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The Tain of the Mirror

The Tain of the Mirror
Dewida and tbe Philosophy
of Reflection

*# l-4

RodoIphe Gaschi

Harvatd University


Cambridgq Massachusetts and London, England

Gpy.;ght 8 1986 by rhe Raiht and helb af Hnwmrd C o l g Nl ri&s mmd kinred in rhe Unrtcd h a t - of America Fifth printins 1997

This book i p r i n d an a d - f m paper, and ia bindii mmdali s hmw brm c h m m for s t m & and dmbitity.
Library af Cenpss Caabgaa-in-P.blL.rian Data


The nin of the mirmr.

Bibliography: p. Indudes index.
1. Dcmdp. Jactpes. 1. Title, BZ430.iMU4C37 1986 194 a64673 ISBN 0-674-86700-9 (dorh) ISBN 0-674-86701-3 (paper)


I am grateful t David B. Allison, Man Bass, Barbara Jobo John P. b v y , Gayatri C. Spivak, and others who have translated Derridas wotk into English. Thanks to their expert trandations, I was able to complete my own work without dumring the text with numerous refuencrs to Dcrridas French. Gaeu acknowledgment is made to rcfl the Johns Hopkins Univcrsity Press for permission to quote from Jacques Derrida, Of Grmnntatology,mans. Gayaui C. Spivak, as well as m the Northwcsrrrn University k e s r for pmnission to U M Jacques Dcrrida, Speech mrd Phenomenon. trans. David B. Allison. Acknowledgment is also made to the University af Chicago Prns for lines quoted f o the following works of Jacques Dmida: D*mninntim. rm trans. Barbara Johnson, copyright 0 1981 by the University of Chicago; Marghs ofPhhilosophy, tram. Alan Bass, copyright 8 1982 by 7 h c University o Chicago; Posirions. trans. AIan Bass, copyright 0 f 1981 by The University of Chicago; and Writing old Diflmmm, trans. Alan Bass, copyright 0 I978 by The University of Chicago. 1 am ptehl m Jacques Dmidas English publishers for permission to q u a frwm his work, as follows: T h e Hancsrcr Prcnr, Murpinr of Philosophy, t a . l n B a q Rouddlg and Kegan Paul, Writing und r m Aa Difference; and T h e Arhlone Press, Pusitions and Dissenriwrion. I would also like t thank the Stare University of New Yo& h s s for o pemissiw t q u m from the two following works by Gcorg WilhcIm o Wedrich Hcgel: The Diffbetwmn Ficbtes a d Scbellings Systm offpbihopby, trans. W.Czrf and H.5. Harris, translation copytight 0 1977 by State Universiq of New York; and Fdth m d Kriwledge, trans. W.W a n d H. S. Matis, translation copyright Q 1977 by State University of New York.



Afirstdrafttfthefitsttwopamafrhis book warwrittenin 198182, while 1 held an American Council of Learned Societies fellowship. Without the assistance and support o the State University of New f York a t Buffalo, it would not have been easy ta complete this project. Several sections of rhc book h a w bwn published independently. A first version of Chapter 6 has appeared in Italian under the title Eterologia e decostrurione, tram. Stefan0 Rosso, in Rivista di Estetiur. 25, no. 17 (1984). A section of Chapter 9 entitled Infrastructures and Sysremaricity has becn publishcd in Deconstruction and Philosophy, ed.John Sallis (Chicago: University o Chicago Press, 1986). f Part of Chapter 1 I has been printed under the tide Quasi-Meraphoricity and the Question of Being, in Hermmsurics a d DeconshrrEtion. cd. Hugh J. Silverman and Dm lhdc (Albany: Statc University o New York Press, 1985}. f Very special thanks are due ro TWO ppIe-ChcryI Lester and Philip Barnard-for the mericulouscarcandconrinual gcncrosiry with time and advice with which they prepared the manuscript for publication. Many ,improvements in style and substance are the resuit of their discerning eye. Finally, I am deeply indebted to Bronislawa Karst for the patience with which she awaited this b w k , and f r so much o more.



Toward the Limits o Reflection f

I. DdiningRRdleaion 2. The Philosophy o Rdkcrion f 3. The Sclf-DcmUcd~ R ~ t l d ~ n Of Isobted Reflection 35
Pbiloropbiurl R&ction 36 Spccvlatiw or Abrolufe R&ctiou




4. Identity, Totality, and Mys~ic Rapnuc 5. Pon-Hqdian Criticism of R d k x i t i q 6. Beyond Reflection: The Interlacing of HetcroIw



On Deconstruction
7. A h , DrrmrLtEon. DccommKtion

8. Dcconsmmctive Merhodology
The Pmpnedentics of Dcconrtmction 124
Aaoinst Nentrnlify 136
Inhartrvcrvrnl Acanmtmg 142 7hc hfarpnl IrrCrriptmn offbe Ground 154 Thr B l p a r r e Operarmn of Dcmrmvnia 163



9. A System beyond Being



T h e Infrastrucrurat Cham 185 The Generol Theory of Doubling 225 The General S v s t m 239

Literature or PhiIosophy?
1 . Literature in Parentheses 0 I I . The Inscription of Universality
Writing 271 Text 278 Metophor 293

255 271

Notes Bibliography Index

321 336

The Tain o the Mirror f



tfit philomphid amapt--of


concept) always n k a within philosophy, rhc

/ o m o an aposteriority or an empiricism. But f his is an &MI of the speculrr nature of philcmphicnl rekction, philowphy king iscapableolimcribing (mmprchcnding)what isoutsidr ir curhemkc r h m through rhc appropriating rsrimilation o a ncptivc image of it, and disf semination is written on the back-the f i an of that mirmr. Jnquw Dd&, Dismhatim


T h e abhwisdnns that appcar in the text,

Duqucsne, 1980)

followed br page citations, refer

to the following worts by Jacques Derrida:

The Archmrogy of rhe Frivolour. mns. J. P Ixavy (Pittsburgh: .

Distmindion. iranr. B. Johnson (Chicago: Univmiy of Chicago
Press, 1981)
Limited Brc., in Glyph 2. trans. S. Wcbcr (Balrimore: Johns Hopkins University P r a s , 1977), pp. 162-254 Margins of Philosophy, rrans. A. Bass (Chicago Univmiry of Chicggo Press. 19az1 Edmmd Husserls Origin of Ceometty: An Snrductiori, rrans. J, P. Lcavy (Stony Brook. N.Y.: Nicholas Hays. 1978) Of G r u m m t o b ~trans G. C. Spivak (Baftimore: Johns Hopkins ,




Universiry Press, 1976) Positions, trans. A. Bass [Chicago: University o Chicago Prcss, f 1971) S Spars: Nietrrchcs Styles. trans. B. Harlow (Chicap: University of Chicago Press, 1979) SP Speech and Phenomena. rrans. D B. Allison (Evancron, 111.: . Northwestern University Press, 1973) VP L Vgriri en peinrure (Paris: Flammarion. 1978) a W D Wriring and Differace, trans. A. Bass (Chicago: University of Chicago P 1978) ,



Any attempt to interprcrJacques Derridaswritings in chc perspecrive of philosophy as a discipline is bound to stir controversy. Indeed, many philosophers and literary critics alike agree that Derridas work is literary in essence. For the philosuphcrs in question, however, such

an assertion is one of uncompromising ,reproof, for It is bawd on what they perceive as an incompatibility with philosophical sobriety, a lack of philosophical problematics and argumentarion. For the lirerary critics, by mntrast, the epithet literary is a mark of distinction, b a d on the fact hat Derrida has writren extemively on literary works and has also thmatized a number of concepts crucial to the literary-critical enterprise. Above all, the qualificadon l i m q refers to what is viewcd a5 Derridas playful style and fine sensibility to the very matter o literature: that is, language. Yet to judge Derridas f f writing as literary-to exclude them from the sphere o krious, that is, philosophical discussion, or to recuperate them for literary criticism-is a feeble attempt to mastcr his work, one that cannot do justice to the complexity of the Derridean enterprise. To miect such a characterization of Derridas work does not, howcvcr, imply that it must therefore be philosophical. If philosophy is understood as mnstitutcd by a horizon o probiematizariw exclusively determined f by the traditional desiderata o a canon of issucs, and if, in particular, f such problcmatization is identified with one special technique of argumentation, then Dcrridar writings arc certainly not philosophical. If philosophy is understood in this manner, the purpose of this book camat be simply to reapprupnatc Derrida for philosophy. Yet my exposition of Derridas w i i g is manifestly philosophical, rtns for at least two reasons. First, what Dertida has tu say is mediated


by rhecanon of the traditional problems and methods of philosaophical problem solving, as well as by the history o these problems and f methods, even if his work cannot be fully situated within the,confines of that canon and history. My interpretation is philosophical insofar as it focus= on Derridas relation to the philosophical tradition, and

emphasizes the manner in which his wrirings address not only particular philosophical problems and ihtir tradirional formulations, bur, more important, the philosophical itself. Second, my study is philosophical because it aics to prove that rhe specific displacements of rradidonal philosophical issues by deconstruction amount not to an abandonment of philosophical rhaughr as such, bur rather to an atrempt at positively recasting philosophys necessity and possibility in view of its incvirable inconsisrencies. Indeed, Derridas inquiry into f the limits o philosophy is an investigation into the conditions of possibility and impossibility of a type o discourse and questioning f that he r e c ~ g n i z eas absolurely indispensable. The philosophical ~ f meaning o such an intcllcctual entcrprisc is certainly nor easy tograsp. nomrioun transgrcsIts difftculty stems not simply from phi~osoaphyn sion of commonplace representation, but from an attempr, made in full respect o all the classical requirements o philosophical arguf f mentation and development, to question the laws of posribjliiy of that transgression itself, without, however, aiming to do away with it. Therefore, reading Derrida requires not only the rraditional surmounting or bracketing of rhe natural amrude, ordinary consdousn m , or habitual modes of thoughr that all approaches K) a philosophical work rcquirc. bur above all an additional retreat or absmnion, whereby f the philosophical gcsture and mode o perception themselves become f thematic. In short, my exposition o Derridas work is philosophical to the exrenr rhac we understand his debate with the condirian o f philosophical generality to be philosophicat* in intent. Apart from the fact that I believe that Dcrridas thought can be adcquately understood only if approached philosophicaIy-that is, shown to bc engaged i a constant debate with the major philosophical n themes from a primarily philosophical perspecrive-it must also be f adrnittcd chat some o my emphasis on thc philosophical dimensions of Derridas work is clearly a function o his receprion in this country, f f particularly, by the proponents o what has comc to be known as dcconsrruclive criticism. Undoubtedly dcconstruccive criticism has grcdtly profited from Dertidas thought, both thematically and merhodologically. But to quarry from Derridas writings i a not auromatically to become deconstmctive in the eminent sense. Indeed, many


dmstnrctionist ctiticp have c h m simply m ignore the profooundly philosophical thrust of Derridean thought, and have consequently misconstrued what deconstruction consists of and what it seeks to achieve. From the pmpectivr of what 1establish here as to the naturc of de~onsmctim, hardly any dcconsmctionist aitic could lay daim tothat titlt Yet my sometimcr harsh judgment o that sort of ciiim f rtcs is not meant to be a wholesale njcction. Undoubtdy demnstrucdonist criticism has brought frah air and imagination into the otherwise stuffy a m o s p h m of the critical cstablishmcnt. It has led t o exciting and highly valuable readings o literary tern. But d m n s h u c f tionkt criticism also has a spDdficity of in own; it obeys laws and foIIaws intentions that arc nor at all those that underlie Derridas philosophical enterprise. Indeed no one was more aware o &is disf crepancy benvecn venturn than Paul h Man, as I have tried to demonstrate elmvhtm Moreover, deconmuctionist aiticim is the offspring o a heritage rhar has licrlc in common with that of k r i d a s f thought. Deconstructionist criticism must be understood as originating in New Criticism; it i a continuation o his American-bred lits f erary scholarship. tt is against this criticisms appropriation o a f philosophical~y q e d notion OF deconstruction, but also against many p philosophers misreadings o Derrida as literary humbug, that some f o my emphasis is directed, f Yet since this book is concerncd neither with the history o d m f mructionist criticism and its miscomprchmsion o deconstruction in f a smct sense, nor with cstablishing the distinctive spedficity p r o p t this type of P;ti&m, I havc avoidcd all dctailcd debate with deo cmsrmdwe criticism. In order to undertake such a debate at teast w o things would be required, neither of which this book could hope t achicvc: B determination of the autonomy o this rypc of critiasm, o f and a d c h t i o n o a criticism that would yield to deconstruction as f dcvelopcd herein. Rather this book confines itself M an analysis af the philophid background and implications o deconstruction, and f to a discussion of some of the prernisa of a criticism b a d on it. In short, anyone will undoubtedly be deceived who me to establish what a true deconsrmaianist criticism wauld be, bcyand what Barbara Johnson has diagnosed. in an ekgant phrase, as the double infidtliry of dcconsrrucrionisr critiasm, which, through irs incursion into the exotic-the seducdvc foreipncss of Derridas thaught-comm to remember what it was thar had appealed IO it in what i t was being unfaithful t ~ that is, Ncw Criticism.2 Bur all rhcsc : t a t s are dependent preascly on a prior elucidation o that which f


deconstructionist criticism is onfaairhful to in Derridas writing, and rhat i s all I want to cstablish here. Some may argue that my attempt to present Decridas thought in a perspective of disciplinary philosophy. although perhaps ,feasiblein the caw of his earlier work, which is obviously philosophicd and conteprual in a technical sense, could be succcssful wirh the later work only if this portion of Derridas writings wcreviewed somewhat selectively. As a matter of fact, this book is based o n atmost the enrirery of Derridas writings up to La Viriti m peinrure (1979)wirh rhe exception of Gbs-as well as on a host of essays. Purring aside the delicate question of whar is to be counted as more philosophical or more tirerarily playful, not to mention earlier or later, I havc adrnitrcdly given greater prominence to the marc philosophically discursive texts. It has not been my intention to mver the totaliry of Derridas oeuvre up to this point, o r to speak for what he may publish in the future. This hook cerrsinly does nor claim to be ,exhausrive. The question, then, is whether the analysis of the supposedly earlier and more philosophical texts has any bearing an Derridas later writings. But has not Dcrrida insisted time and again on the continuity of his intellectual mterpriw? For instance, in The Time of a Thesis: Punctuations (19821, he rcmarks thar all of the probIema worked on in the Introduction to The Origin ofGeomehy have continued to organize the work I have subsequcntly atrempted in connection with philosophical, literary and even nondiscursive corpora, mosr notably that of pictorial work, Indeed 1 believe 6rmly thar all rhc motifs of the earlier iexrs continue to inform and direct Dertidas more playful texts. The diffcrcnce between the more philosophical and the more literary approach consirts, primarily, in making philosophical arguments in P nondiscursivc manncr, on rhe level of the rignifier, rm syntax, and textual organization. A5 is well known f o the Platonic dialogues, such a proccdutc is itself thoroughly philosophical. and thus shows these texu to beconcerned with problems similar to those discuscd in a technically conceptual manner in the cxplicirly philosophical works. To affirm such continuity, however, is not to deny difference and evolution. An cxtcnrive cvolurion is widmr as one passcs from thc carlicr to rhe later work, insofar a5 Derrida comes ro speak on subiects hc had nor taken up beforc. But rnorc imporram is the intcnsivc wolurion rooted in Derridas dcconsrrucrion o the constintrive rhef torical and literary dcvices nf philosophical argummtation. Indeed, if the making of arguments in a literary or poetic manner is itself

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eminently philosophical, Derridas mimicry of these devices m e t h e lcss outdoes philosophys manery ofthe aignifier. His earlier work is very much concerned with the inevitable problcms of concept forination and argumentation; the l a m work adds to rhis the dimension o the problems that follow f o philosophys involvement in the f rm materiality, spatiajity, and mporality of its texts. In his so-called literary texts, Dcrrida pursues the same problems on yet another level, a level that adds both a quantitative and a qualitative aspect to his Iater mrrk. Yet this complication itself becomes intelligible only if we first eluadate the &rust ofDerridas philosophical debatcs. Neglecring to d o 50 leads to the unfortunatt designation of the latcr prorcan t x s as literary, regardless of whether literary is understood as et merely l i m r y . Although in some d e g m 1 indicate an approach to thcse texts, for the most part 1 have limited myself r expounding the o more argumcnrativc side of Drrridas wrirings. This explication is necessary if one wish- to come to grips with what amounts to a deconsuuction af the phiImophinl rules for staging an argument in

To q o s c rhc esmtial wits and the philosophical thrust of Derridean thought, I have chosen a triple approach. Fint, 1 ,situate and i n m p m Derridas phiIosophy with respect to one particular philosophical problem and its history: namely, the criticism of the notion o reflexiviry. Second, while choosing that formof presentation, def velopcd since Aristatle, that proceeds by logical dependency, I also link rogcrhcr a mulrirudt o motifs in Dcrridas oeuvre in ordcr to f demonstrate the consistent nature of this philosophical enterprise, and to attempt t sysmnatizc some of its results. Third, I further devtlop o these concerns, especially insofar .as they impinge on the problem of universality, by analyzing a scries of Drnidean concepts thar have been abwrbed into deconstructionist criticism, and I clarity their philosophical status in Derridas work. This thrmfold intention broadly corresponds r the three para o this book. o f Unlike orhen who have aitemprrd to situate Dcrridas thought in the history at the grand disputcs concerning the question of being (Girard Granel], o r in the apocryphal histary o t h t grammatological f (Jean Grksch).not to mention m a i n histories bordering on the phantasmic which some philosophers and critics have devised, I discuss Dcrridas philosophy in terms o the criticism to which the phiIa f f sophical concept o reffedon and reflexivity has been subjected. The reasons for this choice arc dearly drcumstantiial. Indeed the dominant rnimnception o Derrida is b a d on the confusion by many literary f


critics of dcconstmction with rcflcxivity. Refltcrjm and reflexivity, however, are precisely what will not fir in Derridas work-not because he would wish ta refute or reject them in favor o a drcam of f immcdiacy. but because hi5 work questions reflections unthought, and thus the Iimiis of its possibility. This books ride, Tbe Toin of the Mirror, alludes 10 that beyond of the orchestrated mirror play o reflection t h a t Derridah philosophy sccks to conccpmalizc. Tak. f 3 ward altered from the French it&, according to the OED. refers to the tinfoil, the silver lining, the lusterless back of the mirror. Detridas philosophy, rather than being a philosophy of reflection, is engaged in the systematic exploration of that dull surface without which no reflection and no specular and spcculativc activity would be possible, but which a t the same time has no place and no part in reflcctions scintillating playYer my hislory of the critique of reflection, outhned in Part I, is nor a straightforward history. It does nor describe the full range of answers suggcstcd with respcm to this question. Nor d m it refer m Anglo-Saxon and American authors who have broached this problem, from Shadworth Hodgson to Sydney Shoemaker. By contrast, Hegels speculative criticism o rhe philosophy of reflection is bven what mme f may consider inordinate importance. But Part I is intended not as a total history of that problem, but merely as an oriented history that f serves as a theoretical prelude to the systematicexposition o Derridas thought, which I undertake in Part I[. in spite of my contention rhar Derridas philosophy must be relatcd to rhe modern bistory of the concept of reflection and to the criticism it has drawn, 1 seek primarily to bring into view Derridas debate with the traditional paradigms of philosophy in general. The speculative form in which Hegel cast the unvarying philosophical topoi, and even their I-lusserlian or Heideggerisn phenomenological farm, are, undoubtedty, because of their ~trategicimportancc for Derridas wrEtings as D whole, privileged means of acces to this thinkers discourse. But neither Hegel nor Husserl is truly at stake, nor is any other regional or historically limited form of philosophy. Ar stake rather is what in these aurhors touches on the enterprise of philosophy as such. indecd to interpret Dtrrida i s to confronr the whole tradition of Western thought, not so much as a cumulative series ofphilosophical figures, however. but as a rradition roored in and yielding to a set of unsurpassable rherr rctica1 and cthical themes and dcrnands. These arc, as I have tricd to show, the reat terms of rcfcrence and the adequate horizon of thought o Derridas philosophical enterprise, and they alone explain the radf


icaIity and contemporary attractivenes of his writing, however mi5 construed they may have bcen. In short, whcther discussing Hegel, Husserl, or Heid-, Demda is primarily engaged in a dcbatc with the main philosophical question regarding &c ultimate foundarion of whrr is. Conrnry to those philosophers who naively negate and thus remain closcly and uncontrollably bound up with this issue, Derrida confrontsthe philosophical qumt for the ultimate foundation a5 a necessity. Yet his faithfulness to intrinsic philosophical demands is paired with an inquiry into the inn- limits of t h e e demands themselves, as well as of their u n q u e tionable necessity. My goal is to demonstrate that h i d a s philosophical writings display a subtle economy that recognizes the essential requirements ofphilosophical thought while quesrioning the limirs of rhc possibiliry of thcre requirements. Deconstruction, as 1 show in Pam 11, is engaged in the construction of the quasi-synthetic concepts which account for the economy of the conditions of possibility and impossibility of the basic philosophemcs. Itrfrartrlrctures, a word used by Derrida on sevcrat -ions in refacnoe m thesc quaskynthmc constructs, mmcd to represent the mast economical way to conceptualizeall of Derridas proposed quasi-synthetic concepts in a general manner. Undecidabla would have been an alternative, ycr infrastmmre bas the suppiemenrary advantage o allowing for a problematization of Derf ridas debate with structuralism and with the Platonism thar it ha$ inherited from conseruativc strata in Husscrlian phenomenology. The notion of infrastructures has not yet been picked up by any o those f who have written on Dcrrida. From the perspective of my analysis of deconstruction, however-its necessity, how it is carried out, and of what irs conclusions consist-the occurrence of the word infrostrrrcflrre in Derridas writings is mare than a coincidence. In Pan 111 I inquire into the problems of philosophical gcnerality and universality from a daanstruaive point of view by way o a f discussion of Dcrridas use of the terms writing, textuality, and metaphor. In each case I try to reconstruct the precise context in which r m conceprs b w m c operational in Dcrridas work, and thus to h determine what philosophical task they are meant to paform. Here roo I s u p t some o the criteria that a possible dewnsrructionisr f literary criticism would have to observe. As an investigation into the irreducibly plural eonditiom of possibility o all major philosophical, theoretical, and ethical dcsidcrata, f dcconstmction is eminently plural. Derridas philosaphy, as I shal1


show, is plural. ycr not pluralistic in the li'beral senst-that is, as HegeI knew, secretly monological. This plural nature, or openness, o Derrida's philosophy makes it thoroughly impossible m conceivc f of his work in terms of orthodoxy, nor simply because, since he is P living author, his work is not yet completed, but primarily because it resists any possibleclosure, and thus doctrinal r&$dity, for essential reasons. Still, such openncss and pluralism do not give license to a

free inrerpreration of Derrida's thoughr. or for its adaptarion to any particular need or interest. Nor are all the inrerpretations of Derrida's thought that seek legitimacy in such openness equally valid. In this b w k I hope that I have found a middleground h e e n the srmctural pluraliry o Derrida's philosophy-a plurality rhar makes it impossible f ro elcvarc any 6nal essence of his work into irs iruc meaning-and thc srricr criteria to which any inrerpretation of his work must yield, if it is to be about that work and not merely a private fantasy. These criteria, at ccnrer stage in this book, are, as I shall show. philosophica[ and not literary in nature. Some might want r call my efforts a rctranslation of Derrida's o writings back inro the technical language of philosophy and its accepted set o questions. Indeed, in order to show at what precise point f rhe questions and demands of philosophy are transgressed in Derrida's thought, I have had to emphasize their tcthnical aspects. Yct such a proccdurc cart hardly hc called a literal rctranslation, since "philosophy" is spellcd out in capital letters throughout Derrida's work, his seemingly more playful texts includcd. I f this is a retranslation at all, it is one that focus= on what Dupin describes, refcrring in The Purb i n d Letter to a certain gamc, as rhat which escapes "obscrvation by dint o being excessively obvious."' Yet this excasively obvious f aspcct of Derrida's work, which SO many readers have overlooked, is precisely what givcs special significance to Derrida's so-called abandonment of philosophy and its rechnical language. Bur in addirionro rhe danger of being ma obvious in dernonsrraring the philosophical thrust at Dcrrida's work, a more serious risk is involved in attempting a retranslation. Apart from rhe always looming danger of opacity and crudity owing to insufficient philosophical renritivity on thc part nf thc inarpretcr, the major danger i s thar this opention may be understood as an end in irseIf. Obviously this is the risk I encounrcr with the professional philosopher. Indeed, in referring Derrida's philosophy back to the ctassical and technical vocabulary in order ro determine prccisely the level, Incus, and dfcct of a dcmnsrructivc inrervcntion in the traditional fieldof philosophical prob-


lematics, one may well confound the assignment o that locus with f the debatc itsclf. In spite of all the precautions I have taken-regarding, f o r instance,my reference t such Derridean concepts as ariginary o synthesis and transcendentality t indicate the lml on which his o debate with philosophy m r s - m y determination o the level and f the scope of the debatc may be mistaken by some for that which is at stake in the debate inelf. In this sense, rather than clarifying extremely intricate problems, my mansIation may even create a series of new abstacls to undemanding Derridas thought. Yet this is the risk any interpretation must take, a risk that, as Dcrridas philosophy maintains, is always possible and thus a nccasary possibility that has to be accounted for. And it is a risk that I happily assume, if I have been succcssfuI in providing some insights into a number o ditficult matters not prcviously a d d w e d , and Especially f if this book helps set forth more rigorous uiteria for any future discussion of Derridas thought.


Toward the Limits of Reflection

Defining Reflection

ReOcction is undoubtedly ar old as the discourseof phiIosophy itself. A statement such as this, howmer, borderson the trivial, if one de6nes reflection in its most common senst, as meditation or carcful consideration o some subject by turning or fixing o e s thoughts on it. f n' Without such action, no philosophical discourse could gcr off the ground. 1 am concerned here instead with the philosophical concept of reflection, which from the outset has turned away from the immediacy and contingency of the reflective gatwe by which philosophiaing bcgim in order to reflect on the beginningof philosophy itself. The mnccpt of philosophical reflection is, as we shall see, a name for philosophy's eternal aspiradon toward wlf-foundation. Yet only with modern philosophy-philosophid thought since D e s c a m r a i d reflection expliatly acquire this status o a principle par excellence. f Why, then, did reflection become an outstanding, perhaps a n unsurpassed, principle of philDsophica1 &inking, and in what way are we M undersrand It? First of all, from the momcnt it became the chief methodological conctpt fr Cartesian thought, it has signified the o turning away from any straightforward consideration of objects and from thc immediacy o such an experience toward a considcrarion of f the very experience in which objew are given. Second, with such a bending back upon the modalitits o obiect perception, reflection f show itself to mean primarity =If-reflection, self-relation, self-mirroring, By lifting the ego out of its immediate entanglement in the world and by thematizing the subject ot thought irrelf, DRczrtcs establishes t h e apodictic certainty of self as a result of the clarity and disrinctncss with which it perceiver itself. Through self-reflection, the self-the ego, the subject-is put on its own feer, set free from all

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unmcdiated relation to being. In giving priority t the human beings o determinarion as a thinking being, self-reflection marks the human beings risc m the rank of a subject. tr makcs the human being a subjectivity that has its center in itself, a self-consciousness certain of itself. This is the Crst epoch-making achievement of the concept of refleaion, and it chancrerim modern rneraphysia as a rnaaphysia o subjectivity. f By severing the self from the immediacy of the obiccr world, reflcction helps give the subiea freedom as a thinking being. From Descants to Huvjerl, not to mention German Idealism, reflection as the self-thinking o though5 as sclf-conKiousncss, has had an mif nently emancipatory function. lt constitutes the autonomy of the cogdo, of the subiecr, of thought. Liberum est quod cuusa sui &. Only rhe subjea rhar knows itself, and rhus finds the center of all cemrudc in itself, is free. But self-reflection in modern philosophy not only grounds the autonomy of the individual as a rational being; it also appears to be the very motor of history as progress toward a frec sodety. Self-reflection has informed all philosophy af spirit since Descams; indctd, ir also constirums the modem mnccpr a l hisrory and is the alpha and omega of political philosophy. Yet Descartcss attempt to doubt anything, and Husrcrls eidetic f f bracketing of all thetical positioning o the world, a m o freedom by which thc rhinking subject reflects irself inro irself, do nor abandon the world ofobiects. Although rhe principle of self-reflemion risks the danger of solipsism, it is the very condition by which the world can turn into a world of objects. Self-reflection, then (and this is another o its maior modem characteristics). makcs masrery of the world f dependent on the status of the world as a world of obicas for a free and self-conscious subject who bears thc promise o a free world. f As I have mentioned, sin= the bcginning of modem metaphysics reflection has represented the sole means by which an ego can engender itself as a subject. Because such a subject is seen as providing the foundation, thesolid and unshakable ground of all possible knowlcdgc, the thcory of reflexivity also inaugurates the particular kind o f philosophical investigation thar with Kanr came to be known as rransccndental philosophy, rranscendtntal referring to that son o f philosophical reOection that brings to conxiousncss the inner condirions that consuture the objects in kenera1 thar present themselves 10 our experience. Indeed for Kant, tranwendcntal philosophy not only hematites the forms and categories that make objective knowledge possible but aIso makcs the transcendental subject not merely



a logical condition o possible xlf-consdoumss, but that which rea1 f consciousnsr knows to bc the subject of all possible reat consciousness. From Dcscartes to Kant, self-consciousness as the ground of deduction o the systems o knowledge represents a still u n a n a l y d f f presupposition; the analysis of its structure bemmcs a m a a l preoccupation of modem philosophy only wirh Fiche. Nonetheless, in the sort of invstigation latent since Descartes and beginning with Kantnamely, tranffendntta philowphy-sclf-reflexiviig remains an a priori structural precondition o what we undcrstand by knowledge ioelf. f As chis implies, the impfications ofself-decrios go beyond subjec-. tivity, f r d o m , and rtanscendenralicy. To the extent that transcendental philosophy laysdaim to reflecting the a priori conditions of all knowledge, it must also reflect on the ground proper o philosophy, and thus become rhe mtdium of the f self-retlection o philosophy. In the thinking of thinking-what Arf istotle called noesis norseos-rdlexivity serves at once as a medium, the method, and the foundation by which philosophy gmunds itself within itself. Through such a rdlecrion upon irself, in the philosaphy of philosophy, the philosophical discourse xckr to achieve complete clarity concerning its m csscnap and complete freedom from any assumprions, thereby conlrrming its claim to bc the first philosophy, the philosophy o philosophy, the philosophy capable of furnishing f the foundation o all other sdcnccs. In othcr words. %If-reflection f grounds the autonomy of philosophy as the knowledge that i s most free. Here, one can best grasp that self-Amion is not only method or medium but foundation as well. All modern philosophy has an essential relation to itself such that all rdexive analyses are analyses of the essential nature o things themselves, as Huswrl claimed with f respect to phenomenological reflection; furthermore, all reflmion by philosophy upon itself represents an essential act of freedomin which, as Fichte maintains, philwphy becomes its own content and returns into itself.1 In short,self-reflection is not merely L key concept denoting a method specific to modern philosophy, nor is it simply one of philosophys major concerns. T h e scope of reflexivity is not cxhaustcd by in role in constituting subjsdviry, freedom, tranmdmtality, and f philwophy us philosophy. At the very heart o modern metaphysics as a metaphysics of subjcctivity, reflexivity is the very medium o its f unfolding; it is the method and substance, thcvery origin of philosophy itself as a discourse o radicaI autonomy. Yet, despite i n capital imf portance, the task of determining rigorously what reflection is is not an easy one.



Since reffection is a5 old as philosophy iself, and gained systematic significance as early as Descanes, it is surprising that it has not been fully conceptualized. One can, of course, try to explain this incongruiry by pointing a t rhe in fact very diffcrent meanings o reflection f throughout the history of philosophy, but one would still confront rhc necmsicy of eoncepmatizing rhcsc dilfcmces. Any ammpt to circumscribe 3 definite meaning of these different uses of the term by zracing it back to its etymological roots in the Latin verb re-/here is certain to be of little help. Still, such a procedure is not without merit as a beginning, since it will suggest some of the mom formal characteristics of the movements that compose reflection, as well as some of rhc fundarncnral imagery associated with this concept. Reflecterp means to bend or to turn back or backward, as well as to bring back. Yet this turning back is significant for understanding reflection only if one recalls that in both Creek and Latin philosophy o thc term has optic connotations, in that it refers t the action by ITIirrOringsUrfacKnfthrowing back Fight, and in particular a mirrors exhibition or reproduction nf obiccts in the form ,of images. In this sense, reflection signifies the process that takes place between a figure or object and its image on a polished surface. As a consequence of this optic metaphoriciry, reflection. when designating the mode and operation hy which the mind has knowledge at itself and its opcrarims, becomes analogous to the process whereby physical ljghr is thrown back on 3 reflecring surface. From thc beginning, self-consciousness as constirured by self-reflccrion has been conceptualized in terms of this optic operation and. m5re generally, a5 we shall sec later, in terms analogous to perception, with the effect that sdf-consciousness has come to suggest 8 beam of light thrown back upon itself aFter impact with a reflecting surface. In this vein the Stok, and later the Neoplaronists, camc to undersand the m u s as a =If-reflecting and self-illuminating light, which sees itself by mirroring obiccts. A5 500n as consciousness is said to reflect the w r d and itself by turning ol upon itsclf, and rhus to bc conscious o itself in this act of coiling f upon itself, this rnctaphysics of light. or photology, is transposed to it. Unlike thc common notion of reflection, reflcction as a philosophical concept requires that the action of reproduction also be thrown back upon itself. Recognizing the convcrgcnce ofthe word reflections etymological meaning with the rnccsphoriciry o light. one could venture a prclimf inary dchirion: rcttection is the structure and thc pronss ofan operation that, inaddition to designating theaction o f a mirror reproducing



an object, implies that mirror's mirroring itself, by which process the mirror is made ro see itself. Such a minimal definition, apart from the formidabb ptoblans it p c s , can hardly Explain all the different theories o r philosophies of reflection throughout the history of philosophy, aithough they may all share the optic memphor predominant in the conapt of reflection. T h i s is partjculedy true o modern phif losophy from DeKartes to Kant, and ro some extent Hegel. Whar arc the major events in this history of the philmaphy of reflection?Although it is true h a t the Augustinian notion of rediws in se ipswnr-a return upon and into oneself constituting rhc medium of philosophy-prefigures rhe modern concept o reflection, rhe phif Iosophy o reflection is generally considercd to have begun with Desf c r e ' prbna pbilosopbia. There are good 1eax1~5 this assumption, atss for For in k c a r m the scholastic idea of the reditus undergoes an epochmaking mnsformation. whereby reflection. instead of being merely the medium of mctaphysjq becomes its very foundation. With Cartesian thought, the self-certainry o the thinking subject-a certainty f apodicticafty found in the cogito me rogi*rre-becomes the unshakable ground of philosophy itself. No longer does rhe essence of rhe human being reside primarily in grounds ontologically and thcologically independent o him; DeMarres discovers ir i the iogically and f n ontologically prior phenomenon of the rogito me cogitare, in which the thinking self appears to itself as me cogitare. With the ego a$ ,cogitrmsbecoming its own copital~nl, major paradigm of reflection, a and of the ensuing philosophy, is set forth. In fact, one could scho maticatly ascertain the different and ohen concravcrsial forms a the l philosophies of reflection in posr-Catresian philosophy up to Kant as d i k n t modes of determining the me roghre. The status of the founding reflexive act in Dcwrtm retains, as Hubert Schnldelbach has convincingly demonstrated, a strange ambijyity, such that it is impossible to make out clearly whether this act is scnsible or inteliigibk.' from here on, the history o the develf opment o the philosophy of reflection becomes almost predictable. f Take, for instance, the case of Locke, for whom reflection is also the fundamental method of philorophizing. inasmuch ms it is the sole means o dimvering logical categories. But for Lucke, this source of f cognition, by which the mind becomes aware ~f its own doiny, is basically a sensible, empirical operation o internal perception or inner f experience. Reflection here is empirical d e c t i o n , an rm#mtio recta direcud upon thoughr a5 an internal realiry, belonging by right to psychology and nor to philosophy. For Leibniz too, reflection is an



aKCnnOn directed upon self, but it is a process that rakes place i n turning from everything sensible toward an intellectual anualization of innate ideas. Unlike Lockts empirical reflection, Ixibnizs refleaion must be termed logical. A first synthesis of these opposite positions on the status of the me cogitmecan be found in Rousseau, for whom f self-consciousness is grounded in a state o emotional self-affecrion which stands as the precondition of all propositional activity-that is, of thc passing of judgments. Needlessto say, these characterizations are not straightforwardly historical but arc schematic at best; yct I do not mean them to be more. All 1 am concerned with a t this point is evoking this dominant motif of reflection as a founding principle of modern philosophy. Now. a5 regards this history of the concept of reflection, what is Kants pasirion? As the famous addendum to Trrrnscmdmtd Anulyric-the chapter entitled On the EquivocaI Naturt of Amphiboly-demonstr~tes, Kant is critical of both logical and cmpiricat n reflection. His criticism is rnadc i the name of what could be considered a return to Desurtes. yet which is, at the same time, a total innovation within the Cartesian paradigm of reflection. Hs criricism i is a function of trartscmdental rcflection. Kant writes: R d e d o n (refkcio)does not concern itself with obiects themselvce with a view to deriving concepts from them directly, but is that state of mind in which we lirst set ourselves to discover the subjective condirions under which (alone1 we arc able to arrive at conccpts.3As truwcendetrirrl r f e t o ,reflection examines and distinguishes the faculties of cogelcin nition with which conceptions of objects originatc, and which detetmine whether a givcn conception belongs to pure understanding or SC~SUOUS intuition. Transcendental reflection I dcfined as the inquiry s into the ground ofpossibility of sensible intuition in general and of the objective comparison of rcpracntations, and it is thus very $ifferent from empirical and Logical refleaion, neither of which aixounrs for the faculty of cognition to which the conceptions belong. UnlIkc inner or outer reflection, transandental reflection anciapatcs the deeply conccaled hunscendentdl unity. to usc Kants words. of these two types of reflection. Trans~endcntal rcflmion grounds both empirical and logical reflection in the unity of a more fundamental reflection, which is the result ,of Kants twisting the founding certainty of cogito me cogitore into the subjective dimension for the mndilions of possibility of dl knowledge. But what is most decisive for the turn refleaive philosophy taka in post-Kantian thought k that tra-dcnd reflection is also the thinking of the unityof the operation of reflection



itself. With the pure synthetic unity of the I tbkk that must at least
virtually accompany all of the experiencing subjects repreenmion$, and w h i B Kant was led to assume as a m l t of his transmdenral deduction o the carcgoris, he achieved a first, howcvct hypothetical f f unification o the different moments that constitute rhr minimal dcfinition ofreflection as xlf-dcctian. Although since Degeartes self-consciousness has been the ground of foundation and deduction for aU systems of knowledge, not until Fichte did anyone begin M explore systematicallyrhe strumre a selff reflexivity that constitutes df-aonsciousncss. Since such an investigation into the srruccum o reflection, understood by Fichfe as the f bring driven inward o the endlessly outreaching activity of self, brf came possible only afrcr Kant had recognized rhc synthetic narufc of teflectioti, Hegel could view Fichtes demonstration of a self-positing I, the indispensablepresupposition of any objective 1 o o any r f objective positing (Non-I), as a direct continuationo what he termed f "speculative gemIS i Kants philmphy. W h i l e Fichte radicalid n Kantkidca o the transccndenral unity ofappermprion in terms of a f subjective idealism, Schelling, in his philosophy of nature, developed an o b j d v e variation on the sanlc problem. With Hcgels attempt m supersede thae oppositions h e e n subjective and objeaivc sohtions to the problem of self-consciousness and seIf-rcfIeCtioo,the philosophy of reflexivity reached a climax. What this a l l TO shon ourline of the history of mtlcction suggesf~ is that we need t distinguish between differmr ryp- o reflection. o f First are those we have already mcounnred: logical, empirical, and transcendental refleuion. Empirical reflation, as bending i n upon what takes p l a a within us, is the sourm o all psychological howlf edge. *car reflection is a turning backward o thou&, away from f its relation to objccrs (including imclf as an empirical reality] to the mamination of the relations among objects,and the relations among the concepts of these objects. Since Kant recognized that neither cmpirical nor logicat reflection accounts for the r e m m that would prove their cppistemolagical validiry, or for rhe origin of the concepts they examine and compare. a new form of mtlection-nanmdmral reRmion--takes over the rask d determining and securing the conditions of possibility of valid cognition. In this sense, transendental s principles of the cognition of reflection i an inquiry into the a pti~a oi b- in p e a l . Of course, rhii is not rhc only meaning of manscendcntal reflection, which aqrrirbd a new and original meaningwith Husxds phenomenology in particular. Reflection for Husserl has a




univmd methodologiml function; ir is mnsciousnw. own rncthod for thc knowlcdge of consciousness gcncrally-that is, a method immanent torhe sphcre of being which it analyzes, and by which rhe phenomena of this sphere: can be grasped and analyzcd in the light of their own evidence. Insofar as the fundamental merhodological irnporrance of reflection for phenomenology is based on iB invarigation of the rcflcxivc acts of consciousness-that is, o all the modes f of immanent apprehension of the essence and of all modes of immanent experience as well-it is a transcendental reflcctian. Yet, whereas Kants tnnscendenral reflection is essentially concerned with the validity of reflections or thoughts, Hosserln assumption of a r e d conncction between reflection and what is reflected makes Husserlian transcendental reflection an analysis a1 the production and constitution of thoughts by a thinking subject. ,Such refleciion can be considcrcd nocmaric reflection, turning on the acts constituting the intentional objects of thought in general. The last typc of rcflcction,which will preoccupy us morctxtcnsively than the previous four, is what Hegel called absolute and speculative reflection. Hegels norion o absolute reflection represents the most f complete typc of reflection-the concept at reflection itself-refleaing the totality of its formal movements. In addition, it is important to note that it i s a first ctitiquc of the paradigm of reflection. Before promeding, Icr us first circle back for a rnomcnt to the minimal dcfinition of reflection as the process and structure of the mirroring of an ohject by a polished surface und, at the same time, a mirroring o f the mirror as well. Reflection thus s e s t yield to a double moveem o mcnt, and to contain two distinct moments, bur it i s far from clear how these two moments relate, how reflection as a unitary phenomenon can at once be refleaion of Other and refleaion of the mirroring subject. Yet a philosophical analysis 01 reflection is bound to live up to the universal requirement lor unity. Kants concept of rransccndental reflection is a first attempt to realize this demand, whereas Hegels concept of absolute reflection fulfills this requirement. In what ways must one determine thc two distincr moments of reflection in order to make them the living pans of a harmonious whole? As w e have seen, rcflection as sclf-reflection coincides in rnodcrn metaphysici with the powerful motif OF subiectivity. Therefore, it is in subjectivity thar we must look for the source of unification of the reflexive processs separate elements, although this implies that rhe mirrors selfreflection cannot be a part of that whole comparable to the moment of objective reflection. The mirroring mbiects self-mirroring is rhe goat of the whole process. Consequently the quesrion is, how can the



Ictlecrion o objects lead or be related to self-refledon? Obviously a f third mommt is required t unite all the dments of d c c t i o n into o one whole, Thomas Aquinas had remarked in De Y n i m that refleaion i s directed both at the reproduced image or concept of an object and at the act of reflecting itscif. Indeed, such a reflection m provider the missing link; the rhird, in rruth, E momenraf reflection is found in the remgnition that the object reflected by the mirroring subjar is IIOT just any object but rahR this subjects symmetric Otherf in orher words, a rcprcsenurion o ics alienared self. With such an alienating positing of irseIf as object, its reflection truly bemmes an act o bringing back, a rccapruring recognition. In the rcflection of f h e mirrorazbjcct as an annulment o the mirroring subjects former f f alienation, the reflection o Other becomes a reflmion of sdf, The mirrors self-reflection is the embracing whole that allows it m release itxlf into Other, which ,explains why it faas an object in the first place and why it returns dcxively to itself. In Hans Hcinz HoIzs analysis of thc strumre and logical meaning ofthis dialectical unity o self-reflection, in his essay Die SeIbstinf tcrprctation des Seinq the mirror metaphor is shown m be constinrrive of being, if rhe lamr is understood in terms of subjectivityy. Moreovu, as metaphor, it is itself a moment in the pmccss of the self-interpretation of the concept o being. In the metaphor of the f mirmr the concept of being can properly appear to itself. Holz concludes: The doubling of what is mirrored in the mirrored, the lamr being the same as what is mirrored and yet an other, hence represents the d i a k i c a l relation according to which the species encompasses itxlf and irs opposite: k i n g is the specis of itself and of nonbcing, the One is species o itself and rhe rnanifold.Y T h e paradigm of f d c c t i o n thus requires, in addition to the two moments outlincd in the minimal definition, a third element, which triggers the unifying dialectic beween the mirror and i o b j e q as well as between the s mirror and itsclL T k i s dialectic, by means of which the mirrored objecr is seen to be that into which the mirror opens out as an image o the f t mirror itself, both the same as and diffcrcnr frwm i. allows for the integration of the two previously distinguished mammts o rcflcaion f into the unity created by the self-revcladan of the mirroring subject. The alienation of the mirror in its Other and the reflection of the object arc linked together in such a way a5 to form a totality in which they are reflected into one another, leaving absolutely no remainder outside. T h i s conceptual totality salvages even the reflective mirroring process as its alienating meraphoric detour to i d f . Although we now havc a more mrnplctc minimal definition o f



reflection, of E basic ingrdiena and their dialectic, it remains an a abstract concept of rcflection, and onc that must be rendered more concrete. Such an abstracr ,definitioncannot serve to identify all the philosophies of reflection; it only encompasses other, more narrow definitions, to the extent that it representsa more complete exposition of reflections formal movements. In historical terms, this definition can be found only in the philosophy of German Idealism afrtr b n t . Hegels critique of rhc philosophy of reflection was carried out in the name of this speculative definition o reflection. I hope to prove that f mosr o the later ,criticismof mflcction was carried out in the name f of this definition as weU. The irony, then, of this more encompassing definition of reflection is that it brings the problem of reflection to a certain end.

