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From Philadelphia: Deconstruction

From Philadelphia: Deconstruction

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Published by Adam Fieled
This pdf collects representative pieces which address different aspects of Deconstructionist thought and discourse. Some were debuted as seminar papers at Temple University in Philadelphia in the Aughts; all were written by Adam Fieled.
This pdf collects representative pieces which address different aspects of Deconstructionist thought and discourse. Some were debuted as seminar papers at Temple University in Philadelphia in the Aughts; all were written by Adam Fieled.

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Published by: Adam Fieled on Jul 29, 2013
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From Philadelphia: DeconstructionAdam Fieled
The perceived chiasmus between text and geography, when/where it manifests, isoften both interesting and instructive. Philadelphia, as a site for deconstructive thoughtand inquiries into such, is perhaps more fertile than it appears to be on the surface, as
Philadelphia‟s fluctuating and uncertain identity could be construed as a succession of 
 palimpsests, or a socio-political maze. The dissolution of constitutive subjectivity is
directly applicable to “Philadelphia” as an entity; to the engaged intellect, theaforementioned succession of palimpsests enacts its own dissolution on the city‟s
collective consciousness with each fresh articulation-over-erasure. The American media,
and Philadelphia‟s own press corps, assail the city with crude, reductive generalizations;Philadelphia‟s avowed Continental associations are seldom discussed in these contexts. It
would not be amiss, perhaps, to posit Deconstructionism itself as a succession of  palimpsests; entrenched by a textual-theoretical spine which specifically addresses this asa representative textual phenomenon. The pieces collected here, written and publishedfrom Philadelphia, are simultaneously a simulacrum of a representatively Philadelphiansensibility and marks scribed over a set of erasures
America‟s largely lackluster 
response to the ascent-into-prominence of Deconstructionism and Deconstructionistthought in the second half of the twentieth century, over and beyond Heidegger.A
s text (as two of these pieces are in “compressed matrix” textual form), these
discourses unwind themselves as simply and concisely as possible
expansive regardingthe possibilities of contraction. As association of textual Deconstructionism withBuddhism is, admittedly, outre
but I have included it because it attempts to expand the parameters of Deconstructionism beyond its mother crab-shell of sanctioned textualityinto the uncharted (for Deconstructionism) waters of Eastern perspectives and disciplines.This is the primary hindrance perceptible to a wide-ranging intellect inDeconstructionism
this crab-shell of sanctioned textuality, however prone todissolutions, ruptures, and abrasions, is a too-placating safeguard, at times, againstdiffere
nce and Otherness. As such, depending on who is being queried, “Derrida andSiddhartha” (which generated a good amount of ferment in American religious sectors
when first placed online in 2009) could either be the highest or the lowest textualmandala or horizon in this collection. As, contradiction-wise, it visibly makes a palimpsest over a blank space in Deconstructionist discourse, I defend it on grounds that
it desires to allow light in by cracking Deconstructionism‟s proverbial crab
-shell. Other articulations here are conventionally stated, and only aim to derive essences by textualcontractions. In its entirety, I hope it would not be hubristic to assert that this is the mostfulsome American response to authentic textual Deconstructionism which America has produced. Willy-nilly, it is manifest that America has accepted both the responsibilitiesand the complications of assimilating the most superb Continental discourses of thetwentieth century, as the twenty-first discursively torques is new, unexpected directions.Adam Fieled, 2013
Elucidating Derrida and “D
nce”: Lecture Given at Temple
University by Adam Fieled, 10-16-2006
“We provisionally give the name “difference” to this sameness which is notidentical.”
Derrida‟s concept “differance” has its basis in contradiction. What Derrida isessentially “doing,” though he might balk at the notion that formulating “differance”could be “doing” anything, is moving Saussure‟s theories of language into an expanded
realm, that might be said to include the ontological, or the metaphysical, or both (or neither.) As we remember, Saussure, in founding Structuralism with his
Course inGeneral Linguistics
, posited that “in languages there are only differences,” i.e. all
 phonemes and other elements of language take their identity from all other phonemes andlanguage elements, and are defined relationally rather than individually. Derrida is telling
us that in naming “differance” through a displacement of “e” to “a”, he is, among other things, broadening the parameters of Saussure‟s insight beyond language and linguistic
signs. The play of differences, Derrida tells us, is operational in every human sphere, andin all situations in which entities/substances/essences are perceived or intuited. All things
are perceived and identified through the principle of “difference,” i.e. all things take their 
meaning (in the broadest sense) from other things from which they differ. By taking
Saussure‟s theory out of linguistics and casting it in a more expansive light, Derrida posits a “relative universe” in which individual identity, as “owned” by a constitutive and
constituting subject, becomes problematic as it is seen that identity is structured out of 
“difference,” plays of difference.
Derrida‟s use of the word “provisionally” is important. It signifies a temporary
condition, an impermanent usage. This sets Derrida apart from earlier philosophers, like Nietzsche and Heidegger, who were much more definite and authoritative in their  pronouncements. The conditions by which post-Structural thought was created entailed a
radical rethinking of writing, the author, authority, and “privilege,” so that
once the
individual, with his/her constitutive ego, was reduced by “differance” to a sort of “liminallimbo,” the act of writing, creating signs, and setting forth a specific “play of differences”
 became fraught with all sorts of complications and limitations that made every claim
“provisional.” If not just language but people exist in a “play of differences”, and if thisstate is marked out by a permanent condition of “difference,” then how can any given“person” (and person does, in this context, need qu
otation marks) claim to use linguistic
signs with authority? “Differance” is operative on people, and on language too, so thatwhen a person attempts to use language instrumentally, a “double bind” inevitably and
invariably arises. Even naming this bind is a double bind, or maybe a triple bind; theconstitutive subject, the linguistic sign, and the anti-concept/anti-
word “differance” allchafe against an attempted “stranglehold by definition” in linguistic signage. Thus, the
language of qualification become
s imperative. Derrida cannot strangle “differance” intosubmission; it is too evanescent, too ungraspable; he must talk “around” it, and
everything he says must be qualified and guarded against facile usage that guaranteesmisunderstanding. In fact, any cl
aim to completely grasp “differance” would, to Derrida,seem fraudulent, because there is nothing to grasp, or a mere phantom. “Differance”

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