentence of the "reply" to which I can subscribe". Commentators have frequently interpreted the exchange as a prominent example of a confrontation between analytical and continental philosophy .
The debate began in 1972, when, in his paper "Signature Event Context", Derrida analyzed J. L. Austin's theory of the illocutionary act. While sympathetic to Austin's departure from a purely denotational account of language to one that includes "force", Derrida was sceptical of the framework of normativity employed by Austin. He argued that Austin had missed the fact that any speech event is framed by a "structure of absence" (the words that are left unsaid due to contextual constraints) and by "iterability" (the constraints on what can be said, given by what has been said in the past). Derrida argued that the focus on intentionality in speech-act theory was misguided because intentionality is restricted to that which is already established as a possible intention. He also took issue with the way Austin had excluded the study of fiction, non-serious or "parasitic" speech, wondering whether this exclusion was because Austin had considered these speech genres governed by different structures of meaning, or simply due to a lack of interest. In his brief reply to Derrida, "Reiterating the Differences: A Reply to Derrida", Searle argued that Derrida's critique was unwarranted because it assumed that Austin's theory attempted to give a full account of language and meaning when its aim was much narrower. Searle considered the omission of parasitic discourse forms to be justified by the narrow scope of Austin's inquiry. Searle agreed with Derrida's proposal that intentionality presupposes iterability, but did not apply the same concept of intentionality used by Derrida, being unable or unwilling to engage with the continental conceptual apparatus. This, in turn, caused Derrida to criticize Searle for not being sufficiently familiar with phenomenological perspectives on intentionality. Searle also argued that Derrida's disagreement with Austin turned on his having misunderstood Austin's type–token distinction and his failure to understand Austin's concept of failure in relation to performativity . Some critics have suggested that Searle, by being so grounded in the analytical tradition that he was unable to engage with Derrida's continental phenomenological tradition, was at fault for the unsuccessful nature of the exchange.
Derrida, in his response to Searle ("a b c ..." in Limited Inc), ridiculed Searle's positions. Claiming that a clear sender of Searle's message could not be established, he suggested that Searle had formed with Austin a société à responsabilité limitée (a "limited liability company ") due to the ways in which the ambiguities of authorship within Searle's reply circumvented the very speech act of his reply. Searle did not reply. Later in 1988, Derrida tried to review his position and his critiques of Austin and Searle, reiterating that he found the constant appeal to "normality" in the analytical tradition to be problematic.
In the debate, Derrida praises Austin's work, but argues that he is wrong to banish what Austin calls "infelicities" from the "normal" operation of language. One "infelicity," for instance, occurs when it cannot be known whether a given speech act is "sincere" or "merely citational" (and therefore possibly ironic, etc.). Derrida argues that every iteration is necessarily "citational", due to the graphematic nature of speech and writing, and that language could not work at all without the ever-present and ineradicable possibility of such alternate readings. Derrida takes Searle to task for his attempt to get around this issue by grounding final authority in the speaker's inaccessible "intention". Derrida argues that intention cannot possibly govern how an iteration signifies, once it becomes hearable or readable. All speech acts borrow a language whose significance is determined by historical-linguistic context, and by the alternate possibilities that this context makes possible. This significance, Derrida argues, cannot be altered or governed by the whims of intention.
He would also argue about the problem he found in the constant appeal to "normality" in the analytical tradition from which Austin and Searle were only paradigmatic examples.
In the description of the structure called "normal," "normative," "central," "ideal,"this possibility must be integrated as an essential possibility. The possibility cannot be treated as though it were a simple accident-marginal or parasitic. It cannot be, and hence ought not to be, and this passage from can to ought reflects the entire difficulty. In the analysis of so-called normal cases, one neither can nor ought, in all theoretical rigor, to exclude the possibility of transgression. Not even provisionally, or out of allegedly methodological considerations. It would be a poor method, since this possibility of transgression tells us immediately and indispensably about the structure of the act said to be normal as well as about the structure of law in general.
He continued arguing how problematic was establishing the relation between "nonfiction or standard discourse" and "fiction," defined as its "parasite, "for part of the most originary essence of the latter is to allow fiction, the simulacrum, parasitism, to take place-and in so doing to "de-essentialize" itself as it were". He would finally argue that the indispensable question would then become:
what is "nonfiction standard discourse," what must it be and what does this name evoke, once its fictionality or its fictionalization, its transgressive "parasitism," is always possible (and moreover by virtue of the very same words, the same phrases, the same grammar, etc.)?
This question is all the more indispensable since the rules, and even the statements of the rules governing the relations of "nonfiction standard discourse" and its fictional"parasites," are not things found in nature, but laws, symbolic inventions, or conventions, institutions that, in their very normality as well as in their normativity, entail something of the fictional.
In 1995, Searle gave a brief reply to Derrida in The Construction of Social Reality. He called Derrida's conclusion "preposterous" and stated that "Derrida, as far as I can tell, does not have an argument. He simply declares that there is nothing outside of texts..." Searle's reference here is not to anything forwarded in the debate, but to a mistranslation of the phrase "il n'y a pas dehors du texte," ("There is no outside-text") which appears in Derrida's Of Grammatology .