T h e Philosophy
of Reflection


In the following three chapters I hope to clarify the mncepr of reflecrian by analyling Hegels nation of absolute rdtccdon. This analgsis should provide UP with the totality of the formal movements of d e c t i o n . It is important to note at the s t a r t that Hegel developed rht notion of absolute rdlcaion, or speculation, as the mutt of his mnfmnmadon with what he calls the philosophy of reflection. His mncept of abolua refleaion repments the first attempt to address a number of problems which were left unsolved by the pR-Hcgetian philwphcro of ccflection. Hegels debate with h x phiIosophcrs of e reflection-with Kant, Jambi, and Fichre-is located in the rwo long essays wrimn in Jena between 1801 and 1802, The Diffbmce betwem Fiches and Scheliilrgs System of Philosophy and Faith and Knowledge, as well a5 later, in a different form, in The Science of Logic. It is therefore only fitting that we should give these two essays, and in particular The Diffmme, special consideration. A very succinct oudinc of the historical background and at least some of the major theoretical stakes in that debate ir, indispensable beforc I claborate what HegeI understands by philosophy of reflccdon, what his critique consisted of, and what concept of reflection he d c v e l ~ c d to ovemme its. dificulties. When Hegel arrived in Jena in 1801, the p m of diffrrmtiation within German Idealism w a s already well under way. Two years before, Kant had publish4 a declaration against his follower Fiche, repudiating all affiliation between his own thinking and Science of Knowledge, which pretended t be nothing other than a rigorous o explanation of the spirit of Kantian philosophy. Although Schelling still conceived of h t work as no more than a



supplement to Fichtes philosophy, Schellings System af Tronscendental Idedirm. which appeared in 1800. made his thcomical difhrenm with Fichtequite clear. On hisarrival atjena, Hgl immediately ee became invalvcd in the dcbatc. Hc publishcd The Di/fermre, and then, in Krirische Joumul dw Philosophie, which he and Schelling founded as a forum for promulgating objcctivc idcalism, the essay Faith and Knowhfge. Both texts represent a global and systematic sertting of accounts bcrwccn what was at that moment the position of subiective idealism, a5 opposed to that of objecrive ideatism, a dcbatc in which Hcgd seems M have sidcd almost uncritically with Schelling, Although in his essay Uber die wissenschaftliche Bthandlung des Narurrecha hc had already declarcd the superiority of thc spirit to nature (by spirit 1 mean the intelligible reality of the moral world of frccdom, and nor the immatcrial substance called spirit in prc-Kantian theo-rationalistic systems), the break with Schelling became cffective and final only with the appcarancc, in 1807, o Phef trowrenofogy of Spirit, which Schelling rightly understood to be a catcgoncal critique of his own thought. In order to undcrsrand what Hegel means by philosophy o reflecf tion, and in order to appraise the critical achievement of his notion o ahsolute reflection, thc stakes in this pmcess of differentiation muit f be summarized briefly. In The Difemnce. in explaining what distinguishes Kant, Fichtc, and Schclling, Hegel makcs use of a ScheIlingian formula which, in spite of its schematic character, describes the situation quite well. Hegel accuses Fichtr of subjenivc idealism in Science of Knowledge, while valorizing Schellings philosophy of naturc and systcm of identity as objective idealism. Although Hegel seems entirely partisan, one cannot temain inscnsitive to his implicit declaration, in Tlre Di{fermce, that philosophy has to proceed beyond the difhrrnce benvcen subjective and objective idealism toward a subjective-objcctivc, or absolute, idealism. T h i s rriparticc idealism is f rooted in the three philosophers differing appraisals o their own critical developments of Kants philosophy o rcfteceion. As Hegel f defines it in The Dif/erence, the philosophy of reflection is the kind of thought that, by sharply distinguishing berwccn thinking and being, detcrmines objects through a suhicaive assessment of experience. By contrast, in the philosophy of identity, and men more so in Hegels absolute idealism, hcing and thinking are one, only moments in rhc objective process o self-devetoping rhought. f Now, when Kanr denicd all similarities betwcm Fichres philosophy and hisown. he was both right and wrong. Indeed, Science of#huru/-



edge develops out of Kant but is, a t the same time, an entirely new

mode o philosophizing. In historical terms, the new kind of philosf

ophy that starts with Fichtt and lcads through Schelling to Hcgel, who brings it to fuffillment, takes its impulse from what in K a n t reaches beyond a wcre critique of knowledge and beyond his reflexive d s i c i n betwpen rhe dinking being and that which is being thought. itnto

Fichres, Schellings, and Wegels philosophies dcvelop the speculative and dialectical elements in G a t . promising that the gap opened up bctwcen thinking and bang, scnsIl~iliiyand understanding, thmry and praxis, and so on which Kants philosophy appears unable to ovcrcome might be bridged. This impossibility of coming to grips with dualism characterim Kants philosophy as a philosaphy of TCkction; mnstquently. any attempt to ground thinking in the speculative germs of Kanto cnterpriK must bc viewed as a critiquc of
reflexivity. 1 hope to prove that this use of the term &dim to designate the duality of o p p i t i o n is nor at all incompatible with the methodological concept of reflection as previously outlined, which was shown to constitute modem metaphysics. By formulating the probiem of reflection in terms of dualism, Hcgel brought to the b e a logical inr m5htencyin the rnethodologicalwnoept of reflection, an inconsisrency, however, thar auld be overcome only at che price of a radicalization of rcflccrion that is itself a dcparturc from the philosophy olreflection from Dcscam to Kant. In order to make this argument, I shall have t explain what must be catled reflexive in Kants thought and what o are in Kant the so-called speculative germs of the diakctical bridging of dualism. Bhforc moving on, though, let us first consider some of Hegcls objections t K a n t According 10 Hegel. Kants phitosophy is o a metaphysic of refleaion. Before analyzing in some detail Hegcls dcccrminanons o retlecrion, let us f r the moment define it as charf o acterizing the act by which the ego, ahcr having stripped away its natural immediacy and returned into itself, becomes conscious o its f subjectivity in relation to counnrpositcd objccriviry, and disringuishcs itself from ir, For Hegd, such a characterization implies in general that Kants thinking remains caught in a mavemcnt of mdlcss duplication which it is unable to overcome. Furthermore, because the activity o doubling is rhc result at an act o separating, the philosophy f f of reflection i s shown to be in cssmce a philosophy o understanding f ( Y a d ) , since the activity of dissolution is the power and work of thc wmdmrarrding, as Hegel remarks in Pbrnomcnol~gu.~ But what are the major separations brought about by understand-



ing? Fiat and fonmost, understanding separates itself, a5 thinking, from its own object, that is, from being. A philosophy of reflection is similarly marked by an unbridgeable gulf between reflection and that which it mflects. T h i s opposition i s caeval with that of subject and object, since reflection, which Hegd assmiares in Faith and Knorvledge with Spinozas conapt of imagination (Einbildungskra/t)-that is, with a mode of thought related to existing singular rhings yet lackingconceptuality-is subjective, an activity by a knowing subject. Yet as subjectivity, as a movement o the ego, reflection f i s a h %If-knowledge and, in the last instance, knowledge of the transcendental presuppositions of knowledge and of what is given. As a transcendental inquiry, however, reflection is as antithetical as when it is seen as an activity by a subject upon the world. In both cases it depara from and fosters irreducible oppositions. Because reflection is unable to overcome the separarion it presupposes, Hegel stigmatizes rhe knawIcdge of understanding as mere formal knowledge. This knowledge splits into two irreconcilable forms: reflection leads either to empirical knowledge, void o concepts, or to an unf demanding of the a priori conditions of knowlcdgc, independent of what empirically exists. Reflection gives birth to an endless and undetermined multiplicity o facts a d o r to a coherent systcm o a priori f f conditions; both forms of knowledge are i n an antithetical relation, Reflection, as belonging to understanding, opens differences and pcrperuates them as fixed and unalterable oppositions, because understanding, or the intellect, is for Kant the absolute immovable, insuperable finitude of human Reason.4 To put it in rhe language of thr greater Logic. Kant i s unable to bridge the gap b e e n rcflcaioninto-self and reflection-into-other, and since reflection is at the heart of the ideas o subjectivity, fkedorn, and transcendcntality, according f to Hegel, it confers its own power of dissolution upon them, unable to overcome the merc abstraction of these concepts. Wegcl, therefore, can speak of a failure of reflcction owing essentially to its fundamental prcsupposition of an irreconcilable ,differma between the objcct to be explained and the explanation. Because of this @If, reflection becomes enmeshed in unsolvable contradictions; wherever it uics to unite itself to i t s object (be it the given or the ego itself) in order to account lor it, it necessarily fails todo so. Although refleaion i s critical of everything, it i s unable to quation its own premises. It cannot do so because, as Eugkne Flcischman remarks: Reflexion cannot recognize that i t s objects exist in its imagination alone without at the same rime giving itsell up. And, on the other hand, i t cannot give



itself up, sinm-and always according to its imagination-cognition (orexplication) would not be possible without the subject-object distinction. It must be emphasized hem, however, that this failure is not simply a wcakncss of Kantian thought but i s itsclf the result of the dissolving power o understanding, whose (relative) merit Hegel was the fiatto f acknowledge. Whar, then, are the prccisc limits o rcflmion? For f Hegcl the limits of reflection are rooted in its neglecting to recognize that, logically speaking, doublinb separation, and dissolution arc f meaningful only with r q e c t to a totality. The metaphysic o d e c rim, without its knowledge, pmupposa an original unity within which the fragmenting and antithetical power of understanding can become effective. Kant, who was well aware o this exigency, could f nonetheless conceive of such a totality only as a hypotheticalnemsiry, o as an abstract and absolute beyond ~mseitr), r that is, as an object only o human faith and strife. In thus removing the original unity f from the realm of what can pmpedy be known, Kant was again a viaim of his philosophy of reflection. In 5hart, one a n wnclude with Jean Hrppolite t h a t Kantian thought, in its abortcd attempt to mflect the very presuppositions of its dualistic philosophy, represents the deeming ofreflectiun in ulI its dimensions. This rcffmion pcnevatcs indeed into what maka it possible-and that i s its speculative sidebur it refuscs to give up its rdcnive rigor, and that is what Hegel credits it for; yet it provcs unable to avcrcome reflection by refleaion and, thus, remains chained to reflective opposition. This judgment is canfinned by Fleischmann when hc claims that Kants thought is fuli of unsuccessful mediations, since they arc witncss only to the a m k c of separation that is at their basis. Still, although Kants mediations are purely hypothetical, or have the character o an absolute and unfathomable beyond and are in f essence reflexive, they are, to f l o HegeI, the speculative germs olw within Kants thinking that carry the promise of overcoming the metaphysic of reflection. What are these spcculative germs in Kantian philosophy? There are many, among which one must mention schcmatism, which scwes t mediate sensibility and understanding; faith, o which mediatrs the world of the phenomena and the m d u s intelligibilis; and others. Lct US concern ourselves h e x w t only two:the ih rranscendenral unity of apperception in Crifique of Pure Reason and thc assumption of an inrekcms mchetyprrc in Critique ofJudgmmt. When, coward the begnning o his First Critique, Kant contends f that thoughts withour mmnt arc empty, and intuitions without con-



cepts blind, he implicitly suggests that a common tie must reunite the very different faculties of scnsibility and understanding. The same Stnse of unity i s at work in his inquiry into synthetic a priori judgo ments-rhat is r say, into the reasons that permit rhe base term, or rhc suh/cct in its paniculariry in a synthetic judgmenr, to be chancterixed by uriiuer5~71 predicates of thoupht. In order to be possible, synthetic judgments-the judgments by meanr of which naturc bccomes knowable to a subject-must presuppose a hidden ground, rhc f originary synthcric unity o the transcendental ego, a unity that, a5 the highsr reason and ground, cxplains the validity o scientific propf ositions. This unity, of mum, must not be mistakcn for the subjecrivc unity o individual consciousness, which in itself has no necmiry f whatsoever. Hegel comments an this absolute identity in Fnith and Knowledge: This is how Kant truly solved his problem, Howare synthetic judgments a priori possible?Thcy are possible through the original, absolute identity o the hererogeneous. T h I s identity, as the f unconditioned, sunders itself, and appears 3s stparatad into the form o a judgment, as subjen and predicate, or particular and universal.m f But Kant explicitly broaches the idca of such an original identity only when discussing understanding (Vmiund] with respect to the transcendcntal deduction of the categories. Indced, what bccomes obvious at this point in Kents argumentation is that in order for there to be a coherence in thc expcricncc of the manifold, this expcriencc must be ones own and must draw on a prior logicd representation of unity rnadc possible precisely by the egos self-cornprchcnsion. Thc ultimate stmcture of synthesizing understanding, rhe mosr originary a priori of cognition, is the origissry unity of rhe cogiro. or what Kant calls in this mnrext the originary unity of transcendental apperception. In developing this idea of pure self-consciousncss as neither an inner nor an outer an-in short, as nor belonging r sensibiliryo Kent wchcs back to rhe common source o both intuition and unf dcrsranding. As Hcgcl remarks, This original synthetic unity must bc conceived, not 8s produced out of opposites, but as a truly necessary, absolute, original identity o oppmires (p. 70). And in the f gWaFer Logic: This original synthesis of apperception i s one of the most profound principles tor speculative developmcnr; it contains the beginning af a rrue apprehension of the nature of the Notion and is cornplctcly opposed to that empty identity or abstract universality which is not within itself a synthesis. Kants insight into the spontaneous 3 priori synthcsiring faacdty of pure self-consciousness, according to Hegcl, implicitty overcomes rhe dualism inevitably con-



n d wr reflection. By o p i n g up the dimension of rranscmdentat ih imagination, Kant s forth the very prinaple of speculation. m Apart from the fact that Critique ofJildgmmt i s itself conceived as a bridge linking d two heterogenmus worlds of the Fiat and x Second Critiques, the speculative germs oi rhe Third Critique are co be found in the hyporhcsis o an immemorial identity of pleasure and f cognition, and especialIy in the notion o a rrflectivc faculty o judgf f ment, a facu1cy that gives itsclf the transcendental prinaplc of the unityof the manifold. Hue, I will consider only thc famous paragraph 76 of thc Third Critique. Here Kant, after having rcmgnized that ordinary human knowledge is reduced to subsuming the parricular within the universal, and that this kind of knowlcdg, whereby the particular is condemn4 to remain contingent, is inadequate to nature as a whole, dedarcs himself compelled to posit hypothetically the f possibility of a higher fonn of cognition for which this opposition o the universal and the particular would no longer exist, a sorr of intellectus archcrypus anterior to the antinomies of understanding. Hcgcl notes in Faith und Knowledge: It is an archetypal (urbildlich) intellect for which the pmsibiliy ofthe parts, ete., as to their character and intrgration is dependent on the whole. Kant also recognizes char we are necessarily driven to this Idea. The Idur of this archetypal inwitiw intellect is a t bottom nothing elw but the Idea of the transcendental imagination (pp. 88-89). The intelkectm wcherypus. in cunrrasr t the derivative rndc of human intuition, is original. Ir a i an intellect that itself givm existence to its objects. It is, in other s words, a nondiscursivc intellect, linking things as heterogeneous as the intellect and the intuition, which for Kant i the privilege of the s primordial being alone. This intellect is characterized by intuitive intellectia or indkcnd inmiurn [ k t e k k ~ e l lAnschmcrrtg). a mode c of intuition beyond the antinomies of understanding and reflexive thinking. The idea of a transcrndmtal imagination, o a pure a p p m p r i o n f which impEdtb scrves t bridge intuition and undemanding, as in o Critique of Fwe Reason, as we11 as the kypothcricnl assumption of an ilrtsllcaus mrhebypus beyond the antinomi- of teflmion in Cririquc ofJudgmmt. k a m e programmatic for the whole o German f philosophy in the wake o Kants thought. Under the name o intclf f lectual intuition (not to be mistaken for th$ hornologously termed concept in Kant), the idea of an original and synthetic knowledge, of a sensiblc understanding--in short, o Reasan-led m thc developf ment of the systems o Fichte, then SEhdling, and finaily Hegcl. The f



still purer Idea of intellect that is at the same t m posteriori, the ie Idea of a n intuitive intellect as the ahsoiutc middle (p. SO), to quote Hegel, becomes after Kant the identical subject-object, the foundation of all thrce idealisms. &cause inretlemal intuition-the principle of speculation-can be grounded in three logically different ways (in the sell-positing self of Fichtes Science of Knowkedge, in the objective dialectics of nature according to Schdling, and in the dialectia of an absolute subject-object identity A la Hcgtl), it gives birth to the three systems o German idealism, the last o which is the most complete, f f the most cncompassing. Since intellectual inmition is a key term in all of German Idealism, and since it i s the gcrm of rhc speculativc critique o reflection, WE f must further clarify this issue. Intelltmal intuitionoverlaps with the original and synthetic unity of sensibility and understanding, which Kant w a s compelled to posit in order to be able to proceed to the categorics of understanding or to thc determination of the cpistcmological baundarics o the faculty of judging. Intellectual intuition f is the uniry of self-consciousness, pure apperception-that Is to say, the self-reflection OF the self as the possibility of a priori cognizance: it is the mode of cognition specific to cogito me cogitme. As a matter of fact, pure apperception is Ihe Kanrian figure for rhc Carresian ego cogito. This becomes even more clear with Fichtc, whcre intellectual intuition designates the inner stateof the self and its waysot knowing itself which p r c d e rhc separation into an objective ef and a nonsclf. l In Fairh andKnodedge, H g c l rcfcrs to Fichtcs concept of inteilecrual intuition in the following words:

The difficult rcquircmcnt of intellectual intuition has amued gcncral Eomplaint, and we have sometima heard tell of people who went mad in their efforts to produce h purc acr of will and the inrcllcctual intuition. Both the e wmplaint and the madnss were no doubt occasioned by thc name o the f thing, nor by rhc thing itself, which Fichrc describes as mmmon and easy enough, the only difficulty being perhaps to mnvintc o n m l f that it really is just this simple everyday rhing. T h c intuition o anything ar all as alicn ro f pure conKinusmss or Ego, is empirical intuition; though the Ego too is, as Fichte puts it, equally given in common consciousness. A h c t i n g f o rm everything alien in consciousness on the other band. and thinking oncrclf, i inttIltcrua1 intuition. Abstracring from the determinate Content in any rn o knowlcdgc and knowing only pure knowing. knowing only what is formal f in knowing, this i s pure absolute Lnowlcdge. (pp. 157-158)

Intektud intuitionin khelhgs objective idealism bceomes the organ of 111. transcendental thinking, which means, in his Sysrm o(Tmn-



scmdentul Ideulim, the wg;m of adequate comprehension and disclosure of objective reality, and o the demonstration of the Oneness f of nature and human knowlodge+ I wntraat to Kants hypothmcnl n assumption of an intellectual intuition, and to Fichtcs Iimirarion of it co thc m l m of subjectivity, intcl!ectual intuition for Schelling bccome an objective rtaliy.t@ Although i n c c l l m a l intuition is also the starting point of Hegels philosophy, it don not esc9pc his criticism, for Hcgcl, Kants, Fichtes, and Schellingo treatmcnm o infcllectual f intuition fall short of solving rhe problems engendered by the memphysics of rekction. To $urnmarire Hegels criticism of Kants theory of mediation in an elcnmcntary way, Hegels argument dcmonsmtcs that Kants attempts to mediate apparendy irmncilable opposites falls prey to his philosophy of rctlcaion. For Kant, HcgeI argues, the speculative Idea which OCCUFS in uncorrupted and pure form in the deduction o the f ~rrgaricr undcrstandingbemrncs a t o n a (t pure [that is, absrract] of identity, P unity o the intellea, or it m r s as a merely possible f thought which cannot acquire any reality in thinking because reflcction is to be dominant without quaMacion (p. 148). Furthermore, in his aitique of the unity o apperception as daboratcd by Kant, f Hegel ridcs with Kant when t h e latar characterizes this original synthesis a% the unity of the I thmk, or sclfsanxiausnw, but he objects to Rants duction of this unity to the purciy formal I &ink that must acfompany all rcprrsentation. Hegcl wrircs in Faith mtd Know!edge:
T h e w h D k transmdenmt deduction b w h of the f m o intuition and of o f the u t c g ~ r y gmcral annot be u n d d without distinguishing what m Kant d t r thc hculiy of the original synthcfic unity of appemption k o m the E p which does the rtpmmdng and is the rubim-the @ which, as Kam says, merely accompanier all r c ~ r a r i o n s [Sccrmd] we must not . take the Iamlty of [productive) imagination as the middle tcrm that gets i n s e d bawem an exisring abgolua subject and an absoluteexisting world T h e produmivc imagination mug rather be recognized as what is primary and original, as that out of which sulbiccrivc Ego and objective world first a& chcmsdva into thc rtectrssrity bipartite a p p r a n a and product, and as rhe sole In-ioclf. (pp. 72-73]

Hegels objections to Kants handling of rhe m e a prior? i s that the laws reduction of chis a priori m the pure formal unity of the I think not only robs the true a priorj o its character as an original, f synthetic uniry, but a h ~IXCS the formal Ego in an opposition with an always unfathomable beyond. With this objection in particular,




Hegels radical critique of reflection becomes manifestr although it m r a c w the original synthesis-a synrhcsis of which subjcct and world are the necessarily bipartite appearances and products-the meraphysia of reflection proves unabte to lift thc self-refkcring subjcct ont o its opposition to the world of objects. To limit the idea of a f pure apperception tn an escntially accompanying phenomenon of a subject reflming upon itself and upon a world of phenomena is not only to fall hack into a Lnckean critique af knowlcdgc, but also to reinstate and even solidify the ,derivative moments of an opposition which the true a priori was incant to ovcrcome. In The Dif/ermce between Fichtcs and Schellings System of Pki/osophy. Hcgcl formulates thc same objections. He argues thar, although intuition and understanding are grounded in the course of the f transcendental deduction in the original synthesis o apperception, one opposition rcmains intact: the opposition of ,intellectual intuition to othcr forms o intuition. Since the opposition that rcmains is that f between self-consciousness and empirical or objecrive consciousn~ss, the unsolved problem arises from turning the original unity of apperception into mere formal self-reflection. Although this sort of criticism &o Effects Kant, it is aimed here especially at Fichre. Hcgel agrees rhat the idea of the ahsolure act o the free self-activity of a f sclf-positing self-consciousness is indeed the condition of possibility o philosophical knowledge as such. But, since it is opposed to e m f pirical consciousness. and thus rcrnains abstract and formal, only a conccpt, it is n o t yct that knowkdgc itself. Such an opposition, like all oppositions, presupposes that its moments share a common higher sphere. If intellectual intuirinn as a formal activity remains apposed to other intuitions, such as those of empirical consciousness, then they must both partake in the communal sphcrc of thought as such. Thought as such-the totality o both cmpirical intuition and pure self-conf sciousncss, a totality i which 411 separation and apposition is subn lad-is philosophical knowledge itself. Unlikc the unhappy syntheses of the metaphysics of reflection, philosophy (Denken iiberbnupr) becomes a reflection on reflections unsolved appositions, and thus, within the pcrspective of Hcgclian thought, thc end of rekction in absolute reflection or spcculatiori. Hegels critique of Kants and Fichtes intcrprctation o the intelf lcctual intuition demonstrates that they had not understood this Eoncept as a frue totality. In identifying it as the self-knowing of selfconsciousness, they absrractcd intellectual intuition from its inrrinsic relation to consciousness of Otherness, and as a. result created the



problem of reconnecting it to its Other again. Interpreted in this manner, intellectual intuition, ratha than k i n g a totality, isonly part o P mtaliry. The reasom for their failure m conceive intellectual: f intuition as the true a pion. as Hcgd makes quire clear in Faith and Know[.dge. lie in empirical-that is, nonphilosophical-cxperience: Why does not this idea of the totality itself, the measure against which pure knowing shows iaclf to be incomplete, step forth as the Absolute! Why is the Absolute [in Fichte] surncthing that is recognized as being only a part and as deficient? No reason can be found or i t exapt that this pan has empirical certainty and m t h ; of course everyone knows that he knows. Empirical truth of this sort is given preference over the absolute truth of the totahy! [p. 159).Genuine intcltmaI intuition would call for the subtation of empirical experiena [ fthe gjvenness of objects or sates of mind) and o analyzing o f thought, as well as of what makes such experience possible. True intclEcctual inmition r q u i m rhar the reflcxivc oppositions of an experience, enmeshed in empiricist immediacy, be rrfleaed back into h e common ground fmm whjcb these oppositions grow. Only through such a rwounding of the reflective oppositions BS bifurcations of an original synthetic unity, which encompams both thc opposition o f that unity and that which it reunites, can one prevent intellectual intuition from falling hack again into inert simplicity and from depicting actuality i t d f in a non-actual manner, as happens in Schelling. It is evident at this point that Hegels crinque o the metaphysk f o reflection take place under the aegis of the canccpcs of totality, f o ground, and unity. Heptls principal objectian t reflection is its inability to reflect itsclf-to reground its opposed moments-in t k rotality presupposed by the antithetical terms. l h a c objections rcvcal that Hcgels uitiquc of the philosophy of reflection questions the very titles of t h b philosophy. &cawphilosophy in gmcral is most intimately determined by the quest for unity, he chastises the mcraphysics of reflection for io inability to achieve that end. According to Hegel, the only possibic mediation-a mediation that leaves nothing unrncdiated-rnusr be bawd on the idea of totality. Unlike Kant, whose major preoccupation is to esrablish a variety o f autonomous unifying principlcs, Hegel radically rcinterprcts the speculative germs of Kants philosophy in such a way as to show rhar all thex principles, by cntering into opposition with one another, constitute the unity formed by their dialectical re1ations. Since any separation is, for Hcgel, always the result of a prnious unity apprrhensiblc



through the opposing moments, this unity is the m e ground of these momenrs. The passage from reflection to the thinking a1 rotaliry is the passage from reflection t absolute reflection or speculation. o Reflection in Kanr, insofar as it engenders and solidifies opposites, is the unity o the opposing terms, but in an immediare manner only. f Yer since reflection docs not rcflem it, this unity remainspurely formal. Canscquendy, one can contend that Kant's transcendental reflection. although a solely subiective reflection, anticipata and calls For the elaboration of an absolute reflection. Absolute refledon, to quote Hyppolite.
m n m d s reflection. Reflecrion coincides with mere human rctlectjon on experience and on its mnstimtion. Absolute reflection mrnprchcnds contmr imtf as reflmioo. It is k i n g that knows itself through man, and not man who reflects on being. This specularive reflection-or absolute teflcctionreplaces the old dogmatic meraphysics. Anrhropology is overcome, yrr the a x n c e i s not turned into a secand world that would explain and ground the first. T h e immediate itsclf rcflccts isl, and this idenrity of mtldion and tcf
rhc immediate corrcspnodr r philosophical knowlcdy as such." o

The relatian of philosophicat knowledgc. or absolute reflection, to reflection properly speakingir a relation Of partid ciiim and pamal rtcs justification. Within absolute reflection, reflection properly speaking and rransrendenral reflection coincide with what as mere reflection they could not but presuppose: the inhitcly reflected totality. Wegel's criticism o reflection puts reflection into the Absolute, thereby subf lating thc dualism which it seemed unable to overcome by itself. Reflection is no longer lost in the bipartite moments o its appcarance f or in rhe pure and transcendental a priari which the dualism o ref flection necessarily presuppses.1'

The Self-Destruction

Inardcrto undernand what Hegel,in TheDiffmcebetween Fichres mrd Scbellmgs System of Philosophy, calls the self-dstrucfion of reflcction, it is nccessary to study the passage from reflection proper to absolute or speculative reflection. Such an invatigarion requires us to distinguish cIearIy among the several types of reflection m which Hegel refers. Indeed in Hcgel, the notion of rcflmion is nor a unified concept. T h e word appears in a variety of contexts that determine its meaning and is used in a t least three different ways. Absolute reflccdon, as characreristic of rhc speculative profess as a whole, must be distinguished from rmified rcfltction, a$ outlined in the Logic of Essence section o the greater Logic, which is itself a speculative f reinterpretation o the reflexive process of understanding. Therefore, f we can distinguish benvten reflection as (1) the dissolving f m of o undersrandin& (2)the totalizing power of the specularive proms, and (3) one moment within that process. Each o these diffetent notions f o reflection is itself divided into a number of aspects. In outlining f the logiw-dialectical process o the passage of reflection from undcrf standing to Reason, I shall skip the critical and dialcctiml reappropriation of reflection in the greater Logtc and limit my discussion to the major features of this problem by following the distinctions HegeI made in The Diferenre bctwccn isolated and philosophical reflection.

Isolated r d l d a n , also called simple, pure, o common tetleaion, is r the mode o thought characteristic o the positioning {Secwr] particf f ular to understanding. Representing the force uf limitation (die Krufr



des Beschrunkens), undmranding only posirs opposim (Entgegengeserzte). Isolated reflection thus perpetuates the dissolving activity o understanding by fixing those t h i n g that understanding posits as f being in opposition tn each orher. In short, isolated reflection is a mode of thought that has no relation to the Absolute, chat is, to the unity or totality ofwhat the h c d opposites prcsuppore as their common medium or element. Lacking such a relation, isolated reflection rcmains incapable d raising itself above itself, or above whar it is opposed to. Since it has no rclation to the Absolute, it remains isolated.

Philosophical reflection, according to The Ditfercnce, is the instrummf of philosophizitrg. Since t h r task o philosophy is the conf struction of the Absolure, or totality, for consciousness. philosophical rcflcction is called upon to mediate b m e c n isolated reflection and the divided totality char it produces. Yet in order t o be able to tender pure reflection fluid and thus overcome in obdurate oppositions, philosophical reflection must entertain some form of relation to the Absolute. How,then. dws this relation to the A b d u t c become manifest in philosophical refiemion, and what are the ways in which E t surmounts thc dualism of isolatcd reflection? Whereas simplc rcflcction, or rcflcction without relation to the Absolute. perpetuates the opposites posited by understanding. philosophical reflection conceives the totality or the Absolute; it does so, however, in a merely formal manner. Because philosophical reflection belongs to thc realm o understanding, it can grasp the truc and real f synrhesis of opposites only if it invens (Yerkehren) that synthesis inro something apposcd to that which it is the nynthcsis of, According to Hegel, philosophical reflection inverts Reason as the unifying faculty inro something merely reasonable (Verstiindiges). Philosophical rcnecrion originates in opposires, and the formal insight inro the necessiry of a unity of opposite tcrms. It posits this unity in opposition to the initial dualistic structures, as their beyond. When philosophical reflection expounds the true nature of this identity. it sets it forth { D d r s t d h g ) as the binding powcr o irreducible opposites. f Consequently, it can conceiveof the original synthesis as a union only in the form of an antinomy of absolutely dualistic tcrms. Because it is indebted rn understanding, philosophical reflection continues the scparating activity of rhis mode of thought: it can behold only thc ~ d y t i form lo absolute synthesis, or, a5 Hegel expresses it, ~ ~ f



the purely formal appearance o the Absolute. Indeed, for philof sophical reflection, the Absolute is a t most an antinomy, a synthesis o opposites, a nullification [Vernichtmg] o rhc opposim in conf f tradiction (p. 1091.The knowledge that flows horn philosophiml reflecrion is pure knowledge, a knowledge without t r u e intellertual intuition. Yet the purely formal or antinomic synthesis to which phi[osophical reflection raises itself is not just any unity. It i s a unity thoroughly determined in itself. Iris morality whose anrinornic narute is grounded in what Hegel calls reflective dererminatians (RefTexhnsbesrimmwttgm). o r in what Kant calls the mtegories of rcndmkmding. These reflective determinations, which arise through abstraction from absolute identity, help philosophical reflection set forth iG antinornic synthesis of opposites. But why do these reflective determinations lead only to a purely formal and antinomic union? A t least two reasons must be mentioned here. Since the reflective determinations are abstracred by understanding from the absolure identity, they are thought to be irreconcilable. Hegcl writes: Infinity and finitude, indeterminateness and determinateness. e c are reflective t. products o the same sarr. There is no transition from the infinite to f the finite, f o the indeterminate to the determinate, The transition rm as synthesis becomes antinomy; for reflection, which separares absolutely, cannot allow a synthesis of the finite and the infinite+of the deterrninatc and the indctcrminatc to be brought about, and it is reflection that legislates here (pp. 158-159). By analyring the specific sort o contradiction that exists b e c n thcsc reflexive determinaf tions, one can better grasp not only the exclusively formal quality of the unity to which philosophical reflection is capable of raising itself, but also the second reason for which this unity must remain contradictory. All that is posited by understanding-that is, being and everything limited-is dererminate, since philosophical reflection aims a t thoroughgoingdetermination (p. 95)- But determination pmoccds through negation, that is, by positing an opposite to what is given. Being and everything limited, because they are determinate, must consequently have an indeterminate before and after, according to Hegel, for the determinate must be bounded by an indeterminate. Yet in the perspective OF understanding, that indeterminate is norhing; it is a mere bqond. Thus the detcrminate n s t s o n nothing. Hegel condudcs, Thus its [understandings] positings and determining5 never accomplish the task; in the very positing and dererrnining that have occurred there



lies a nonpositing and something indeterrninare, and hcna the task o positing and determining recurs perpetually (p. 95). f Becausephilosophicat reflection is bound to fall into the making of endless dererminarions (p. 146), a compulsion Hegel compares to he activity of policing, the mraliry to which ir is able to raise itself is not solely the formal unity of antinomies, the simple abstracc concept of a unity that, since it remains opposed to what it reunites, kills the living elemenr of rrue identity in it (p. 149). It is also an abyssal concept o unity, that is to say, no concept at all. Indeed. by extending the f f process o determination t6 infinity, by reducing ir M an endless process, philosophical reflection nullifies not only its own principle but also the idea of a unity itself. With this faiture to conceptualize the Absolure, philosophical reflection reaches the point where it begins r dissolve and pass over o into its Other. The highest maturity, the highest stage, which anything can attain is that in which its ,downfall begins, Hegel wrim.3 f Having reached its inner limits with the impossibility o thinking the identity o the determinate, philosophical reflection faces the necessity f of passing over into another mode of thought or reflection that will accomplish what it wt out to do. Such a possibility arises, according to Hegel, as soon as philosophical reflection recognizes that the things it oppnses in a dualistic fashion are only ideal factors, or opposites of Thought alone. Wirh this recognition that the opposites of understanding are thoroughly relative terms, as long a5 they are nor undcrstood with respect to rhe true absolute identity, that ofthought itself, and with thcdetcrmination of the oppositcs philosophical reflection within the limits of the Absolute-that is, as real opposites-philosophical reflccrion bccomes Reason and makes the leap into absolute o r speculative reflection. SPECULATIVE OR ABSOLUTE REFLECTlON

In order to understand the nature of abdute reflection, and how it compares to thc other forms of rcflmion, we must first understand the manner in which the transition of philosophical reflccrion to speculation OCCUIS, What makes that passage possible i s that understanding is alrcady a fore-form of Reason. Without knowing it, understanding copies Reason, says Hegel. Indeed, i t cannot keep Rcason away: it sccks ro protcct itself against the feeling of its inner emptiness, and from the Seccet fear that plagues anything limited, by whitewashing its particularities with a semblancc o Reason (pp. f



