Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Save to My Library
Look up keyword
Like this
2Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
2 - Derrida, (15)

2 - Derrida, (15)

Ratings: (0)|Views: 43 |Likes:
Published by wilmarr90
introduction to Derrida
introduction to Derrida

More info:

Published by: wilmarr90 on Jan 29, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as DOCX, PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

11/09/2012

pdf

text

original

 
CHAPTER IIJACQUES DERRIDA(1930-2004)A.
 
Brief Biographical SketchOne of the most prolific and creative twentieth century philosophers who developed astrategy called ³deconstruction´ was born of an assimilated French speaking Sephardic Jewishfamily in Algeria on July 15, 1930. He was reared in an environment of anti-semitism andtransferred from one school to another because of this discriminatory practice. He immigrated toFrance to study philosophy in 1950 where he became a great and early admirer of James Joyce.Joyce violated the protocols of received academic discourse, a transgression that even theMarxists had avoided.
1
Derrida¶s work on phenomenology at the
 École Normale Supérieure
 earned for him a scholarship to Harvard in 1956-57.
2
From 1960 to 1964, Derrida taught philosophy and logic at the Sorbonne before eventually returning to the
 École NormaleSupérieure
to teach the history of philosophy until 1984
.
Since the mid-1970s, Derrida spent asignificant portion of his time teaching and lecturing abroad, particularly in the United States,where he has held visiting professorship at such universities as Yale, Cornell, and, more recently,at the University of California, Irvine, where he was a professor of humanities.
3
In 1984, he became a director of studies at the
 École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales.
4
 He died on October 8, 2004.
 
His death was greeted with both an outpouring of movingeulogies from his admirers and several sharp attacks. The controversy arose because of thedestabilizing and unsettling effects of "deconstruction" of our traditional views andunderstanding of things which caused his readers from various sectors considerable discomfort.
1
John
 
D
.
Caputo
 , Jacques Derrida (1930-2004)
. Internet (11/19/11/ 11: 10 am):http://www.crosscurrents.org/caputo200506.htm
2
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (trans.),
Of Grammatology
, Johns Hopkins University Press, USA, 1974, p. ix.
3
Matthew Calarco and Peter Atterton (eds.),
The Continental Ethics Reader,
Routledge, New York, 2003, p.207.
4
Jeff Collins and Bill Mayblin,
 Introducing Derrida
, Totem Books, USA, 1997, p. 13.
 
This was the side of deconstruction that grabbed all the headlines during the 70s - a kind of academic
 succès de scandale.
 
Without reading very closely, it all looked like a joyous nihilism, a reckless relativism andan acidic skepticism. But what his critics according to Caputo missed is that his work is an
affirmation and fidelity to the philosophical discipline
, a love which in later years Derridawould call the "
undeconstructible
."
In the last fifteen years of his life, Derrida would start talking about religion, telling usabout his "
religion (without religion
)," about his "
 prayers and tears
," and about the Messiah. Hewould even write a kind of Jewish
Confession
called "
Circumfession
" - a haunting and enigmatic journal he kept while his beloved mother lay dying in Nice, a diary
cum dialogue
with St.Augustine, his equally weepy compatriot. His critics failed to see that deconstructing this, thatand everything
in the name of the undeconstructible
is a lot like what religious people, especiallyJews, would call the "
critique of idols
." Deconstruction is satisfied with nothing because it iswaiting for the Messiah which Derrida translated into the philosophical figure of the "to come"
venir 
):
 
the very figure of the future
(l¶avenir),
of hope, and expectation. Deconstruction'smeditation on the contingency of our beliefs and practices²on democracy, for example²ismade in the name of a promise in the sense that it is a democracy "
to come
" for which everyexisting democracy is a but a faint predecessor state. This religious turn made many peoplenervous and uncomfortable but giving comfort is not what deconstruction was sent into the worldto do.
When asked why he does not say "I am" an atheist
(je suis, c'est moi),
he said it was because he did not know if he were, believing that he lacks the absolute authority of an
authorial 
"I" to still his inner conflict. So the best he can do is to rightly pass for this or thatand he is very
 sorry that he cannot do better 
. It reminds Caputo of the formula placedforward by Kierkegaard 's "Johannes Climacus" who deferred saying that he "is" aChristian but is
doing the best he can
to "become" one.
Derrida exposes us to the "secret" that there is no "Secret," no Big Capitalized Secret towhich we have been wired up²by scientific reason, by poetic or religious revelation, or by
 
 political persuasion. The secret that is no secret is: We do not in some deep way know who weare or what the world is.
That is not nihilism but a quasi-religious confession, the beginning of wisdom, the onset of faith and compassion. Derrida exposes the doubt that does not merely insinuate itself intofaith but that in fact constitutes faith,
 for faith is faith precisely in the face of doubt and uncertainty, the passion of non-knowing 
. Violence on the other hand arises from having alow tolerance for uncertainty so that Derrida shows us why religious violence is bad faith.
On Derrida's terms, we do not know the name of what we desire with a desire beyonddesire. That means leading a just life comes down to
coping 
with such non-knowing,
negotiating 
 among the several competing names that fluctuate undecidably before us,
each pretending toname what we are praying for 
5
 B.
 
Intellectual InfluencesDerrida was twice refused in the prestigious
 École Normale Supérieure
in Paris (whereSartre, Simone de Beauvoir and the majority of French intellectuals and academics began their careers), but he was eventually accepted to the institution at the age of 19. Hence he moved fromAlgiers to France, and soon after he also began to play a major role in the leftist journal - in thesixties he was among the young intellectuals writing for the avant-garde journal
Tel 
 
Quel 
.
6
 His initial work in philosophy was done largely through the lens of Husserl. Other important inspirations on his early thoughts include Nietzsche, Heidegger, Saussure, Levinas andFreud. Derrida acknowledges his indebtedness to all of these thinkers in the development of hisapproach to texts, which has come to be known as
deconstruction
.
7
 
Derrida has also had many dialogues with philosophers like John Searle (see
 Limited Inc.
),in which deconstruction has been roundly criticized, although perhaps unfairly at times.However, what is clear from the antipathy of such thinkers is that deconstruction challengestraditional philosophy in several important ways. Deconstruction has had an enormousinfluence in psychology, literary theory, cultural studies, linguistics, feminism, sociology
5
John
 
D
.
Caputo
 , Jacques Derrida (1930-2004)
. Internet (11/19/11/ 11: 10 am):http://www.crosscurrents.org/caputo200506.htm
6
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (trans.),
Of Grammatology
, p. ix.
7
 
 Jacques Derrida.
Internet (08/11/11/2:00 am): http://www.iep.utm.edu/derrida

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->