In The Philosophical
Further, in an essay on religion and religious language, Habermas criticized Derrida's insistence on etymology and philology (see Etymological fallacy ).
WALTER A. DAVIS
The American philosopher Walter A. Davis , in Inwardness and Existence: Subjectivity in/and Hegel, Heidegger, Marx and Freud, argues that both deconstruction and structuralism are prematurely arrested moments of a dialectical movement that issues in Hegelian "unhappy consciousness".
IN POPULAR MEDIA
Popular criticism of deconstruction also intensified following the Sokal affair , which many people took as an indicator of the quality of deconstruction as a whole, despite the absence of Derrida from Sokal's follow-up book Impostures Intellectuelles .
Chip Morningstar holds a view critical of deconstruction, believing it to be epistemologically challenged. He claims the humanities are subject to isolation and genetic drift due to their unaccountability to the world outside academia. During the Second International Conference on Cyberspace (Santa Cruz, California, 1991), he reportedly heckled deconstructionists off the stage. He subsequently presented his views in the article "How to Deconstruct Almost Anything". and states"Contrary to the report given in the “Hype List” column of issue #1 of Wired (“Po-Mo Gets Tek-No”, page 87), we did not shout down the postmodernists. We made fun of them." ibid.
RELATED WORKS BY DERRIDA
Derrida published a number of works directly relevant to the concept
Of Grammatology was the book that introduced the
idea of Deconstruction. Derrida went on to write many other books
showing deconstruction in action or defining it more completely. Those
other books include
Speech and Phenomena
* ^ "
* ^ Cf. Jacques Derrida, "Interview with Jean-Louis Houdebine and Guy Scarpetta," in "Positions" (The University of Chicago Press, 1981), p. 43:
If there were a definition of differance, it would be precisely the limit, the interruption, the destruction of the Hegelian releve wherever it operates. What is at stake here is enormous. I emphasize the Hegelian Aufhebung, such as it is interpreted by a certain Hegelian discourse, for it goes without saying that the double meaning of Aufhebung could be written otherwise. Whence its proximity to all the operations conducted against Hegel's dialectical speculation. * ^ Cf. Jacques Derrida, "Interview with Jean-Louis Houdebine and Guy Scarpetta," in "Positions" (The University of Chicago Press, 1981), p. 43.
Rodolphe Gasché , "Infrastructures and Systematicity," in John
One of the more persistent misunderstandings that has thus far
forestalled a productive debate with Derrida's philosophical thought
is the assumption, shared by many philosophers as well as literary
critics, that within that thought just anything is possible. Derrida's
philosophy is more often than not construed as a license for arbitrary
free play in flagrant disregard of all established rules of
argumentation, traditional requirements of thought, and ethical
standards binding upon the interpretative community. Undoubtedly, some
of the works of Derrida may not have been entirely innocent in this
respect, and may have contributed, however obliquely, to fostering to
some extent that very misconception. But deconstruction which for many
has come to designate the content and style of Derrida's thinking,
reveals to even a superficial examination, a well-ordered procedure, a
step-by-step type of argumentation based on an acute awareness of
level-distinctions, a marked thoroughness and regularity.
Although Saussure recognized the necessity of putting the phonic
substance between brackets ("What is essential in language, we shall
see, is foreign to the phonic character of the linguistic sign" . "In
its essence it is not at all phonic" ), Saussure, for essential, and
essentially metaphysical, reasons had to privilege speech, everything
that links the sign to phone. He also speaks of the "natural link"
between thought and voice, meaning and sound (p. 46). He even speaks
of "thought-sound" (p. 156). I have attempted elsewhere to show what
is traditional in such a gesture, and to what necessities it submits.
In any event, it winds up contradicting the most interesting critical
motive of the Course, making of linguistics the regulatory model, the
"pattern" for a general semiology of which it was to be, by all rights
and theoretically, only a part. The theme of the arbitrary, thus, is
turned away from its most fruitful paths (formalization) toward a
hierarchizing teleology: "Thus it can be said that entirely arbitrary
signs realize better than any others the ideal of the semiological
process; this is why language, the most complex and most widespread of
the systems of expression, is also the most characteristic one of them
all; in this sense linguistics can become the general pattern for all
semiology, even though language is only a particular system" (p. 101).
One finds exactly the same gesture and the same concepts in Hegel. The
contradiction between these two moments of the Course is also marked
by Saussure's recognizing elsewhere that "it is not spoken language
that is natural to man, but the faculty of constituting a language,
that is, a system of distinct signs ... ," that is, the possibility of
the code and of articulation, independent of any substance, for
example, phonic substance. * ^ Derrida, Jacques. Limited, Inc.
Northwestern University Press, 1988. p. 29: "...I have read some of
his work (more, in any case, than he seems to have read of mine)"
* ^ Maclean, Ian. 2004. "un dialogue de sourds? Some implications
of the Austin–Searle–Derrida debate", in Jacques Derrida: critical
thought. Ian Maclachlan (ed.) Ashgate Publishing, 2004
* ^ A B C "Another Look at the Derrida-Searle Debate". Mark Alfino.
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* Derrida, Jacques (1978). Of Grammatology, trans. by Gayatri
Chakravorty Spivak. Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University
Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-5830-7
* Derrida, Jacques.
Speech and Phenomena