92-93). It is seduced by Reasoninto producinganobjacrivc totality (p. 95). Although it is not conscious of doing so, understanding as the fore of separation alrcady prcsupposa an identity into which its dissolving power CUB. As philasophid dcction, u n b d i n g takes on the task of thinking the originary unity of thc dcterminatc in a formal manner, as we have seen. But understanding not only copies Reason unknowingly insofar a5 it scts forth a merely formal identity; it also lets itself be seduced by Reason into nullifying its own principle in the endless task of reflectively determining the formal totality in question. When philosophical reflection remgnizcs that its anrinomic f synthesis o opposit- is only the cxpliat formula, the putcly formal expression (fomrellen Ausdmck), of trurh, it makes a place for &ason. At that point Reason, as Hcgel mrnarks, has (already] brought the formal essence o reflection undcr its control (p. 108). hdeed, f what caum the downfall of philosophical reflection, the indeterminate that it must ncmsarily oppose to dmrminatc being i n order to determine it fully, the infinite that it cannot avoid juxtaposing to the finite-an opposition that throws philosophical reflecrion into the endless process of determination-is [already] something rational [belongingtothe order ofReason] as posited by the intellect, k u s e taken by itself.. it merely e x p ~ the negating of the finite (p. s 90). Although the infinite task of determination thar ruins philosophical rcflcction is a charactcristic of the Iowcr srandpoinr from which the absolute synthesis is considered, it is a charaaeriscic of Reason as well. This infinite task shows understanding to be manipulated by Reason, because it is Reason rhat makes thcinrcllmboundless, and in this infinite wealth the intellect and its objective world meet their downtall (p, 95). Let us recal1 that the opposites of philosophical reflection arc only opposites of thought. Their merely ideal nature is a function of the indetcrminate, conceptualized by philosophical refleaion under the form o the Ego, which is turned into the correlate o the totality of f f the determinations of king. Yet, because the Ego is [thus] placed in absolute opposition to the object, it is nothingreal, but is something thought, a pure product of reflection, a mere form of cognition, Hcgel argues (p. 158). Because it is indebted to understanding, philosophical reflection is unable to think an organic relation between the opposim it sets forth. As ideal opposites, whose objeaive pole. moreover, is determined by a host of addimand ideal opposites, they remain in absolute contradiction to one another. Thus, the torality of philf osophical rcflmion is cornpod only o the Ego, i.e., indctermi-



natencss. or sclf-determination. and . . , the objm, determinateness, beyond whose play of reciprocity it cannot reach (p. 139). In a clear mfcmcc to Fichtcs transcendental philosophy, Hegcl shows the purely formal and antithetical synthesis of understanding to be rooted in a hypostasis o the Ego, or in 3 subject-object relation that is primarily f subjective. According to Hegel, S c h e h g opposes an objective subjectobject relation, an ohjcaive idcntity, to Fichtcs subjcaivc one in order to overcome the subjective and rncrcly ideal determination of the opposites, and r overcome with the same stroke understanding and o philosophical reflection. With such an obieaivc interprccarion of absolute idcntity, thc totality of moments a t play in philosophical reflection begins to come into v i m . The hitherto ideal opposites, whosc rm signification now derives f o the totality of which they are parts, appear as real opposites in Schellings philosophy of nature as the theory d natures self-construction. As soon as philosophical reflcction turns to the conceptualization of the absolutc idcntity of subim and object. it bnmrncs, in Hcgels terms, ~pcculativc.~ it truly But becomes speculation only when it conccives of the absolute identity as thc subjective and objective suhjccr-objccr, because only this determination o absdure synthesis, t a k e the totaliry of its logically f possible determinations into acmount. Needless to say, this concept of the Absolute coincides with Hcgels philosophic;ll enterprise. Bcforc analyzing absolute or spcculativc rcflccrion in itself, and its distinction from mere philosophical reflection, we must Crst consider what happens to reflection in the transition to absolute reflection. What takes place is the self-destruction of reflection, Being the [aculty of being and limitation, rcflecrion, says Hegel, "nullifies irself and all being and everything limited.. . [as soon as]. it connects [itself and] them with the Absolute [p. 94). The self-destruction of reflection rcsulting from the reflcction upon reflection takcsplace a t the mornent 31 which rhc limited is rclared to rhc Absolute. Ukc everything else, reflection has standing only in the Ab5alute; but as reflection it stands in opposition to it (p. 96). The negative power of understanding, by destroying itsclf in the process of self-reflection, is consequently thc manifestation of the positive powcr of Reason. Let us analyze this process of self-destruction in more derail. By conceiving of the totality o all determinations 3% an antinomic unity f in which the opposir- are desrraycd preciwly to the CJrtcnt that they arc in a relation of antinomy. refleaion reveals itself as Reason by pointing toward an nbsolute synthesis. Indeed, in the antinomic dcstruction o opposites, a destruction that leads to the establishment f



of a formal mtaliry, philosophicaI rcflcction has not maintained but f nullified the opposition and the standing o the wo terms or of either of them, and it has not maintained but nullified [the claim1 that it is itself the Absolute and the eternal; ir has thrown irself into the abyss o its perf&on (p. 140). Since reflection, like everything else, has f standing only in the Absolute, but stands as reflection in an adverse relation to it, then reflection, in order to be at once opposed to and m1ed by Reasan, must give irself the law of self-desttuciion. This law, which is its supreme law, [is1 given to it by Reason and [is] moving it to become Reason (p. 96).&cause tellenion is Reason onIy to the cxtent that it is connected to the Absolute, the tcflection on this connection d m away with all o reflections work. T h e truth f o reflection i thus the truth of its nullification (pp. 97-98). By f s destroying itsclf in making itself its ownobiem, reflection throws itself, to use Hegels words, into the abyss of its own petfedon. But what does this colorful expression mean! T h e abyss is the negative image by which Reasonappears to and in reflection. Reflection rnusc become this abyss, in which alone it has a standing. Only by dattoying itself can reflection achieve this goal. By working at its own destruction. Reason thus drowns inell and its knowledge and its reflection of the abaohce identiry, in its own abyss: and in this night of mere reflection and of the calcularing intellect, in this night which is the noonday of life, common sense and speculation can meet one another (p. 103). The abyss i s the abyss of Reason; in it, all opposites are reunited. It i s ~ t h c element in which reflection, common sense, and speculation fist meet in indifference. The abyss of Reason is destructive of dll forms of relcction. insofar as the latter s w e s the opposing force of understanding. Thus, Reason is rhe abyss into which reflection throws itself 3s a self, that is, as standing in opposirion to Reason. Bur ir is also the abyss of Reasan, as long as philosophical reflection and understanding are still its opposites. In short, the abyss of Reason, inm which reflcrdon throws itself in a gesture of self-destruction, is the medium of the sublation o all self and everything o p p o d to the self,that is, of d l opposition. f And since this sublation rakes place when reflection destroys itself by making itself its own reflective object, the process of the becoming of Reason coincides with the overcoming of the last possible opposition, that ofthe self to itself. With this total identiry of subject and objm, an identity in which neither a subjective nor an objective synthesis of the subice-object relation prevails, aII separation is overcome, and the realm of the Absolute is reached. The self-destruction of reflection



rcprcxnts a regrounding of rcflmion in the Absolute, This regrounding takes place in reflections self-annihilation-that is. by its destruction o itself as standing in opposition to all objects, and ro itself a5 f well, The self o reflection, the hypartssis af the Ego or subjm, is the f main obstacle in the way o becoming speculation or absolute reflecf tion. What, then, is specuiation? Speculation is a word that has fallcn into dccp disrcputc since rtcs Manin Luthers c i i i m of system-oricnted scholasric theology. Since then the pejorative sense o specuIariw has rcferted primarily to those f propositions of Christian theology that evasively transcend the given, or reality, and, more broadly, tp the construction o idle thoughts f about idle subjm, of so-called a priori conmumions or, of what is believed to mean the same, contrary-to-fact hypotheses. But spccuIation, o S p e C U ! d O , which together with contmplutio makes up the r Latin translation of the Creek conxpcpr of thheoriil, has little to do with that deforming rcprmtation meaning that which is mcre fancy of thought, in thought alone. The term beats a connotation o recklessf ness only for thought that is caught in a naturalistic prejudice against rhoughr irself. Undoubredly scholasric philosophy and German Idealism have indulged in speculative aberration. Yet, since speculation as rheorio m a n s cssentially the pursuit of knowicdp for knowledges snke. it is from that perspective that speculation must bc understood and evaluated. Thus, for Thomas Aquinas, speculation coincides with the necessity of philosophical thought as such, to the extent that philosophical reflection transcends the facrual given and moves toward its ultimate determining grounds.J Such speculation, since it was tied to thc scholastic and theological form o philosophical f thoughr. was of coursc rmtriaed to the interpretation of ail finite substances as deriving from the one divine subsrancc. Bur s i n e Descartess recasring of the concept of rruth, the meaning ,of speculation in Carmian and post-Cancsian philosophical thought has not only signified the necessary transcendenm o what i s given in a sensuous f manner, but has begun to signify as welt the necessary dcmonsrration of the givenness of being, of the cognitive objectivity of the world and its absolute ground.* It is in this amplified sense that Kants positive use o rhe concept of speculation should bc understood. The f same applies to the German Idcalist philosophers, Hegel inctuded. The term speculntion is rwted in rhe Latin specio, IO look, to behold. The specularive discourse is, as Ricocur remarks, the theoretical discourse par exccllencc-that i5, the discourse that cstablishes the primary notions, rhe principles, that articulate primordially




the space of the concept-and, since concepts cannot effectively bc deduced p e t i d l y from perceptions or images, the speculative is the condition of the possibility o rhc concepntal.7 Because, w t f ih respect to ordinary and scientific languages, speculation o h n the reflective distance that allows a conceptual space to constitute irself, and bezausc it is thus 6rsc in the order of foundation, it appears as the very condition of the possibility o philosophical knowledge and f thought. This must not be forgotten when, hcreinafcer, we review a srrics of critical positions on speollations and absolute reflection, positions which in -rice represent radical attacks on what rhc tradition has meant by philosophical thought. Ytr not all critiques o f the tdKnce ofphilosophid thought are of equal pertinence. The one I s h a l be most concerned with-Derridas criticism of speculation and absolute reflection-is a position that recognizes the well-foundcdncss, the cxigcncies, evcn the absolute nacssity o the speculative f element of philosophical thought. But what is ir rhar m a k e speculation such a privilegcd discourse? Nothing Icss, indeed, than its mirroring herion. Cicero, apparently erronmusly, derived speculatio from specuhris, in the manner of a mirror (speculum). Scholastic philosophy referred m specsrlimr as well, in order to emphasize spmrlations capability of indirect wgnition of the Divine. But with post-Camian philosophy, the mirroring aspea of speculation takes on a new and additional meaning. S i n a Kant, but especially in C m a n Idealism, speculocive designam f that kind o pure, or purely thcorctical, knowledge-a knowledge free f o all subjective and practical ingredients-that is also the rm knowledge of itself. Speculativc knowledge is rhar son of knowledge that constitutes itself in self-refleaioa. Since German Idealism, specuhtive bas meant the pcmss of constant exchange between a mirror and irs m i m r image. One calls a relation speculative when an object first m a i n s fixed in a purely phenomenal state, but is then also recognized as being for a subject-an in-itself, or indeed a f r i s l . o-tef .Cansqucndy, Hans-Gwrg Cadamer can write that a thought is speculative if the relationship that it expresses is not conceived as the unambiguous assigning of a determination to a subjcct, a p r o m t o a Mvcn thing, but must be thought d as a mirroring, in which the reflection is the pure appearance o what is reflected, just as the one f is the one of rhe other, and the other i the other of the ont.e s Bur GadamcrS d-on of speculative &ought is nor precise enough TO account for what really distinguishes absolutc rcflmion or specda~on from philosophical reflection. When Hegd writes in Scimce




of Logic that spccu~uriucthinking consists solely in the fact rhat

thought holds fast contradiction, and in it, its own self, but docs not allow irsclf ro be dominated by it as in ordinary thinking, where i a dctcrminations arc rcsolved by contradiction only into other dctcrminations or into nothing,* it becomes obvious thar speculative thought i concerned with reconsrituting the unity of what is diverse.P In cons trast to philosophiul reflection, whose essence resides in opposing, and in this manner relating, one thing to another-and which there fore cannot conceptualize the unity of what i s in opposirion-speculative thought poliscsste, as Hegel puts it, the boldnerc to tbinb contradiction, which according to traditions[ logic is unthinkable and should thus be nonexistent. It has thc boldness toconceive of opposites in their unity. Now,because the thought of such unity requires a bcho[ding of what is opposite as such-that is, the being in opposirion of the oppositm as well as the mutual reflection by which these opposites becomc unified in the idea o the 5pirit-speculative f thought is grounded in ihi5 reflective mirroring of what is positively in opposition. It coincides with the reciprocal mirroring and unification o the conflicting poles. The mirroring that constitutes specf ulativc thought amculates the divem, and the contradinions that exist between its elemenrs, in such a way as to exhibit the totality of which this diversity is a pan. Speculmim, then, is the movcmtnt that consiiturcs the mmr complerc uniry, the ulrirnars foundation of d l poniblc diveniry, opposition, and contradiction. The standpoint of speculation. unlike that of reflection, is a structured and absolutely encompassing totality, comprising borhdifFmnce and unity. Itsstandpoint is that o absolute identity, and irs mode of cognition that of f pure reasonablc (vmiinftige] knowing o the Absolute. Its standpoint f is thus the standpoint of Reason, and Reason itself is the Absolute under the form of knowing. In The Differmre. Hcgel contends that for speculation everything determinate has reality and truth only in the cognition of its connecdon with the Absolurc (p. 99). T o speculation . .rhe finirudes arc radii of the infinire focus which irradiates them at the same time thar it is formed by them. In the radii the focus is positcd and in thc focus the radii (p. 1 I 1). Speculative thought is the systematic accomplishment uf the unity presupposcd by reflection. It lifts, says Hegcl, the identity of which sound scnsc i s not conscious into consciousness* (p. loo),.But ,in the highest and mosr complete synthmis. speculatioa must a l u , abolish the opposition hcnvccn thc conscious and the nonconscious, thought and nonrhought, rogiianr and cogitatrrm. SpecuI



lation wwequentpl also demands the nullification of mere consciousness through the self-destruction of reflection. The higher unity 01 spirit is achieved only a t thc prim of a ruspcnsion of all opposition. Only at this point does philosophical thinking achieve its telas, because the momenr a t which all opposition is abolished mincidm with the total self-penetration and self-deterrninarion of thought. Ar rhis point of completion, speculative thought can conceive of the object o its thinkf ing as nothing Icss than thc xlfdetermined movement of its own selfcomprehension as thought. Indeed, speculation achieves its totalizing efforts when it recognizes its own achievement as the achievement of the self-determination of the Concept. To sum up: Speculation, or absolute refleaion, is a critique of reflection and, particularly, of philosophical reflection insofar a s its mirroring function permits rhe overcoming of the major antinomy of reflection, that between the cmpirical. formal. or transcendental selfreflection of the subject of cognition (the thinking being) and the reflcctcd objcct o this epistemological endeavor (what is thought). f The determination of the abject of cognition in term5 of a sclf-alicne arion of h subiect, as the image of the subject thrown back by the reflecting mirror (or, in Hcgclian terms, as an itself thar is in fact a for-anself), is a movemenr of thought thar permits ar once the overcoming of the purely formal and constitutive function o self-conf sciousness in the process of knowledge, and the beyond of the object that for such a consciousness must always remain indecipherable. By establishing this speculative rorality, philosophical thinking expounds and devclops, explicitly and exhaustively, the logical presuppositions of dividing philosophical reflection itseIf. Bcforc we move on to funher discussion of the philosophical f achievements of this critique o reflexivity, ir may be useful ra assert rhat speculation is not a diffuse and occult enterpriw. Speculation is rooted, as hermeneutic philosophers such as Gadamer and Ricbeur remind us, in language itself, or to be more precise, in the philosophical concept of language. At thevery moment thar language is understood a5 more than a pragmaric roo1 for rcprcscnting what is (although this view does nor a p e the philosophical concept of language), it vouchcs for the possibility o articulating a relation r the whotc of being, and f o of expressing it in language. Bccause language realizes meaning in speech or writing. because it makes communication and mderstanding possible, it must, in philasophica1 terms, be thought o as a tof talizing medium. Undoubtedly HegeI, who brought the Greek philosophy of the fogos to its full completion, at first conceived of



speculative mediation as an operation o thought alone. But since f speculation is effective or real only where it finds ia exposirion in rhc speculative proposition, it cannot be altogether xvcred from the mcdium of language. Indced, it presupposes rhe possibility of linguistic utterance and exposition. Let us look more closely at whit Hegel understands by the "speculative propo~ihon," which destroys thc ordinary notion o the propf osition. Although Hcgel discusses the speculative proposition in rhe preface 10 Phenomenology and in the last pages of Scimce of Logic, as well as i a number of passages from his Enqdopedia, I shall n consider only the discussion in the preface, since it i s here that he is most explicit on this subject. Speaking of the specularive proposition, Hegel writes, "The general nature of the judgment or proposition, f which involves the distinction o Subjecr and Predicate, is destroyed by the speculativc proposition, and the proposition of identity which the former becomes contains the counter-thrust against that subiectprcdicatc relationship."" The sprmlativc proposition is thus said to alter radically the relation between subjectand predicate in predicarive sentences or empirical propositions. The common strumre of iudgmcnts or propositions consists. from an Aristotelian and Cartesian perspective, of the predication o a subiect within the horizon of a f dererminarion of truth as certitude. But why should it be important to overturn the srruaure o predication, and what happens to that f srrucrurc in specularive proposirions? Ratiocinative rhought, argues Hegel. is adequatcly cxpresred within the usual structures of thc common proposition, because it conceivcs of the content of its thought in the same way as it conceives of the subject of the proposition-that is, as an underlying substance, a bypokeimmon. whose arrribures are by definition clearly distinyishable. Yet thc content of speculative thought is such that it destroys rhestructure of thcordinaryproposition. As we have seen, differences in rhc content of speculation such as subjcct and object or subject and attributes are determined within the totality of which rhey are the bipartite manifesrarion. The conrcnt of the spcculative proposition i s the identity o the sclf-determinjng Concepr and thought itself. f Thcreforc, the common proposition, with its possibility of absoiutely isolating and separating subjccr and predicate,secrnsan inappropriate form of expression for specularive co:irenr.'2 Bur what, then, are rhc ways in which speculativc content dntroys the traditional form of judgment? First, despite the fact that thc specutative critique of the form o predicative propositions is a cririque f



of Kanr, Hegels speculative minrerprctarion o rhe s m m m o judgf f ment is pmiblc only as a result of Kants insights into the ternary s t r u m r e of the proposition. The g m of speculation lies in this triplicity alone, Hegd writes in Fuitb und Knowledge.*Indeed, at rhc beginning of paagraph 19 of the second deduction o Tranf scendental Logic in Cririquc ofPwe Rearon, Kant admits that ht i s not satisfied with the logicians definition of judgment as a reprcscntarion o a relarion bawecn two canccpts. Wc recognizes that for a f judgment to be possiblq a third element or medium must bc added to the two relating concepts. For Kant, this medium is self-monsciousness, and it ties the relation b m c n the two conapts to thc originary synthetic unity o apperception. This third term, according to Kant, f explains the synthetic characrzr of propositions, or judpmenr. Even if HegeI 6nds faulr with this h t i a n cxplanatiun of iudgitm-which, sincc rhe medium of self-consaousness i s not for b u t a concept, remains formally a binary synthesis of subim and predicate-Kants hypothais of a ternary strumre of the propairion serves as the stardng point for Hcpls dcvclopmcnr or the spccularivc propasirion, Hegel develops the simple proposition of judgment into the syllopism, His speculative inarprcration of judgment, his s to speak quatero nary inrepmation of triplicity-quaternary because Hegels replacing wlf-consEiousncsswith a third concept does not da away with sclf-oonsciousna but reinstates it as a fourth position f o which it rm grounds and animates rhc triplicity itself-is only a more consistent devclopmmt of Kants own discovery. Yet ir is imporcant to rcalizc, as Werner Marx has argued, that despite the incongruity between the specularive contenr and the ordinary smctllfco the proposition, the f r of the d i n a r y pmpb om ositioa is not ovcrtly destroyed. At fa,speculative thought is simply it p r o j m d inm the traditional form o the propo~ition.~~ r then, f m , a does such an inner destruction of the uaditional form of the ptoposition amount to?Hcgcls own example of such an inmr dcstruaion of the common figure of the propasition by a speculative mntent is the staremenr God is being. In contrasrta thc conventional relation between subject and predicate in propositions, being, in the proposition God is being, has acquired an cssenrial substanrisliry, which destroys its character as a prcdicarc, and in which the subject, God, becoma dissolved Aaording M &is example, a specdative sentencc is one in which the predicate of the propsirion is made a subjm. The spaulativc m t m t o the proposidon God is being reds Being f is Gad. Spccuiativethought does not pmcctdby affirming or denying



prcdicatcs ahnut a subjca that would rcmain a stable and solid base throughout the pmcms of detcrrninarion, Hcgel remarks:
Here thinkink instead of making p r a m s i n the transition from Subject to Predicate,in reality ferlsitsclt chcckcd by thc loss of thchbjtct, and, missing it, is rhrown hack on to the thought of the Subject. Or, since the Predicate itsclt has bmn cxprswd as a Subiect, as rhe beingot essence which exhausts the nature of the Suhiecr, thinking finds rhe Subieo immediarely in the Predicate; and now. having returned into i t r l f in rhe P d i c a t e . instead o being f is a position whcrc i t has frecdorn for argumort, it is still absorbed in thc

content, or at !cast is faced with the demand that It should be.1b

In other words, the inner revolution of the proposirion, m3de possible by a spccularivc contcnt, is not limircd to a simpkc rcversal of subject and predicate. Thc counterthrust o which Heget spcaks makcs f the speculative proposition a proposition of idcnrily. Hence, what is changd by the speculativc contcnr in thc usual suhjcct-prcdicatc rclation of propositions is not only the respecrive positions of subject and prcdicare but thc very status ofrhc copula in the iudgrncnt.n l c is has radically changed meaning: it no Eongcr stcurs the attribution o predicatts to a subject, of univenals to the particular; instead, it f expresses an identity that is itself both passive and transitive. The copula of the proposition thus k a m e s the real subjcct o the specf ulative proposition. Ir expresses the Absolute iaelf-the Absolutc that is thc rorality of the Conccpr. In what ways, then, is the specularive propasirion different from the empirical proposition?Although a speculativc proposition resembles the empirical proposition in ,appearance, it is destructive o the f binary and rcflcctivc form of the relation of subject 3nd predicate. In 3 speculative proposition, the predicate is no longer a class, a sensible gcncraliry, but a category, a universal dcterrninarion. I r is the vcry subsrance, the essence of rhe subject. The subject of the ordinary proposition becomcs lost in rhc subsranrial cssencc of rhc prcdicntc in the specularive proposition. With this idcntity of subject and prcdicatc, a n idenrity that makes thc bounds uf reflection disappear, mcdiation becomes thc tmc subject of thc proposition. Such rncdiation as a toralising proccss of dcwrrnination srands for absolute reflection. Within the speculativc proposition, Hegel argues, the dificultics of reflection insofar as they pertain to the strumre of judgment are overcome. On the level o judgment, thc spcculativc pmposirion represents f rhc solution ofthc Kantian reflective diffcrcncc between thc empirical proposition as a formal relation of rwo concepts and self-conscious-



ness as h judiciary medium of the synthetic function of judgment. e In the speculative judpnent, this solution is the result of the synthesizing function o the copula, of the dialectical self-reflection of mcf diation in which subject and predicate become identical. T h e solely inward destruction of the empirical proposition, however, is still insufficient. Hcgel writes:

The sublation of rhe form of the proposition must not happcn only in an inmcdiute manner, through the mere content of rhc propsition. On the
contrary, this opposite rnovemcnt must find explicit expression: it must nor just be the inward inhibition mentioned above. This m r n of the Notion into itself musr be set forth [hrgestellrl. This rnovcmcnt which constitutes what formerly rhc pmof was ruppoxdto accomplish, i the dialmica1moves mental the proposition itsceIf. T h i s alone i s the specularive inncr (wirhlicbcJ, and only rhe expression o this movement is a spcculativc exposition [Darf stellung].?

Since thepredicate in a speculative proposition mustexhibitie nature as subject, and since this can occur only dialectically, through mediation, one proposition alone is incapable of explicitly expressing the speculative. This i s why the true speculative, the speculative C uct [Urirkliche], requires what H g l calls speculative exposition. ee In speculative exposition not only is the speculative content devoted ro rhc immcdiare or inward destruction of the common form of the proposition; the specdative expresses itself in an efiective manner as well. A5 Werner Marx has shown, absolute reflection achieves its essence only in such a speculative exposition of the specularive conrent.
Within the pramration of the whole as truth, a singuEnr proposition is xrrncthing fixed and positively dead,%and hcncc something wrong The simple proposition can ar bcst denote a fixed result. In thc.porttayaE o the life of rrurh, and completing irself as a whole, the proposition in its f particularity i s sublaid. The single proposition becomes a link in e chain of proposirions. The propositions are linked together as p m u p p i n g and as positing; herein lies the sole possibility of showing how the totality of dcterminations is fused inro a true association. n c spcculative presentation must take command of an cntire system o pmpoeitions.2 f

The passage from the

sfcumre of the single speculative proposition M the tcxrure and torality o sentences marks the transition from f spcculation m dialectics. While the young Hegel used speculation and dialectics synonymously, in his h e r work he dimtinguishcr between these concepts. Dialectics. in the preface to Phenommology. signifies the mode of exposition of the speculative conrenr. With dialectics,



rpculation turns from a putely inward tevoludon into an active demonstration of its content. Yet since the dialectical exposition of the specularive in m sysrcm of proposirians empties t h m propositions o everything that is not f the Notion or Concept, o everything that the Notion docs not comr prehend, the passage to dialectics does not correspond to a simple f exteriorization o speculation in the medium of language. Language is used in the dialectical exposition of speculative thoughr only to the extent that the proper meaning of the words is entircly superseded by the categories, which themselves form a logical totality, and in which thcy appear only as moments of the self-determining Notion or Concept. Although thedialectical mediationof thespeculativetakes place only in thought, its altered state, language, represents an essenf tial moment in the complmon o the totality o f t h s Conccpr. Language thus becorn- the privileged medium by which the Concept can acquire the total transparency, the absolute intelligibility that characterizes ir as the totality of the reflected moments of the proccss of its own becoming.1 Despitc the difference between thc hermeneutic and the Hegelian concept of language, it is important to tress the menrial link of Ianguage to borh speculation and absolute rcflection. In Hegelian and hermeneutic philosophy, language plays a fundammral role in establishing the specularivetotality, or opening, as it is called d a y , within which philosophical reflection, be it empirical orrranscendental, must be siruated, that is, shown to har once p s i b l e and limited i its unpe. n This exposition o the specularive totality as the resolution of ref flective oppositions can be taken one step farther. A useful marring point is Ricocurs account of what makes the speculative discourse possible and of what it is to achieve. Ricacur writes in The Rule of

Sprcularive discourse is possible, because language passacs the rej7eche capacity to place itself at a distance and to mnridcr itwlf. as such and in its mrirety, a relarcd ro the mraliry o what is. Language designates itself and f its othcr. T h i s rcflcctivc character extends what linguistics calls mcta-Iioguistic functioning, but articulates it in another discourse, speculative disMUM. It is then no longer a function that can be oppsed to othcr hnaians, i n particular t the reiermtial h m i o t v far it i s the knowledge t h a t accomo panics the referential function i s l . the knowledge of its being-related to tef being. Froma Wcgehan pcrspcctive, Ricocurs definition of speculation could easily be considered Kantian. One reason for this is that Rimeur



h t Innguages discernible and multiple functions, as a discoursc that thematites and extendsthe meta-linguistic function that accompaniesrhe function of refermce. According to Riaxur, each of these functions can be dearly and absolutely distinguished from each other, Ahbough Ricoeur strrsscs that languages reflective character, when articulated in speculative discourse as languages consciousness o in openness f to what is, can no longer be opposed to the linguistic functions, and that it is incommensurable with such hncdom, he seems to reduce

undentandr the speculative discourse itself a5 a discourse a

the reflective character of language to a formal synthcsis similar to the Kantian I think, which must aocornpany not so much all ones represenrations as all ones linguistic acts. If R i m u r escapes such criridsm, it is because he also views language as a totality comparable m the Hcgelian Absolute, which cncompasxs through sublation the two distinct linguistic functions of the ineta-linguistic and the refcrtntial. But if this is so, Ricocur would have to expound spccutativcly the ways in which the two functions within language ate superseded by the totality o language itself. In any evmt, Ricoeucs discussion f allows us to determine more clearly what Hegel achieves with absolute reflection. In order m be all-enmmpassing, rhe speculative discourse cannot k about the functions of Ianguagc. If the spcculative discourse is restricted to the smculation of these functions, it remains, in Hegelian terms, opposed to language. Therefore, Hcgclian speculative knowledge demonstrates the identiry of self-cognition and the cognition of the world of objects. The identity of these two pasitions occurs a t the moment when exterior reflection, or the reflection of objccrs, recognizes that it must presuppose itself as xtf-reflection. and that the immediate object of its reftecdon is merely the reflection at chat which grounds cxtcrior reflcbion. Through this gesture of thought. spemlative or absolute reflection succeeds in reuniting both the dogmatic o naively empirical mode of thinking characteristic o mpiriasmr f which consists of identifying absolutely a content ptior to its formal reflection-and the critical attitude, presented by Kants transcendental philosophy, in which thou&t knows itself to be in the position of a content for itself. Jean Hyppolice makcs rhis quire dear when he writes t h a t speculative knowledge
implies the synthesis of rhc dogmark aII5Nde and the critical rnitudc as
p m m n d in Kants mwccndcntal philosophy. The imtc~tiow&y of conx i o u m w which is turned toward prmisting k i n g and which rclgam



reflection to its subjectivity, and transcendental rcflcnian, which reflects thc sclfof knowing by rclcgating hcing to the thing-in-itsetf, must bc confounded in speculutiw &nowing,which is df-knowledgein thcmntcnt, ofthecontent as =If. and for which the twisting n the soul, which in hoking at being f looks at ixwlf and vice-versa, i s itself expressed in a new logic.

In empirical consciousness, intuition posits subiect and obiea by opposing them absolutely to one another. Far this reason intuition is, as Hegel states in The Diffmmcc, empirical. given. non-mnKious (p. 110). Transccndental intuition, by contrast, *entersmnsciousnss through free abstraction from the whole manifold of empirial consciousn~m,and in this respect it is something subjective (p. 173). I t is, above all, nothing bur pure knowledge, which would be knowing without intuition, [as] is the nullification of the opposites in cantradiction (p. 109).Speculativerdcaion is not the mechanical synthesis of thc two previous positions on intuition. reflcction and cognition. Only by refleciing those two positions into idenriry can rhc synthesis of absolute reflection bc brought ahout. This is done by dcmonsrrating that ,empiricalconsciousness presuppose itselfin transcendental consciousness,and that the subjcciive aspcct of transcendental mnsciousness has its rruth in the objectivity of the thing-in-itself. As a resulr o such a mediation, o rhe rwo opposed and conrradirtory positions f f of empiricism and transccndentalism, spccularivc or absolute reflcctiort bccorncs, as Hyppolite notes, thc a priori sponruneiry that both presuppose, and which one discovers in them , , Thi5 a priori synthesis is that of the self-positing Absolute that entighrens itself by its own light. Hegets speculative reflection thusgathers into one what Kant h3d conceptualized under the ride of the rranscendmral and formal unity of apperception m d thc empirical consciousncss made possible by rhe latter. Specularive reflection is the analysis sub specie aeterni. so to speak-that is, here, in the perspective o the entirety f o logical detwminationc-of thc still rrflcctive opposition of empirf icism and tranwxndentalisrn. Hegel wrira in The Difference: In order ro grasp transcendental intuition in its purity, philosophical reflection must further ahstram from chis subjective aspect 50 t h a t transccndcntal intuition, as the foundation of philosophy, may be neither subjective nor objective for it, neither self-consciousness a$ oppnwd to matter, nor matter as o p v c d to self-consciousness. hut pure transcendental intuition, absolute identity, that is neither subjcctive nor objective (pp. 173-1741. Thc task of speculative philosophy i, consequendy, to suspend the apparent opposition of s transcendental and crnpirical consciousncss (p. lZO).This suspension



is achieved in thc mly a priori q m h & of absolute reflection, which is a truly a priori spontaneity bccausc it conrains in itself both the a priori as a ,purely formal identity and the vcry possibility o an a f posteriority, which in it arc n o longer ahsolutely opposed. This true a priori sponraneity of atwoiutc reflection also represents the ovetcorning o the absolute reflective opposition af subject and object. f Empirical subjectivity as a subjectivity riveted to objem, as well is mnsccndmtal subjectivity. is overmrnt in this m e a priori, which coincids with the self-determination ofthe Concept or Notion in the exposition of the process of i~ logical unfolding. T h c suspension of the empirical and the transandcntal is achieved in speculative reflection by means of the dialectical exposition of the idrnriry af undemanding, or retlcrtian, and intuition. Speculation, writes Hegel, produces the consciousness of this identity, and because ideality and riality are one in it, it is intuition (p. 111). Speculation, then, is the true hlfillmenr of transcendental imagination o of what, r since Fichte, and in distinction from Rants homologous use of the term, has btcome known ar intellectual intuition, Speculation is absolute intuition, In The Difference Hegel writes:
In empirical i t i i n subject and object are oppositzs; the philosopher ap nuto, pnhmds the activity o intuiting, he intuits intuiting and thus conceives it f as an idcntity. This intuiting o intuiting is, on the om hand, philasophim1 f reflection and a5 suchapposcd both t ordinary nflectionand to theempirical o mnsciousntsd in gcntral which docs not raise itself above itself and it$ oppositions. On rhc orher hand, this mnscmdental intuition is at the %me time the objcct of philosophical dection; it is rhc Abrotutc, rhe original idmriry. (p. 120)

When transcendental intuition as the intuition of intuition becomes rhe object o philosophical reflection, philosophical reflection is raised f to the status of a ttanscmdtntal intuition, h a u x philosophical reflmion makes i d f [in this manner] into the abject and Is one with it: thisis what makes it spcculation (p. 173). Inothcrwords,absolute reflectionor specularion is the activity of the one universal Reason directed upon itself, grasping its grounding within itself (p. 88). Or, as Hcgel also notes, it is the pure thinking chat thinks itself, the idcnciry o subim and abject (p. 81). f To sum up: spcularion or absolute refleaion resulting from the self-dtsrmcrion of rctlcction-the annulment o such reflexive ~p f positions as the tdiltologicd knowledge of formal thinking and the hererologicd knowledge OF empirical thought, o the a p i o n of the f



transcendental and the a posteriori of the empirical, of subjectivity and objectivity, of freedom and necessity, of theory and praxis, as well as of the last logicaily possible oppositions, the opposition of the self r itself and to what it is not-is the self-intuition of Reason in o absolute indifference, as the young Hegel called it, using a Schellingian term. The self-destruction of rcffcction in a b d u t e reflection coincides with the self-begemng of Reason in infinite inruition. Absolurc reflecrion is the full expasirion of all the logically possible momenrs of rhe logos,a process rhar is cornplered a5 soon as the logos is folded back into irself.

Identity, Totality, and Mystic Rapture

Unlike reflection, which, as a function o understanding, perpetuates f division and absolutely W oppoeiiion, absolute reflection, o specr ulation, dcliberatcly pursues a todizing goal. Neverrhclms, speculation is not in a rcladon of apposition to reflection. Speculation simply articulates and develops what reflection, as rhc activity o f dividing, must i d f pmuppope-the prior wholeness of the divided. ns idea of totality whereby absolute reflection measures itself up to i rht idea proper of philosophy-that is, ics daim to complercnmhas constituted philosophy since its inception in Grccce. The best way m expound h e Hegcliian concept of totality is to demonstrate that rht passage from philosophica1rcflcctian t~ speculation is also a passage from one way o mediating opposites to another. Yet this is also f IO acknowledge that the difference between rcflemionand speculation is based on the different wholes they promote. Indeed, philasophicaI rdlection. to the extent that it is philosophical, is also based on this totality. But in contrast to absolute r f e t o , e l c i n philosophical reflection only prcsuppoxs such a totality, or knows of it only in an instinccivc way, whereas speculation throws this regulating idea o philosophy f into relief and elaborates on it. Let us fitst negativeiy determine the true synthcsis at which speculation aims. An absolute synthcsis, says Wegel, must bc more than a mcrc fitting together,. .for the Absolute is no [ m m ] juxtaporid n Because it is not supposed to be a whole composed of discrete o. paw, the mode in which irs pans m i a s to one anorhcr cannor be one of reciprocal detenninarion (WechsdbssrhmuHg, Wecbselw+ tung). Such an interplay o mutual conditioning would in no way f reduce thc opposition o the oppasim. Nor is &is a whole in which f



parts are connected in conformity with the law OF causality, for such a synthesis would be a synthesis hy way of domination. in which one of the poles would be placed in subservience to the higher, thus making lordship and bondage absolute, and infinitely extended (p. 138; see also p. 146). R true synthetic tnraliry is nor characterrzed by an Enfinitc or cndlcss process o either mutual dctcrmination or f subservient domination of the parts. A totaliry o that sort would f onlyprotongthercignof rcflcction. But more important, a truc totality cannot be constructed from mere produrn of reflection. Hegel w r i t s in The Differenm, Our o products of mere rcflccrion identity cannot f construcr itself as totality; for they arise through abstraction f o the rm absolute identity which can only relate itself to them immcdiately through nullificarion. nor through consrmcrion (p.158). A5 long as the prducts of merc rcflccrion are not relaced to the absolute identity, as long as they remain pure determinations ~t understanding, they appear incapable of engendering a true totality. What, then, i s a true synthetic rotaliry? While philosophical reflection and its exclusively formal concept o unity are characterized by discontinuity, abf solute reflection is based on a demonsrration of the conrinuiry of ics constituting elcmcnn, A t r u e totalky is a medium of continuity in which hitherto oppmcd terms, by being related to &he Absolute and hy being dcstroyed in their isolated one-sidedness, are lost in each orher. Bur such a roraliry is also differentiated in irself, *so rhar uniry and manifold do not supervene each to the other in it; rather they detach themselves ,from one another within it, and are held together forcefully, 35 Plata says, by the rniddle.l Discussing, in Tbe Di/fereme, the idca of cornplctc totality in t e r n s of the two sciences of the Absolute-that is, the rranscendental science (of Kant and Fichte) and the science of Nature (of Schelling) which have to be reunited within it-Hegel remarks: Inasmuch as both scicnccs arc scicnccs of thc Absolute and thrir opposition is real, they are the poles of the indifference [point] and cohere with one another at this point itself; they arc themselves the lines which link the pole with the center. The center is itself doubled, however, identity hcing qne, and totaiiry the othcr, and in this perspective the two sciences appear as the progressive evolution, o sdf-construction, of identity r into totaliry (p. 170). Identity and totality are not the samc. The identity of opposing poles does not suffice to make a totality. Identity is only one aspccr ,oftorality. In order for a toraliry to be complete, the claims of separarion must he admitted [within the totality itsclfl just as much as those o identity (p. 156). For Hegel, absolute totality f



is the result of a self-mnstruction in which identity turns into totality

by maintaining the identical pole nonidcntiry. Indeed, as Hegel remarks in Science of Logic, tnrth is complete only in the rrrity of idmtiry with differern, and hcnoe consists only in this unity. H e

When awning that &is identity is imperfect, tttc perfaxion one has vagucly in mind is this totality, measured against which the identiry is imperfccr, but since, on the other hand, idcntiry is rigidly held to be absolutely sparate from diffetcmc and in this separation is taken to hc something asenrial, valid, true, then the only t b i v to be s m in these conflicting assertions is the failure to bring togcther there thoughts, namely, that identity as absrraa identity is essential, and that as, such it is equally imperfect: the lack of awarcncss of the ncgauvc mornenr which. in these assertions, identiry itself i s rcprcsrntcd to be.

In order to achieve the continuity that mnstitutco true t t l t , oaiy totality must, as the substratum, embrace both identity and nonf idcntity. This is why HqcI makes ux, in The Diffrrctrce, o the following formula, which brings together the conflicting thoughts on unity: the Ahsalute itrelf is the identity of identity and nan-identity; being opposed and being onc are both together in it (p. 156). With this inclusion of nonidcntiry, of the negative moment presupposed by identity, the totality encompasses the last logically possible moment without which thc passage from identity to totality would not bc complete. Totality, then, i s the unityof itself and of the disunion that such a unity must presuppose. By including that moment of negativity, no other negative determination m a i n s possible, and the totality is thuscomplete. Since everything that is in counterposition tosomething else is also opposed to itself in this developed whole, and thus destrayed in its singularity, everything singular, to the extent that it has standing in the AbsoIute, is nothing but a point at which relations cross. Everything is at once pole, line, and center. To quote again: Since a duality is now p i t e d , each one of the opposim is opposed to imlf and rhc pamrion g w on ad infiniturn. Hence, every part of the subject and cvery part of ahc obiem is itself in the Absolute, an idmtiry of subiea and object; cvery cognition is a mrth just as every speck o dust is an organization (p. 1571. A totality in which the f poles arc themselves the lines w h i h Iink the pole with rhe center amounts to a rncdium of mediation, a middle of intersecting lines. In its full exposition, this medium is the very completion o Reason, the f ultimate ground o everything singular. f



Now,let us elaborate, ar least briefly, on a major difference bctwwn f the concept o toraliry as employed by Hegel and [rhe later) Schelling. Although Ncgcl sterns, in The Differme, to endorse futly Schellings f idea o torality as an obiective subiecc-object identity, it follows from everything we have sccn that. to conform with Hegels radical critique of the philosophy of reflection, a true synthesis has to, be a synthesis of a subiective and objective subject-object, to usc his language of that period. Despite rhe fact thar Hegel refers m mraliry in Schellingian f terms as L point of indifference, he also evokcs rhe true point o indifference-that is, a totality that, unlike ScheIIings, does not imply thc complete annulment or extinction of all opposition (p. 172). For Schelling, the cririque of the rigidity of the reflective determinations and thc categories of understanding led to thcir complete dissolution in the rategoria of Reason. understood as immediate and unmediated intellectual intuition. In Hegel, by contrast, the mediation of the opposites replaces Schellings originary synthetic unity. Therefore, Hegels concept of totality contains the nonidentiry as well as and apart tram the identity o the QppOSitC5. He writes in The Diff ference: In the absolute identity subject and objcn arc suspended, hut because they are within the absolute identity they both have standing too. This standing is what makes a knowledge possible; for in knowledge their separation is posited up to a point (p. 126). A totality such as Schellings, which exdudes all negativity and has no roam for that which is limitcd, is, according to Hegels later language, an abstract totality. In Phenomenology ofSpiril hc refers to it as the night in which all cows are black. Such a philosophy is satistied by simply penetrating. to the principle of nullifying all fixed opposition and connecting the limited to the Absolute (p. 1.12). T h e colorless light of such a n intuition confined to the abstract side of cognition culrninares in the mystic raprure 50 familiar to the Romantics. Indeed, Hegels critique of the abstract totality aims not only at Schellings philosophy bur, in The Difftrence, at Jacobi, and at Schlegel and Novalia as well. By heavily relying on Fichtes notion ofa self-positing self, the early Romantics developed a conccption of the Absolute in terms of what Walter Benjamin calls the medium of reflection. Although Schlegel and Novalis were not cnrirely without pretensions concerning the systematic cxpsirion of their philosophy, they contented themselves with what Hegel calls, in The Differmce, the negative side, where meryrhing finite is drowned in the infinite (p. 156). What Hegel objects to in such an understanding o the f Absolutc i5 its lack of intcrnal coherence, and thus the Romantics failure 10 achieve an objective totality of knowledge.



Although such an absrncr notion of totaliiy could, o course, be f made concrete, H g l claims that, for the Romantics, it is merely a cc
matter of subjective mntingmcy whether this kind of philosophizing is bound up with the need for a system or not (p. 156). In other

words, Romantic philosophy, although no longer abstract reasoning, and already a form o overcoming the reflcciivc determinations f

of understanding, falls back again into the rigid Kantian opposirions by leaving the opposition ofthc Absolute and the manifooid intact, or the object o a (mcreIy) contingenk subicaive act of mediation. A f philosophy, however, that aims at a radical critique of the metaphysics of decriort cannot b satisfied with h mystic rapture rhar the alle e devouring Absalurt o the Romanrics invircs; it must expound the f intrinsic links between the Absolute and its content, and it m s iry ut to posit this manifold as internally connected m the Absolute. Yet such internal connection coincides with producing a totality o h o w f ing, that is, a sysmn of science. A philosophizing that dots not construct itself into a system is a constant flight h m limitations (p. 113); true philosophy, according to Hegel, renders the Absolute concrete in the form o the system. Such an exposition o the content of f f the Absolum, however, cannot remain dependent on a subjective and contingent act, as is the case in Rommticism, sin= it cornsponds m an objmivc need of the Absolute itself. The sysrcm must be understood as the pure self-exposition o h absolute totality. Hegel f e stam, In rhis self-production of Reason rhc Absolute shapes itself into an objecriw totality, which is a whole in itself held fast and complete, having no p u n d outside i d f , but founded by itself in ics beginning, middle and end (p. 113). The self-production of the Absolute requires, moreover, that the philosophy of the system and the systcm irsclf da . . . minade {p. 114), that the product.. .correspond to the producing (p. 131). and that the result o the system. . .return to its beginning (p. f 132). Having failed to mediate t h e oppositions, Fichte, Shellin& and the Romantitics ham not scapcd the metaphysics of reflection. Only a b d u t e reflection or speculation a n be consistent and succ d u l in surmounting the aporias and antinomia of rcflcction manifest in philosophy from Dtscam M Kant.

Post-Hegelian Criticism of Reflexivity

Reflcction, according to Hcgels critique, is an almost entirely negative concept. As thc mdde of thinking particular to undemanding, it is a force of separation incapablc hy itself of thinking the unity prcsupposed by this activity, Fnr t h e critic of Kantian philosophy-that is. Hegct-everything dependent on rhe notion of rcflection-subiectivity, freedom. transcendentality, and so on-is also affected by the inability o rcflcction to mcct the most fundamental o all philosophf f f ical demands, thar o unity. In dktinction from other reprewntaiives o German Idealism and early Rommcirism, who also conceived o f f rhcmsclves as lollowcn and critics of thc Kantian philmophy of reflection, only Hcgcl succeeded in ovcrcoming the Kantian dichotomies. Hegcl indeed [iquefics cvcn the ultimate reflective distinctions left sranding by both Fichtc and Schclling. A s we have seen, Hegcl i s critical of rhc rnctaphysics nf reflection because it tcavm the dcmand for totality unanswered. Hegets spcculative dialectics mighr he calted a first critique of the philosophy of reflection, but not because he opted for an irnmdiare response to the qucstinn of unity and totality, rhercby relegating rcflccrion with all its problems to the trash heap of thought. Unlike some of the Romanrics Hcgcl docs not discard this idea, so fundamental to m d c r nity, but, by historidzingthe logicat categories constituting teflexivity, hc shows reflection to bc tied u p in a process in which its own aporias are overcome by reflection itself. His critique culminates in a demonstration of rcfieccionsdcvclopmcnt towards its own sublation. Rooted in the unthought of the metaphysics of reflection-that is, the idea of totality-Hegcls critique is made in the name of a reflection that has overcome i t s shortmmingsr absolute reflection, or spccularion,



which Hegel oppose t the ,narrow p h i h o p h i d concept o reflec o f tion. CriticaI of rhe metaphysics of reflection and yet containing it insofar as it brings the unhought of the philosophy of reflection to bear on that very concept, absolute rciI&on rcprcscnrs the fulfillment o reflection, its completion, its coming into its own. f It is important to note that the concept of reflexivity found in contemporary philosophical debates or in the discourse of literary criticism rarely refers to the pre-Kantian or Kantiafi definition of reflection. Rather, the concept of reflection in wntemporary debates, which surfaces in an affirmative or critical manner, is basically indebted to the speculative critique of the rneraphysia o reflection. f Indeed, what is generally meant by the arms rtflectim and self-refiction is either absolute reflection o its Romantic sense-what Bmr jamin called tbe medium of reflection."' This implies that thc critique of what is called, in contemporary Gcrman philosophy, the theory (or philosophy) of reflection is either tributary to or CriticaI o the f speculative project or of the idea o Romantic absolute refleetion. In f any case, whatever d i m i o n this sort of criticism takes, for historical f and systematic reasons, it raises i t d f , unlike the positivist critique o reflection, to the heights of speculation, which is a 5 we have seen distinguished by its awareness o the problems posed by reflexivity. f Yet what is true of the German critiquc of the philosophy of reflcction-namely, is consciousntss of the philosophical exigencies of speculation, whether or not Hegels own solution to thc problems o i reflexivity are seen t have lost their persuasive power-is men more o m e of the debate with reflexivity that stretches from Heidegger to Derrida. This debare takes off against the backdrop of Hegels speculative thought. Wore 1 embark on a teview o both t y p o criticism. it seem5 f f k i n g t refine the minimal definition of reflection, outlined at the o beginning of Part 1. It now appears that this definition, which unites the mast important farmaf movements of reflection, mrrcsponds to the speculative notion of reflection. To recapitulate: The prc-Kantian theory o reflection is charactcrized by the assumption that the cogf nitive subject bccomcF a self-rclatingsubjca by making itself an obiea for imlf. The identity that springs forth from such an activity is a result of mrning char kind of attenrion originally directed upon objects back upon the knowing subject itself. T h i s act of throwing thc subject o represenration back onto itself i s rhc act of idlemion, By detaching f rcflcction from human reflection, Kant , c h a t s transccndental rcflection to the rank of a constituting principleof all the forms of thinking



and experience. Reflexivity thus becomes an essential characteristic of thought itself. Yet Kant's transcendcntal ego is dominated by rhc dualism characreristic of reflective ntetaphysia from Descartes anthe dualism of an active subject and a passive obiea. Only when reflection is raised to the rank of the Concept or Notion, and thus radically separated from the realm of human self-retation and its arrenrion m objects-in other words, when thought as such becomes rhc subjccr o thinking-is the dualism of reflection wercome. f How does Hegel bring about the reflecrion o the absolute subject, f or spirit? The possibility of a sublation of the dualism o reflection f becomes a reality only at the moment a t which the thesis of an object and the antithesisof a subject can be viewed as partaking in a totality. As we have seen, Hegel's criticism of the meraphysiw of rdlection is guided by the notion of totality. If reflection is an operation produced between a figure and irs image in the mirror, between a subject and an objecr, then rhc poles or extremes o the process of reflection are f no longer the essential part o that process but its mean,o the whole f r o all of the relations o thc prm ss between thcm. The medium in f f which reflection takes place, this middlc which splits into opposed poles and from which they borrow their meaning, becomes the real subject of refleaion. This subjecr, rhe spirit or Concepr, is what, as pure activity, produm both the opposed moments of subjcctivc rcflecrion-the subjert and the ,objcct--and itself as the totality of the mcdium of reflection. To ihc exrenr that this medium gathers into one synthesis the whole of thc mornems thar characterize reflection and itself as the mean af these moments, it is thetrueSubject, absolute reflection. Its achievement is to unite in one whole that which is opposed. This unity as a developed whole is the radical answer to the quaestio iuris, which, with the inception of the idea of reflection in Descartes, was reflection's guiding idea, but which had not yet revcaled all of ib conscqucncs. tn the same way, Hegel's critique of reflection, and his intensification af ir to absolute reflection by elevating the major themes of reflection to the levcl of the Concept or Notion. represents a radical completion of subjectivity, freedom, autonomy, self-certitude and certitude, transcendcntality, nnd PO on. The speculative determination of the meaning o these concepa takes place in the develf opment ofa philosophy of absolua subjectivity and absolute reflection that breaks away from the theories and philosophies of cognition and knowledge, and from the dualisms with which they are k t emc: pirical and transcendental experience, apriorism and apostcriorism,



subject and objccr. In w m o m i n g thest conceptual dyads, which arise from the kind of positing that characterizes understanding, Hegels critique of the philosophy of reflection and hi5 development of a philosophy of absolute reflection try to achieve thc goal of philosophy f f irself, the goal o a totality o knowledgc, itself free of contradictions, thar accounts for all contradictions and oppositions. h t us consider this totality and its essential mnstitumts onc last rime. It is a unity of self-relation and O h r e s of immanent refleaion tens. and reflection-into-Orher. A metatheory of rcflmion o sons, the f theory of absolute reflection ratores the immediacy of being that is lost a t the moment when immanent reflection severs the subjm from the world. This immediacy is reestablished as the movement of the f reflection o the antagonistic modes of rctlection-that is, reflectioninto-Orher and reflection-into-self. Absolute reflection--chc movement of reflecting itself into itself, as Hcgcl rcmarks in P b m a e nologyl-becomes the totality embracing both types of refleaion, which thus remain entirely immanent and interior to one another, to the extent that it also reflects itself in the form of the refleaion-intoself it now comprises. With this self-inclusion of absolute reflection, which Pscapa any further reflection, not only is reflection overcome, for ir is comprised, bur also absolute reflection becomes the ultimate totality of all possible reiations, the relation to self induded. Because what is rdlccted within it has lost its power of separation and hation, it has become, so to speak, a self-relating relation without related poles. It is identical to Rtason, or logos;it is Reason in its cornpietion. To circIe back, then, to the minimal definition of reflection, Iet us add that such a definition must contain, in addition to the three moments already distinguished, the thought o refleaions own ref flection in the form o that mode o mirroring that is opposed to f f objects or images. To achieve the totality of all the rnovcmena o f reflection, it is not sufficient to poinrro the diaIectics o self and Other f which take place between mirror and object. This dialectic is possible only on condition that the mirror o self and Other is itself only a f f e form o absolute rekction. Refleaions reflection requires that r flcction be contained within reflection, that mirroring itself include the mirrors mirroring. This can be achieved only by demonstrating f that the mirrors mirroring o itself and Other is a still insufficient reflection and that in its fixation, which opcns a pmccss of endless sell-mirroring, the mirrors mirroring is dependent o n a positing by absolute reflection, which at the same rime makes this mirroring prccess a n alienated, and thus tecuperable, momenr of absolute reflection.

64 .


Only at this point is the toraEity of reflection's constiturive features defined. Reflection is complered-rhar is. inclusive of all irs constif tutive moments-when it includcs itself in that form o reflection which is reflection o self in opposition to reflection of Other. f In the afrermath of Hegel's speculative overhading of the metaphysics of reflection, all rigorous debate wirh reflection has been a debate wirh this conccpt of r f e t o ,in which setf-reflection is also elcin the rtflccrion of that S D of self-refleaion that stitl faces objects. But ~ since Hcgel's critique of the philosophy of reflection addresses the demand that characterizes philosophy as philosophy, the demand for unity or rotality, a debate with his speculative concept of reflection is a debate not only ahaur rhe fundamental themes of modern philosophy-subjectivity, freedom, autonomy. transcmdentaliry-but also about the rhemcs consrimring thc vcry projcct ofphilosophy since its inccprion in Greece. Indeed, wben Hegel subjected rhe mosr imporrant methodological conccpt o modern philosaphy, as well as the f rhemcs cocvd with rhe birthof rhisconcept, to his spcculativccririque, he rncasurcd thc achievements o reflection against the demand for a f totalizing understanding of thought and being, a demand as old as philosophy irserf. Any rigorous cririquc of rcflcxiviry must face this chatlengc to values, without which therc would be no such thing as a discoursc of philosophy. ethics, or politics. B u t are these not the difficulties faced by any cridque of refledon and rencxivity? Such a critique must recognize that reflection is a n unsurpassed principle o philosophy for which naive resistance is cerf tainly no march. This is cven more true of absalute reflection, The rradirional arguments against absolute reflection or speculation do nor seriously affect such reflection, even where one would be inclined to acknowledge that some of its historical consequences have been abcrranr. Total dialccticd mediation as it characterizes absolute rcflecrion, is, in principle. of unequaled superiority. As a result o this f em logical preeminence, a11 polcmics againsr it would s e to bc without ground. Ahsolute reflection. as articulated 'in the greater Logic, for instance, mricipares all the logically possibk adverse stands and integrarcs rhcm as moments within ics spcculativr totality. Cadamer expresses this very well in Truth and Method: "The Archimedean poinr from where HcgePs philosophy could be toppled can ncver bc found rhrnugh reflection. This is precisely the formal quality of reflective philosophy, rhat thcrc cannot be a posirion that is nor drawn into the reflective movement of consciousness coming to itself,"' This superiority o absolure reffection is one of principle. I t cannot bc f




challenged by the aberrational mnxqumas to which it has led. and which are t a great exrent responsible for bringing speculation into o discredit. Nor can absolure reflections superiority be challenged by a demonstration o its imperfections or alleged indefcnsibilirics, as, f for example, in Hegels Pbmommo!ogy. Science of Logic, or heyciopedb. Such defiaencim become manifest if one atternpa to penetran the microstmctum of the argumentation that develops absolute reflection. Subjected to close mutiny, the passage from one logical

moment m another a h appears imprecise. Buq as Dieter Hcnrich has most convincingly demonstrated, the deficimcics in the dcvelopmrnr . .. arc not harmful to the firmntss or soundness o The arf chitecture of rhe origina1 draft [of Hegels Science of Logic] nor as far as the fundamentally important outlines of its aceortion are concerned. What Hcnrich has been abL to show in a most persuasive manner, in what he calls mmctions or remnstructions of He gclian argumcnrarion, is rhar Hcgel in fact had all the means ncccrsary to make his arguments logically faultlss, and that one can supply m t a i n weak microstructures with more powerful reasonings chat remain entirely within rhc spirit of Hegdian thoughr.l These deficiencies, consequently, have no impact on the acrual concept o abf solute decdon. If ir is true, as Heluich contends, that the degree of perfection that Hegel actually achieved in his major work divergcs quite a bit from the ideal, but that it can nevertheless bc measured up to H g l sown origencits, then the works imperfmion can be ee accounted far+as Hcnrich shows, by the discrepancy beween Hegels vimosity in developing logical relations and his merhodological reflmions on this development. Where, then, docs this leave us with regard to the problem o f absolute reflection? If absolute reflection cannot bc radically put into question by reflection itself, because all possible points of criticism arc already moments o reflection, and if acrual deficiencies of the f system of a h l u r e refleion pak i n t o insignificance when compared to its potential elaboration, does this mean that reflection cannot be c r i t i d y evaluated, and that Hegels speculative critique and interpretation of reflection are the only one5 possible?Does the succes of the principlc of absolute reflection closc off all further questioning? Lct us step back for a moment into history. As early as Plato, reflection, in the sense of self-refleaion. has been subject to criticism. lo the dialogue Chmnrides, a part o Platos critique of the Sophists, f Socrates makes the at h t surprising move of declaring rhar sopkms y n t cannot cxisr becauz it is a conrradimry notion.6 Sophrosync,



an idcal stmnd to nonc in irnportancc for the Crceks, was held to be L science or knowledge distinct from all other knowledge since, cornp a d m other sciences, which are sciences only of something else. sophrosyne was a science both of other sciences and of itself. Sophrosyne-wisdom, temperance-corresponds esse~~tially self-knowlto edge. But Socrares argumentation shows rhar a relation to self is altogmher inadmissible, and hardly credible, because it i s impossible for a property of something to relate m itself. One example is the impossibility o a seeing that would be the seeing of itself. Socrates asks f f Cririas: Suppose that there is a kind o vision which is not like the f ordinary vision, but a vision of itself and o orher sorts of vision, and of thc defect of them, which in seeing sees no color, but only itsell and other SOKS of vision. Do you think that there is such a kind of vision? Certainly nor. For the same reason, Socrates believcs a knowledge of knowledge-rhat is, a knowledge chat would nor relate to anything in particular-to be irnpossiblc. H wcn goes so far as e m question the u s e d this knowledge of knowledge if it were ro exist, a use he dcclares null because such knowlcdge would be empty knowledge, relating to nothing. Indeed, if knowledge is always relational, knowlcdge of knowledge would have to be knowledge of knowtedge of, a. srrumre which, cpisremologically speakink is void. Socrates demonstration is surprising at first because it sccrns to contradict other passages i n Plato in which a dynumb is shown to relate not only to what its powcr is the power of but also to itself. These passages, however, concede self-relationality only to the soul, which, as the primurn mowns of the cosmos, is dctennined by rhc property of self-movemmr, and has litrlc in common with what is undcrstood by soul in modem philosophy.o Consequcntly, although f Plato recognizes a self-relationality o the soul, or of divine being, hc denies such a possibility to the knowledge of knowledge. Indeed, insread of anticipating the Cartesian self-relationality of reflexivity, sophrosyne, in the conrext of Cbamrides, is at best a knowledge o f good and cvil. Socrarcs argumenrs, therefore, do nor impinge on rhc possibility of conceiving of absolute reflection, in particular since, on othcr occasions, hc recognizes self-rclationaliry as that which constitutes rhe soul. As a matter of faa, Soctateecquestioning o sophrof m e . by presupposing thc possibility of thc self-relationaliry of thc soul, is a kind o criticism that would not hc possible without the f higher form of a dynamis by which the soul relates to itself. I t is in this znsc rhar we understand Sacram critique of the knowledge of knowledge to be implicitly speculative. Socrates interrogation of the



reflexivity of sopbrosyne, by implying that reflection is truly possible only in the form of the self-movement of the soul, leads us d i r d y o back r Hcgel's spectllaiivc correcrion of the contradictions oc reflection in absolute reflection. In contrast to skeptical or empiricat critiasm af reflexivity, which concludes from rhc aporeric nature o f $elf-rcflection its thorough impossibility, the sort of criticism Plaro directs against selCreRection-which informs many later objections to the philosophy o reflection, Hegel's objections included-is, f in essence, speculative. It points cowards the aparias of =If-reflection in the name of a higher form of sclf-reflection. It is imporrant to recognize that where the criticism of reflection is not simply skeptical, it is overtly o latently specdative. But what r if all genuine skepticism must also presuppos what it puts into quation? To outline an answer M this question, we must first establish the nature o the authentic criticism that skepticism levels against f reflection. Sextus Empiricus formulates these objections in the following passage:

For if the mind spprchcnds itdf, cithtr it as a whole will apprehend itself, or it will do so not as a whok bur emptoying for the purpose a part of inclf. Now it will not be able as a wholc to apprehend italf. For if as a wholc ir apprehends imlf, it will be as a whole apprchcnsion and apprchen'ding, and, the apprehending subim being the whole, rhe apprehended object will no longer be anything: but it is a thing most irrational that the apprehending subinr should mist while the object of the apprehension d o a not exist. Nor, in facr, can thc mind cmploy for this purpose a part o itself. For how does f the part itself apprehend itsell? If as a whole, rhe object thought will be nothing; white if with a pan, how will rhac pan in mrn d i m itself? And s on 10 infinity.l0 o

The aporia i s obvious: either reason knows itself as Other, and this means that it does nor know itself, or it becomes caught in a neverf ending process o self-approximation. Yet these contradictions arc not final obstacles t elaboraring the o self-reflection of the Absolute, because they can be seen to be moments ih self-knowltdge as a process. The Other, which the sclf can only know itself as, thus b c m s the result of a self-alienation of h e self eoe before it recognizes thI5 Other as itself again. The skeptical contradictions in this pcrsptcrive arc seen sub s p e c k acremi, thar is, with regard to the unity they pmuppose. Certainly one cannot refute this skeptical doubt concerning the possibility of self-knowledge or wlfreflection in the same way that one refutes skepriasmt calling into
question the cpistemologicd signification of reflection in general. In-

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deed in refuting scll-knowledge, it does not presuppose what it is doubtful about in the same way that it must presuppose the signifif cation o reflection when putting, in a reflective manner, reflection into question, B u t it r m a i n s to bc seen whethcr the skeptical evidence concerning thc impossibiliry o self-knowledge must not, in the last f resort, also bc groundcd in the cvidcncc of a self-knowing subject. Hegel's specdative criticism, as we have seen, displacs the quation o the aporias by admining that rhcy can certainly nor be solved on f the level of psychological and epistemological self-reflection, but only on the higher Icvel of absolute knowing. Such a totality of the Notion or Concept is something that the skeptical argument, a t least from a spmlative pcrspcctive, must prcsupposc, since it setvcs as the unity in rhe tight of which its aporetic demonstrations make sense in the first place. Thc samc is truc of a varicry of other obiectinns to the f f possibility o self-reflecthn. W e shall consider several o thse objections in a discussion of the critique of the philosophy of reflection as it has been developed in contemporary German philosophy. This critique branches o u t into two different sets of arguments. T h e firsr ser is heavily indebted ro Russell and Whitehead's dernonstration of the formal antinomies that characterize the idea of selfreference or reflexiveness, as well as to Wittgenstein's theory of types. Among this set of objections is Dietcr Hcnrich's demonstration o the f incvitably circular consrrurtion o wlf-rcfledon. This type o arguf f ment was f i r s raised by Fichte's disciple Friedrich Hetbart, whose polemic against his master demonstrated not the impossibility of selfconsciousness but rhe inadequacy of rhe model of self-represenration to describe it. Henrich follows this line of thought inasmuch as his whole argumentation conccrning self-reflnrion is a function of his desire to show that self-reflection is an inappropriate tool for explaining self-consciousness. Yer, is rhar not prccisely what a theory nf rcflcction hopcs to achieve? With basically two arguments, Henrich dcmonstrates thccircularity of all the forms of the theory o reflection up to Kant, including f rranscendcntal rcflmion. He borrows his first argument from Fichre, whom he considers t be the first r have felt the inadequacy o the o o f theory of reflection to cope with the problem of self-consciousness. This argument may be summarized as follows: The theary of selfreflection contends that a Subject-Self comes to know itself when it rums its reffecrion upon itself. Yet, since one can speak of a SubjectSelf anly where there is already self-consciousness, the theory o f rcffcction presupposm what it hopes to explain. Indeed. the act of



reflecting must bc rhe act of a d f in possession of imIt Henrich writes in Fichtcs Original Insight: Thus anyone who scts reflection into motion must himself already bc both the !mower and the known. The subjeet o reflection on its own thereby satisfies the wholc equaf tion I=I. Yet, reflection alone was supposcd to bring about this cquarion.l From this the corollary folfown that r d m r o n of thc self will never produce self-consciousties if that self i s somerhing other than a reIf-aonsciousncss. If the Subject-SeIf is not the Self, then neither canthe Self, of which we come t have knowledge,thar is the o f Object-Self, cver be identical with it.*In short, a theory o reflection f that pretends to explain the origin o self-consciousness must presuppose what i t IS suppossd to explain. If self-reflaion is to lead to selfmnsciousnesr, the reflected self must necessarily aIready be conscious o itself. At k s t , a theory of reflection can account for an explicit f self-arperience of a self, but it is unable to expIain the self-knowldge of a knawingsubjectivicy. Compared 10this primordial phenomcnon, refledon is only a secondary phenomenon.13 Henrichssccond objection takcs off from the theory that retlemion assumes that the *If-knowledge o a subject originates in an act of f self-menion. Yet in order for such self-knowltdgc m be possible, the subject must know in advance that the objm rcfleded is ia own self, identical with itself. tt is just rhat identity-that is, the knowledge thar the object turned upon in reflection is oneself-that the theory of reflection is supposed to amount for. Henrich writ- But how can sclf-consciowness know that it has grasped itself, if an ObjcctSelf had come about only via the Selfs act of reflection? Obviously it can know this only if it already knew irsclf beforc. For only on the basis of previous knowledgc is it possible for self-consciousness to say: What 1 am grasping is 1 myself- But, if it already knows itself, then it aIready knows &at I =I.1 This second objection reaches the samc conclusion as the first: the theory of reflection already ptcsupposes the dution of the problem it sets out to explain. The theory o reflection is based on a prtitio primripii. f Now, what is important here is that Hrnrichs critical arguments concerning the circularity of reflection, as well as hi5 confining reflectionsepistemological significance to a secondary phenomenon, d o nor at all discredit self-consciousness itself. Sclf-reflection only sccms an inadequate tool with which to think self-consciousness proper. As a matter of fact, the attempt to exhibit teflcctions antinomical f properties is grounded in the azwmption of a primordial identity o sclf-conshusness. It is in the very name of self-consciousness that



Henrichs whole argument takes place, especially since he shows that the theories o reflection presuppose, in their very failure, such an f originay df-identity. It is this intimacy with oneself-that is, this intimate knowledge of oneself, aa Hmrich calls it-that makes thc secondary, reffexive mode of self-relation possible, for this secondary mode is irself derivative, and cannor serve as irs own origin.12 In Fichtes Original Insight, he writes: This primordial selfhood first allows a Self to work itself free from its connection with the world and to grasp itself explicitly as what it must have been previously, namely, knowledge t h a t what it is, is knowing subicctivity. Tbc passibiliry of reflection must be understcad OR the basis o this primordial f essence of the Self.l* Despite its prereflexive connotations, which bring it near to H u r serls and Heideggcrs attempts to circumvent radically the regressus ud ittfmitum caused by rhe idea of self-relation, which I discuss later in this chapter, such a notion of the original identity of selfhood, based on an intimacy with oneself and presupposed by self-rcflection, is perhaps, with its insistence on genuine identity and totality, rhe major theorem of speculative philosophy. Henrich seeks to conceptualize this originary idenriry in thc inevirably paradoxical terms of an (implicitly) self-less consciousness of self,* precisely to avoid the circularity of reflexive theories. Primordial selfhood is to be thought of a5 a nonreflexive identity.* Thus, although Henrichs critique of the theories d reflection cannot be called speculative in the sense oi an ancmpr to solve the aporias of reflection by absolutizing reflexivity, it is nonetheless an attempt m solve these aporias by deducing reflection from an original totality of which it would be a secondary rnodc. Hcnrich does not explain the nature oithenonrcflcxivc rclarion which constitutes the fundamental fact of such 31 original identity. Thus, as long as this nonreflective totality is not expounded explicitly, its connatation ol identity and rotality b r i n e it near to what Hegel calls a spccularEvc germ. Although a nonrcflcctivetotality, this original identity is, with respect to reflection, in a relation of constitution and derivation similar to that between absotutc reflection and the sphere of essential reflection. In short, Henrichs critique o reflection-a f critique that seeks nor to rid itself of consciousn~ssor the subject, but rarhrr to think such phcnomcna by avoiding the classical aporias of thought-abandons reflectionon the ground of arguments that arc basically skeptical. Yct he docs so to the benefit of a different and, because it avoids the antinomies of thought, higher mode of relation to self. Although this higher mode of identity to self, of a selfless



consdourness of self, would not coincide with what the Idealists ailed intellectual intuition, the critique is indubitably spccuiative in nature. The same observations can be made in rhe case o Ulrich Pothasts f ammpr m come m grips wirh the aprias of self-relation mnceptualizcd reflexively. By ma king use of the tools developed by andytical philosophy, Pothast shows, even more clearly than Hcnrich. that the aporias rhar result from the attempt to think consciousness with the help of concepts o reflexivity are analogous to the antinomies of f logic. Not only does a relation of reflexive turning upon oneself lead m an infinite rqges, but it is also xmantically void. What is important for us is whar fotlows from such a basically skeptical and even empiricist approach ro the problem of refleaion. Toward the end of his study. Pothast remarks that his critique does n t far principal reasons, o, exclude all turning backward of attention. Self-reflection is possibIc in the mx of an arrentional experience; bur this is not to be conceived as self-perception.that is, in terms of cognitive self-relation, As Pothast has demonstrated with g e a r accuracy, the major aporias that haunt the reflexive model o consciousness arc due to a projecrion of analf ogies of perception onto psychic relations, Because consciousness is thus interpreted in terms o spacialiry, making wlf-relation a function f ,of a prior dichotomy of subject and object (the subject as ,obim), it is logically impossible to avoid the regressus ud libitum. Yet, says Pothast, such an interpretation is illegitiman, because within conxiousnms there are no perceptions properly speaking. ldsclf-reflection as attentional experience, inshort consciousness, is thus to be thought without conrradicrion, consciousness cannot be a [reflexive) sclf-rclation. As Pothast puts it% bit ambiguously, it can only be thou& a of as an entirely objective process, in the sense that it is not accompanied by a howingself-relation at any moment. Consciousness becomes, in short, a predicate, or a pmpricty that refuuscs all further analysis.? At this point one may object that there is no reason to view a critical approach such as Poihasts as implicitly specularive. Yet Pthasr links the concept of consciousness, as a predicate developed in rhe proccss o whar he understands as a dcsrrunion of rhe traditional f philosophicai theories of subjectivity, M one area of that tradition which has h m e questionable in almost meiy regard, and which he wants to defend against any further attempts at desmEtion.This issue i5 nothing lcss than thc synthetic unity of apperception. Alrhough Pothast does not want m understand this originary uniry, as did Kant,



as the highest point in the sense of a deduction, and although h e claims that it nced not always already be inhabited bya represenration ofits own self nor be compdscd synthetically of discrete and singular

things, he holds that probably, it alone explains how a being can develop a srrmure asdiffcrcntiared and as ,farrcrnoved from its initial nature as a happening. as the structure of our knowing. m The idea of a synthaic unity of apperception is not Simply, in Pothasts argument, a piece of the rndition ro be saved; the entirety o Porhasrs f reasoning takes place in i t s name. Yet, like inrellecnral intuition, the idea of an originary unity of consciousness is a specularive germ, and thus Pothasts skeptical arguments against rcflection, like Henrichs, ippcar to bc functions of a speculative understanding of philosophy. This rcmains thc case e w n if spcculation is no longer undccstood as rhe rcflection of reflection. lndecd, Henrichs and Pothastsdiscussions of thc aporias of reflection suggest a non-Wegelian mode of speculation, in which thc demand for unity and dcduction is to be achieved o n nonmflccrive grounds. Thc second type of criticism of reflexivity proceeds f o the asrm sumption that reflexivity i s not to be relinquishcd but must be saved by reflection itself. Even though Hegcls reflection o refleaion is not f itself sufficient to overcome all the problems inherent in reflection, it is nonetheless an explicitly speculative approach to the aporirs of rcflection. To begin, let u s t u r n m another aporia, this time conccrning rhc self-cngendermenr, by and through itself, of the absolute subject. This aporia has been pointed our hy Walter Schulr in his srudy entitled DQS Problem der Absolurm Reflexion. I t affccts thc very possibiliiy o absotute reflection's achieving a grounding function, which is the f purpose for which it was developed in the first place. Paradoxically, hecausc chis grounding funnion of absolute rcflmion (of self-consciousness, of the self-positing Self, Reason, Spirit) is of prevailing importance to thoughr, irs very possibility is ncvcr cxarnincd as such within the tradition. According to Schulz, the aporia is that absolute reflection, although it is supposed to function as the principle of a transparent construction o what is, cannot be conceived in itself, f since, according to its nature, it must not be derived from anything clsc. But if absolute reflcction cannot be fixed, cannot possibly bc conceived, hecause it is in itself a cnntinuous df-transgression that endlessly presupposes its own self-psiring, Then it cannot serve as a grounding principle. Ungraspablc bccausc it cscapes all fixation, it cannot serve a5 thc ground o all that is. Schulr writes: Absolute f renemion is indeed superior to mundane beings, but this superiority



exists only if one accepts the Absolute to be what it is, that is, the principle that repeatedly and mndnuausly pansgrmcs itsctf, and whose essence thought cannot, in truth, hope to think in a satisfactory rnanner. In addition, Schufzpoints out that such an Absolute. as rhc ground ofall being, also undercuts the possibility of deducing being from it, since such a deduction would equal a limitation of the Absolute, and would indeed cancel out the privileged status of absolute reflection as a principle:
Onc rvho p a i r 3 alimitation, with respect to the world, in h e Absolute as the true beginning i 5 not only incapable, as Kant has already demonstrated in theanrihcsirof h e thirdantinomy, of rendering this acprowrrd Limirarion f intelligible but, above all, he contradim the purc thought o the principle which-lxuuw ab~olutdy unconditionaknnot wen be subjected to the form of stlf-limtation. I n d d , self-limirarion hidcs the fact o the present f world, and it is this fact w i h calls for self-limitation a5 the rcsrriaion o hc f the Absolute. But what this means is that the insights that the absolute principle cannot be made into what is conditioned by that prinaple, and that bcing cannot L derived tram it, belong rogcther.u C I

T h i s awarcncss of the apolwjc nature of the concept of absolute reflection as a grounding principle leads Schulz to criticize teflections claim t o absoluteness without, however, opting for the p d a r opposite 5 reflection, for the immcdjatt, or so-called reality. Schulz wants to f
contain the idealist gesture that brings about the absolute self-positing of rcflmion as the principle of at1 things, while a t the same time keeping the antithetical anthmpologifal option in che& since the latter is as metaphysical as that which it attCInptS to dislocate. khulz writes, Neither ahsolun reflection nor an unreflected being, but reflection as the x r confrontation with what is, makes the essence of ls
man. Yet, in describing absolute refleaion in the absolute fashion mmtioned earlier, as a principle o all beings yet 50 absolute that it i s f entirely beyond comprehension, Schulz merely summarizes a position o speculative thought that was heId by Schelling, whose Romantic f and abstract tendencies Hegcl had radically criticized in the preface to Phenomenology. Heeel was concerned with Schellings attempt to overcome the unhappy choice between absolute reflection and anthropological immediacy. Hegels own norion of absolute reflection, which, as we have seen, avoids the aporias Schulz has pointed out by understanding and developing the Notion or Concept as the concrerc

~~~~~~ ~


mtality o all the iogically possible relations h e e n rhe abstract and f the particular, is precisely that kind of dialogue betwtcn the self and what is, between the ego and being, that Schulz promota. The critical reducrion of Idcaiism that he proposes is nothing short of what Hegel has in mind in Science of Logic, where he develops his concept o absolute reflection. Like Schulz. Hegel was unwilling r consider f o the unity preceding the disxnsion in quation as a state of unity that really and actually precedes the given state as its mctaphysically original beginning. Hegel thought chat the romliry of the possible relations b e e n polar oppositions are immanent in them. If rhere is any differenoe benvecn Hegels critical account and speculative appraisal of the aporias of reflection, and that of Schulz, it is that for Schulz, the dialogue snms to be an opm debate, with no internal boundarim.This istosay that although Schulzscritiqueoftheaporia~ of absolute reflection is in essential agreement with the mediating spccularivc solution of these contradictions, it is also critical of the subjectivity constituting the modern metaphysical solution of that essentially spcculative and philosophical problem. In other words, while Schulzs critical account of the aporias of reflection avoids the pitfalls of a philosophy of immediacy, o r philosophical anthropology, it is nonerhelcss very much a speculative account, in 3 Hegelian sense, yet negatively s. o Any attempt to challenge absolute reflection through svmc notion of Immediacy is bound to fail. For instance. the reproachful argument that immediate perception dissipates when reflected upon. an argument that ascribes, in Hegels words, cvcrything bad to reflection generally, regarding it and all: its works as the polar opposite and hereditary foe of the absolute method of philosophizing disregards the fact that such a reflection, which starts with something ahen to it, i s what Wegel callcd external reflection, and thus one moment in the dialectics of reflection, which develops into absolute reflection where that dualism is superseded. Ir bccomcs obvious that the insistence a n the immediate, since it is not itself an immediate kind of relaring. always already refures itself. Indeed, insisting an the im~ mediate is irself a reflecrive act. Thus, even this S D of naive criticism o reflection is latently speculative, because it admits as its unrhought f premise what it hies to put into question: reflection itself. Let me: emphasize. then, t h a t it appears impossible to bypass the Wegelian speculative solution to rhc difficultks of absolatc rcflccrion. If one is to address the principal deficiencies of the theories of subjectivity, of consciousness and self-wnsciousnes-that is, of reflection-recourse to Hegels speculative and dialectical solution is unavoidable,not only




for all post-Hcgelian theories o reflction, as Konrad Cramer strongly f sugipts, but for &e pre-Hegelian attempts to cope with this problem as wd1.l. As Crama no-, The systematic place in which, and in which alone, the possibility opens up of avoiding the fundamental f deficiencies of the theory o reflection as it concerns sclf-cansciousncss as well as the .embarrassed and meaningless response by the thesis o f immediacy, i s a science of pure meaning that proceeds according to the dialectical rncthod.u As we have seen,this is implicitly the case with che sort of criticism that makes rcferencc to skeptical argumma conmrning h e aporetic nature o reflection. It is all the more thc case for those attempts that f aim at saving reflection by trying tn assign it a proper function, such as constimcing what SchuE caUs the dialogue benvcen the self and the world. It is also necessarily the case with all a m p s to overcame the dilficulties in thinking reflection by reflection as a method inelf, Yet i t would be t m n m u s to bclievc that the inevitable pathway through Hcgcl mcansrhat one has no choice but to accept the Hegelian solution. It is to affirm, for the moment only, and foremost, that all criticism of reftection, all attempts to come m grips with what has traditionally bccn viewed as reflections aporctic s t n ~ c t u i e ,must take its standards from the Hegelian project, and second, must, whatever its answer to these problems may be, mcasnre up to the speculative solution givm by Hegel. T h i s means that na critique of reflection, or, for that mamr, of absolute nflection, can legitimately try simply to destroy reflection, or to declare it, as did the logical positiiyists, null and void. Turning to WcgeI prompts us to give sharpened attention to problems unthought of in refleaion and in the speculative solution as wcll. This WIT of problemaric is an inmaphilosophical demand and calls for a radical deepening of the reflection of reflecdan. Yet, as we shall 9ct i the next chapter, an entirely different approach to the n problem of reflacdon is possible. It i s an approach that takes the Hcgelian solution most Mriously and i s highly conscious of rhc Philosophical txigcnacs translated into the speculativeovercoming of the deficiencies of reflection. T h i s particular approach sccb to account forreflection a d absolute reflection from presuppositions of both that traditional philosophical thought has not found it nemsary to thematire. Exorcising reflexivity from the discourse of philomphy through positivistic or analytic arguments could only be a short-lived and ~ h 0 ~ 4 g h tway of dealing with the problem of reflecrion. Russcll td and Whirchcads phobia of what Russ.lI termed the paradars of rcflexivity--rhat is, o rhc sunanric and logim-marhemarim1contlicrs f



that result from propositions that speak of themsdves, from predicates o that apply r rhernselves, or from classes rhat contain rhemelvesled to thc banning of thc very concept of reflexivity from much of the philosophy to which they gave rise. But the pseudoproblems they had hoped to eliminate by striafy prohibiting the use of linguistic reflcxtvity soon crept back, disguised by a new terminology, into the discoursc of analytic philosophy. Thus. Austins so-called rwolutIon of analytic philosophy amounts to nothing more nor less than the surreptitious rcintroducrion of the pmblcm of rcflection in order to solve the problems left in the wake of logical positivism. His revolution consisted of hinging the entire representational function of language, with which Russell and Whitehead were exclusively concerned, on a constituting self-rcflexivity of the linguistic act. To speak of the perforrnarivc function o speech a c ~ s ro apply a new word to a very f is old problcm. Eeforc turning to a discussion of the type of criticism of reflexivity that I c h a r a m r i d as dealing with ccrtain unthought presupposidons of rehaion, Ict me menrion bricfly two attempts to cope with thc problcm of reflection and absdute mflection. which, in spire of bcing inspired by the analytic perspective i philosophy, do not aln together sacrifice the philosophically fundamenral aspects of rhat problem. The first concerns Emst Tugmdhars critical appraisal of thc aporias of reflection as poinred out by Henrich and Porhasr. Tugendhot argues that t h c x sporias, and the impossibility of solving them, are a result of the absurd starring point that informs traditional rheories of reflection. Following Henrichs and Pothasts analyscs, Tugcndhat argues rhar rhe following three models animate these theories: (1) the ontological model of a substancc and its modifications, amodeIdeeply rooted in the subjccr-predicate structure of (ordinary) language; (2) rhc subjcct-object relation, which characrcrizcs consciousness as a representational strucrure, with rhe result rhar self-refleaion is understood as a relation in which the subjecc rums upon itself as upon an object, and ( 3 ) the assumption that all immediate knowledgc is ronrcd in perception, and that self-rdlcction must therefore be understood as inner self-perceprion.The interplay of thcse three models required f by the idea o self-consciousness, self-reflection, and absolure reflection as an identity of the knower and what is known, of the subject and itself as objecr is, says,Tugendhar, a priori impossible. In addition, M spcak of immediate identification as a cognitive achicvemcnt is sheer nonsense. Indcrd, if the three models can, under no circumstances, produce self-cansciousness. and if. moreover, idcntity cannot



be taken as knowledge, it is because for Tugendhat and the analytic tradition he represents, knowledge and truth can only be propositional, and arc thus incommensurable with any form of self-identie fication. H concludes that a structure of the form I know myselF is in itself impossible and contradicts the very meaning o knowf ing. 28 Yet it does not follow from all this that self-consciousness itself would be an impossibility. On the contrary, Tugendhat accuse Henrich of disposing of xlf-consciousness, despite the fact that Henrichs rfgms from self-consciousness to mnsriousness is a srep toward the deduction of self-consciousness as a secondary phenomenon from f what he calls selfless consciousness o self. Instead of rclinquishing self-consciousncss, Tugendhat intends to give an analytic account o f what he calls epistemicself-consciousness, in particular in irsimrnediate form. This form of self-consciousness, the only one that Tugendhat concedes, is e n t i d y linguistic. it is grounded in the immediate knowledge one has of having certain states. It is a knowledge not of oneself o r o ones states in themselves bur only a knowledge rhar one f has those states. Tugendhat contends that this kind of ~ l f - ~ ~ t i sciousncrs can be thought without aparias, since itr concept can be elaborated without the three models that inform traditional theories of self-rcflccrion. It is not my intention M discuss in dctail Tugendhats theory of epistcmic or theoretical self-consciousness, or to ponder its speculative echoes. What I want to stress here is that the theoretical ascetism that springs from confining oncsetf to linguistic and propositional truth is self-defeating. By eliminating altogether the ontologicat dimension o f self-identity in self-consciousness (and, for that matter, in abmlutc reflection), one deprives oneself of the possibility of thinking the very foundations of propositional knowledge and truth, as well as of the very idea of epistemic self-conwiousness. The very possibility o propf ositional ,truth requires that kind of immediate identification Tugendhat rejccts as contradictory to all cognitive achievement proper. Without the presupposition of ontological or formal-ontoiogical identity of being and thought, of subject and object, o the knower and f o what is known, there is no ground f r any propositional attribution whatsoever. To rejea the concept of sell-reftenion or absolute reflection on the basis that it leads to contradictions is precisely to reject that kind of necessary gmund. Since one cannot abandon such a ground without hesitation, one must embark on a &tical inquiry into the nature of that ground, an inquiry capable of accounting for the aporeric structure o the ultimate principle, without necessarily yirtdf ing to the Hcgclian solution of these aporias.



This is what Herbert SchnSdelbach seems to have achieved in his superb study Reflexion m d Diskurs, Fragen einer Logik der PhiloSophie. While contending that the problems affecting traditional theoris of reflection are rooted in their mentalistic terminology, and thus subiect to the danger of psychologism and solipsism, SchnHdelbach embarks on a new explication of the concept of reflection by manslaring the phenomenon of reflection into linguistic terminology while at the same time conserving the full scope and depth of the traditional problem of reflection. Schnidelbachs attempt 10 reformulare ihe tradirional problem of reflection linguistically does not consist ofconfounding it with metacornmunication. If reflection were to be translated into metacommunication, one would miss the specificiry o reflection while at the same timc projecting o n it a number f of unsolvable problems that beset the theory of meralanguages. SchnIdelbach writes: Merely rnetalinguistic spcech is. .. per dehitionem nonreflexive. The attempt to grasp its constituting rules in z metatheoretical fashion leads to the well-known endless hierarchy of metalanguages, in which reflexivity has no place.29 In order ro rranslatc the traditional problem of reflection into linguistics, Schniidclbach chooses a modified version of Habermass pragmatic theary of discourse, in which the reflective structure of discursive modes of thematizing does not entail an endless progression of superimposedlevels of speech. What Habcrmas, and evcn mom so Schnadclbach, understand by discourse is precisely a language game which is simultaneOUS[y a process of communicarion and metacommunication, On the historical premise that reflection has been the major methodological concept of philowphy since Descartes-thc very means by which philusophy must seek to ground irself a5 philosophy-rhis characterf izarion o philosophical reflecrion 3s discourse leads Schnadclbach to call for the development ofa philosophy of philosophy which secks to clzrify the conditions o the logon didomi in philosophy and to f xcure them from a normative point of view.0 With this theory of discourse, Schnadelbach reestablishes rcflcction as the medium at selffoundation of philosophy. He succeeds while warding off r h t pitfalls of mentalism that affecr rhe traditional concept o reflection. in fully f reinstating this notion to its spcculativc hcights and to its role as a principle free o l the aporias its critia have pointed out. Schnidelbachs reformulation o the pmhlcm of reflection is a most persuasive f demonstration that within traditional philosophy, and within its rules and standards for an ultimate overcoming of contradictions. such a solution can bc satisfactorily reached.

Beyond Reflection: the Interlacings of Heternlogy

Up t this point I have dim& a mode of dealing with thc aporias o of reflection that still seems to prevail, in which a mn to Hegel's r speculative thought is 5etn as the only way to come to grips with the shortcomingso subjectivity. Let us now cum to a d i f k n t approach f to the problems o sclfionsEiousncss and, mbtk m t u n d i s , absolute f reflection, It is an approach that recognizes rhe previous one as philosophically well founded, and recognize as well the logical superiority o speculative thought over all attempts to criticize it in a rcflexive f mode from a position crroncously considered to be outside it. But ths approach also grants the possibility rhat rhc aporias of reflection, at Icast as far as the horizon o ocpectation o philosophy IS mnocmed, f f are susceptible of k i n g su-fully overcome in absolute rcflcction, or in a modified speculative thtoo of discourse. Whether or not these would be definite solutions i s not really the question. Such an a p proach conacda that, within the limits of the standards o philcf sophical problem solving, a mmmon ground capable o superseding f apormcal propositions can be found. T h i s docs not, o course, imply f rhat succcss is taken for grand or left unquesrioncd. On rhc contrary, I shall question the very succcsshulnas of succcsrfu~ philosophical mlucionn to the aparias af &&on. If Arjstotle, discussing form as primary being, could state that m ask why something is itself (ti uuto estin auto) is to inquire into nothing or not to inquire in the first place, then one can just as easily contend that to qustion the success o rhc spccuIntive so1utiws to rctkxivity is not to question at all.' f From a mdirianal philosophical pcrspeccive, an approach of this sort makes no sense. Indacd, as we shall see, the approach 1 shaIl be concerned with cscags the norms and c x ~ r i o n classically a m s



ciatcd with thc discourse of philosophy. It i s an approach that is attcntarive to a set of what one could call presuppositions, prepositions, or k t t e r yci structures, which inform, without philosophys knowledge, its meatrnenr ol the problem of the aporetic namre of reflection and in possibly successful sublation by absolutc rcflcctinn.

First we must wake yet another Qpe of criticism directed against thc philosophy of reflection, as well as against Hegels speculative solution, a criticism from which the approach to be presented derivcs same of in major impulses. When, in the aftermarh of Kanrs transcendental solution to the problcms o rationalism and empiricism, f the tradition begun by the Cartesian philosophy of subjectivity expcrienced a cenain dampcning, in an effort to avoid the aporias that such a philosophy carries with it, Hegels radically immanent philosophy emerged as the major chnllenge to the philosophy of reflcction. Yet, although Hegel anempted to overcome the reflexive aporias of the Cartesian and Kantian paradigm of thought through a return to the Creek concepa o being and substance, this return took the form f of a total subjectivieation of these concepa. For this reawn, Hegels philosophy must he viewed above all as the complcrion of Cartesian thought. Therefore, although Hegels immanent and, in his sense, nnnrcflexive philosophy can be seen as originating rhe type o criticism f on which I shall clabontc. it also dicitcd this criticism as a reaction to itaclf. I do not rncan this to be a straightforward historical presentation of thc antcccdents of the approach now to bc discussed, namely, that ofJacquesDerdda. Those landmarks can be found in thc philosophies of Nicnschc, Dilthcy, the latcr Husscrl, and the carly Heidegger-in short, in a type of philosophy that cannot comfortably be placed within the usual philosophical classifications. These a r t philosophics that unwind out of the philosophy o subjectivity. T h e critique of f reflexivity and speculation enacted by these philosophies (which at their best house a philosophically irreducible and radical empiricism unlikc the philosophical doctrinc of crnpiricism grounded in experience, and which can be easily aceammodated by traditional philosophy as its nonphilosophical Other) is mingled with much more traditional rhcmes. And yet new and unwonted mmifs also make o thernsclves heard in thesc philosophies. Take, f r instance, Nichsches critique o rcflcction and self-consciousness, which places a necessary f gap between knowledge, on the one hand, and, o n the orher, selfcognition. Hc writcs at the bcginning of On rhe Genealogy ofMora/s:


- .


We arc unknown

t outstlvs, we men of knowldgc-and wirh o good reason. We have never sought ourselves-how could it happm t h a t we should ever fi~dourselvcs? , . So wearc nmssarilystrangcrs , to ourselves. we do not comprehend ourselves, m hove $0 rnirund m t a n d ourselves, for us the law Each i s ,furthest from himsclf applies to all eternity-we are not men of Knowledge wirh respect to oucseIvcs,~T h e same morif can be said r underlie his autuo biography, in which Ni&c declares thar to become what one is, one must avoid knowing oneself: Where msce te Ipsm would be the recipe for ruin, forgemng oncself, misundmtatrditrg oneself, making oneself smaller, narrower, mediocre, become reason itself.

Self-reflection is seen in both cases as a flower o decadena and f mundanity, as a phenomenon deriving from a primary state free of self-awareness, with r w p m r which self-consciousness is a falling o away; but it is also seen as the necessary gap between oneself and ones knowledge, which breaks radically with the philosophically con-red mode of accounring lor the knowledge that one claims r o posscss by grounding it in the self-canscious and publicly accountable subject. Here, self-reflection loses all foundational capacity with respcct to knowledge. It i s not my purposc to evaluate the extent to which such a turn in interpretation remains indebted to the tradition under attack. 1 mean rarher to emphasize thar the noncognirive and nonreflexive state, of which self-knowledge is an alienated product, cannot simply be conceprualizcd in terms of the irrarional, cmotional, and inruirivc. What Nierzsche and Dilthey thematize as life is something h a t escapes, sr lcasr up to a certain poinr, rhe classical opposition of the rational and the irrational. Is if nor after all because he called the vital link brween understanding and lived experience irrational chat Dilrheysconcept of life has been greatly misundersrood? In many ways mercIy a substitute for what Hegel called objective spirit, life, in Dilthey, is essentially thc nonrefiexivc source of reflection and self-reflection. As thc source of alI reflexivity, it forever escapes reflection. Tlis also explains why life, for Dilrhey, Iacks rhe asp~cr of toality, which is so decisive for all self-rcflcaivtmriries! The realm of Life, mated a$ a temporal and causal construction objectified in time, is history. It is a whole which can never be mrnpletcd. Whether DiLhey can really conceptualize the essential incompIeteners of the wholc of life i s not the point here. What concerns us is only Dilrheys, as well as Niensches, s u g g d o n thar life and lived experience-in other words, something of an order other rhan that of self-consciousness (individual or cultural)-serve as rhc groundof sclf-



consciousness. Self-consciousness can ncver hope to encompass that ground, because it is not simply a more true, more fundamental, mom essential sclf-consciousness, such as intellectuai intuition, but also because it is incommensurable with all reflexive appropriation. What Dilthey calls life is undoubtedly anorher name lor spirir. counrerpostd to the isalating and abstract operations o reflective life; but at the f same time, it is also heterogeneous to that which depcnds an it for its possibility, without, however, serving merely as what I have hirherto caltcd a ground. T h e thought of such a consfifutivc heterogeneity af self-reflection and self-consciousness inaugurates the type of criricism to which I refer here. By drawing on such issues as Brcntanos claim that predication is not the essence of judgmenr; Husserls critique of the abstract nature of the Cartesian cogilo, his opening of the stream o experience to f inactualities, and his general return from logic to the prepredicative; Schelcrs phcnomenological analyscs; and Jasperss invesrigarions into the psychology o world views, Heidegger in Being and Time powf erfully continues this type of criticism of the philosophy o reflection. f Let us consider briefly his analyses of the modes o understanding f proper to Dasein, modes that structurally precede all thematic. propositional, and reflexive cognition. Hcideggers concern in Being md Time i5 to demonstrate that man is never simply a subircr relating ro objects, that the essencc of man does not lie primarily in the subjectobject relation. Analyzing the existential 5tmcturcs of Dmeiv, Heidegger comes to assume, on the contrary, that mans reiation to the world is constituted, first and foremost, by a disclosure not o ohiccts f f but o whar is ready-ro-hand within-rhe-world (innerzucMch ZubandenesJ, not to a reflecting subject hut to a bcing ,characterized as being-in-the-world. This disclosure, which takes place through statesof-mind (Stimmrmgen), is a n unconcealing in a primordial sense. It is presupposed by all immamnt reflection, which, as a kind of apprehending which first turns round and then b a c k can only come upon experiences becauw the there has already been disclosed in a state-of-mind. The states-of-mind that characterize man primordially, by first disclosing the world as a whole, effcct the required opening within which subjectdbject rdations. and hence reflexive operations, can take place. Heidcgger characterizes the b o w i n g peculiar to states-of-mind as follows: This knowingdoes nal first arise from an immanent self-perception, but belongs to the Being of the here, which is essentially understanding (p. 184). Hence, ir is a knowing by the Dasein that is not grounded in a subjects relating



to itself i n the mode of a subjcct-objm relation. It is not a knowing chat would arise primarily from a lone subjects d - d d o n . To a t e again: In existing, entities sight thcmdvs [sichcet sidl] only insofar as they have become transparent to thcmxlves with equal primordidty in those items which arc constitutive for their existence: their king-alongside the world and their king-with-Others" (p, 187). Self-reflection, ones relating to oneself in rhc mode in which a subjcct rclatcs to an abject, presupposes thc prereflcxive transparency Of mans viewing himelf in contemporancity with thc world. The Darrins =it, in identity. cannot be u n d c r s d as that o a seIff knowing, self-conscious being. In The Basic Problem of Phmotncnology, his ktures a t Marburg folIowing the publication o Being f mrd T i m , Heidegger made this quire dcar: W-unhnding should not be equated formally with a reflected ego-ntperiencc6 Indeed, t h mocintcd unveiling ofrhc self accompanyingthe Dareins relation is not a givcn as might be thought in adherence to Kant-in such a wag that an 1 think accompanies all rcprcscnrations and goes dong with the acts directed at extant beings, which &us would be a rcfltctivc act direacd at rhe first act {p. 158). dn what sense, then, is the %If given to itself? Heidgscr anrwcrs: The self i s there for the h e i n itself without rcflcction and without inner perception, wore all refidon. Reflection, in the sense of a turning back, is only a mode of self-upprehmriott, but nor h e mode of primary sclf-disdosure (p. 1S9). The Dusein docs nor find itself within itself; on the contrary, it finds i t in the things by which it is surrounded in the wf world of what is ready-tehand. T h i s a h explains why Ddseirrs selfunderstanding tahs on many diffctmt f o r m 5 in conformiry with tht things by way of which it encounters itself, and by way of which it i s disclosed to itself in in own self. These multiple means of selfunderstandingcannotbc equated with what,sincc Dscrrtes, hasbecn conceived of as the ontological constitution of the person, the ego, zhc subject (p. 174, in short, as self-consciousness. Self-consciousn c a and its constituting self-refldon relate to t h s c more primary f m o prereflcxivc selfdisclosure as to their lost foundation. To o f condude his development o this subject, Heidqger writes: Wecanf not d d n c the Dascins ontological constitution with rhc aid of selfccmsciausnas, but, on the contrary, we have to clarify the diverse possibilitits of self-understandingby way of an adquately darified structure of existence (p. 174). Heideggm entirely excludes the possibility of making an appropriate theoretical responx to the question o existential self-underf



standing by rcflecting a n it in terms o a reflexive relation to setf. f O l by rcgrcssingtoward theprerdlevivestructutureoolunderstanding ny characteristic of the Dasein as being-in-theworld can one account
for primordial self-sighting, Self-consciousness as a self-reflarive state can then also be derived through abstraction from the initial disclosure of the world and the self in state-of-mind. f Even in a brief outline o this other type of criticism of reflexivity. it becomes obvious t h a t rhc philosophies of Nictzsche, Dilrhey, and Heidcggcr before the Kehre are attsmpts to account for the problem of subjectivity. In this sense, they carry o n the philwophy o subjccf tivity rypical of modern phiIasophy sincc Descartes. Yet the manner in which thmc philosophies account for subjectiviry is no longer subjective. They are phIlmophIcs. in a rnannmsubstantia1ly different from f f that o Heget, o the object, rhc world, life, the lifc-world, and, finally, Bcing. If Hcgela turn toward the philosophy of being resulted in an ahsolurcsubjccrivizationof being, hcre, on rhc contrary, wc find that the oricntarion toward the object, the wortd, or Being serves to desecratc rhe concepr o thc suhjccr. Mom prccIscIy, rhcsc arc phif losophies of finitude, understood as the radical conaction o the f universal and abstract metaphysical concept of subjectivity. Nonerheless, evcn hire conccprs o the subject such as Descin, of selff reflexivity such as Daseins self-disclosure, o the transcendental such f as the existential structures of Dasciti, of freedom such as the concept of Sein-konnen. and so on, do not radically break with thc paradigm of subjectivity. It is true that the traditional problems of reflexivity and self-reflcxivity-that is, their constitutional role with regard ro the subject and objm-arc overcome by grounding rhese modes of knowing in primary and prcreflcrivc mode5 of discl~surc, solution a independent o the question of whethcr the aporias of reflection have f been solved. It is for this reamn that Hcideggers circumscription of self-consciousness and self-reflection has justly been considered a relinquishing of the Cartcsian opcningot thc problem o reflection and f of the quesrions to which it is linked. But i s Hcideggers concretion o rhc subiect in terms of Dusein really as radical a break with rhe f Cartaian paradigm as i s believcd? That Heidegger borrows all the conceptual tools with which he criticizes reflection. or rather puts it in its proper place, from wirhin the tradition iaelf is not insignificant, especially in light of the fact that Descartes himself conceived of the cogito not merely as the pure act o a reflexive recoiling upon ones f thought. but also as acollection o complexes o various and changing f f spontaneiries of mnsciousness. It is thus not astonishing that Hei-

~ ~~~~ ~


dcggcr's exploration of the srmcrurcs of consciousness in daily life could produce only a mom original and primordial ,mncept of,refleaion, namely, h e DaKin's prereflexive self-understanding. Last but not least, it is Heideggrr's insight into the unsatisfamry nature of this handling of the problem of subjecdvity ,and wlf-consciousness that triggers the Kehe-that is, Heidegger's turning away f o the rm analytia of Dusein toward the question of Being. With this he begins an cntircly new way of questioning the phenomenon of rdccrian. Heideggerk theory of self-cansciousncss is not concerned with the aporias of reflection. Self-consciousnessis a mode of self-apprehension in terms of a reflexive subjbct-objcct relation. If it is problematic for Hcidegger, it i s not because such a relation could not be rhougbr without our h m i n g enmeshed in unsolvable problems. The manner in which the tradition has conceptualized sclf-consciousncs is pxsuasive, and Hddcgger docs not question what was, for philosophers from Dcxartes to Husserl, B goad enough solution in terms of what the philosophical discourse expects of itself. What he objects to are nor iogicrl deficiencies in a narrow sax, but rathcr that thesc phiIosophics erect only one mode of self-apprehension, and one that is moreover historically l i m i d , a s the vcry cssmce of man. In Being and Time this particular mode of relating to onesetf is grounded in f the original mode o D d s sdfdidixlosure. But by ddihaly turning to rhe quesrion of Bein& Hcideggcr grounds the Dasem's df-undcrstanding marc fundamentally, by making it a function of the history of Being, and the vcry nature o the thing now themarizcd under the f tide of k i n g even more radically displace the traditional problems f cancerning the aporias or antinomies o reflexivity. Heidegger's later f philosophy reaches our under the name o Being toward stmctures o thought rhat are not easily rtcupcrable in terms of m a n t i = and f that arc, indeed, more originary than the classical obiecrs of thought. Instead of synthesizing the manifold, the contradictory, the aporetic into one speculative whole or totality, t h s e structures (such as Zug, Fuge, C&&, Unier-Schied, and so on) serve as pa&-breaking, btcaching traces, according M which the manifold, the contradictory. is laid out (and held topether). They offer the primal matrix F r the o i m d u a b k difference between mbjm and o b j m constituting the d r rivativc mode of that sort of self-apprchcnsion that is self-reflection. These smmm are the inmmrncnsurable, hcrcrogcntous "beyond" of the aporetic or anrinomic, without m m p n d i n g to the truly synthetic and speculative. From the perspective o Being, therefore, selff reflection. and absolute reflection as well, do nor fail simply because



they cannot be praperly thought. The structures of Being offer thcmselves to the confining abstraction that leads to the historical event of the surge of self-consciousness. These structures account for the possibility 06 self-reflecrion, Itsaporias, and their speculativesolution, but thcy also show it to be a reductive figure of the modes in which relation to self takes place. From the perspcctiveof Being,the synthetic of unity of apperception is itself foregrounded in the ~truu~llltes king. instead of representing a reflexive or speculative solurion to rhe problems of self-rcflecrion. As the opening for any originary self-perception, these structures remain strangely external to it. By freeing the structural articulations of Being, Hcideggcr paved the way tor Derridns even more effective accounting, beyond traditional aporccics and speculation, for the problem of reflexivity. Concerned with demonstrating both the possibility and essential Iimitsthat is, ultimate impossibility. o self-reflection-Derrida's approach f aims neither to dismantle nor to annul reflection in a skeptical, empiricist, or positivist manner; nor does it aim to solve reflections notorious problems in a speculative fashion. Like Heidegger, Dcrrida is nor concerned with dialectically solving intraphiIosophica1 problems according to the canonized forms of philosophical procedures. Since Piam, and specially since Ariscotles Metaphysics, the philosaphical method has consisted in starting off from difficulties and conflicting arguments that seem to offer no way out-in other words from uporios-and exploring various routes, assuming the features of a dialectical procen, until a way out lercporia) is found. The passage through thc hopelessnas of aporetic situations or propositions in search of philosophys own way constitutes the philosophical method. To relinquish all efforts to master these situations or propasitionsserdng aside the problem of the aporctic-is also to relinquish method. But to put method aside does not necessarily imply that one rambles arbitrarily. Although Derrida is not interested in (dialectically) finding the way o u t o hopeless situations, withour o course declaring these f f situations unsolvable, like Heidegget, he focuses on an entirely new set of issues on rhe margin of thc philosophIca1 path that leads from aporias to their harmonious uniry. The manner in which he tackles the problem o reflexivity thus takes the form of an investigation into f the pre-suppositions, pre-positions. or structures to which the exposition of this problem. as well as irs evenmd speculativesolution, must nccesarily yield. It is not easy to define the nature and the status of what 1 have called, for better or worse, presuppositions. The term pre-supposition is nor to he understood to mean mere assump-



dons rhar chc philosophical discourse would have allowed m pass without demonstratingtheir truth. Nor is pre-supposition to be taken t mcan Iogical pmupposition,a n-ary o truth that is either implicit or explicit in thc philosophical discourse. As far as its ontological status is concerned, it cannot have the status ot an effective acrualiry, either real or ideal, b o n d rhe omniparence of reflection, since both t y p s of actuality, and actuality itself, are themselves reflexive concepts.

Since, as 1 have s u p & , all new accounts o reflexivity must f measure up to Hegels speculative and absolute reflection, and s i n a this is evcn more thc a s e f r the approach that I am outlining (and o which is concerned with the entirety o the argumentivc structures f that lead from the aporias to the dialemid fluidization). let us take as a starting point the methodolopica1 directions that D i m r Henrich h B shown to characterize the position o idealist philosophy. Henrich f writes:
(1) The first a s k a philosophy, from whore solution one obtains the f solution of all its other tasks, is the m m comprrhrnsion of the difference that still breaches the idea of self-relation. (2) One cannot expect to be able to think a self-refation that would bc the m u l t of a simple diffcrcncc, or wen of an exclusion of all diffcrmce. There is nothing such as an immediate and yet closed self-relation. Real cclftclation incltldes, on the conrrary, the development of rhc difference that it conrriminroa form whichissocomplex thatitEannglongCTbedirringuirhed from thc totality o what is. f

The position of idcalist philosophy is to capitalize OR the diffcrcncc within self-relation a t the bcn& of a whole for which difference,
rather than irremediably dividing it, becomes,in its speculative layout, that very whole itself. As Heidtsger has pointed out, the insurmountable reverse of speculation is a rhcology o the Absolute. What disf f tinguishcs Heideggers and Derridas positions from that o idealist philosophy is primarily their inquiry into what may be called the difference beoveen identity and difference, beween the totality of what is and the difference that inhabits self-relation. What sounds ar first like a parody o speculative thought is nor, however, its negativc f counterpart. It is not an inquiry in dre service of a greater ,diffcrencc. What distinguishes the positions is that Heideggers investigation is into difference itself, into the true essence of differencc, not into difference that would simply be the same as the whole o Being (let 0 5 f not forget that the later Heidegger relinquishes the namc of Being)



and that would unite what is set forth within it, whereas Dcrridas inquiries are concerned with a differcnce that is no longer phenomenulogizable. that has n o itselF to itself bur that. in its irreducible plurality, ceaselessly differs from itself. In k r r i d a , thisdifference links idenrity b a d on self-relation to differcnce. each time in a different manner, and in such a manner that what is held rognher does nor form a whole. Within thc ncrwork of relations of this difference, wholes can bc sct out, but because thcy are inscribed within that difference, they remain forever incomplete. In othrr wards, the difference Dtrrida is concerned with i s a condition of possibility constituting unity and totality and, at the same ttmc,thcirtssential limits. Both Hcidrggers and Dcrridas a p p r o a c h could therefore be viewed as inquiries, in a new sense, into rhc principles of the ulrirnare [omdarion of 31 possible knowledge. Yet, of the pre-suppositions or strut1 turcs that both philomphcrs build upon-structures conccrning the passage from differcnce to identity, from the aporiasol: self-reflection to absolute reflection, and so forth-Dcrridas appcar more rernotc from the logos of philosophy, which, as a discourse that is an argumcntativc cntcrprisc within rhc horizon of rorality, must noncthcless, although unwittingly, combine with these pre-suppositions or strucrurcs. As thc conrcmporary neo-Kantian German philosopher Werner Fhch has pointcd OUT, alt inquiry inro the truly ultimale pcinciplcs o f thc foundation of knowlcdge is of ncmsity a pure heterology. nerridas philosophy can be viewed as a hctcrology as well. especially s i n e the structures t r e a d in his wirings are, as we haw said, strangely extraneous to the discourse of knowledge. But what are we to understand here by hetemlogy? Is Dcrridas philosophy a hetcrology bccausc it would ravcal thc fundamental grounds of knowing, or rathcr becausc the s t m c t ~ r it ~ c develops are in a relation of a certain alrcriry to the discourse of philosophy? To give a satisfactory answer to there qustions it is ncccssary first ro establish firmly what hcteralogy means in tcrms of traditional philosophy irself. Toward that end, Ict us consider thc unjustly ignorcd work of Wcrncr Flach entitlcd Negution urrd Andersheit: Ein Beitrog zur Problem& der Lcirtimplikntion. Flachs devclopment of hercralogy is onc of rhc most radical attempts possible within the rradirional boundarics o philosophys f rhinking of Otherness. This dcrour through Flachs study, which will reveal a vaticty of striking resemblances to certain topoi of Derridas thought. will have the additional advantagc of providing the n ~ c s s a r y fail against which the radicalityaf Derridas hercrology can be clearly 5et off.



I t i s important to note from the outset that Flachs pure heterology, as an invesrigation into the final implications of logic, conceives of itself as a critique af HcgEls notion of absolute refleetion. Durn hct-

erology, as Flach understands it, is aimed a t demonstrating that Hegels interpretation of synthesis as reflection, or as refiedon o rcflecrion, f falls short of establishing the ultimate ground for derermining thought (besrimmmdes Dmken). Flachs enrerprise elaborates a n the structural moments of the absolute relation (ubsofutes Verbihir).which, as the principle of thought, cannot be grasped by methodical retlecrion sinct;as a principle, ir is supposed to account precisely for the nature of reflection. Flachs enterprise is geared toward a more radical understanding of reflection, toward grounding it in an absolute principle f whose self-rrlationaliry is no longer of the realm o reflexivity. Flach i s compelled to follow such a direction because he tccognizes that Hegels detcrmination of the ground of reflection-f the originary synthetic unity--is not amrmpanied by a determination of that ground as ground. Instead of determining that ground as radically hererogeneous 10 what, as ground, it is supposed to make possible, Hegels concept of thc reflection of rcflection undcrsrands ground in the senst of homogeneity, that is, in the sense of what the ground is to account for. Yet if a ground is M be an absolure ground, ir must be.hmrogcnmus. Pure heterogeneity, Flach notes, contains nothing less than the thought of the principle, o what can, and can alonc be understood f by prinaple Through his pure heterology, Flach purporrs ro achieve the goal of establishing rhe &mate and radical ground o determining f thought, H e writes: The caesura lies in thought itself: with the thinking of the meaning of meaning (total reflection), a heterogeneous sphere of conditions must be a t issue that preceds thinking as the thinking of meaning {dcrerminak reflection) and rhc thinking as the thinking o being (external reflection), aswell a5 the thinking as being f (positing refledon). I t is the sphere of pure heterogeneity which Like both constitutes itself in itself as the logical beginning (p. 64). f Heideggers and Demdas critiques o reflexivity, Flachs hererogeneous and principal condiiioning relation of thought, which grounds refkction more radically, dbes not issue from a debate over the aporetic nature of refleaion but is based on a rigorous understanding of what a ground is supposed to achieve. Since Flachs enterprise docs not start as either a skeptical, irrationalist, or rationalist critique of reflection (it takes speculation in a Hegdian sense very seriously indeed) but as a n accusation against Hegel for having failed ro give a radical salurion KIrhe problem o oridnary synthesis, ir is a sort of f



debate with reflection that does not try to get rid of the larrer. In claiming that the different forms of reflection cannot bc logically accounted for by a reflection of refltcrion, but only by a pure hererology, Flach aims only ar a more originary understanding of the srructural characrerisrics o the absolute retation rhar makes reflection f possiblc in the first place. Let us sec how Flach determines the pure heterogeneity of the absolurc reladon, and haw he conccivcs of its inrercourse with determining thought and reflection. By pinpointing the various motifs shared by Flach's and Dcrrida's philosophies, we shaIl see beyond doubt that Derrida's philosophy must also be understood as a heterology. But this comparison will also demonsrrate the essential differences benveen the rwo rypes of heterolcigi-. From the pure hemology of Flach. wc shaH have to distinguish Derrida's philosophy as an unconditionally pure and impure heteralogy. In demonstrating what he terms the "reflexive conatitutivitfa of the htterological principle, Flach, in order to determine the absolute synthetic unity al this originary correlation, questions the originarity of negativiry and contradiction constiruting the relation benvern m e ments within reflection. Flach recalls thar negation is a structural concept of reflection. an index of determining thought charaacrisric of the sphere 'of judgment. The same is true of contradiction, which, f because it is connected to predication, belongs to the sphere o iudgment a5 well. Hence, dialectics must also be situated in the sphere of determining thought, in the sphere of knowing. It follows from this that it a hererology is to establish the identity of the absolute ground as the purc logical beginning, it cannot achieve this goal by detcrmining the absolute ground in terms of negation, contradiction, or dialectic, for these concepts are inadequare lor formulating the purc structure of hecerogeneiry. Since the Hegelian cancept of negation links morncnta in a relation of sclf and Other. thc inevitably contradictory nature of such a relation necessarily anticipates its dialectical f sublation in a third term, by which synthais the homogeneity o thc sphere o reflection is esrahlished. Thus, the terms required to conf ceptualize rhc ultimare srructure of thoughr musr be very different from rhose o negation, ,contradiction, and dialectics, yet must be f capable of accounting for those principles, which govern the homogeneous domain of rcflmion and judgment. If the absolute synthesis i s to account for the play of the moments in which reflcction and dialectics are grounded, and which they mcdiateinta a n undivided must bcdividcd in itself. The absoIurc




synthesis, according to Flach, can fulfill this task only if it is divided to such a degm that all mediation is radially excludd from the realm of pure logic. Hence, the momena that enter the originary synthesis must be irrevocably disjunctive-their nature must he one o full disjointedness (p. 43)-if they arc t furnish a justifying f o explanarion for the duplication constituting unifying reflection. Athough this originary division of the pure Iogical beginning is insf arable from the dividedncos at the base o rdection that it makes passiMc, it is also very dihrenc and thus cannot be thought in terms of reflection: One thing is the inseparability of this duplication from rctluivity, another the deccrmination of this duplication by refltxivity. The inseparability of pure heterogeneity from rcflexiviry is a ncccssary determination o its structure, and rhis precisely insofar f as pure heterogeneity m a k e reflexivity possible in an originary manner (p. 4 ) 4. In order to subtract this originary division and duplication horn the principles that reign in the homogeneous realm of rdlecdan, yet without hampering i originary consrimtivity with respect to rcfleca tion, Flach, with recourse to Rickens development of the notion of hetecothesis, as well as to a controversy that rook place in the menties beovecn Rickcrt and Kroner, determines the structure o rhar division f to bt hmmlogical. What t i means is simply that the coupled mohs ments of the absolute relation stand in a relation of mutual exclusion, in which the opposite rnornenq without negating one another, complete each other to form a totaiicy. FolIowing Rickerts determination of the heternthetical prinaple, Aach SKS the absolute relation as comprising the one and the Otber, in which the Other is not the negation of the one but an exclusive Other of the same. In this minimum o the pure logical relation, both the one and the Other are f equiprimordial. Neither has any ascendancy over the other; it is a relation of rhc onc to thc Other, and vice v m a , in which negativity plays as yet no pan. Since there is no negativity in the ones relation c its mrnplcrnrntary Other, they do not stand in a telation of cono tradiction. As a result, h e originrry synrhais of the absolute relation appears to be irrecrtcvably divided. Having banned conaadinion from hctmlogy, Rach also ernpries it nf rhc unifymg and homogenizing W i b i l i t y of reflection and dialectics. Y t ir is prcdsely because ir does not mntain contradiction e &at the sbsalute relation can become a gmuine principle of thought and reflexivity. Flach remarks: Othmtss is not a plus but a less than negation; indeed, it belongs to the minimum o what can thef



oretically be thought. This is what makes its originarity, and grounds its charactcr as a moment" (pp. 36-37). As Rickert had insisted, Otherness logically precedes the possibility of negation. No negation would be possible wirhour a prior Othcrnew; and since nor all Orhemess lends itsclf to negation, negation is doubly derivative. Instead o being a fundamental principle of thought, it is, in spite of its f importance, a particular principle of thoughr. Notwithstanding the formidable role played hy negation as a methodical tool of reflection, this role dws not suffice to endow negativity with any priority regardEng Otherness. Ncgation and cnntradiction belong to the sphcre of reflection-that is, to thac of cognition-whereas the hetcrothetical principlr of Otherness is a function of pure positing. As a pure, minimal principle of rhoughr, ir belongs r rhe hererologiul medium of o thc originary relarion. That spherc, unlike the sphere of cognition, dctermination. and reflection, is one of purc positing thought. Ar this point we should be in a position to assess the implications of Flach's conccpr of hercrology. It must be noted that his concept of pure hctcrogcncity as bcaring upon thc originary sm~rtllmf thoughto upon thought's hererothetical positings-has a very distinctivc and singular mcaning. It is certainly not to be mistaken for that sort of heterogeneity grounded in hornogmeiry that stems from the structural leveling of pure hercrology ro rhc Othcrncss rcquird in detcrminarim.'"

But i truth. how hctcrological is FFach's hctcrology? Flach Icavcs n no doubt 8s to his heterdogy's also being a heautology, a science o r a logic that thinks itselfjbeuuton) and not exclusively Otherness. In a manner similar to Hegel, whose philosaphy of spirit is an arrcmpr to subsume under the One the thinking of the sclf and the thinking o the Other, Flach's hcrctology becomes a heautology notonlyinsohr f as the originary and absolutc relation to itself i s concemcd, but also insofar as the heterogeneity that characterizes that primary relation i linkcd in an embracc with the principles governing the realm of s

cognition, determination, and reflecrion. The hctcmlogy of the originary logical spherc does nor merely ground the homogeneous sphere of judgment, Betwren these 'IWO distinctivelogical domains also reigns a communion of being, what Flach calls a constitutive koinotriu. by which or in which very diftcrcnt principltx come togcthcr to form the unified nature o thought: '"as eine Denken." F a h s heternlogy is f lc' a unified and unifying scicncc of the Other. I t hinges on the mcntial Oneness o rhought, whereas this originary Oneness is itself a funcrion f of its cmbracing nonconrradictory and contradictory Otherness. To



cite again from Negation und Andmlrcir:

In the communion, in the hoinonia. in the symploke alone of the hctcrothctical and the principle of contradiction as well as of the other principles of thought, the om thought bemmcs constituted. And, 7hc one thought i s constituted by all the principles of thought (p. 54). As a result of thenatureoftheoriginary~lationasonemOthcm~s in general, the herurology in question can only be a heterologicat whole itself. It is in itself, as a whole, opposed to itself, irretrievably divided, and since its parts are complementary only tu the extent that they arc mutually cxdusjvc, its uniry is not dialmicai. Oncncss o f thought, f r Flach, is not equal to identity or indifference; on the o contrary, it is one in its very division. T h e unity that holds thought together in iu primary principle, as well as in thought 3s a whole, is that of a hncrional clnsurc o the principls as well as o the whole f f ofthought (p. 601.This unity of the heterological is the rrsult of an f encampaising bond o union that weaves the very different moments and principles together iota onc totality that prwerves differencethe difference of the Other-as complementarity in the whole, Thc unity of that whole stems from an amculation (GefGge). D relationship and connection of the parts. N o wonder, then, that Flach stresses the themes of mmbinanon, aommunion, or interlacing-in technical terms, boinonia and symplobe-and that he conceives a I his hetcrology as an essential freeing of the idea of symploke to include Otherness, in this cast tinking into ,One the hcremlogical and the homogeneous f realm of judgment, the domain o the absolutely diHermt ground and the domain of what is grounded, as wcl[ a5 the idea of unity itself. Flach asks: tn what manner does the heteroIogy come to grips with the problem of rymploke? In the only sufficient one, namely by conceiving of uniry, difference, totalig and foundation (in their unifiahility) as the uniform and unified speculative chararmof the absalutc relation. (p. 45). Flachs ambition is clearly to bring TO a fulfillment what Hcgcl began: the Iinkagc of the entirety of all principles. But in distinction from Hegel, who set out to ground reflection in the hornagenmus (nonlground of thc reflection of reflection, Flach, by tying into one whole the ground us ground to what this ground in its very Otherness makes possible. opens the meaning of v p l o h e to the heterogeneous, to ihc heterogeneity of the ground as the radical Other, and ro the heterogeneity of the nonconrradictory Other. But apart from this narrowing down o Othcrness--of the heterotogical-to these t w o f forms of Otherness, the opening o rhe question of symploke to 0 h f t-



erness remains itself a function of the idea of the totality o all relaf rions. Symplokc becomes subject in this manner to a trim o a l l a m p r e f hensive inclusion as far as the principles of thought are concerned. Although it may be a Oncncss no longer owingto dialectical mediation of opposites, Oneness nonethekss is the horizon o Flachs hetemlogy, f and of the corollary problem of Sympfoke. I do nor mean to engage in a detailed comparison of Rachs d c termination of nondialeaical Otherness with Derridas hctcrological venture, although such a comparison would help clarify many details. I mean only to outline the similaritics and differences between their concepts o hcterology. It remains unclear whether Flach really does f justicero Htgcl when, in intcrpretingthe Hegelian canceptof negation as belonging to the sphere of judgment alone, he is compelled to restrict the realm o dialcairn to dctcrmining thought alone, to !he f sphere of knowledge based on judgmcnr, neglecting in this manner the all-important ohjcctive dialectics, o dialectics of the real. But in r spire of Hegels most powerfulelaboration of theenriretyolthe logical scnscs of Othcmcss. Flachs concept o an Otherness logically antcrior f to negation, and thus his hcnrology as well, is in principle capable of accounting for Hcgelian dialectics and spcculative thought t~ the exrent that it does nor fall under rhe jurisdiction of what Hegel calls the abstract or wen harmless Other. Ftachs Other docs not yield, from a speculative viewpoint, to such a logical determination of simple Otherness, bccause tbc relation of the one to its complementary Other in the absolure relation is not conceived, however negatively, in terms of a logic of derennination. It is nor a rclarion of mediation, and thus the Other is nor the Other ofthtone in spite of their complementarity. What m a k a the absolute relation different from all simple Hegclian Otherness is t h a t its relation between thc equiprimordial one and O h r is 3 w h i m Qf pure difference, or originary duplication, which te cannot be turned into a moment of the process o deierminarion f whether o not it is limited 10 the sphere of judgment, because it is r itself a logicdprcsupposition o the logicof speculative determination. f Yielding nonetheless to the imperatives of Hegelim thought, in particular inasmuch as Hcgclian thought exemplifies the requirements of philosophy as such, his inquiry into whar I have calIcd pre-suppositions or structures of reflection and the reflection of reflection represents a standard against which Dcrridas hetcrology can be measured and thus determined in what one can no longcr call its radical, because unheard OF, specificity. In a manner similar to Hach, Derrjda acknowledge an irduciblc



doubling of thc IogIca! origin, a camra at the heart of the grounding principles and o the principal conditioning relation o thought. Like f f Ha&, he conceives of this caesura in terms of alterig rather than in terms of ncganvity and contradiction. Both philosophers question the hndamentality onegativity and contradiction as structural concepts o absolute rcflcxiviry, cornpard to relation to Otherncss in F e r a l . f Bath also share the insight into the solidarity between the t m s of negativity, contradiction, sublation, dialectics, and homogeneity, a solidarity in the service o the evacuation of the hetcrological from f the speculative unity of the totality o all oppositions. In addition, f both Flach and Denida open up the concept of symploke to include rhc hererogcnmus. But t i is as far as the similarities go. As we haw seen, in Rach hi h e heternlogical is basically limited to the Otherness o the prinaplcs f and to the Orhcr which, in the One, mmplemcncs the one. Flachs heterogeneity is an ~ S S m t i d heterogeneity, whereas, ,asI shall try to prove, Dcrridas heterogeneity i s not confined to the csxntial. Consequently, his heterology is not a hcautology either. Although one may at fim justly compare the presuppositions e x h i b i d by Dcrridas philosophy-in other words what he calls infta-suumres o unr deeidables such as arche-uacc, difkrance, and suppkmmtarity, to name only a few-to founding principles, their own nature, as well as thc relatian they ,rntertain with what rhcy constitute, can no longer bethematized in 2trms of csscnm. Unlike FIachs, Derridas rrcanncnt of the problem o Eymplokr is not governed by toraliry and f Oneness, values the German philosopher rightly holds to constitute thought as such, following in this a philosophical r h m c a5 old as philosophy itself. Bur is it n r precisely thought ar such that i s the o issue in the second rypc of criticism o reflexivity to which I have f f alluded? And arc not the pre-suppositions o r c k i v i t y in particular prcsuppositiom o thoughts Oneness, of the generality of Oneness, f and not only of the one of speculative thought? But if this is the case, then Flachs recasting of the traditional definition ofsyntploke remains a revolution within the conccptuat limits of the tradition itwlf. Lct us consider for a moment the classical treatment of the problem of symploke. The dialogue on the Sratesrnan is onc of the most important Platonic dialogues dealing explicitly with this problem. The objective of this dialogue is to determine the activify of the true statesman as a kingly weaving p m e ( h i l i k e n cymp/okFn) (306a). Y t ,compared to the craftsmanship of the weaver, which serves in e, ti instance as rhe leading paradigm t define such kingly activity, hi o



the statcsmans task is a much more formidable challenge. Whcrcas the weaver combinm &reads into cloth, thus exempli$ing the many in the Onc and the One in the many, the s r o plaiting togcrhcr that ot f nwaiathe kingly weaver ismuch morecomplex, for unlikethe weaver, the statesman cannot limit himsclf to combining what already Icnds itsclf through its inherent substance (mi0 urrfois syndeta) to combination. W a r the weaver weaves rogcthcr is compacted in its own substance (emtois syndoumetton) (27%-28Da). The kingIy weaver, in contrast, is supposed to plait together opposites that arc at war with one another. But what m e these opposites that, because they are rnurually exclusive, find themselves in inevitable conflicr? The examples to which Plato refcrs arc different kinds of virtues that ,clash with one another, such as moderation and couragc. The task of the Staresman consists of tying together that inimical values, caught up in a family quarrel, with what Plnto calls a supernatural link or bond ltht-io suna*gmosonrene). which unitcs the elements of goodness which are diverse in nature and would else be opposing in tcndency (310a). In doing s. rhc statesman makes sure that the o gentlc VirtUCS are never separated from the brave ones, and that rhey combine i such a manner as to form one organic whale. Compared n to thc cloth WOYCR by the craftsman, the kingly weavcrs web i s smooth and ctosc woven; it i s thc finest and b a t of all fabria hecause in its firm contexture it wcavcs together hitherto OPPVSCC~ strands into a Nnified character (31 Ib-c). To understand fully Dlatos handling of the problem olsynrplokeand hy exrcnsion its intcrpreration throughout the madition-it i s irnperativc to realize that the unity, or rhc one.eame, into which the opposites or extremes are plaited together (ti$ a m O ~ O sumgo~ Q gein) is a function of theextrernes negative derermination with resptn M one another (267b-c). Each at the extremes is a negation of the orhcr. T h i s is the condition under which they can bc dialccrically linked togerher by the divine bond rhit the statesman draws between them. Obviously, to rcstrict rbe operation of the symploke to the weaving together into m e totality of what mwt, with respca to its oppositc. be dctermincd as negative lcaves a variety of other possible relations unreckoned. Or rather, they become violendyexcluded from the scope of the rymploke. No artiat who works by combining materials would ddibctately choose to make any o his products out of f n combination of good materials and bad, asscrts the stranger in the dialogue. On the cantrary, he rejects rhe bad marerial as fat as passiblc. Similarly, a statesman would never choose deliberately to con-



strum rhc life of any communiry out of a combination of good characters with bad chafactcn (308d). Sympl6ke can achieve ia goal only if it expels from the mvisioncd totality those opposites that cannot be determined in terms of negativity, that is, in terms of dialectical Othemm. The m e statesman, in order to achieve rhc fineit and best o all f b i in w i h oppowd strands art d e d in one orf a rn hc e c whole, is bound to climinate &OKirrcduEible orhers rhat do not bend to negativity. Thus, for instance,those children who cannat be taught to be courageous and moderate and to acquire the other virtuous tmdencies, but arc impJlcd to godlrssrless and to vaunting pride and injustice by h e drive of an evil nature. These the king expels from thccommunity. He punthemto death or banisherthcm orclxhcchast i s a them by the Severest public disgrace (308e). The totality woven by the rymploke-a totafty of concurring and cvmplemenrary opposires-is thus a tunaion o the expulsion o absolute hettrogcneity. f f In distincdon to this Platonic interpretation o synrploke, Flach f seem at first to broaden ,thespectrum of what lends itsdf to farming a part in a whole. Thc hmrogcneous that he includes in the minimal unit o rhe absolute relation is of the order of an Orher that i s not in f but a negativeopposition to the one (or same], that is a complementary e, Other. Y t since the heterogeneity that he includes within the totality of the Oneness o thought is that of the principles, it i s a h a f etogcneity that, in spite of a11 the difference between ground as ground and what it makes possible, is in puri materia with what follows from these principles. lndeed, the equality of matter i s the condition on which a complementary Other, as well as a principle, can contribute to brming a whole, although this whole will not be the result of a dialectical process of sublation of opposites. But above all, what keeps Hachs interpretation of symploke within thc limits of its Platonic determinatian is the teleology (and theology) of Oneness. unity, and organic totality. As we have secn,.thesevalua are intrinsically part o the traditional understanding of the concept As a result, Flachs f pure hctemlogy, despite i t s stress on a heterogeneity beyond mediation and reflection-a heterogeneity constituting thinking, reflection, and dmcrminatian-remains an attempt at establishing the (however nondialectical) idcntiry of the Absolute. It culminates in a heautology of al[ the principles of thought. But In what ways i s Derridas work concerned with the problem of ryntploke? Any attentive reader will notice that the problem ,of rymploke is a major fil condwcreur in Dcrridas writings. In La Viritd en peinture he claims that cest vees la pensee du fi1 et de Pentre-



Incemmt que je voudrais VQUS conduire* (VP,p. 24). From his first work to his most recent publications, the topoi of VMechhmg, Gefltcbt, interlacing [in the writings o Husserl, Heidegger, Freud, f and others), the bond (lo bande in Gh), grafting (grefie). and so


forth have been the focus of his arrenrion.L

The discussion of the a r t of weaving o the statesman shows chat f umplohe is dialecrical in essence. The opposite mornenrs rhat ir plaia mgether are not moments in a relation o capricious or contingent f exterionty, consequently lacking any meaning. From Plato to Kegel such relations were considered arbitrary and lawless. Dialectical interlacing takes place berwccn terms that, because they are at war with
m e another, are also posited in the Absolute. Real opposites are absolutely identical. Only between real opposition docs the dialectica1 art of sympbks weave what Plam, at one point in Timaerrs. calls the fairesr bond, and which, by the way, Hegel also refers to in The Differenceat thcprecise moment a t which he describes thc dialcaical identity of opp0sites.l Plato writes: The fairest bond i s rhat which makes the most complete fusion o i E and fm f the things which it mmbina. and proportion is best adapted to effect such a union. For whrncver in any t h m numbers, whether tube or square, there i s a mean, which is 10 rhe lnsr ierm whnr rhe Crar term is to it, a d again, whcn t h e mcan is t the first tcm a5 the last nrm i s to the man-thcn rhc o mean becoming first and last, and the first and last becoming mean%they will all of them a necessity mme to be tht same, and having bccornr thc t same with one another will be all one. (31c-32a)

The fairest bond is nor only the fundamental bond o tssmcc that f penetrates and unites a plurality ofpredicates. It is not only the bond created by the interlacing par excellence that is being. As Plato indicates, the fairest bond is that of mntinucd geometrid proportionin short, the union according to analogy. Such a bond alone cffectuara the uue boimtiu with the Other, ,as a communion in which the one
cncroachcs upon the Orhcr, unifying i t d f and the Other in Onc whole. In this unity, caused by the fairest bond. the Other (and Otherness) find their rightfuul place as they become justified in their role of an Other to the one, to the same, which assume the function of fcgitimizing itself and the Other dependent on it. Derrida recognizm this essentially dialectical nature of sympioke when he writes in Dissemination that dialectics i s also an art of weaving, a science of the symploke (0, 122).That the interlacing p. of d i a l e d - is eminenrly, and preferably, analogical, and thus one of



being, i a? least irnpkitly assumed in such essays as White Mys thology in Margins or Philosophy. and in The Archm/ogy of the Frimhs But this recognition that diakaics is an art of intcrlacing ,also implies that dialectics, and with it analogy, are somehow only forms o symploke among others, and, as Fladr has contendad, thar f there is a nondialecdcal hr of linkage. Indeed, this is what M d a a m sets out to prove in Platos Pharmacy, but wt clcady different ih resutk f o Flachs opening of q m p b k e to a more fundammtal, rm more originaiy form of plaiting tugether. As Derrida demonsrrates, in analyzing Plams distinction in Tbcactetus b a n drc science o grammar and diakcda, the science o f f interlacing rcpresmd by dialectics-u Kicnce guided by the value o truth-instcad o k i n g able to distinguish itself clearly fmm gramf f mar, mush in fact and always, compound with relation, nonpresence, and thus with the n o n m t h of the othcr science o qmplokc, a science f traditionally seen as inferior to dialectics, the science of grammar. lndccd, as one can gather from the Sophist, the very mndition of dipcoum-tme or false-is the diacritical prindple o sprploke (D, f p . 166). mth this insight i t the structural dependence of dialectics as one no art of weaving on rhc ,science of grammar as another, n t only dots o rhe $istinction bmvrm the two sciences begin to waver, but the necesity o a generdimtion of symplobe also begins to be felt. Since f both sciences, dialectical and grammatical interlacing, are linked to ,each other-Interlaced-a rncditarion on rhc gtncraliy of synploke becomes inevitabie. This meditation can no longer choose berwccn one of the two sciences of interlacing. Focusing on what tics them together and what unties them into their unstable difference, the mcdiration must arriculatc h e m as a double scietr~e,a science simultaneously playing on ttua stages during tum sessions. As we shall see, the genttakation of symplokc by this double science is nothing other &an the production. through inmrlaang, of gmerdity. The new art of weaving suggcstcd by Dcrridas hctcrology is thoroughIy different hom that of Flach. It is no longrr governed by truth valacs, and it tscapcs regulation by the ideas of toraliry and unity. DerridaG deconstruction o symplokc-his gncralization of interf Iacing, and his thinking of radical alreriry-are subversive of rhought itself, o what has been called by that name in the tradition, namely f the thinking not only of sorncthing specific but of one d m m i n c d thing, of a thing in its Oneness. Arirtotle w t h c standards of thought when he stated that one doR not think at all if one does not think



thing in its essential unity.Rs from this perspective, Derridas hererology is nor only different from rhe pure hererology af Fiach; it is, strictly speaking, no longer a philosophical enterprise (nor is it, for that matter, a literary undertaking), since the force o f knotting the manifold is no longer that of thought. In an Aristotclian view, this heterology does not think anything at all. Facusing in a nondialccrical manncr on rhe ways in which m r h compounds with nontruth, on how principles and nonpresence are welded rogcrher. Dcrridas hererology is not ro be seen as a search for more fundamental principles of thought and cognition. unless the nature o both were to be radically redefined. Thhc s r of synthesa f ot produced by Derridas heterology-consider the *arche-syntheses of rhe arche-trace, differance, supplementarity, and so on-are not cumulative opcrrtions o roraliwdon. The Ocher tied into, the archef syntheses would not find its justification by bcing embraced by the One. These synthem, on the contrary. account for structurally nonroralizable arrangemenrs of heterogeneous elemcnrs, wirh rhe rcsult that the system of predicates that they form is also essentially incomplete. Thus, these syntheses do not belong to the register of the grounds: theirs is en alterity beyond that which characterizcs the f relation o principles to what they rule. I t is, one could venture to say, an alrerity that separates the principle from what it is supposed to accaunt for, and from itself, by dcmonsrrating how ir is brcached by that which ir makes possible. It is thus an alrerity that represents both a condirion o possibility and one of impossibility, of principles f and what they justifyy. that is, their Other. It follows from rhis rhat the interlacing produced by this unheard-of hcterology doesnot stand in a relarion of constitutive koinoniu to whar it accounts lor. It is, thcreforc, also incorrect to spcak of in interlacing simply as one o f founding, grounding, accounting, and so on. Bur the question to be raised at this point is whether this unheardof heterology can still be calted by that name, especially if one takes into account that the pure hcteroloSy we have cxarnined deals exclusively wirh rhe Orherncss o the absolute relation constituting knowlf edge and rhe sclf-knowledge of knowledge. Heterology is indeed a highly charged term, and by itself docs not adquately designate what I want it to say in this context. Hererology means science OFor discourse on the Othcr. But first, is a science or theory o archcf synthrses possible, sinceall such scienceor theory presupposes them? Second, considering the significance o the concept o the Other in f f

one rhing-the




the philosophical tradition, can one conceptualize the infrastruccural syntheses in terms of Otherness? And third, since heremlogy is not only the science of the Otherness o the l o g i d principles of thought, f but a h the $ i = a mote radial satmi than the one w t which ca of ih the discourse of knowledge is believed to be concerned (one thinks hem in particular of that irrationalist movement of thought which leads from the Romantio to Rudolf Ottos derermination o what he f ,calledthe Absolute Other in tcms o the sacred or numinous) might f it not be advisable to avoid the word heterology altogether? Still, since Western philosophy is in essence the amernpt 10domesticate Othernss, since what we understand by thought is nothing but such a pmiect, betemlogy, for both intrinsic and strategic reasons, s m s an adequate name for the investigation of the pre-suppositions of Western philosophy, of what is understood by Bought and by what is called noesis noeseos, the thinking of thought. If one avoids the dangcr and the almost inevitable temptation of construing hetcrology as the truth of philosophy-that is, as another, more true mode of philosophy-and if one remains aware of the fact that the alterity with which heterology is concerned is not a positive Other given in any way, whose enigma could be solved o n e and for all (as w e shall see, this is not h a u s e rhe Other in question would be ineffable, but for reamns of srructurc, which make it always other than itself), such a httcrology would not only help to understand thought; it would also, and especially, open thought-which could then no longer be called by that name-to a confrontation with Otherness that would no longer bc its o m . Indeed, such a possibility hinges on the insription within thought of its structural limitations-limitations that do nor result f o the deficiencies of the cognizing subiea as a finite rm being Thought, or a t h e r thought, would in this manner become able, perhaps for the first time, to think something other than itself, something other than itself in its Other, or itself in itself. To circle back to the problem from which we set out-the problcm of reflexivity-it must be said that, unlike Flachs pure heterology, Derridas hctcrology does not function as a reflexive sonstirutivity. In Of Grammatology we read:
There ate things like nflcctingpools, snd images, an infinite reference from one to the othct, but no longer a roum, a spring. T m is no longer a simple h oripin. For what is reflected is split in ihdfand not ~ n l as an addition to y itself of is image. T h e RRstion, theimage. rhtdoublt. sp[im what it doubles. T h e origin o the speculation becomcs a difference. What can look at itwlf f



is nor onc; and the law of the addition IYF thcorigin to ia repmentation, of the thing to in image, is rhar one plus DMC makes ar lcasr thrcc. (OC, p. 361

Derridas unconditional hcrcrology questions the vcry possibility of a source of reflection, of a constituting homogeneous principle, or of a heterogenmus principle B la Flach. The alteriv that splits reflection

from itself and thus makes it ablc to fold belf into itsclf-to rcflecr itseif-is also what makes it, for srrumral reasons, incapable af closing upon itself. Thc very possibility of reflexivity is also rhc subversion of its own source. Derridas critique o reflexivity must thcref fore at first take the paradonical turn of a generalization of rdection, of infinitely reflecting mirrors. But, since such a reflection is caught. up in a n endless p r e s s of rcfetence to Other, preventing all ultimate recoiling into self, the generalization ot reflexivity becomes at the same time the cnd of refleaion and spccularion. Ir opens itself up to the thought ofan alterity, a difference that remains unaccounted for by the polar opposition o wurce and reflection, principle and what f is derived from it, the one and the Other. Before I engage in a detailed exposition of such an unconditional hererology, and of the method o deconsmction associated with f it, it is appropriate to insist oncc more on the fact that Derridas uncood;tionaI heterology, like Flachs pure hctcrology, is conccrncd with Othcrncss not cxclusivcly elicited in terms of negation. For this rea5m the sphere of heterologymust, for both,beclearlydistinguished from that of eflexivc determination. As w e have secn, Hegel dcrermines difference-that is, meaningful differen-xclusivcly as contradiction. Difference, or thc relation t Otherness, bcmrnes, themfore, o relation to the negative. The difference that such negarively characterized Otherness makes to thought is that it allows for reflexive determination in a developing dialectical system. Difference, understood as contradiction, makes negativity one face o positivity within f the process and rhc system of the self-exposition of absolute knowledge, or of the absolute idea. As the underside and accomplice of positivity, negativity and contradiction are sublared, internalized in the syllogistic process of speculative dialectia. The dialecticization o f negativity, by which ncgativiry remains within the enclosure o mciaf physics, o onro-rheology and onto-teleology, purs negativity to work. f As Dcrrida dcmonsrrares in Writing m d Difference, ncgativity is a resource. In naming the wirhout-rtscrvc of absolute experience abstract negativity, Hegel, through precipi&aiion, blinded himself to that

which he bad laid base under tlrc rubric of negativity. And did Y) through pdpimtion toward the scriousnm o meaning and the sef curity o knowledge (WD, ,259). f p. k i d a cxpmsa reservations as m the use of ?the metaphysical or romantic pathos of negativity. fearing that the category of hegation reinaoduas thc Hcgdian logic o the A # f i e h g * (P, 86, f pp. 95). Instead of dmrmining negativity as only a ka moment, or , a condition of meaning-as work-Dcrridas philosophy, like BatailIe5, pushes the negative to its l o g i d cod, to that point where the negative seems an afnrimap of something that misn all salvage by t h e system of meaning. In his essay on Ehtaille, Dertida formulatea t h e task in the following way:
It is convulsively t war apart the ncgativc side, that which makes ir the o ramring0th d a c e o the positive;and it is to d u b i t d i n the ncgPrivs f i an inltant, that which mn no Ioonga bc called wptim. And can no longer n be alld negative precisely beuuu it has RO reycmd underside, because it canno longer cdhboratr with the continuous linking-up of meaning, conccp4 time and truth in discourse; bccause it literally can no longer lobor and ler i d f be inm-mgad as &c % ok of dtc negative. (WD, 259wr pp.


The Orhtmcss with which uncanditional hmralagg is concerned is not even a negative. Untih Flachs Other, which is only Otherness in gmcrrrl, the -ce o Orhemess, a l0gic;alIy more fuunhcnral f Otherness compared to negativity, Dcrridas Other-let US call it the getera1Other-is an altcrity that has nothing o an csscncc or truth. f I n d o being m e essential aIterity, it i s irreaicvably plural and f cannot be assimilated, digested, rcprcsented, or thought us such, and hence put t work by the system of metaphysics. Rather than being o a more profound ground of rht systems of whir can bc known and thought, of what is meaninghl, it i s precixIy the alterity of the structural conditioms of that which is determined a$ knowledge and ia grounds wirhin the tradition. M d a s Othernca is, msequcntly, ncirher a lack, a substantial mid, an a b x n a wscrptible of determination, nor rhe sdll meaningful ltytfx side of the positivity of the Hcgclian Conccpr or Nodon. The Otherness of unconditional heternlogy is mare and less than negativity. It i s Irrs because it has no meaning, no signification; it is a negativity without negativity, to quote Dsrida IVP,p, 143. It is more than negativity becaux it is the medium (the nonmcdiating me,&urn) in which philosophy comes to carve out its (dialectical, and



hence sublatable) contradictions. The Otherness of unconditional hetcmlogy is rhc vndrcidable rcscrve of negativity. Speaking of the pbar-

mahon as onc othcr name for this Otherness, Derrida remarks:

Conrradicrions end pairs of opposircs arc lifrcd from rhe bottom of this diacritical, diffcring. dcfemng, reserve. Alrcady inhabited by diffcranec, this reserve, even though ir precedes the opposition betwccn different cffms,
even rhough it preexists differcnm as cffecrr, does nor h i v e the punctual simplicity of a cuincidmtio opposirorum. It is from this fund thsr dialectia

draws irs philosophcmcs. The pbamalon, without being anything in icsclf, always exceeds them in consriiuring rhcir botromlm fund. (D, p. 127)

Such a n Otherness, which is refercntial to oihcr. more alim modes of difference, conflictualiry, contradiction-mod= of difkrmce that cannot be made meaningful by bringing them to a s ~ inpnegativityis not merely of the order o what Flach calls the heterogeneity of the f principles. I t is an Qrhernrss thar divides rhc principle against itsself, that is more originary than it, that even divides a double principle
likc thatofFlach. theminimum oftheabsolutcrelation. For theradical alterity that Derrida rhematizes, and that we call radical only for reasons of convcniencc, there is no place cither as an essential moment of theprinciples, or as that which these principles shape or constitute, o r in thc totality of what Flach calls rhc one rhinking. The Otherness of unconditional hcterology doer nor have the purity of principles. It is concerned with the principks irrcduciblc impurity. with thc nonncgarive diffcrcncc thardivides them in themselves against thernselvts. For rhis reason it is an impure heterdopy. Bur it is also an impure hctcrology hccausc thc mcdiurn of Otherness-more and less than naativity--is also a mixed milieu, precisely because the ncgative no longer dorninatcs i t . Opcn co hercrologiml modes o dating, this f rnilicu does not homogeneously knot or interlace. I t is distinguished by synthcses that, by soldering and grafting predicates, concepts, instances, or Icveh of various orders onto one another, must neccsw i l y appear contradictory, even irrcducibty aporeric. But rhcsc catcgories, born from philosophy and it5 logic of contradiction,, do not apply here, hccauke the syntheses in question are nothing less than the conditions o possibility and impossibility of such logic. f Thc impure and uncondirional hetcrology focuses on an alterig rhar docs not lend irsolf ro phcnommologizarion, that escapes prewnrarion of itself in propria persona. This radical alterity thus marks a space of exteriority a1 the border of philosophy, whether or not philosophy is explicitly phcnorncnological. It is situated on the



margin of what can be meaningfully totalized. Y t although i t docs e, not bend to the Eancepr of presence, neither does ir for that matter lend itself to theconceptual grip of absence. since, lackingall meaning, it is also void of the meaning conferred by an absence of meaning. But as we ha11 see, this border is not simply external m philosophy. It dms not encompass philosophy like a circle but traverses it within. Although this radical alteriry docs not present itself rls suck, the history of philosophy in i t s entirety is. indccd, the unintcrmpted attempt to domesticate it in the form Qf its delegates. In presenting it in negative images-as rhc opposita of valorized metaphysical concepts-specular reflection seeks to account for, and do away w r , ih the sort of altcrity that aubvem ia hope of reflexive or speculative seif-foundation. This altcrity forever undermines, but aIso maker possible, the dream of autonomy achieved through a reflexive coiling upon self, sinre it mmcs a structural precondition of such a desired state, a precondition that represents the lrmit of such a possibility.


On Deconstruction

Abbau, Destruktion,

Before engaging in a detailed analysis of Derridas philosophy and determining in what manner his mnhodof deconstruction is critical of reflexivity, let us first examine the conceptual filiation of this motion of deconstrcrion. which for many has come to designate the content f and style o hrridas thought. Such an inquiry into the provenance of what e m s to be a methodological concept of sorts should provide the historical and sysrematic background for the subsequent arternpt to demarcate deconstmudon radically from i~ antecedents. Thz main concepts ta which deconstruction can and mu5t be rcaaced are those o Abbau (dismantling) in the later work of Husserl and Destnrbtion f (destrucrion) in the early philosophy o Heidegger. f Although Huserls notion o A b h u appears lor the first timc in f Experience and jttdperrr (1938),and thus later than Heidcggcrs notion of Destfubtion in Being and Time (1927), it should be disc u d first, for, in spite o some menrial differences, it is in large f part anather name for phtnomcnological reduction. Sin, Heideggers f method o destruction in Beingond Time must be viewed against the backdrop o the epochal process of discovery, it is certainly legitimate f to discuss the method of Abbm f r t in particular since thosc features is, that distinguish it horn orthcdox phenomenological reduction make it part of h history of the critique of reflexiviry. e It is important to understand the context in which Husscrl speaks of Abbau i Experience and Judgment if ant is to ase55 the meaning n of this notion. Engaged in a genetic exploration of the conditions of rhc validity of judgment, Husserl conrends that neither logic nor psychology i s capable of revealing the true foundations of predicative evidence. This would require a necessary retrogression ra the m a r



original self-cvidencc ofcxpericnce,a to a stratum of experience that is never thematized by either logic or psycholo$y.z To achieve this goal, Husserl proposts a double retrogression: one that leads from the pregiven and objective world to the original lifeworld, and another thar rcachcs through thc life-world toward the transcendental subjectivity consritutiveofboth life-wor1dandobjeaive world. The objective world is them as that on which contemporary science has f already done its work o exact determination. In fact, it is thc theoretical world, a world inseparable from the natural sciences, whose tradition determines its mode of givennes and informs the way ,one cxpcriences ir. A retrogrcssion r the original life-world, to the preo theoretical world and prepredicarivc experience by which it is characterized, thus requires a radical dismantling of the theoretical world, an undoing of the idealizations out of which it is waven. T h i s dismantling, which Husserl refers to as A b h , i s supposed to produce a breakthrough to the concealed foundatian o these idealizations f or sense-scdimentations in the most original experience. This toundation represents the sourcc, according to Husserl, o the origination f o this garb of ideas thrown over the world. f In paragraph 11 of Erpcrimce and Judgment, Husrerl explains that the original life-world, as well as transcendental subjectivity, d o not lie open to the view of reflection. In other words, the operarion of rctrogrcssiort through dismanrling is not a rcflccrive operation. It cannot he performed by psychological reflection, which is an aspect QF what Husserl also calls theoretical convicrions. and which must be dismantled if one wants to gain access to that more effective subjectivity that is not the subjeaiviry of psychological reflection but that, on thecuntrary, grounds it. Consequently, reflecdon appears to he not only an inappropriate mode o access to the life-world and f thc constituting subjectivity, but 3150 one of those idealizations that conceal rhc origjnaty foundation o all sense-sedimentations. Yet perf haps Husserl rejects psychological redcction only because Irs scope docs not go beyond that of which it is itse[f 3 part. It may well be that, in a manner thoroughly consistent with the whale of his phenomenological enterprise, Hussed rejects psychological reflection in the name of a more radical reflection, that is, transcendental reflection. In that case. of course. it would be a mistake to conclude that the method of Abbau is nonreflcxive. The retrogression that it achieves would have to be understood simpIy in terms of a more fundamcntal mode of reflection. And yet. as David Carr has a w e d in Phenomenology a d the

Problem of H s o y a strange ambiguity sets the opcration of disitr, mantling apart from all other forms of phcnornenological reduction, On the one hand, Abbuu seems to stand for a nonreflenive way of reaching the roots of the pregiven world, its idealization, and the sense-constituting structures of transcendental subjectivity. O n the other hand, as a nonreflective approach to the origins of the idealizing superstructures of the prcgiven world, it is not an wmediated ap. proach. The very idea of dismantling is clearly a far cry from the phenomenological insistenceon grasping in original intuition the thing itself, remarks Carr. Obviously the paradox Carr refers to results from.the traditional equation o nonreflexivity with immediacy. But f sin= Husserls proccdurc in Experimce und ludgment consist5 of dismantling the idealizations that cover up the original life-world, a world with which our historical world has lost all contact, the operation of Abbuu in its paradoxically mediated nonreflwtive gesture is particularly suited 10 achieve what is at stake: to rcach back to origins that must remain esxntially conmaled if they am to function as the original historical premises o history. T h e method of dismanf tling is nonreflective because it allows for a retrogression to something t h a t cannot in principle be given as such. Becaux rhc conditions of prediaxive evidence with which it attempts to make contact cannot be beheld in an intuiting act, Abbm is a mcdiand approach. Abbuu, then, is precisely the kind of retrogression required for a reactivation of origins, such as hisrorica1 origins, which m s remain essmritially ut dissimulated, in order to achieve the sort of grounding one expms from them. Therefore, it is no contradiction if the method of retrogression through dismantling is at once mediated and nonreflecrive. It is, canseqamtly, appropriate to assume that, in Erperimce and Judgmmr, Husscrl repudiate both psychological and transcendental reflection. Unlike all previous forms o reduction, or what Husserl in f !&us calls mcntal dcstnraions (gedanklichr Desfruktioti),which operate in concert with a nonpsychological mode of reflection, the operation of Abbm is not infomed by a fully reacdvatable end point o rbe retrograding process. Abbuu i s ccrtainly a method o tranf f scendental investigation, but in a sense thoroughly different from that ofKant, as well a5 from that of the early Husserl. In this sense it can bc said to anticipate deconstruction. It is a nonreflective turning back. The nonreflexivity that characterizes Huserla notion o Abbuu is f undoubtedly a major fcamre of what in 1927 Heideggcr called Dcshktion. Heidegger may have borrowed this concept f o Husserl, rm



who referred to the forms of reduction. bracketing, or e p o c h as mental destructions. But it is only with Being and Time that destruction acquired the status o a philosophical concept. It i s inrerf eting too that, in his F 927 lectures, Heideggcr speaks of dcstrucrion as a critical dismantling (4ririrCher dbbarr), thus anticipating the cnnccpt that Huserl was nor to make his own until 1938.b The concept of desrrucrion, a s coined by Heidegger, issues from a debate with Hussrrls early philosophy, and especially with the rncthod

o phenomenological reduction. Whereas phenomenological reducf tion, as Husserl had first dcvcloped it in Ideas (1913), represents the method o bracketing the natural attitude toward the world in order f to focus on the transcendcntat subjectivity that constitutes it, Hcidegger comesto see it as lendingphenomenologicalvision back from the apprchcnsion of a being, whatever may bc the character of that apprehension, to the understanding of the being of this being, as he explains in his 1927 lectures entitlcd The Bnsic Problems of Phenomenology. This retrogression, no longer toward the sense-constituting scructurm of a trassccndcntal ego OKthe prepredicatory experience o cvidcncc in the original life-world, becomes for Heidegger a rncan~ f of regaining the original metaphysical expericncc of Being. As a cansequence of the more fundamental understanding of this phenomenological gaze, destruction serves to lcvel o f not only the force of f tradition to the extent that it is dominated by the sciences, but aIso the entire philosophical tradition since antiquity. Indeed. once Hein degger estabtishes i 8eing and Time that the trancendcntal horizon for thc explication of Being is time, the whole history of ontologythat is, of the previous doctrines of Bcing-appears to hare determined Being in the perspective o one singular mode of time. the mode f of thc prcsent. In the projected second part of Being and T h e he intended to outline the basic features of a phenomenological destruction of the history of onmlogy, with the problematic of Tcmporality a s . . .[the] clue, in order to reestablish the elementary conditions under which the question of Bcingcouid be taken up again in a productive manner. Hcidegger writes: We understand this task as one in which by taking tbe question of Being as our clue, wc arc to destroy [Desmtkrion]the traditional conrent o ancient ontology f until we artivc at those primordial expericnca in which we achieved our Iirst ways of determining the nature of king-tho ways which hare guided us ever ~ t n c e . ~ As orthodox phenomenological reduction goes hand E hand with n a (transcendental) rellecrion concerning its goals, thccnd terms of the

operation o retrogression, simiIarly thii guidance of vision back f h m beings to being requirc[s] at h e same time chat we shnuld bring o u ~ c l v c s o m r d to beinp itdf.O Heideggd calls this movement f o projection of what is prcgiven loward its Being and its s t ~ c ~ u c c s f not reflection but cpbmomenologiEIIl construction. According t o Heideggct, rhc phmornmological method is distinguished by three telated momma: reduction or retrogression h m what is to &in& c o n s h d o n of Bdng, and destructionor the dismantlingo tradition. f D a m d o n i s the necessary correlate of both reduction and construetian: It i s far rhis reason that there necessarily belongs rwthe conq t u a l irmcrprccation ofbdng and its sirucnms, char is, ro the rcduaive construction of being, a desrructialr-a critical pin which the traditional concepts, which at first must necessarily be employed, are de-constructed (kritircher A b h ) down to the sources from which they were drawn. Only by means of chis dmrucrion can ontology fully assure itsclf in a phenomenological way of the genuine character o is concep.~ f t This unavoidable lnoaming up of a h a r d e d tradition, and the dissolurion of the concealment it has brought about, arc not, as Hcidtggcr o h insists, violent am, Noneheless, it is inttrcaing to note h a t in the antext o the public debate between Cassirer and Heif degger in April 1929 a t Davos, Swiacdand, Hcideggcr employed the much more forceful Guman word Zerst6rrmg. as o p p d to its Latinization in Being m d The, to designate the radical dismantling of d i e foundations of Oecidcnml metaphysics ( t h e Spins L o p , Reason).t A t any rate, the destruction of the history o ontology that hc f calls for in Sting and Time, or the overcoming (VmimfungJ or dcrnchmr (Loslhmg) from the madition, as he would later call It, must not be t a d , because the tradition remains rich i n truth.d Heidcgger remarks, To bury the past in nullity i s not the purposc o this destruction; its aim is positive; its negative function remains f unexpressed and indirect. This positive intent o destruction conf skts o a ~ysrmatic f removal or dismantlingat rhc canccalmcncs perdecblurgen) of the meaning o Bdng by the history o ontology, a f f meaning with regard to which traditionai ontology docs not simply become relativized but in which it is rooted and from which it acquires its own cpochal meaning. Such a destruction, says Hcidcppcr, must stake out rhe posirive pmibiitier of that tradition, and this always means keeping it within its limits. The loosening of the hardened madidon. i s well as the dissolution o the concealmenrs it necessarily f produces, i s positive, as long as. it i s carried out along the guidelines



of the question of Being. At the same time, this question-the ontologically fundamental investigation into the meaning of Ekirtggains its true realization only in the performed destruction. In short, dcrtruction ir the necessary reverse of the reductive construction of the question of Being in philosophy. T h e leveling off that it accomplishes equals a positive appropriation of the tradition, such that the philosophical inquiry into Being is, in a specific and important way, historical knowledge. Destroying what conccals the original cxpcrience, releasing the first and subsequently guiding determinations o f Being paves the way for a transsubjective beginning vf a meaning o f Being, through which ontology from antiquity to the present Cnds its possibility, insofar ,as t h a t ontology represents the oblivion o that f first gaze into the destiny of Being. I have already stressed the necessary correlation between destruction and reductive construction. Although this correlation scems to parallel Husscrls correlation betwcen reduction and transcendental reflection, it may well be of a different nature. First, reduction in Heidegger seems to refcr to nothing more than a qualification of a construcrion that takes place within the space created by the leveling off of the traditional intcrprmations of Being. Reductive construction would thus appear t correspond to Husserlian transcendental rew flection, as it sets limits and a goal to the movement of destruction. But what distinguish= reductive constmcrion from reflection is that instead of providing a level that no longer needs to be dissolved, such as the Hunerlian essences and forms, it constructs a radically original ground. By avoiding the terminology of reflection with respect to reductive construction a s ir rclates to dcsrmaion, Heidegger cmphasizes a fundamental shik from a subjective transcendental peKpedVe toward thc question of Being as the transcendental question par excellence. giving truflso?ndentda historically new meaning. What takes place in rhc passage Imm phenomenological reduction to Heideggers concept of destruction of the history o f ontology is a decisive turning away from the questionof reflexivity.Thisshift from egological thinking, transcendental or not, can he grasped in Heideggers turn toward the question of Being. as well as in the vcry conmption of the modalirie o his phenomenological method. f Instead of further engaging ia a demonstration of the nonreflexivity of the operation o destruction, I want to camment briefly an three f orher methodological notions i the later work o Heidegger that n f clearly support the nonreflcxive conception of destruction: Schritt nniitk. Andenken, and Bssinnvng. The movement that characterizes


If F

rhese thm notions involves a certain obscurity, which nccffssrily bafflesboth the philosopher of dkction and the empiriast. The quation &at rhcse thrtc methodological devices answer is, How can the ontological tradition be dismantled without recoucse to a concept such as reflection, which, ss pact of that tradition, would provide a present ground for the operation o retro-ion? f The movement that distinguishs the three notions of Scbritt orriicb, Andenken, and Besinnung must ensure that the detachment f o tradition makes rm contact with the hidden and -tially withdrawing gronnd of that tradition, with a ground that is thus not simply forgotten but whose oblivion is forgotten as well. The gesture o such a reaching out cannot f but appear suspicious to reflective and empirical thought, as it seems co rely on a pctitio principii. L t us ml that what is being turned m in the operation of dise E mantling is not of the order of the subject, however transcendental it may be, nor of the order of rnyrhing constituted by such a subject. It is not something that would come into view through reflecting on oneself- On the contrary, as Heidegger puts it, it i s what we aurselvei are not and least of all could ever Yct at the same time it is not only within our confines; it is as near to us as the unthought o f our forgetting o it. The movement characreriaricohhis reaching back f to the withdrawn ground membla that of the C a k epagoge, as rc analyzed by Heidtgger in his essay on pbysis. Epgoge, often misleadingly translated as induetion, does not mean the scanning o a f scrim of facts in order M induce what they have in common, an abstract universal. Instead, Epagoge means leading rowards that which comes into view insofar as we have previouoly looked away, over and beyond Individual beings. At what? At king. For example, only if we already have acenws in view can we identify individual m s Epugoge is seeing and making visible what already stands in c. vim-for exampIe, treents5. Epugoge i s constituting in the double of, first bringing s o m d i n g into v i m and then likewise establishing what has been seen. Now, the universal that the epugoge brings into view, to which it fmds, is never given in the mode of the present. For instance, being s f f in motion i the fundamental mode o being o pbysir as it comes into view in epagage. As such, the retrogression toward it does nor assume a d e h i t e end point of the turning back, since pbysis is not t be a undersrood as motion per se but as being in motion. The epagoge dots not lead to a ddinabk essence and therefore d a s not imply a priiiio principii. Yet the very movement o the petere prkcipium. as f



the reaching out to the supporting ground, is, according to Heidegger, the only move that philosophy makes. It is the offensive that breaks open [dcrerijffnande Vorsross] the terrirory within whose borders science can first scttle down.* T h e retrogression does not hinge on the prior assumption of a present term of its movement but is itself thc reaching out for a ground. its positing, which it constructs as it retrogrades. Scbritt ruriitk, Adenken and Besinnung are the different modes in which that which shows itself in and by itself becomes the object of thc rctrogmsive reaching our for the grounding ground. All three 3re modes of disclosure of this ground; they occur as one makes the step back through recollective thought, or Besinnung (a mm which I prefer ro lcave untranslared), toward what we ourselves are not. h t mc try to dcrcribc these three movmcnts more succinctly, n according to their differences and to the manner i which they complement each othcr. First, the step back from rradirional ontulogythat is, horn metaphysics as a whole-toward its hidden essence does not sipify a rcturn to the past. It is not an attempt to revive the past f artificially. The misinterpretation particularly to be avoided i s that o a historical r m r n to the earliest Occidental philosophers, for, as Heidegger narcs in Identity end Difference,the whither m which thestep back directs us, develops andshows itsclfonly in thccxmtion of the step. What, then, is the step back? It is a modc of dealing with the history of philosophy conceived by Heideggm in opposition m Hegels process o the sublation of the truth-moments of that traf dition. It undoubtedly represents a return to a beginning; but it is a beginning that never occurred as such, and thar is rhe realm, which until now has been skipped over, of the essence of metaphysics, which comes into vicw only by means of retrogression.*o What is constructed E the: step back from metaphysics is that lowhy (rhc n oblivion o Being), from o m o which rncraphysics obrained and ref f rains iu ongin.zl By unwinding our of representin& reflecting, and explicatory thinking, rhc step back lets [hat locality and what charit-the onticbdntologiml difference, or the quation of Beingacreappear fa- to fa= with thought. Through this stepping back, that which is worthy ,of being questioned is set free into a confrontation with thought, and thought can cntcc into a qucstioning that experiences or lets itself he addressed by what it confronts face to face, instead o making it the obiect in the habitual opining that characf terizes philosophy. This is how the step back turns thinking into recollective &inking, a thinking which, as Heidegger puts it, may well remain wholly without an objccr..


. .

The qualitative difference of thought in the step back from a11 subsequent prescntation ( V o r s t e h g ) of mllacrions facing its opposite is that this face-[&face confrontation ro which ir.leads back, and by which it lets itself be addressed, is something to which it itscIf belongs as recollection. Hcidegger formulates this relation as follows: Such thinking is, insofar as it is, recollection o king and nothing f else. Belonging m Being, because thrown by Being into the prcserrationof itstruth and claimed forsuch preservation,itthinks Being> Recollective thought, which frees that toward which one steps back into an opposite for thought, belongs to what it constructs in the very moveinent of retrogression.What is being reached out for in both the step back and in racollcction does not exist independently of these movments. It io achieved in the p r o m of being posited, nlthoough this proax. i itself a function of that which is constructed in this s manner. Now, if rtcolleaive thought brings what is c o n s u u d into a position facc to face with thought, what, then, is Besinnrcrrg? It must not be uanslatcd as reflection, a w n a p t that p m u p p o s a the subjocr-obje division, since we haw here neither a subject nor an object but rather rc~ollectivethought and its opposite. Besinnung corr q o n d s t the movement by which thought become involved in o what it belongs tc-that is, in i opposite, which it meets facc to s face-instead of objectifying ir through subiect presentation. Besinnung, writes Heidegger, is caIm, self-posscsscd surrender to that which is worthy of qucstiming.~4 Bcsinnung, like the step back and the idea of ~ l l K t i v thought, thus articulates a different mbc ment in the opcrarion o rctrogression: Through BeEinnung [since f reflection is misleading, I have substituted the original German word] so u n d m t d we actually arrive at the placc whcre, without having experienced it and without having seen penetratingly into it, we have long been 50iOUming. In Berinnung w gain access to a p l a a from e out o which there first opens the space traversed at any given time f by all our doing and leaving undone. Besinnurrg, consequently, is the tern by which Heideggcr ah the nonrdcxive capturing of what is turned back to through a destruction of the history o ontology, f not only insofar as its repmentations of Being art concerned, but also as concerns its major methodological concept o reflection. f Hue, one is able to grasp how the movement of retrogression h o n d the tradition of ontology i s at the same time the conmuction and the letting be of the hidden ground of rhar metaphysical tradition. As we have seen, it is nor a refl&ve return to something rhat, as the origin of that tradition, would be of the same order-an csscncc, a



past-prmcnt or a prcgivm, for instance. Rctcogmsion is the very movement o differentiating (brinein) between what shows itself in f and by itself and what does not-what is in all its forms. As such a differentiation, a retrogression manages the radical space of the ultimate ground o what is. That ground is a hnction, so to speak, f of the regressive differentiation and dismantlingof the tradition, More precisely, it is itself of the order of that dismantling rmgression, of an appearing through retreat; moreover, the operarion of dismantling is itself grounded therein. This ground grounds when it i s set free in the very am ofrcrurning r ir. Such a ground, since it can never be o given, Cannot bccornc thc cnd point of a reflection. As one reaches out for it reflectively, it withdraws. To the extmt that Hcideggcrs concept o destruction appcars to f be a nonreflexiveconcept, it can besaid to prefigure, a5 docs Huscerls concept of Abbau, Derridas concept of deconstruction. Beforc discussing the similarities, and especially [he differences, between deconstruction on theone handand Abbm and destruction on the other, however, let us first consider what Derrida himself ha5 said about the word deconstruEcion. In the debates following the presentation of LOreille de Iaurre in 1979 in Montreal, Derrida rccalled that when he employed the word deconstmction in his early writing, hc did so only rarely, and with the understanding that it was only one word among others, a secondary word. translating Hcideggers terms for destruction and dismantling.>cIt is a word, he hassaid elsewhere. that he has never likcd, and whose fortune has disagreeably surprised him. Only after others valorized thc word in rhc context of strucmralism-which, Derrida claims, did not primarily determine his usage of thc word-did Dcrrida try to define deconstnrctioion in his own

In this short inquiry into the origin of the concept of deconstruction I have already hinted a t tbe lwel of abstraction required 10undersrand the concept and the problems it i s meant to confront. Bur by outlining chis history 1 do nor mean 10blur the fundamental differences bctwccn deconsrmcrion, desmmion, and dismantling. All three are nonreflective merhodological dzviccs; all thrce are in essence positive movements, never negative in the usuat sense, and certainly not purely negative; and all three attempt to construct, in a mom or Ecss systematic fashion, grounds o greatcr generality for what is to be acf wunted lor. Yct, although Derridas notion of deaonstn~aion continua to address the quesrions raised by the philosophies of Husserl and Hcidegger, his critique of the basic tendcncies of their work also



muches on theii notions of dismantling and dmruction. Likc Heidcggtr, Dcrrids criticizes Husserls phmomcnological reduction, but he a h q & Heidegpps inmpmation of that method as a method u m of inquiring into the meaningof Being. If, as Derrida writes in Writing m d Difwtnm, referring to the Cmrerian Mediraiiorrs, that in criticizing classical metaphysicp. phenomenology acwmplishcs h e most profound project of metaphysics (WD, 166), then the same can p. be said o Heidcggers dcstnrction o the Occidental tradition of onf f

f tology and o his focus on &in#. Derridas objcaions to Hcidcggcrs destruction of traditional ontology (aswell as t Heideggefs solution of the problem o reflexo f ivity by caking it back to the more radical idea of a prercflcxive understanding) are perhaps m s forcefuuy expressed in Ousia and ot Gramme. Hcre Dcrrida argues that Hcidcggcrs break with mctaphysics remains, for systemadc masons, i t h f u I to metaphysics. H e writes, At a certain point , . . the destruction o ineraphysic, remains f within metaphysia, only making expliat its prinaples (M, 481. p. In fact, what D d d a him tu dcmonstratc in this essay Is that Hcid w r s destruction in Being und Time o the metaphysical mneept f of time bomrws unmricdy from the discourse o metaphysics itself, f h e very conceptual rt5ources that he 1154 to criticize and dclimit metaphysia naive concept o time. This is possible btcausc cvery f text of metaphysics carries within itself, for example, both the M called vulgar m n q t o time md the rcsou~ccs will be borrowcd f that from the system o metaphysics in order to criticize that concept (M, f p. 60). Thus any concept af time that one would wish to oppose IO a naive one remains metaphysical, because the very idea of a more fundamental, more universal, mom r a d d concept of t m belongs ie t the very possibilitia o metaphysical conccptualiry. In attempting o f to ptoduce this other concept, one rapidly would come to see that it is constructed out of other metaphysical or onto-theoIogical predicates. As a conscquenae, the cxrraordinary trembling to which dassical ontology is subjected i n . . . [the dcsmrction of that tradition] still m a i n s within the grammar and lexicon of mcraphysid (M. p.

63). The phenomenological reduction of which Heideggcrsdesrrucrion

aimed t be a more radical interpretation led Hcideggcr, as it had Id a Husseri, to an ever more fundamental notion of the essence of what is under consideration. The very conapt of a s e n a that acmmpanics the operation o destmcrion is only a more radicaal, more original f concept o essence than the naive onto-thedogid concept of it. Phef



nomenology in general, whether in its Husscrlian form or its more radical Heidcggerian form. is by definition a mcthodkal passage to essentiality. Reduction, dismantling, and destruction arc in agreement with such a systematic transition toward e 5 m c ~ . . Hr thc diffcrenccs betwcm deconstruction, destruction, and disee mantling start to cume to light. Surely dcconstruction sham with Abbnu and Desrnrbtion the goal of attaining rhe ultimate foundation of conccpts (OG, p. 60). Yet these foundations, as we shall see, are no longer essences, however radical. For the same reason, these ultimate reasons are no longcr primordial. and thc operation of deconstruction t h a t rmches out for them is no iongerphenomenologic.l in any strict sense. The Husscrlian notion o Abbau already sccmed f to preclude reflection, since the laner represcnts a methodological concept that belongs precidy to that tradition beyond which the opcrarion of dismantling tries to reach in its search for an original life-world (and for the tcansccndental egological 5tructum that constitute both rhar original world and ics rransformarion into the world OF the natural sciences). and thus for a world and for stmctures of which there is no experience within that tradition. The Heidegeerian notion of destruction is manifestly nonreflective, because it r m gresses to something that is not prcscnr in any way wharsaevtr, hut t h a t constructs itself in the vcry process of stepping back. Deconstmction is, in an even more radical manner, nonreflexive. The resources necessary to conceive of the ultimate foundations that deconstruction seeks arc not a positive part of mrraphysical conceptuality but are given in meraphysics in a ncgarive manner. Thc rationality, so to speak, of the ultimate foundations to be discovered by dmnstruction *no longer issum from a logos. Further, it inaugurates the destruction, not the demolition but the de-xdirncntation. the dcconstruction, of all the significations that have their source in that of the logos (OC,p. 10). In other words. thc ultimate foundations for which deconstruction reaches out are no longer simply part o the f grammar and lexicon o metaphysics. They are in a certain way, as f wc shall set, exterior to metaphysics. For this reason, neither reflexivity nor any morc radical concept of it is capable of didosing such foundations, hecausc retlection can reflecr only whar is imrnanenr r o the logos. But for the same reason, it may well be that deconstruction cannot be rermd nonrcflexive, in rhe sense rhar I havc applied this wrm to Abbm and destruction. In what follows, we shall address these questions specifically,

. .

Deconstructive Methodology


If dmnsrmction reach= out far ultimate foundations, it may b said to represent a methodital principle of philosophical houndation
and grounding. Such a statement, however, must bc rendered more precise and scchxl against a numbcr o misundcrstandinkr. All the f concepts implied in chis staarcmcnt will have to bc put in quotation marks. Methods arc p c r a U y understood as mads (fmm hodos: way, road} to knowltdg~. the sciences, as well as in the philosophies In that scimtific thinking patronizes, method is an instrument for representinga given field, and it i s applied to that field from the outside. That is, it is on the side of the subject and i s an ucamal refkction of the object. It i s an insrrumcnral approach iu knowledge from an entirely subjective pasition. Ytr such a relation o scientific represenf tation as a form extcrior to a given content is in principle extraneous to any thinking philosophy. This, however, is not to say that methodical thought should be replaced by the non-method of present m n and inspiration, or by the arbitrariness of prophetic uttcranct, iet bath of which dapisc not only scitnrific pomposity, bur scientific p m d u r e of all kinds, as Hegel puts it. For gcnuinc philosaphicat thought, methods arc always determined methods, which have their Boura in the rcgion to which they apply and which arc dcpcndmr onthenaturcands~fidtyotthatrcgion.Forthisreasantheultimate mahod-that is, the m&od that qrcgeno the philosophical itin,crary t truth-uat o bc one that describes the intrinsic and spontaneous movement OF truth itseIf. The philOQophica1method, as the mad toward truth i n a domain that i s itself determined in tcrms of trueh, impliesphilosophys self-implication, and the necessity c m l m o

I. ?+


itsclf into self-wnsciousncss, Since Plam such a method has been called dirllektike, the science o dividing (diairesis) and reunification f (synngoge). Such a method is nothing other than the patient pursuit of the conceptual activity of m t h as it develops its own coherence. It is thus not a formal procedure or rule separate from the content of truth. Method, then, is no longm simply the way to truth; it i 5 truth itself. This is what Hegel means when, in the lasr chapter of rhc greater Logic, cntitlcd The Absolute Idea, he finally thematizes the concept of method: From this course the method has emerged as theself-knowing Notion rhat bas itself, as the absolute, both subjective and objective, far its strbject matter, consequently as the pure corrtf spondence o the Notion and ia reality, PS a cancretc existence that is the Notion itself.J What is called method in Hcgcl is thus the totalizing dynamic dcscriprion of the inrellemal acdviry that, as rhc soul of being, attains its most complex and complete fulfillment in the Notion or Concept wherein that acrivity achieves full sclf-determination. In other words, method for Hegtl is idential to the stmcturc of thought, insofar as thought is also the sysrematic and genetic f exposirian o the successive moments that constirure it as a whole. In Hegel it coincides with the self-experience o thought. f To the extent rhat Derridas work is a genuinely philosophical inquiry that takes the standard rules ofphilosophy very seriously, its method is certainly not characterizedby any exteriority ra its object. But is this t a say that, in the last resort, it would tend to coincide with the movement of the self-exposition of truth as Cancept? Undouhtedly not. since dmmstruaion also manifestly includa the deconstruction af dialectics, in b t h a Platonic and a Hegelian sense. As a method, deconstruction is very much determined by the region and the regions of philosophy to which it applies. Yet Derrida has argued rhar deconstruction is exorbiranr r the totality o philosopho f ical knowledge, in particular as that knowledge culminates in the Wcgclian Conccpr. 11 procccds from a cenain point of exteriority to the whole of the region of all rqions of philosophy so as to reinscribe or reground that totality in or with regard to what is exorbitant to it. Obviously, such a procedure nor only makes it impossible to give the usual methodological or logical intraorbitary assurances for an operation such as deconsuucdon, but it also raiss the question wh& deconstruction can be thought of in terms of method. Taking off from a ccrrain poinr outside the roraliry of the age ot logocentrism,-that is, the totality consriturive of philosophy, and in particular speculative philosophy, which claims to have achieved that



totdity-deaonstruaion m s to flirt with the ECienti6c iSea of d o d that is characterid precisely by its exteriority to its o b i m . But as w e shall see, rhis point of cxreriority to the totality is not that of the subject. Deconstruction is never the effect of a subjective act of desire o r will or wishing. What provokes a damnstmaion i s rather of an objective nature. It is a must, s to speak. The incision [Peno m e ; a opening, beginning,broaching] o deconsaucdon, w i h h f hc is not a voluntary decision or an absolute beginning, docs not take place just anywhere, or in an absolute elsewhere. An incision, preciscly. it can be made only according to lines o form and ioms of f rupnrrc that are localizable in the discourse to be dewnstructed (P, p. 82). Decunstmction, as a methodical prinaple, cannor be mistaken for anything resembling scientificproccdural mlm,in spiteof itrdeparturc from a certain point outside philosophy, nor does it yield to philosophys classical definition o method, according to which the methcd f must not be irreducibly alien to the leld tbrough which it leads. Although dcconstrucrion is an eminently philosophical operation, an operation o extreme sensibility toward the immanence or inherence f o the ways of thought to that which is thought-the subjea matter f (the identity of method and concept, as Hegel would say]-it is nor sbictrr s m u methdical, since it does take plam from a ccrtain point ounide such an identity. Therefore, deconstruction is also the deconstruction of the concept of mcrhod (both scientific and philosophical) o and has t be determined accordingly. As in Heidegger, the scientificand philosophical conccpa o method f a r t reductive concepts for Derrida. According to Heidegger, the conf cept ofmethod, by inaugurating the tcchnologization o thought, has radically disfigured the essence of the road (hodos) as the proper mode o philostrphical thought. In his debarc with method, however, Dcrrida f does not attempt to oppose a more fundamental notion of method to scientific or philosophical method. If mcthod f r Derrida is a reo ductive concept, it is so in a different sense than for Heidegger. For Dcrrida, method is by nature reductive, whether it is fundarnenral or only derived. Yet it would be a great mistake to condude drat becausc dcconsrruaion is critical o the discourse o metaphysics and irs mnf f ccpt o method (scientific or philosophical), it would, in total disref spca o all levels, indulge in uncontrollable free play. Although a f deconstruction o method, deconstruction is not a nonmethcd, an f f invitation m wild and private lucubrations. The rigor o dcconsmction is cxempli6ed. tor example, by the discrete steps it takes to



deconstruct method. Like those of dissemination, the steps of dcmnstrunion, says Derrida, allow for (no) method [pas de m&hodel: no path leads around in a ~ircle toward a first step, nor proceeds from the simple to the compler, nor ]=dads from a k n n i n g to an end . We here note a pninflack of method [poki de mkrhode]: this [however] d o a not rule out a certain marching order (D, 271). p. Ir is therefore important to emphasizc rhc systematism o deconf struction. It represents a procedure all of whose movements intertwine to form a coherent theoretical configuration. Thus deconsmctive m~hodologyas a whole cannot be characterized by any imprmsfonistic or empiricist appropriation of one or two ofirs moments. A rnerccvocation of some of thcsc memcnts, or of some of the themes with which deconstruction is concerned, will never lead ro any true insight into what deconstruction purports to achieve. Derrida wakes varied use of the term deconstnrdan. In the early writings especially, demmtnution sometimes merely translam Abhu or Desmr&rion;at ,other times it metonymically namm its own different movements or steps as well; and finally by appositional qualifications it now and again appears m differenriate h e m a mukiplidty of operations. Yet for the most part, the term has a very dchnite meaning. Even if the operation o deconstruction also affects the f conccpt of method, nothing prevents our formalizing to some extenr the different theoretical movements that make up one rigorous notion of deconstruction. Before we can discuss the methodical aspect of deconstruction, however, we must clarify its theoretical presuppositions, determining the specific point a t which it becomes compelling and operational, the different steps that lead wp to that point, and finaily the aims of deconstruction. Only against such a background can the formal cb~racrerisiirs deconstruction be lully undersraad. of



Gadamcrs contention that absolute reflection as it is amculated by Hegel anticipates all logically possible reflective stands o n the specdative totality of philosophy by turning them into particular moments of that tonlIty. More generally speaking, Hegels discourse is thought to have takm account o all possible Otherness f to that totality, including the concept o Otherness and exteriarity, f d a rcmainder or a beyond to the system, by making them eirnplc elements in the process of the wlf-elaboration of truth. Wt this, of ih course, philosophy reachm its completion and its end. Derrida tec-

tct us recall


I +S

ognizes this completion o f philosophy in speculative thought as well when he wrim that in completing itself, [philosaphy] could both include within itself and anticipate all the figures of its beyond, aB the formsand resources of its exterior; and could do s in order to o keep thew forms and resources close to itself by simply taking hold of their enunciation (WDp- 252). The compelling problem at that momenr is how to b m k the silence without falling back behind the Iogical achievements of Hegels position when in the end here is nothing left to be said.s Like all other philosophies, srarting with the Hegelian Ich, which in the wake of Hegels completion of the metaphysical projecr of philosophy became aware of the dilemma p o d by Hegds thought, Derrida .acknowledges that Hegels superior solution of the traditional problems of philosophy is a terriblechallenge to philosophical thought. Obviously that challengc cannot be met cirher &mu& a ddibaare decision to overcome Hegels completion of mctaphysia or by simple indifference. That brid segment of the f history of the tradition of contesting metaphysics in the aftcrmarh o Hegel, -which, as 1 have shown in Part I of this srudy, began with Nitrzsche, dearly show what is at stake. Instead of ignoring the task, such a tradition, on the contrary, t s i i s to the increasing urgency etfe of m e i g that challenge, as welt as to an equally increasing vigilance etn concerning all the methodological m l s and themes that purport to unhinge the dmurse of a h l u t e bowing. After Heideggcrs desrmction, Dcrridas deconstruction is the latest and most complex development of that tradition. How, then, arc we t characterize, in as succinct a manner as a possible, Derridas approach to theproblm?Hcgdsphilwbphy must be deaibed as an attempt to overcome the aporias o traditional f philosophid positions, which ariv fmm a naive adoption of a set of inherited conaptual oppositions, by consaucdvely destroyingthem in a purely conceptual genesis. Dcrridas concern is with a naivety unthought by philosophy in general, a blindness constitutive of pbilosophical thought, Hegels speculative system included. This naivety is an essmtid one and is a function of the logical (dialectical or not) consismcy sought and achieved by the philosophical discourse. Ir is not a naivety rbat would hamper the solution o traditional philof sophical problems; on the contrary, it is a blindness without which them may be no hope of ever solving them. This naivety is thar of the phiIosophical discourse, o its practice of arguing toward and f exposing its concepts. Derrida, who is particularly conccrncd with the discursive strategies constitutive of the spcculativt solution {in all



its forms)of the aporias to which the traditional brmation of concepts leads, has described theappmach of singling out thisdiscursive naivety
as follows:

A, task is then prescribed: m study the philosophicat text in its formal s m c NIT, in is rherorical organization, in rhespcificity and diversity of its textual rypes, in jts models of exposirion and praduaion-band what previously wccc calkd gcnrcs-and also in the space of irs wises en sche. in a syntax which would be not only the anicularion of its significds, its rdcrcnc~ to Being o r m truth. but also the handling of in proceedings, and of everything invesrcd in them. ( M , p. 293)

The naiveties brought


to light by such a study-a

study that is not

the deconstruction of the philosophicnl text but only its negative and prior momcnt-arc not, propcrly spcaking, logical deficiencies. Thhas, after pointing out in The Double Scssion that, for organizational reasons concerning the text of Phikbor, Platos conrcntion of a priority of thc imitated over imitation is problematic in the rext
itself, Derrida warns usnot to be too quick ro call [it] contradicrory

(D, 190). Conrradicrions are in principle susceptible m a (dialccp. tical) solution. What Derrida is pointing out here is an inconsistency on the level of philosophical argumentation t h a t cannot be mended, but that nevertheless makes It possible to obtain the desired authorirarive results. The very s u m of Plaros dialogue hinges on such
inconsistenaes. Thew naiveties are conrradinions owing neither m an inconsistency in logicat argumentation nor to the rhetorical farce of the discourse of philosophy. To call these naiveties logical deficiencies or to make them dependent on the inevitable rhetorical use of language in philosophy is tn dcscribc only very approxImatcly the sorts of problems exhibited in what may be called the propacdcutia o deconstrucrion. f It is even misleading, because the logical and the rhetorical arc, precisely, corresponding intraphilosophical norms of the coherence and cohesion of the philosophical discourse, whose unthought is being focused upon here. In irs apparent contradiction to the logical exigencies of philosophical discourse, the rhetorical. figural, and improper use of language combine with rhe logical use o language to f achicve the desired conceptual transparency. In ordcr to understand the full impact of the shift from one sort of criticism of naivety to another-from the philosophical criticism of thc unscientific and unphilosophical consciousness and its natura! attitude (from Parmenides to H u w t l ) to the critique of the naiveties


~~ ~~

I 27

implid by the discursive pragmatics of the firsr type o aiucism f (spxdative or not)-it is necessary t recall that at least sin= Plato, o all major philosophial concepts have rcprsrnrcd desiderata, values not of what is but of what wgbt to be. As Derrida has shown, sin= its inception philosophy has been mnuived of as an antidote to the Ocher of phjlosophy, eirher in rhe form of hem a m of illusion, the charlatans and rhaumaturgs (in the Republic for instance), or in the form of the unrep-table and unnameable, which in Kants Third Critique is thematired undet the name o the disgusting, against f which it is said that wc strive with all our might (set D. pp. 137138).i Moreover, all ofphilosophys concepts and values arc d n m s of plenitude. It would be simplistic to reton that such would he rme only of.idcalist philosophy, since even the most empirical description in philosophy of what is is normative, even were it only for the ,inevitablyaxiological dimension of the concepts used in description. As desiderata, all philosophical concepts arc in a way utopian and or ampic; they rcprtsmc whar Dcnida calls erhi~tclmlogical ethicoontologicalvalues (LZ, 217,236), Hence the hisrory o philosophy pp, f in the expmsion of the n d to think thcx mnceprs, again and again, in a satisfactory snd desirable manner-satisfactorg, that is,according to the prinaple of nonconadiction. All thesc desiderata of philoso ophy are thus c o n c e p ~f unity, rouliy, idenriry, cohesion,plenitude, states of noncontradiction, in which thc negative has bem absorbad by the posirive, states that lack, and by all rights precedt, all dissension, difkrcna, and separation, statcs of peace and reconciliation. Yet Derridas contention is not simply that it wouid be impossible to think nancontradiaion in a noncontradictoiy way. By focusing on rhe formal, organizational, and t m a l production of noncontradiction in the philosophical dimursc, he shows that, o n the contrary, what makes nonwntradiction possible and successful within the Iimics o philosophys cxpecradons is precisely the evasion of insighr char f results from the failure to question the discrepancies and inconsistencits o phiImphys mise m sche- This is the naivety that is thef m a t i d in Derridas writings. This inquiry into the p r o w of philosophial conceptualization, as well as into he pracda of discursive exposition and the s t r u ~ ~ t l l ~ s o philosophical argumentation, brings UI light a whole new field o f f contradictions and aporias, which, instead o simply belying the f philosophid enterprise, arc rarhcr mnstitucive of its successful completion. If one could venture to say that Hcidegger reveals a theme unthought by metaphysics-the question o the ontim-ontologid f



diffcrencc-one could certainly say that Derrida discloses the UHthought synia* (a word that 1 shall have to render more precise) of philosophical conceptuatization and srgumcntotion. Since the "contradictions" and"aporias" that spring from this unthought dimension of philosophical practice have never been thcmatized by philosophy itself and are thus in a certain way exterior to the traditional and coded problcms of philosophy, they cannot bc construed as conrradictions or aporias proper. Therefore, rigorously speaking, it is mislcadingta dcfine dtconsmction as an opcration that, 35 Ricocur puts ir. "always consists in destroying rnersphysical discnurse by rcduction to aporias," without further clarification.' Derrida'r own occasional use of the words aporia and rotltradiction (see, for instance, M, p. SO) does not render such an cffort toward clarification dispensable, sincc undemanding dcmnsrruction depends on it. As we shall see, Derrida does not limit the notions of aporia and contradiction to fallacies of philomphical description and predication. Neither are these concepts borrowed from the conceptual arsenal of the skeptical tradition in philosophy, a rradition rhar throws doubt upon philosophical knowledge only from the petspecrive of a higher mode of truth. Aporio and contrddiction must be undcrsmod in Dcrrida as referring to the general dissimilarity benveen the various ingredients, elernem, or constitucnts of the discourse o philosophy as such. Inf deed, Dcrrida'r parallel inquiry into the formation of philosophical c o n c c p and thc argumentative, discursivc, and textual stmztureps of philosophy leads to the recognition of a n esrenrial nonhomogeneiry brnvecn the concepts 3nd phitosophica1 texts or works thcrnsclves. All major philosophical concepts. hc contends, are ethico-teleological values of unbmached plenitude and presence. But, as respectable 3s they may be, they "live on a delusion and nonrcspccr f o r . . [their] own condition o origin" (OG, p. 139). They exist preEisdy on a f disregard far their own bipalar opposite, M which they deny a vatuc similar to their own. Philosophical concepts wauld be entirely homogeneous if they posscsscd a nucleus ot rncaning that thcy owcd exclusively to themselves-if they were, in other words, conceptual atoms. Yet since concepts are produced within a discursive network o diffcrenccs. thcy not only are what they are by virtue o other f f concepts, but thcy also, in a hndamenrat way, inscribe that Otherness within themselves. Let us outline several ways in which the rel~llogialvalue of the f f homogeneity o concepts is disproved by the very proem o thc formation of concepts. First, since a conrcpt i s not a simple point but a



mmrt of prcdicam clustered around one central prrdicate, the determining predicate is itself mnditioned by the backdrop of the others. Second, each concept is part of a concephra1 binary opposition in which each rtnn is believed to be simply exterior to the other. Y t e rht interval that separate cach from its opposite and from what it is nor also makes cach concept what it is. A concept is thus constimhd by an interval, by im difference f o anorher concept But this interval rm

brings the concept inn, irs own by simultaneously dividing it. The propcity of a concept depends entirely on irs difference from the excluded concept. No conccpt, includingthe concept of ethics (1There is no ethics without the presence of the other but also, and conse quendy, without absence, dissimulation, detour, differance, writing, OC, pp. 139-1401, can be thought rigorously without including the tram o its difference from i s Other within itself. YR that is as much f a5 to say that h e concept-of ethics, for example, but all other concepts as well-inciudcs within itself the trace of that to which it 5trives (teleologically) to oppose itself in simple and pure exteriority. As a result o this law canstituiive of concepts, all concepts are in a sense f paradoxical. Take, far instance, thc conccpr of the center: It has always been rhought &at the center, which is by definition unique, mnstihrd that vcry thing within a SRUCIU~ which while governing the strumurn. cKapcJ smcturality. This is why dassifal thouht concerning stnicmrn could say that h e c m i, paradoxically,within thc strumre and m s outside it. The center ir a t the centct ofthe totality, and yet. since the center does not belong to the toraliry (is not part of the totaliry), the totaticy bus its m t t r E/s&. ?he m t c r is not thc center. T h c concept of centered structurc-al&ough it rcgrcrcnts m h m u itself, the wndition of the *is~ m r as philosophy or Ifience-is mntndimtily coherent. And as always, r w h m c t in aontradinion rxprt*us thr fom of a desire. (WD, p. 279)

Third, concepts arc always (by right and in ha) insaibtd within
systems or conceptual chains in which they wnsrantly relate to a plurality of other concepts and conceptual oppositions from which they rcaive their meaning by v i m e o the differential play of SMSC f consti~tion,andwhichthrrsaffeEtthemintheirverycore.Andfourrh, one single conccpr may be subject ro different functions within a text or a corpus of texts. It may function as a citation of itself as well as of anaher meaning that this same concept may have in a different place or stratum oron another occasion. This citational play, far from being innocent, also affects the ideal closure of the concepts. True, the different meanings 10 which any one monccpt may be subiccred



within the same c o n m t are not a problem for philosophy. If philosophy does not simply ignorc the question, it solves it hermeneutically, as an index of a more profound and hidden meaning, or it solves h e qucstion of d a t i n g rhc two kinds of meaning of one concept by clcvating onc of t h a e meanings into the more true, complete meaning, of which rhe other is but a derivation. As an examplc, ler us refer to Kmts distinction berween pulchrido wuga and p u l c h r i d o adb e r m s . Although these two determinations of beauty are o a prdf iaung nayure, rhe question o beauty in general-that is, of h e common f root that would precomprchend the two concepts and make them f communicate-is denied consideration. The essence o beauty is understood in terms o o m of the determinations only. For Kant there f is no single common sourcc of rhc two forms of bcaury: We do not pre-understand the csscnce of bcauty in the commonality of the two types, but rather from the perspective of the free beauty that gives rise to a purc aesthctic judgement. It is thc pure that gives us the meaning of beauty in general, the pure telos of bcauty (as a nontelosi. Iris the most beautiful that allows us to think essenaal beauty and nor the less beautiful, which remains a groping approximation en vuc de Imuwce ( VP. p. 114). In short, then, philosophical concepts arc not homogeneous. Their nonhomogeneiry is manifold, caused by rhe very process of concept formation and concept use. Yet the variety of dissimilarities that turn mnceprs into paradoxical structures must not concern us furrher,sincc a t this point I am intcrmtcd only in accenruaring thc generality of their contradictory and aporetic nature. We must note, however, that thesc diffcrcnt incohcrcnces constituting concepts, which arc either absolutely fundamental insofar as concepts are formed within a differential play, or seemingly contingent if they 5tcm from a varicd, if not contradictov, usage within a single context, arc overshadowed by philosophys desire for cohcrcnce. What Derrida calls the regulated incoherence within mnceptualiiy (OC. pp. 237-238) cannot, themfore, be thematized in philosophy. But the morivc o homcf gencity-a rcleological morivc par cxcellence (P, p. 86)-not only blurs the incoherence within concepts but also organizes the philosophical conception of texrs. Let us first consider how philosophy regulates differences in homogeneity telatlve to philosophical description and the construction o an argument. Derridas investigation of f philosophical works ,(and ofliterary texts as well) brings into view a variety of d i p c q a n c i a betwecn the various strata that rnakc up a works argurncntation and description, and that make it thoroughly



illusionary simply m maintain the metaphysical desire for the purc coherence o their volume, f Let us dwdl h r a moment on rht specitic nature o what, i h e f i light of Alhusxrs concept of uncvm dcvclopmrnt, I have &oxn to d discursive inequaIities or dissimilarities, which are due to these l conflicting strata within the coherence of textsor works. Their nature i s manifold too. One example of such a disparity bctwccn IevtIs of argumentation is Derridas demonstration o a contradiction within f Saussures scient& project. This contradiction stems from the fact that Sausurc, in daermining thc object of structural linguistics according m the prinaple o diffcrendality as a system d marks &mf parable to writing, bclies his strong condemnationin C o w 5 of writing as harmfd to speech. Both a logo- and a phonoacntric valoritation ,ofspmh cohabit in this discourg as well as another scientific stratum that is a radical questioning of the former orientation. Another example is the tension between gesture and statement in Rousseaur ,discussian of the origin of language. In OfGr~-tdogy, Dcrrida disunguishcs between Rousscaus explicit dcctararions as to how he wishes to think the origin of language and his matteraf-fact &sniption of it. Rousscaus ddared intentian is to think the origin as a ,simpleoneunbroached by any difference. But in spite of that d d a r t d intention, Rousszaus discourse lets itself be constrained by a complexity which always ha5 the form of the supplement of o horn the r origin (OG, 243). Yet instead of cancludhg, based on what b p. C lows from his own description of the origin, that from the o u w difference has corrupted the origin, Rousseau prefers to believe that the supplmenz m t (should) have bttn encloscd in, in the sense o bcing confused with, the o i i . There must (should) buue been f rgn plcnitudt and not I& p m c e without diffcma [OC, 2151. s, p. As a result of this crhico-rhmrerical decision, which valorim originarity as a desideratum, everything that had emerged in the dcscripdon o the origin as already broaching it-that is, as being more f originary than the origin-is turned into sw* e n, inm s o m d i n g itself from the oarside 0s evil und lack to happy and that Q& innocent plenimde. The dangaous supplement, then, would come from an ousidc which would be simply the outside (OG, p, 215). Conscqucndy, the tension b mgesture and statemen& desaiption and declaration, far from resulting in mutual annihilarion conmburcs to the cohenncc o rhe r i m by means o rht grid o the ought to f f f he, or the conditional mood. Should [dcwuitl: it is the mode and m c o a rclcoological and eschatological anticipation that supetins f



tends Rousseaus entire discourse, writes Derrida (OC, 2951. p. Through this mood the contradiction is made to be no mom than apparent, and Rousseau can think the two ,incompatiblepossibilities,

the origin and the supplement, simulraneously. As the conditional

mood reveals, it is irself the uniry ofa desire. Derrida writes. As in

the dream, as Freud analyzes it, incompatibles are simultaneously f admitted as soon as it is a matter o satisfying a dmire, in spite of the principle of identity, or of thc excluded third parry-the logical time of consciousness (OG, 245)+These discursive contradictions are p. united by d&rc into a conuadictory coherence regulated by what Freud calls the sophistry o the borrowed kettle. Derrida sums up t h i s kind f o reasoning which according to Freud is suppascd t illustrate dream f o logic, in the following passage: I his attempt to arrange everything n in his favor. the defendant piles up contradictory argurnenis: (1) T h e kmle I am returning ID you Is brand new; (2)The holes were aiready in it when you lent it to me: (3) You never lent me a kettle, anyway (D, p. 111; see also S, p. 67). The various argumcnts concerning the- origin and the cupplemcnt, speech and writing, are organized by Saussure and Rousseau in 3 similar rnanncr: (1)The supplemcnt and writing are torally exterior and inferior to the origin and to speech, which are thus not affected by them and remain inncc; (2) they are harmful because they are separate from the origin and thereby corrupt living speech, which otherwise wouId be intact; and ( 3 ) if one needs to fall back on the supplement or on writing, it is not becausc of their intrinsic valuc but because the origin, was already deficient, and because living speech was alrcady finite before it became supplemented by writing. Hence. supplement and writing do not harm origin or speech at all. On the p. contrary, they mend thc ddlcicndcs of origin and speech (D. 111). &cause of this logic within discursive contradiction, or contradictory arguments held together by the desire for unity, it is insufficient simply to say that Rousseau thinks the supplement without thinking it, that he does not match his saying and his meaning, his descriptions and his declarations (OC, 245). Rather, the contradiction is regpulated, which gives thew texts thcir very coherence and totality. Inf stead o permitting these contradictions to cancel each other out, Rousseau, Iike Saussure ammulata wntradicrory arguments to bring about a satisfactory decision: the exclusion of writing, differcncc, o the supplement (OG, p. 45). But this organization of incompatibles r into a unity dominated by ethico-teleological values, which mainrains and contains the adverse arguments and srrata in the very act of



decision by which philosophy institutes itdf, is possible only through the evasion of a number of qustions and implicatiam that follow horn the fact that Rousscau, caught, like the logic of identity, witbirr the graphic o supplementariry, says what he dcm nor wish to say, f describes what he docs nor wish to &ncludc (QG. p. 246). A last example of such contradidom concerning the gap beween dccIaration and, this time, faaual practice concerns the often Krccived contradiction in the Platonic condemnation of writing in writing. Mow could Plato, Romeau, and others subordinarc wtiting to .pee& while writing thernselva? Derrida asks: W h r law governs this mnmdiction: this opposjtion to itsclf of what is said against wridng, o a dicrum rhar pmnouncu iaclf against itself a5 m n f as it finds its way into writing, as scan IS it wrires down its self-idmtiry and ~rrics away what is prop to it ugafnrt this ground of writing? This conmdiction, which is nothing other &an the rclation.m-wlf of diction as i t oppopeo itsclf to saiprion, as ir chases itself (away) in hunting down what is proply its trup-this mnrradiction is not contingent, (0, 156) p,

The sort of discursive inequalities that I have pointed out concern contradictory strata of description within the argumentation o a f single work, dismpanaes between explicit s a e e t and the &idttmns cram o thought, between declaration and hctual p n a i a . But the f analysis preceding deconsrrucrian-the prapaedeutics ot decommction-is not limited to bringing into prominence conceptual aporias on the one hand and, on the other, discursive inequalities of all sons. There is a third type of discursive heterogeneity which in fact defies categorization properly speaking. In each instance it comprises a multipIicity of very different and radially incommensurable layers, agcnds,or sedimena that invariably make up discursive wholes.Through thematizing this kind o conrradicrion or aporia in the philosophical f text, it becomes evident that the philosophical concept o conaadicf tion or aporia is incapable of covering and comprehending t h e rypes of inconsistencies, nor only in isolation but especially when taken rogcrher. Ended, thest disuepancim srem from differences in the importance. scope, and stams of parts or eierncnts of philosophical dismums, as well AS h the imdudbly dispmpordonatc and dissimilar nature of various constituents o these parts or elements. l t us, then, f e look a t some paradigmatic types of this sort of discursive inequality. which, contrary to appearances, have not becn problematized in the perspective outlined above. The analysis of philosophical diswursa reveals that they a m ram-


~ _ _ _

w e d not only of pure concepts and philasophcmes but also of metaphors and mythemes. As discursive elements, the last two are o an f entirely different status from that of concepts, yet they necessarily combine with c o n u p , whose purity as to rnyrhical and figural residues should be beyond all question. Certainly the relation between myth and logos is a philosophical problem of long standing; the same must be said of the relation berween concept and figure. Bur what Derrida is concerned with-in Plaros Pharmacy, for instance-is mot so much the way in which philosophy tries to master its relation to myth or to figures a$ the manner in which this intimate combif nation, within a whole o such dissimilar elements as conccpts and f nonconccpts, philosophcmes and rnyrhemcs, instead o simply resisting absorption into the homogeneity o the concept contributes to the f creation of an effect of such purity, In ,other words, Derridas concern is with the irreducibility and inevitability of the combination of opposite genres in the philosophical discourse. Such an analysis may also accentuate a leximlogical inconsistency arising from the diffcrent and repeated use of one particular mo-called key word or key signification in a texc The emphasis of such an analysis is an the singularity and inextricability o the juxtaposition f of thcw significations in onc ensemble. The different citations o one f and the same word within one text or context can be opposed to one anarhcr, bur rhcy can also be simply dissimilar and irrduciblc to one anather. in which caw they resist all hermeneutical solution. There cannot be any such thing as key words, writcs Derrida (D, p. 256). T h e e multiple different usages o thc same term in one work f or textual unity mnst thus be analyzed as the background against which the hermeneutical search for an u1timatc signified rates place. The analysis may dm focus on a chain of words similar to one another, which may have the same etymological mot but are nonetheless nor supposed to communicate within the text. Phurmakeinphom$on-pharmokeus in Platos Phoedms, which Derrida analyzes in Platos Pharmacy, is an instance of such a chain. This sort of analysis may also throw inta relict unsubtatcd and unmediated statements or propositions about one particular h e m e within a text or a corpus of texts, for instance the theme of the woman in Nietz-schc, analyzed by Derrida in Spurs. It may a150 point out the cohabitation in onc text or corpus of OHO or mare irreducible types atone general thing (such as pulchrihido ndhuerm and pukbritudo vogn in rhe Third Critiquc. analyzcd by Dcrrida in Parergon); of a variety o information in a text and a context;!Q or f



simply of fit repeated and dissimilar functions within om text or cantcxt o mere signifiers, such as the I m s i and r in MaIIarmt (sn f D,p. ,282). Other such discursive inequalities can be found bermen pam of a rexr, for ucample a preface and the main body of a met, as d i m m e d by Dcrrida in Outwork, Prrfacing; between the title and thc main pan of the text, as thematid in Tim pddser; or between two stgmcns of a text dividcd by an intermediary space which is marked either by a blank, as in BlanchotsLArra de mod. analyzed in Living On: ?ordmLines, or marked by an inmpolated t x a5 in Nicawhcs et Homo, treated in COtobiographie de Nicasche. For p m t -y t accumulate further cvidcna of such o purposq it is not nr discurbivc disazpancics arising from a grafting of thoroughly hmrogcneous elements upon one another. Lct us rccalI for the morncnt that rhcy are multiple, different in status, and different in essence. The analysis p t s u p p d by all deconstruction. properly speaking, canoists ofsuch an assessment of the various heterogeneous levels of philosophical discouse, as well a~ of the hctcrogcncous clemcnts or agcncis that combine on these levels. It is not a question o reduang f t h e e variegated discursive and conceptual disparitis to one model o divergency, cspccially not m that of contradiction as the major f criterion of the necessary f a l x h d of statements. Nor is the question one of how to reduce these disparities, incon&tenci~,and dissimilarities through any of the traditional procedures. What is at stake is the assessment of the generality and irreducibility of these various incqdiues. Under this condition only can the second step of deconstruction take place. h w n s m d o n is thus the ammpt to acmunt for the hcterogmcity constitutive of the philosophical discaursc, not by trying to overcome irs inner diMerenccs but by maintaining them. To sum up: decansmction srarfs with a systematic elucidation of contradictions, paradoxes, inconsistencies, and aporias constitutive o coanccptuality, argumentation, and the disamivencss o philosof f phy. Yet these discrepanacs arc not logical contradictions, the only discrepanda for which the philosophical discourse can aauunt h d e d by the logic o identity, they arc consequently not contradictions f prOpRly speaking. Nor are t h c ~ nr -y inmnsisrcncies rhc result of inquality between form and conrent. Their urdusion from the canon o philosophical themes is precisely what makes it possible to f distinguish beorrcen form and mntcnt, a distinction that takcs place solely against the horizon o the possibility of their homogeneous f reunification.



As its Grst step, deconstruction thus presupposm a cuncrtrely developed demonstration of the fact that concepts and discursive totalities are already cracked and fissured by necessary contradictions and hmrogeneitics that thr discourse o philosophy fails to take into f account, &her bceause they are not, rigorously speaking, logical mntradiaions, o because a reguIatcd (conceptual) economy must avoid r them in order to safeguard the ethico-theoretical decisions that orient i t s discourse. These fissures become apparent whcn wc follow to its logical end that which in the pmcess of concepruaIizarion or argumentation i s only in a cenain manner said. Demnsrmaion thus begins by taking up broached bur discontinued implications-discontinued because they would have contradicted thc intentions of philosophy. In the case o Rousseau's text, Derrida formulates this p d u r e as f

Rousscau's text must constantly bcmnridered asa m m p h a n d many-tevclcd smcmrc; in it, certain, pmpositions may be acid as inrcrprctations o other f pmpositionr thar we are, up to a certain p i n t and with rcrtain precautions, f r e to read oihcnvisc. Rousscau says A, then for reasons thar we must dcrerminc. he interprets ,A into B. A, which was alrndy an intcrprctation. i s reinterpreted into B. kfrcr raking cognizame of it,we may, without leaving Rousuau's r a t . isolate A from it$ interpretation into B, and diswver parsibilitics and rcrourccs there that indeed belong t Rousseau's text, but were o not produced or exploited by him. which. for q u a l l y legible modvn, he preferred to cut short by a gesturc neither witting nor unwirting. ( O G , p,


T h e dcmonsrration of these uncxploited possibilities and t c m u r c q which contradict the ethim-theoretical decisions characteristic of conceptualization and philosophical argumentation and haunt the conceprs and the texts ,of philosophy, corresponds to the rhematization of a naivety unthought by discursive philosophical practice. Such naivety complies with and is a function ofthe ethical orientation of theorizing and is i no way a naivety or deficicncy owing to the finitude n o the philosophizing subiect, Rousseau or Saussure, f r instance. On f o the contrary, such naivety is the very possibility of theory.

AGAINST NEUTRALln Although philosophy's blind spot may 'be locared in the discrepancies mnstitutivc of the philosophical discourse, it docs not ncccssarily follow that the philosophical protect itself would be unsettled by attempts to show that these contradictions or aponas cancel each



other out. Exactly the opposim is true. Such a purported dcrnystification o phiiosophy amounts to nothing more (nor less) than the f Romantic attempt to re&, philosophys dream of homogmeity by a shortcut. Deconstruction begins with demonstrating such inequalitics within concepts or texu, but it aims as little as the texts thcmxlvcs at an annulment of that which is in opposition. That deconsuucdon h s nothing in common with such an operarion of annulmmr is spclIed aut in capital letttrs in Derridas work. The primary reason for this i s that the contradictions, oppositions, and dyadic stcuctllrcs of concepts, texts, and r h a r rnultipk argumentational levels are nwm symmnetrieal. Derrida insists timc and again that in classical philosophical opposition we are not dealing with the peaceful coexistence of a u s i 2 vis, but rather with a violent hierarchy. One of the two terms governs rhe other (axidogically, tog+cally, crc.), or has rhc upper hand (P, p. 41). Indeed, there is no dualism without primacy, as even Friedrich Schlegcl well knew.iTbus, no simplemllapsingof opposite rerrns is possible. But this dissymmetry is not only one of conrcprs opposed binarily within the discourse o philosophy; i t is also true of the f aporias, paradoxes, and contradictions that constitute the concepts themselves, or that exist betureen suppressed possibilities, RSOUM, or implications and t h a t which is valorized or explicitly developed within discursive toaliucs. In the lamer case they cannot be collapsed, because they belong to entirely different levcIs of thought and argumentatidn. To mistake deconstruction for an operation aiming at an f annulment o thcsc conccptual ot textual discrepancies is ta confound Ievels of thought and texts, to overlook the axiological and logical subordination of its concepts, and to demonstraw an insensibility to what texts, and panicularly philosophical tern, are meant to achieve. Even if dcmnsauctions intention, in the last analysis. is to expose the impossibility of clear-cut genres, and thus the ultimate failure of a distinct genre such as philosophy, its point o departure remains an f extreme awarenessof the projectparticularto the genre of philosophy, as o p p d to literature in particular. Deconstruction, writes Dcrrida, cannot limit itself or proceed immediately to a neutralization (M, 329). Such an annulment or p. neutralization of mnccptual or textual inconsistencies. by overlooking the canflictuaI smcturc of oppositions, would in p r u d e leave the previous Ccld untouched, leaving one no hold on the prnious opposition, thereby preventing any means of intervening in the 6eld effectively" (P, p. 41). Such neutralization would not only renounce all active intervention in thc texts to be dtconstrumd, bur would



w e n scryc the puposcs and interests of traditional interpretation. In a long fmmote t The Double Session he writes, Just as the motif o of neutrality, in its ncgative form paves the way for thc most classical and suspect attempts at reappropriation, it would be imprudent just to canccl out the pairs of metaphysical oppositions,,simply to m r k off from them any text (assuming this to be possible). (D, 207). p. In the case of Mallarmi, for example, a deconstruction, in the sense of a ncutralizaton or annulment, o oppositional dyads would fieme f only r confirm the hitherto idealist interpretation of that author. o Indeed,by annulling and equalizingall oppositional forces inrhe mode of pro and contra, such an operation would not only stabilize these torccs in an economy of decidable polarities, bur would also be a free shot which aims nonetheIess 10 collect its interests (S, p. 63). Therefore, Dcrrida insists on a dissymmeiric sharegy in demnstruction in order to control and countcrbalance the neutralizingmoments of any deconstruction (D.p, 207). Dewnstrction is nor neutral; neutrality has a negative essence (nr-uter), is rhe negative side of transgression (WD. 274). A s such, it is produced within discursive p. knowledge. in which ultimately all the contradimions and all the oppositions o classical logic are avercome in thc work of neutralif zation. Neurrafizarion, then, i s a negative image of deconstruction within discursive knowledge. What Detrida says in Writing und Difference of Batailles sovereign operation is valid for deconstrucrion too: The sovereign operation is not content with neurralizing the classical operations in discourse; in the major form of experience it transgresses the law or prohibitions that form a system with discourse, rmd e m with the w o r k ofneutrulizatiott (WD, 274).J p. Since the identifying Q f deconstruction with the neutralization o r mutual annulment of contradicting concepts or textual strata is still one of the dominant misconccptions about deconsmution, it may bc useful r pursue its implications. This misconceprion has informed o most deconstrucrive litcrary criticism. whether of literary, philosophical. or critical texts, and it has come ta be known as the theory of self-retlecrion or self-d-deconsuuction of texts. This self-reflection is understood to take place by a mutual annulment, neutralization, o r cancellation of all bipolar oppositions within these texts. Such a principle of annulment also informs critical enterprises that oppose conflicting and mutually exclusive positions wirhin critical theory or philosophy in order m demonstrarc their identity. by showing that one posiEion partakes in the other it opposes {and vice versa). in this manner pointing our the inadcquacy ot either as a universa1 statement.

. .


Whcrhcr this mutual neutralimrion is seen as a final coming to rest o the antagonistic positions or as an endless conilict betwen the two f positions. the principle is the same. But what theoretical pmuppositions do these different critical enterprises share, whether rhey deal with texts of literature, philosophy, or criticism? Firsr, the suspicion that anrappnistic positions or opposite canceps are identical ariscs from a negIcct o the historical and pragmatic aspects o thc contexts f f r in which they are expressed. Only through such a simplification o reduction o this context-that is to say, anly when historical and f theoretical dispiamments within a tradition arc no longer seen as o corresponding to real theoretical problems, form, ideologies, and s on-is such a dramatization of adthetical positions o criticism posf sible. By neglecting the pragmatic and historical context o the utterf ance of what is dramatized in such a manner as to cancel it out, the criticism in qucstion reveals its origins in Romantic (as well as, in a certain interpretation, Idealist) philosophy. It is a suprahistorical criticism that pretends to speak from a position free of ideology-that is, from an abdute point of view. This last point needs to be developed a bit further. First, let us remember rhat this kind o criticism originated in early German Rof mantiasm. The reciprocal dissolution of opposing concepts or contradictorysmta within a text, which this criticism promotes, must be traced back to the Romantics' attempt at a transcendend poetry o that was t represent an amalgam nor only of all different genres but also o all the hithem separate disciplines. Such a p~erry f was t be o created through a fluidization Qr liquefaction (Ve-$ o all f oppositions and particularities by means of objecriveirony. The m l t was to be a medium afrefiriudy, in which all individual, and thus opposite, stands would achieve total reciprocity." Second-and this point too can only be presented schematically-it is necessary to &all Hegel's criticism o Romanticism, bath in general and in pardcular f of thc ideas of reciprocity. annulmenr, and neutrality. T h e medium of neurraliradon or dissolution (mewmum uniuersale) was thought to result from the reciprocal determination of all the t m 5 that partake in it. In their attempt to define this medium, the RomanriG singled f out Fichte's synthetic concept o interdetermination (Wecbselbestimmunp) and rum4 it into the one constitutive movement of annulment. But innrderermination in Fichte's Science of Kttowledge is not the only form, however major, of determination. In osdcr to break the idealist arcularity of such an interaction, he exablished the necessity o a further determination o interdetermination through selfdeterf f



mination.lThissprmlative concepr of determinarion is the very backbone of Hegels critique of Romantic philosophy. Especially in his Logic, Hegel develops this Fichtean critique of a self-contained reciprocity, a reciprocity that avoids its own detenninarion. This further determination of reciprocity and inrcrdetctmination takes placc in The Doctrine of Essence in the second b m k of the first part of Tbe Science of Logic. Ihe problem o reciprocal f determination, which consriruces rhc Romanric medium of reflection as much a5 the contemporary idea of a self-destructing text, is dealt with in The Logic of Reflection. While discussing the penultimate reflexive determination-in other words, contradiction-Hegel concludes that the reflective dissolution of contradiction, the ceaselm vanishing of the opposites into themselves, in which each of rhc polar oppositions is simply the transition or rather the self-transposition of itself into its opposite. serves roproduce a unity {Einheit) created precisely by the self-destruction of the opposed tcm5. Thq destroy thcnrselws [sie rithro! sich urgnmde] in that they determine themselves as self-identical, yet in this detcrmination arc rather the negative, an identity-with-seIf that is a relation-to-other.r This unity in which the contradimions mutually dissolve is therefore a unity of nullity (Nd!). a matter of fact, representing (vorsreUmdes) conAs sciousncss, unlike speculative consciousness, stops shorr at the onef sided resohion o it inro norhirrg, and fails to recognize rhc posirivc side of contradiction where it becomes absolute activity and absolurc ground (p. 442). How are we then to think the positive side of contradiction, and in what way can a xlf-dissolution of opposites lead to a positive unity?Hegel wrim: But contradiction contains not mercly the negative, but also the positive; or, rhc sclfcxcluding tetleaion is at the same rime positing reflection; tht result of contradiction is not mcmly a nullity. Thc positivc and negative constitute the posiredtresz of the self-subsisrence. Their own negation of themselves sublam the positedncss of the self-subsistence. It is h i s which in truth perishes in contradiction (p. 433). Indeed. from thc perspective of speculative consciousness-thar is, from a detcrmination of interderemination in selt-deterrninarionthe mutually derestricting play of opposites docs not simply result in a zero outcomc. Instead of destroying thcmsclves in a unity o nullity, f the contradictory terms that fall to the ground (zugrmdegebm) in self-liqucfaction articulate a wnity o rcflcction in which the opposed f terms ate rooted and of which they are the bipolar representation. As Hegel puts it, the dissolvcd contradiction, the canceled-out op-



pasition, i ground, -ct s as unity o the positive and mgative f (p.435). But this can be recognized only if conscjousnlss docs not stop shorn a t the concept o i interdetermination but determines it further:
T h e sclf-contadicroty, self-subsirtento p p s i h n was therefore already imlf ground; all thar was added 10 it was thc derermination o unity-wirh-sdf, f which results from the fact that each of the.seU-subsismt oppositc~ oublatcs itself a d makcs imlf into i t s opposite, &us falling to the pound [zugrundc gehr]; but in this prows it at the same time only unircs with itoclt; hcreforc, it is only in falling to tht pound [irr scimm Untmgmgt-], that is, in its positcdnar or negation, &at h oppositc is really the essence that is retlected c into and identical w i h itself. (p. 435)

In short, Hegels speculative critique rcvealr that both the shortcomf ings and,ambitions o the Romantic dissolution of contradimion, a dissolution that prestppows diffirena and rcsula only in the negative arnQof :be mtrd (a unity of nullity), were within the realm o truth. f Unless one temgnizes with Heidegger that nihilism is the very e s x n r e of metaphysics and that consequently all the concepts of wencc, ground, and unity as rhought within onto-theology are nihiIisticconcepts to which both Romanticism and mntemponry literary critiasm and those ideological positions that a c m s them o being nif f hilistic are indebted-Hegels critique o the medium of reflexivity shows thar what the Romanda aimed at was not 50 nihilistic after all. As this disassion ofreciprocal determination or the self-canceling of bipolar oppositions has demonstrated, the Romantic idea of the medium of reflexivity, as well as that of the text as B medium o f neutralization and annulment of concepts and strata, fails to achieve what it sceh: a unitary ground or essence in which all xlf-subsistent opposites dissolve in order to ground themscIves. W r they to achiwc ee this goal, Romantic self-reflmion and deconrtructive criticism would represent a fulCllment of the telos of metaphysics. But Hegels speculative critique ot the movement o contradiction, which applies both f m Romanticism and t cnnremporary deconsuuctivc literary c i i i m o rtcs, shows that this movement produces only the simple o abstract idea r of such a ground. As Hegel shows, such a unity cannot be achieved in a logically satisfactory manner within a lagic o eSEenaor reflection f but only in the logic of the Concept or Notion, since only here can the determination o interdetermination by self-determination be comf pleted. k me repeat, then, that deconsmction has nothing in common



with this sort of philosophical or criticat practice, although it is often confused with it. Deconstruction docs not engage in the annulment or neutralization o opposites. It is not a practice in search of an f essence, ground, or unity beyond all singular and opposite rerms or beyond thc htstorical and pragmatic aspects of the concepts 01 positions whose dramatization is staged in Romantic philosophy and in related literary criticism. We have seen that this cannot be the case. The propacdeutia of deconstruction reveal that ir is not mnccrncd with what has hitherto been called contradictions or aporias, which lcnd themselves to a mutual self-dcstruction or to dissolution in an all-embracing ground or essence.

If decomtruction, conrequeotly. cannot be mistaken fr such a metao
physical operation, regardless of the way in which ncutratizatian at annulment of differences is u n d e n t d - a s a conciliatory putting to rest or as rhc opening of an infinite war bfrrvten them-how then is demnsrrunion different? What does it do with the contradictions, aporias,and inconsistencies that it so eagerly pinisto in the formation of concepts or the argumentative and discursive structures of texts of all som? A firsr schematic answer is that de*lnstructian attempts to account* f r these contradictions by grounding them in ino frastructures discovered by analyzing the specific organization of these contradictions. In addition to Derridas philosophical style and the multifarious infrastmcrures to which his analysts lead, the very concept o infrastructure, as the formd rule that each t m regf ie ulatcs diffcrcntly the play of the contradictions in quation, is an intflnsic part of his original contribution to philosophy. It is a contrihurion that displaces the logic of philosophy and inscriber ir within a general heterology. Let us address specifically the three general concepts that 1 have put in quotarion marks in this,definirion of deconstruction: accounting for, grounding (as it differs from thc metaphysical operation of grounding), and structure. Since Plato, at1 reasonable speech has been held M be that which not only assern bur also always accounts for what is asserted, by stating the grounds or reasons for it. Yet such a substantiation, by reasons or grounds, of what is asscrred, and hence the claims to knowledge of reasonable speech. d m nor proceed cxclusivcly by empirical and logim-mathmatical justification. Ir must also take place,



as Kant w i at the beginning OF Critique of Piwe Ru*m, in a free rm and public lamination."^^ As hgon d i d m i , or a rendcring o acf counts, all accounting-that is, all stating ,of the pounds of what is asserted-comprises a practical and publicaspectin which thcthinker justifies himself before others. Just as in ancient G e c the individual ree f laid his entire life bare in the public square o the agora to ranivc the civic stamp of approval of the whole community, without which his life as a citizen would have been incomplete, so too the appeal to public approval is a n m r y and intrinsic clement of philosophical accounting, without which philosophy could not ,claim universality. In this process the individuals self-consciousnesscoalcsccs, and the legitimacy o the grounds of explanation receives its ,official stamp of f recognition from the public. The concept of accounringfor, rhm, which ultimately hinges on the lagon didomi, involves much more than merely stating grounds in the process of substantiating what is asserted. The individual also rkssponds to the demand of accounting for himself before the community in arder to receive recognition of his status as a self-conscious pubIic being. Only in unison can all thcx moments o accounting establish the artitudc o truth. They show f f the pro accounting to be a unitary proms, in which the subf f stantiation o truth claims hinges on rhe public constitution of the individual as a self-conscious, reasonable being, capable ofdrmonstrating philosophys claim to self-legitimfzation,~ Derridas anernpt to ground the contradictions in concept formarion as well as in the argumentative and rcrmal m n of philoa sophical ensembles in infTastructurc5 has many consequences for the rraditional concept o accounting and its structure of wholenesf more consequences than can be analyzed here. Although it is irnportam to rcalim rhar Dcrrida d m not simply craw the metaphysical concept of accounting and of a Iasr instance, if only because to do s n wouid run the risk of defusing the nemsary critique it perrnia in p. certain determinate contexts (0, 2081, it will soon bccome clear that the infraastrumral grounds that account for the differences in question and correspond to problems that do not belong to the cia* sical canon o philosophy are no longer simply grounds in the philf osophical sense. Consequently, establishing such nongrounds can no longer be viewed as an act o philosophical accounring. f I have maintained that deconstruction consists of establishing infrastructures to accaunt f r differences as far as they pertain t o o canceptF and texts. Clarifying what 9tructure and infiastrucrure mean in this wntcxt may give us a better grasp of rhc episttmologgicaI



achievement of deconstruction. Throughout his writings Denida has acknowledged the pertincnce of the structuralist enterprise. But he has also regularly pointed out its ethico-metaphysical provenance, especially in phenomenology. in whose shadow modern structuralism has grown and flourished. He has insisted on the affinity between 5tructurat and eidetic reduction and on the problem t h a t follows from both: the systematic privileging of one of the rwo series that characterize rhe system of metaphysics-rhc xrics concerned with form, quantity, internal organization, closure, static analysis, aod so on as opposcd to that concerned with content, quality, history, opcnness, genetic analysis. Therefore, Derrida concludes, it would not be difficult rr, show that a certain structuralism has always been philosophys most spontaneous gesture (WD, 159). Yct he also claims p~ to have dcvcloped the most legitimarc principled migcncies of structuralism * (P, p. 28), as far as a norion such as differance is CORccrned, that is, as onc example of infrastmaura. Cansequcntly, it is all the more urgent to clarify the concepr of srructure as used by Uerrida. Whether one retraces the traditional meaning o stmctwe back to f the origin of its present usage in the calculus of variations o the 1870s f and in topabgy at the turn of the century,or to its synonyms in Creek thought, it always refers to a constructed system functioning perfectly within itself. Yet in this sensethe term structure borrows heavily from several other traditional concepts. Thus, an analysis pretending to exhaust the meaning of rhe modern concept of structure would have to begin by explaining why it wcrned necessary at o n e point m replacc more traditional concepts with this new term. To know why one says structure, is to know why one no longer wishes to say eidos, *essence,form, Gestalt, ensemble, composition, complex, construction, correlation, totality, Idea, organism, sate, y t m sse. ctc. One must understand not only why each of these words showed i r d f to be insufficient but also why the notion nf structure continues to borrow Some implicit signification from them and to be inhabited by them (WD, ,301).What the norion of structure shares with all p. thcsc concepts i s closure, according to which the passage from one structure to another can be rhoughr only in tcms o chance, hamrd, f or catastrophe. I t i important 10 note that this closure is due not s only to the bracketing of facts t h a t a structuralist perrpecrivcrequim, bur also to the fact that the traditional concept of structure is always thought to hc cenrered. T h e concept of structure has always been thought with regard to a point of presence o fixed origin which turns r


f4 5

i botders into the arcumfmncz of a totality, This aspen of a d s d s oc mmlity, withdrawn from all possibIe &change from ourside, which thus
makesesthcsrrucrure ideal model rather than a de fact0 consmction, an is also emphasized by the metaphorical origin of structure in the concept o spatialiry. f In W r i h g mzd Dflmrcnre, Derrida m i n d s us that

gnicnr SCIISU, the

muon ofsuumre r c f e ~ ~ co space, gmmeuic o moronly r

phological space, the order o forms and sitcs. Srmuurc is hnt the structure f o an organic or artificial work, thc inumal unity of an.asremblagc, a conf shrctiorr; a work i5 gmcrncd by a unifying pnndple, the nrchiiecirre that is bdit and made visible in a location. Only metaphorically was this topogruphical literality displaced in the direction of iro Aristoulean and topi d signification (the t h m r y o mrnrnonplaccs in languagc and thc manip f ulauan of rnorifs or arguments) {WD, 15-16) pp.


In short, the conocpt of s r m c t u ~ a highly charged and ambiguous i s one. Consequently, cvcrythirtg depends upon how one sets ir to

work, a D d d a says in Pmitians (P,p. 24). The kind of work to s which Derrida refers is lccated,,firstof all, in^ the spatiality waked by thc.mctaphor of stmcnue. The task is to interrogate the metaphoridty of the term structure in order to prevent irs geometrical and rnorphobgical connotations from taking dre upper hand. Subsequently, a ccrtain nonspatialky or original spatiality of thc concept of structure comes into focus- Derrida writes in Writing nnd Diflermce:
As long sthe mctaphorial scnsc of the notion of ~ c t u r is not acknowlc edged as such. that is t say interrogated and cvm dcsroycd as concerns its o figurative quality so that tbt nonsparialiry or original spatiality designad by it may be mivcd, one runs the risk, through a Kind o sliding as unnotiad f as it is efficacious, of confusing meaning w t its gmmeiric, morphological, ih or, in the bnt d c s s cinematic model. One risks being interested in the ae, figure itrclf m the detriment of the play going on within it mctaphori-

cally. (WD, 16) p.

By bracketing in rhii manner all the figurative connorations of the original model of structure-&at is, by thematizing and excluding from the term its geometrical representation of a unified a n d centered space-the structuralicy of structure" may come into v i m . As a matter of fact, the predominantly figurative spatiality associated with the term smcrure neutralizes and obliterates the thought o m c r turality of structure and what it is to achieve. The morphological and gcamerric rneraphoricity of the notion of s cue not only fails to wt r



exhaust the meaning of the term bur also depends on the structurality of s t r u m r e for its very meaning. T h e thought of the strumrality of stfuchlre. a thought that bcm e s possible as soon as the ,oridnary metaphorical meaning of shchrre is recopitad and put between quoration m r s is the thought ak, of the law according to which the notion of strncture has always been svbjccted to a center. It is also a n attempt to decenter structure, to think its openness, o 10 think what remains open in an otherwise r closed structurc. Thc stmcturality of structure sccms, thus. to be another name for the tsscncc o sttrutture, which comes into view as f s w n as the spatiality that informs the mctaphor of structure is set aside. Why essence is not the proper name for the atructurality o f s t r u m r c wit1 become obvious as we go on. For rhc moment it should be clear that whm Derrids operates positively with the conccpt o f structure, he aims ar thc structurality of structure. To spcak of the rrrucmrality of structure is to speak on a level entirely other than the lcvcl on which the conccpt o the (necmarily closed} minor smucf ture exists. This structuralicy ofsrructurc is the fundamtnral 5tructure (WD. pp. 155,261; it allows a dostd-off totality to open itself, ifonly in the mere anticipation of iis subscquent reclmure. But this fundarncntal or cssential stmcmre is in truth the structurality of an opening, a transcendental of sorts that allows the minor Structures to comc to the fore (WD. p. 155). It is an opening that is nrucrural, QT the smcturrlity of an opening. Yet each of thesc concepts excludes the other. It is thus as little a structure as it is an opening; it is as little static as it is genetic. as little structural a5 it is historical. It can be understood neither from a genetic nor from il structuralist and taxonomic point of view, nor from a combination of both points of view. What, then, is this more fundamcntar stnrcture? What is i n srructurality? I t is thc opening or possibility o what opens up closed f structures, and what closes structures off against any exterior intcrfcrence. It is the principle that guides the decentering and centering ofstructures. This opening is certainly that which fibcrates timc and genesis (even coincides with them), but it is also that which risks enclosing pogression toward the future-becoming-by giving it form. That which risks stifling force under form (WD, p. 26). The transcendentality of this structurality of an opening is therefore both the condition of possibility of a systematic structuralism and theprincipled, essential, and structural impossibility of dosing a structural


IA 7

phanomenology or any systematic strumralism of whatever kind (WD, 162).To sum up: shsrrfrrw in Derrida has the meaning of p.
a nonregional and tranMendrntd opening that represents the condition of possibility of the minor structures and the accidents t h a t they suffer. Shctrrre, as used by Derrida, is an infrastructure. In Positions, Dcrrida notes rhat the concept .ofinkastructurc, as he uses it several times in Of Crummarolagy, camsponds to a transfarmed concept of inframmure, , an inkasmmcture of which the gmerul rert would no longer be an effect or a reflection, char is to say, to a non-Mandst notion of infrastructure (P,p. 90). Sinm Derrida has never explicitly outlined this particular transformarion, wc may immcdiarcly pracecd to a characterization of the major fea-


m m of the notion of infrastructure.1~

With regard to concepts in bipolar opposition-that is, m mcraphysical conceprs, to the aporias that become visible in the formation of concepts, and to the codicting strata of argumentative and discursive totalities-the infrastructure is the open matrix in which tficsc oppositions and contradictions arc engendered." Dcrrida defines infiastructure when he writes, e espurnre means the irreduable Hr complldcy within which one can only shape or shift the play of prcscncc or absence: that within which metaphysics can be produced but which rnaaphysia cannot think (OG. 167). The infrastrucp. tures. which as we shall see are irremediably plural, represent the relation-connection, rdo, rapport-that organizes and thus aco count5 fr the differenccs, contradictions, aporias. or inconsisrenciei b m m n mncepts, levels, argumentative and texmal arrangements, and so o n that drtracrerize rho discourse of meraphysics. Now, 1 have daimed that by means of such infrastrumrcs deconstruction accounts for the differenm that &we the discourse of philosophy, and any othcr discourse dependent on it. Pumng aside for the moment the questions concerning the technicalities of such a way o accounring, we must first of all come to an understanding of f the philosophical tide of such an operation.indeed, what makes the infrastructures in general capable o explaining and judiaally groundf ing the aporias and contradictions o philosophical discourse? Let us f consider three reasons indicative of the exceptional rank o t h e f infrasmmrm: (1)theirprmnmbgical and prclogical status, (2)their synthetic character, and (3) their economical and strategic nature. All these qualities are, of mursc, Iinkcd, so that in expounding one, we may have m presuppose another.



Preaniolagical and Prelogical Status of Infrdswuctures

Bemuse of the strategic predicamenr of the infrastmcnws-rhat is. becausc of thcir conrexmal and historical dctermtnarion-it is, rigorousty speaking, improper m refer to infrasrrunures ar such, as I havc done until now. The infrastructure, as thc specific complex organization responsible for the philosophical opposition of structure and gcnesis, is only one possible infnsrructure, in the sense in which I use the rerm here. For reasons o exposirion, however, I shall have f to continue to speak of infrastrucrures in general in order M name everything that can account for the differences that I will be iddressing. Now,in establishing thc prcontological status of infrasrructures in general, one encounten the Same problem, owing to the fact t h a t thc qua[ification preontdgicol refers, rigoroudy speaking, to the character of one particular infrastructure with regard to the opposition in philowphy of being and nothingness. presence and absence. In spiteof these strategic limits, the determination prtonrologicafwill rtonerheless help u s characterize infrastructum in general. But Ict me caution against any misunderstanding of preontoiogical either in terns of temporal interiority or in terms of Heideggers fundamental ontology. what, then, does prmtrtologicd mean in terns of infrastructurcs? As a judiciary ground, an infrastrumrc must not be of the nature of the opposites for which it accounts: otherwisc it would bclong to the order of what it comes to explain. With regard to the traditional and canonical oppositions of presence and absence, of being and nothingness, infrastructures must nor bedescribed in terms of these bipolar opposirions, or of other oppositions derivative o them. Only by putf ting the authority of prcscncc and its simple symmetrical counterpart, a b m c c or lack, into question can an infrastructure achievc what it is supposed to achieve. The infrastructure, conscqucntly, must he thought of as preceding, in a nontemporal way, the alternarivc of being and norhingness, of presence and abscnce, and o the nntice f ontological difference as well, as Derrida shows in Diffecance. If an infrastructurc is to assumc thc explicatory status of a ground, it must be a radical altcrity in excess o that which it accounts for. For f thc same reasons, thc infrastructure must bc prelogical. T h e laws that it formulates for the discourse of phitorophy must belaws that account for the difference between the philosophimi logos and all its Others, and for rhar vcry reason it cannot have the simplicity of a IogicaI principle. Of course this is not to say that the infrasrmcture would



be irrational, since the irrational as one of the many Other0 of phil ~ o p h y s alwr only the abomve offspring of the unthought rai tional, as Hcidcgger purs it.? The infrismctufal analysis concerns both the deciding instance of the logos and that which is derivativc of it. A Dcrrida has made amply clear in Limited Inc., the infms structural Iaws are those that govern the possibility of every logical proposition. Therefore, no wnsrituttd logic nor any rde of a IogimI order can.. . provide a decision o impost its n o m upon these prer logical possibilities o logic. Such possibilities are not logically prif mary or secondary with regard to logic itself. They are (topologically?) alien to it, but not as its principle, condition of possibility, or radical foundation (LI, p. 2351. Itfallawsfrom rhic that: 1. An infrastructure i s not an existent. It is not. Nor, however, is it simply absent. It is not a being-present, however excellent, unique, principal, or transcendent one makes it, writes Derrida in Differance (SP,p. 153). Although nor a k i n g (an]# it ia not a nonbting (ML an). Being present in neither a sensible nor an intelligiblemanner, and thus belonging to no region whatsoever, thc infrastructure belongs to a space logically anterior and alien to that of the regulated contradictions ofrnetaphysia. TOquote again: Wetnust laoursclvcs be referred to an order that no longer refers to sensibility. But we are not referred to intelligibility either, to an ideality not formimusly r associated with the objectivity of rhewein o undemanding. We must be referred to an order, thcn. that resists philosophys founding o p position benvcen the sensible and the intelligible (SP,p. 133). By t h i s deontologization OF thc infrastructures, all realism with regard to them is avoided. As it wil1 become dear, the concept of infrastructure exages all nominalist philosophy as well. 2. Its preantoIogica1 nature aside, the infrastructure acquires its interpretive efficiency with regard to the specific problems it clarifies through being in excecs of the opposition af Sense and non-wnse, meaning and the absence dmeaning. Having no meaning in i s l (in tcf contrast to the fundamental Heideggenan question concerning the ontico-ontological difference as a question about the meaning of Being), it is in a position of anterioriry to the epoch o meaning and f the loss of meaning. 3. An infrastructure, moreover, is not an essence, sin= E is not r dependent on any category of rhar which is present or absent. Nor i s it a supraessentiality beyond the finite categorics of essence and cxistence. Ir doe5 nor call any higher, inconceivable, or ineffable mode of being it5 own. It has no stable character, no autonomy, no ideal



identity, and is thus not a substance, or hypokeimmon. Its essence is m havc no essence. And yer an infrastructure is endowed with a certain universaliry. T h e relations of irreducible complexity to which it rcfers arc not merely fortuitous; but this is not to say that an infrastructure is for thar reason an idealization. By accounting for thc metaphysical opposition of the ideal and the nonideal. infrasmcturs are, as Derrida insisrs, in a position ro render the project of idealization possible without lending. .. [thmselves] to any pure, simple, and jdealizable conceptualization (LI, p. 210). If infrastructures are not essences, then they cannot be the object o wen the mosr refined form of the intuiting of essences that is the f Husserlian WCSeWSChQU. They are not a correlate of phmomcnologically reduced perception, and they do not yield to the principle of all principles, that is, to the archetypal form of widen= of the immediate presence of the rhing itself in propriu persona. Therc is no bt such to thc infrastructures. They are not tlomu o perception. In f other words, they escape phenornenologization to the extcnt that they rcfuse ro appear in person or present themdves to a phenorncnological gaze. The infrastructures dissolve the comprehension of the thing itself. Instcad ofoffcringthemselvcs, theywithdraw. They cffaccthemselves, constantly disappearing as they go alang. They cannot, in classical affirmation, be affirmed without being negated {D, 157). p, What thus makes its entrance into philosophy is thc very possibility of a disappearing of truth, as Demda has illustrated it, under what he names women in .Spurs IS, pp. 48-51). Hcnce, what Derrida assew of differance is true of all other infrastmctures as well. There is no essence of the differance; not only can it not allow itself to be taken u p into the us such o its name or i appearing, but it f n threatens the authority of the us such in general, thc things presence in i essence (SP,p. 158). s InfrastruFturcs appear or manifest themselves only 4s the differerrcr of, say, structure and genesis, but never in person, never us such. One could venture the following dcfinirion: infrastructures arc the CSsences of the structural-genetic difference. But since such an explanarion makes illegitimare use o the concept of esscncc, as wcll as of f the practice of Wesensscbau in general, Husserlian or not, it is clear that the qualification e5scnce cannot be bestowed on infrastructurcs. Infrasrrucrures do not offer themselves as such to any theorein. be it that of traditional metaphysicr, of Husserlian phenomenology, or of fundamental onrology. Yet it is precisely this alrerity, which prevents them from ever prcsenting themselves in pmon, that qualifies the


inframctorrs as an aplicandum o the difkrmcc Bawrrn the thing f in general and its essence, and of the differenm crucial to phenomenology, the difftrentrs of appearance and appearing, o perception f and what is perceived (indepmdmdy of the existence o the perf ctivcd). of the nomco-nocmatic difference, and s onr o

Syffthaic Chmrrntr of Ir&astmctrrres

The inftastructutal proass of aaounting is distinguis~cd from the specularive mode of resolving mncradirrions insofar as it maintains contradiction and resists its sublation into a higher unity. It is also distinguished from the Romantic fashion of eliminating contradiction in terms o a reciprocal self-dwruction and annulment o oppositions f f widin the s p h of, on the one hand, concordant f c i n and, on rht itos other, fictions o eternal strife between pairs of oppitcs. No differf f encc-craoing complementarity or ontologization or idealization o the war between opposites-bath Romantic alternatives ta sptculative sublation-is sought in infrasmctural grounding. Hence, daconstrucdve interprcration o the contradictions, aporias, inconsistman, and f so on that are revealed in a scrutiny of the formation of concepts and the discursive structures o philosophy will speak within contradiction f without contradiction. Indeed, in escablishing the infraatrumrcs a$ instances that account simultaneously for both p o l s of a bipolar opposition, conceptual o r discursive, without eliminating that difference, one rhinks of them wirhour concradi&on-thar is, without considering such contradictions to be pemnarr-as present und absenr, sensible m d intelligible, empirical and transcmdental, and s o on,procirely because the infrastructures are neither present nor absent, sensible nor inteliigible, empirical nor transandental. Infrastructures, as we shall see, arc instances o an intcrmcdiary discourse, cnnwned f with a middle in which the diffcrends arc s u s p d c d and preserved, bur which is not simply a dialectical middle. what explains this strange logic is that the infrasuucrures must be originai syntheses if rhey arc to live up to their judiciary ask. Yet, compared tn thc original syntheses ar work in the discourse of mcraphysics, and in particular in G u m a n Idealism as a whole, t h e syntheses can only be unities by simulacrum (P, 5s). Thcy cannot be secn as third terms that eventually p initiate solutions in the form ofspeculative diaIecticr. Rather, these original qnthcxs, says Dcrrida, are analogous to what in traditional philosophy, Csptdally in Kant, h z been relegated to transcendental imagination, whose art dms not simply belong to the realm of the




sensible and the intelligible, the passive and the active (xe D,p. 126). f h c y do not simply carry implications of positing, activity, or agency ofany son; nor are they merely passive, constituted syntheses. They arc. on the contrary, more "originary" syntheses than any classical origin. They represent n mode of synthesis that is older, or mare . simple," than the mode of uniting that is charactcriatic of philosophical synthesizing. Synthesis, with respect to the inhasrmmres, involves a complicity and caimplication that maintain together an underermined number o possibilities, which need not necessarily be f in a relation of antithetical contrast with one another, as is the case in the classical concept of Synthesis. Theachicvment o t h m original f synthtscs is that they tie together a variety of "contradictory" or heterogeneous concepts, instances, strata, significations, and so on, and that they make these communicate in a minimal organizational unit, thus accounting for their contiguity in a given context while also maintaining their irreducible diffcrence. For t m msons. the infrah structural syntheses can be compared to 5cene5, stagings, and synopses (rather than to tableaux) tothe extent thartheydo notcliminatedifIcrence, spatialiry, or arrangemeor to the benefit of homogeneous unity. T h e infastmaure is what knots ragcthcr all the threads o corf respondence among certain hetcrogmcous points of presence within a discourse o r text. It must be understood as the medium ofdiffeteniiotion in ,general o thc heterogeneous possibilirics, contradictory f strata, lexicological disparities, and s on. This medium of all possible o differentiation-the common clement of all the oppositions, contradictions, and discrepancies-is not a medium rhac would precede, as an undiffcrentiated plenitudc, thc differenccs inro which it fragmcrits itself. The adverse t r s are not liquefied or mixed within it. As the em medium of differentiation in general, it precedes u n d i f f m r i a d unity and the subsequent bipolar division. It is a unity of combat, "rhc mmbar zonc hcovmn philosaphy and ir5 other" {D, p. 138). l r is rhc locus o what Heidegger calls the some, as disrincr from the identical. f Thus, what makes the origjnaty syntheses of the infrastructures only simulacra of syntheses is not merely their nature as arrangements of possibilities, as opposed to what Hegel calls speculative germs, hut their task of accounting for contradiction as such, without turning it into the force of thc negative in the scrvioe of totality, whaher specularive or not. An infrasrmcturc, nores Derrida,
11 1

holds in rescrfe, in its undccidcd shadow and wigil, rhc opposins and the differmds that the p m m s o discrimirration will come to carve our. Conf



tradictions and pairsofappasircrarelifted from thcbotrorn ofthisdiacritical. djkring, deferring r e w e . Already inhabired by differme &is rrscry4 even though it precedes Ihc o p p i t i o n h c t w m diffetent tllms, even though it prccxistsdiffcrcnar aseffms. docsnor hnvcrhcpunmal simplicity of a coincidmrid oppositorurn. It is from this fund that d i a l d c r draws in pftilosophernes. (D, 127) p.

But the rtservc of the infrastruaum as the medium of all possible differentiation is also distinct f o the Romantic medium of reflexrm ivity, in which everything communicates with everything within the h l presence of the soul of the world. u We must r e a l l a t this poEnt that the contradictions among concepts o argumentative patterns that i h infrastructures explain are cmtrar be dictions to which philosophical totalizations arc oblivious, and that survive in spite of the miry o the concepts, in spite of successful f discursive totalization. The original synthesis o infrasrmctures m s f ut thus explain the possibility o unity, speculative totaliry, and synthesis f against the backdrop o these nonsublimatcd, nonsublated, nonrecf ollccted conrradicrions-that is, as syntheses thar do not erase contradiction and aporia. Such a synthesis is originary prccisely because it is not dosed, and because it maintains contradictory possihiliries together. Such a synthesis must explain synthesis.

Economicul mid Strategic Ndiure of Snfmstrucmres

The last explanation I shall consider for the judiciary privilege o the f infrasrmctllres concerns the specific nature of the arrangement of the conrradimry possibilities in original synthcxs. These originary arrangements or compositions of conflicting possibilities are economical, in wcry sense o the word. They are economical synrheses according f M rhe sense of oibommos as arrangement. T h e y are economical inmfar as they represent clusters of possibilitics indicating that the kind of bringing-together proposed here has the structure of an interlacing, a weaving, or a web, which would allow the &&rent threads and different lines of sense or force to separate again, as well as being S ready to bind others together ( F , p. 132). Inhasctuctures fulfill the economic prinaple of successful expIanation by accounting for a maximum of phenomena with a minimum of concepts and lagical traits. Their synthew are economical too. in that they are characterized by a artain calculus whereby the possibilities to be accounted for are summed up by being p u t aside, in the same way that one puts money aside as a reserve. The infrastructures reveal this goleral Economy as



organizing thhe relations between heterogeneous possibilities, such that they constitute, in a sense still to be elaborated, the last instance. In addition. what makc5 the fnfrastrucrurcs economical-a$ the consideration of all the faaow of possibility present within a certain thcoretical configuration-is also what limits both the nonethical, nonidealizing explanatory scope of decanstnraian and the intervention of its strategic dimension to only one particular dimrsive space and time. Yet what may appear to be a limitation is actually what makes deconstruction, contrary to the ahiscork and purely aesthetic f practice of annulment and ncutralization o opposites, an active historical form of intervention in historically specified contexts. Considering decanstructive interpretation as the production o inf frastructurm capableof groundingcanrradictions and inconsistencies, dmnsrmaion, far from being nihilisric, destructive, or negative, is, on the contrary,affirmative. InSpurs, Dmida insists that deconsauctive interpretation is affirmative interpretation (XE S p. 37).Indecd, , evcrythingthar Heidcgser stated in his antinihilisricstand on dcstrucrion in "The Letter on Humanism" can be repeated with regard to deconsrmcrion. The affirmative character of deconstructive interpretation, however. is not to he confused with positivity. Demnstrucrivc interpretation is affirmative in a Nimschean sense {see SP, pp. 1S9160).In the context of the present attempt to define it as the production o reconstrunion of infrastructures, this means that deconr suuaive interpretation affirms the play o thc positive and and the f negative, and thus it wards off the ethical temptation to liquidate negativity and difference.


At this point we must ask ourselves whether, rigorously speaking, inhanrucrures can be called grounds, and we must quation as well whether that which deconstruction achieves can in fact be comprehended and comprisd by the traditional opcration of grounding. No doubt, if deconstruction is dcscribed as an attempt tu account by means of infrastructures for the contradictions and differences that the traditional discourse of philosophy accepts without question. then this ,enterprise documents precisely the earnstness and rigor characteristic of the philosophical operarion d foundation. But in order to asses the true namrc o dcconstrucrion, the similarity between f dcconrtruciion and the philosophical operation o grounding must f not be overemphasized, sine this similarity is no more than a rcsembtance. Deconstruction repeats or mime5 grounding in order to ac-



a u n t for the difference between a ground and that which is grounded, with what can no longer be m l l d a ground. f o Since it is in the very nature o a ground t be in eccm of what it accounts for, the infrastructure--the difference h e e n the ground and what is gmoundcd-cannot be understood simply as a ground. Nor for these same reasons are the inEraascructures deep, as opposed t surfacc, mctum; there is nothing proFornd about &MI. They o are not, strictly speaking, deeper grounds, which would be in opposition to what they make possible. In Spurs we read: In its turn, the opposition between metaphysic and non-metaphysic encounters its limim here, the very limit of that apposition and of appositions form.. . But, ifrhe form of opposition and the opposidonal s t r u m r e are themsc~vcsmetaphysical, then the relation of metaphysics to its other can n o longer be one o opposition (S, pp. 117-119). The f inhastructure, or what I shall call the space of inscription, is not in a relation of opposition to that which it makes possible. The relation ofaltcrity b t r w c ~ r infra5tructures and t h a t which they account for is r not the relation o opposition between the ground and rhe grounded.= f The hicratchical relation between infrastructures and what they make pssible (insofar as they also make it impossibIe) i s not that o a f hierarchy bascd o n opposition and contradiction. Hierarchy is no& however, absenr; it is differently structured. For all rhcse reasons, an infranmumrc is nut what is called a ground in traditional philosophical language. It is, on the contrary, a nonfundamental structure, or an ab-1 srmcture, to the extent that it is without a bottom. Yet it i not itself the b t o o anything either: ln such a structure, which s otm f i a non-fundamentalone, at once s u p d c i a l and bottomless, still and s always flat, the property [propre] is Iiterally sunk. Even as it is carried away of itself by its desire, it founders there in the waters of this its own desire, uncncounterable-of i l It passes into the other (S, wL p. 117). Infrastructures, consaquently, must bc understood in a necessarily equivocal manmr-that is neither as the mult of florid language nor 08 fallacious reasoning-as simultaneously grounds and ungrounds, as conditions o possibility and irnposibility. The n-icy f of such hfiridorspurions reasoning, of what Placo would have called logirtno t h i notho, s t e m from the CffOK to think into one the metaphysical opposition o the ground and that which it grounds, without, howf met, turning it into an identity. The neccsity of the apparently incongruous staternem to which such rePsoning leads can be hlIy accounted for only by considering what in Derrida corresponds m a gcncral theory o duplication. f



As we have seen, the infrastructure is not a subject o a cause. a r thing in general, or an essence to which everything that is could be rewaced, as to a n origin present M itself. But mote important, neither docs the infrasttmaure dmignate the processof division and separation f constitutive o differends and difference, because such a process still presupposes a prior, unbroached origin. Thus, although dcconstruction, with its emphasis on the infraasttucrure, resembles what is called in traditional philosophical language a search for a constituting, prbf duang, and originary causality, the reconstruction o infrastmctures dbes nor fall simply under philosophical jurisdiction. By tyingtogerher in an infrastructure things as different as a ground and that which is grounded, deconsrnrction does not proceed according to a strategy of finality. infrastructures are only general and formal predicative structures that repremr the common root for all predicates characterizing opposing terms. This explains why infrastructura cannot be concepts, but rather have the status of philosophical quaiconcepts (VP,p. 64). Moreover, it shows that the infrastructurc is no more than the open but comprehensive fund-the system of predicative differences-in which the opposition between ground and that which is grounded is carved out. The infrastructure is therefore also rhe s s e of differenccs from which a11 constituting finality draws ytm its resources. For chis very reason, the infrasrruccural accounting does not correspond to an operation of grounding; on the contrary, this p. operation which is not a n opration (SP, 137) questions the very values of origin, archue, and ielor. In what tams, then, are we to understand the achievements of deconstruction? If the infrastructures r do not constitute, engender, o prcduce these differences or contradictions, how, then, do they relate to them? If the infrastructures arc n t to be understood as causalities, active or passive, if they ace neither o of the order of subjectivity or essentiality nor, rigorously speaking, conditions of possibiliry, how, hen, are we to rhink their intercourse wirh t h a i of which they are infrastmcrures? In his early work, such as Of Grammutology, Derrida a t times speaks o the relation becwcen the infrasttucturcs and that which t h q f arc infrastructures of in terms of constitution and production, thus meeting all the rcquircrnenfs of traditional philosophizing. For instance, he invim us % speculate upon the power of exteriority as constitutive of interiority: of specch, of signified meaning, of rhe present as such (OG, p. 313). Hence, there cannot be any doubt as to the Icvel on which infrasmcrur= have r be situated or as M t h c o goals toward which deconstruction i s aimed. Dertidas hints, in Of Crammarohgy, at a new transcendental aesthetic (OG. p. 290)



strongly support rhe dew that dcconstruaion aims at a theory of originary constitution; but at the same t m , Of Grummatology as a ie whole mnsisrs o a dcconscruEtive critique o the philosophical mnf f cept of.ori@, and thus o the idea o a linear genesis. L t u also f f e s recall that in the earlier Speech and Phmumenu, Derrida had written that the very concept o constitution itself must be deconstmmd f (SP, 85). In OfCrumm&ology the notion ofinscription (of both p. ihe origin .and w h a t is derived from it) displaces the concepts o f

production, engcndcrmtnt, gcncsis, constitution, and M on, which are tributary to and characteristic of metaphysics and transcendental phenomenology. Aftcr Of Grmmfology, Derrids enclam all t h e terms in quotation marks. Inrcliption is one o the tcms that both continue and break with f the transcendental question of production or constitution, of genesis and hismry. inrcnpiian is another name for canstiturion, or more precisely, for the mnsdtudon of nrbjecrs and, so to speak, of consrirurion itself (OG. 281). In what ways, hen, dots the notion o p. f inscription both continue and displace the transcendental qustion of constitution? First, what docs the word inscription designate? Inscription, or rather, insmption in gmeral, is the name for a possibility that all spccch must presuppose-that marks all speech-Mort it can be linked m incision, engraving. drawing, the letter--in show to writing in the common scnsc of the term. Without inscription in genwul, without an bstitwted truce, without archewriting or protowriting affecting speech as the posiibility of its notation. whether or not that possibility is ever actualized, no actual notation would be possible. Without the possibility that an origin can he Iost, forgotrea, or dienared into what springs f r f o it, an origin could o& r m not bc an ongin. The possibility of i n d p t i o n is thus a neccsliary possibility, one that must always be possible. Dcrrida writes: A new mnsccndmtal acsthctic must I itulf bc guided not only by matha f ematical idealities but by the possibility o inscription in general, not befalling an aiready constituted spacc as a contingent accident but producing the spatiality of space. Indeed we say of inscription in gmeml. in order to make it quite clear that it is not simply the notation of a prepared s& representing i t d f , but inscription within o+ and inscription as habittation always already situated (OC, p. 290). Inscription, consequently, desigaam the passibiftits that necessarily affect all origin insofar as it can factually be the origin of something, o insofar as it can engender o constitute samething, r r actively or passively. Inscription in g m m l is the mode in which



infrasrmcnrres qua nccmary possibilities relate to that o which they f are infrastructures. Thus inscription is what con5titutcs origins as possible constituting origins. Yet such an investigation into the **conditions of possibi1itiesof origins, into thespacc of inscriprion beyond such oppositions as sensible and inrelligiblq as Derrida remarks, ought no longer to call itself a transcendental aarbetic. neither in the Kantian, nor in the Husserlian,sense ofthwe words (OG, p. 290). Indced, deconstruction is an inquiry neither into the a priori forms o sense f perception andobject constimrion charaaeristicof a subject in general nor into the meaning o thc prcpredicativc and preobjectivc spatiof tcmporahy that Husserl envisioned in the conclusion of F o m l dad Tramcmdmtul Logic as wcll as in the Curtesiun Meditations. lnscriplion is only one name for the way in which infrasrmcrurcs ground or constitute. It describes only one cluster o determinations according f to which this particular mode o founding i5 to be thought. This one f cluster of dererminations must, however, suffice here to characterize the differences between the philosophical operation of consritution and rhar of deconstruction. Inscription, says Derrida at the end o Positions, is not a simple f position: it is rather that by means of which every position I s ofitself conformded (P,p 96).Position here translates the Hegelian concept . o Setruwg, the determination of one with regard to an Other, or to f something in contrast with it. Pusition is thus a form of constitution by means of which something becomes what it is through its relacion to something other. Inscriprim, however, does not signify such 3 relation; on thc contrary, it is the determination of posirional constirution, of the relation of the same and the Orher, for it demonstrates that this relarion refers to something that cannot in any case be posited-the alterity of the Other-since this alterity is itself the ground of pssibility of a positing self. Inscription in this sense refers to an irreducible reference to Other, anterior TOan already consritutd subjccr rhar pmupposes this rcfcrtnce as well as that which such a subject constiturcs through posirioning. This implies that rhe relaton of phif losophy to its Others cannor bc one o opposition. How, then, are wc to characrerize the achicvemmts of inscription? Thc alterity in gmerd to which inscription refers is the possibiIity of sameness. For that very wason it is also the possibility of becoming different, other; and indeed, such a possibiliry must affea all selfprcsenr and selfsame origin if it is to be rhe origin o something. f Indeed, an origin is an origin only if it can pmsibly be the origin of something, whether or nor that possibility is actualized. An origin has


. rs9

no rnaning whatsoever w t o t such a possible space that it engcnihu d m and orients. It follows from this that an origin is necessariIy an inscribed origin. In order to be a selfsame origin. it must irreducibly d a t e to an 0th- in general, and in order to be the origin of somcthin& it must harbor the pnsibility of becoming other. In Writing and Diffmmce, Dcrrida cancludq Thc inscription is the written origin t r a a d and henceforth iffsnibed in a system, in a figure which it no longcr govern (WD, p. 115). Inscription. &nscqucntly, docs nor imply the annulment o r dstrucrion of rhe origin. On the contrary, the origin o r constituting principle i s put into relation with the infrasuuctural rnibilitics of an origin, with alterity in general, which m s be prcsuppod if the origin is to be the origin of something. ut lnsaiprion is a gcsnvc of comprehension which comprises rhc origin, or any constititring principle, within a configuration of marks o r inIr;lsrmctura.alpossibilities, a function of which the origin then appcan to be. In a cerrain way one could speak of inscription as an gochc of the origin; but it would be the opposite of a phenomenological epoche, since it would rcprcscnt a bracketing of the function o origin f and o Qe meaning that origin confers on what derivcs from it. In f conuast M the phenomenological epoche, which is carried our in the name of and in view of origin and meaning, inscription is the reduction of the phenomenological reduction. The infrastructures teIated to the origin, the principle, or the a priori through inscription are in excess o phenamenaliry in general-that is, in excess of what represents the f absolute possibility of the meaning of what is, of what exists; they arc more and lcss than an origin. Thc infranructunl. possibilities represent an irreducible plurality in contrast with the uniqueness OF the origin rhat they make possible but also impassible, since the origin can never dominate their s s e . The origin and its constitutive opytm ention arc themselves situated within P syntax without origin (OG. p. 2431. Since an origin, or any function of origin, is inscribed within such a system of inftasmcrum, a system that is not a rows merm or a mpm ourmios, the relation of this system to what it constirutcs can no longer be described as a linear genesis. Indeed. how could a ,pig o Tstmof posribilitics engender o w line, flow, or beam? How, r moreover. could a qstern of inscription engender in the first place? What Dcrrid? claims ofdissemination is m e of inscription in general: it only a f i m . but docs not produce or constitute, the play or system o possibilines rhar any function o origin must prtsupposc (and rhar f f therefore limit its gossibility as wcll), Thus inscription, insread of cnpmdering, conmmalizcs rhat which



claims uniqucncss and oncness. Deconstruction reinscribs the origin into the context or tern of its infrastructurd possibilities. To speak the language of philosophy, one could say that this context of infrastructures-the space of inscription of the function o origin-is f an &OfUte passivity, if it did not also anticipate the metaphysical difference between active and passive. But because of the irreducible plurality of these infrastructures, they could also be said to rcprmenr an rbsoluie mtiv;rY, if thcy did not subvert such an idea as well. Yet to mention these possible detenninationr in order to discard them immediately is not without purpose, for they give a hint o how f inscription is to be undersmod. Indeed, it is now clear that inscription as the relation entertained by a function of origin to the mnrexr QF it5 structur;ll passibiliiics rcveals rcpressed presuppositions and nonthcmatized conditions of poseibi[ities. Moreover, since a function o f origin is piuively inscribed within a system of structural possibilities, it follows that the system of structural possibilities does nor conrrol f or command the origin,which i s precisely ro bc cxpccrcd o grounds, foundations, origins, or conditions of possibility, in the stria sense. The system o infrastructural possibilities inscribes both the arigin f and its function o command, and even rhough this system of posf sihtlity docs not control or command the origin, the origin presuppows it as its (limiting) possibility, An o r i ~ i n presupposes this play a5 a text presupposes its Context, a book i s m a r g k , a painting its frame, or any unity its border. The relation ta the Other of philnsophy is one of a ccrrain cxtcriority; yet thc specificity of that relation. i t 3 transccndcntaliry so to speak, is no longer of the order of production, cngenderment, command. Throughout his works, under the name of the margin, the frame, the borderline, and so forth. Derrida has thematized this relation. Oi diffcnnce, which is one such srructural possibiliiy nf origin-an infrastructure in short-Derrida contends: 11 commands norhing, rules aver nothing, and nowhere does it excrcise any authoriry. It is not marked by a capiral Icner. Not only is there no realm of differance, bur diffcrance is even the subversion of every realm (SP.p. 153). Inscription is not a relation instituting the dependence of thearigin or of any principle on another. more fundamental principle o rcf sponsibility, which would serve exhausrively as the primary cause of causes. Derridas asswment o Bataibles notion of sovereignry is also f true o inscription: it does not command in general. Rathcr, inscripf tion puts thc origin, or the causes liable ro be called upon. in relation (en ruppoa] to the bundles of infrartructurcs that they prcsuppose,



yet to which they are not subordinate. Inscription pun the origin in relation t that which is nor controlled by its judiciary function, yet o without which it could n o t pretend t responsibility in the first plrcc. o

By inscribing a function 01origin, infrastructures d o not simply r p e

rcscnt transcendcntaiia that, as a priori conditions, would rule over

origins. Indrasmmrcs arc not deeper, supracssmrial origins. If they are said to ground origins, it must be added that they ungmund than a t the same time. lnlrastructurcs are conditions as much of the impossibility as of the possibiliry of origins and grounds. ~nfrasmcrum are structures, dusters of marks, without which grounds and banscendcntal a prioris could not exist and could not exercise the Eonstitutional function cxpected OF thcm. Yet if, i m a d o constituting f or produang origins, inkasuucturcs were seen to inscribe them, then the d m n s r m a i v e explication of rhe fissurts and cracks that chara& the philosophical discourse would no longer simply be &ought of as an enterprise af accounting. Lct us, rhcrefore, circle back to the problem of accounting. inscription has been called B putting into rrlarion, or rather err rupport. In the m a y on Bataillc, the rerm rapmfl s e r y ~ Iink two to forms o writing, minor and major; two economies, d e r c d and f gncral; as well as rhe known and the unknown, knowledge and the non-smir, meaning and nonmeaning, mastery and sovereignty. None of the terms of these rclations, howwer, dominates the other; none is the principle or ground of this inscription, or mke m ruppppart. Yet what ,doesr d p p o r ~ mean? In English it mcans a relation marked by harmony, accord, or affinity. 1n French it has addidoral meanings, some of which we must take into consideration. First o all, it significs f a report, information, or account, as well as the revenue, profit, or rcturn on a rucccssfd aperation. I t signifies such an operation insofar as it is productive. Finally, ir refers to the sari0 or proportion characterizing a relation. Consequently. rupport is characterid by scmanric ambiguity a s to its activity o passivity. r Inscription, or m*e 01 rapport, the operation of demnsrmction par excellence, is thus a f r o amounting. By bringing the origin om f o a priori principles in relation to what exceeds them, the mise en r rapport state5 its reasons. It accounts for them by relating the traditional principles o accounting to the infrastructures, which disf count, or subtract, from t k principles what they have necessarily lefr out o account. Through inscription, the traditional modes of f philosophical accounting-that is, the modes by which philosophical discourse is repaid f r its investments (refrouver ses ronrptes)-arc o



shown to haw betn accounted for by that which excccds them. The economy of the infrasrmctutes rakes into account that which cxceeds accounting, that which, as a result, is never repaid in accounting (nrunque d retrower son compte. see SF, p. 151). For rhe infrasrrucmres to which the origin is accauntablc or owing, no account or reason can be given; they cannot be accounted for, and they represent a capital that cannot be cashed in or turned into an account, since they cannot be counted in the first place. They are, as I have mentioned, irrcrnediahly plural bur, a5 we shall see. abyssal and undecidable as well. It follows from this that inscription, or mise en rapport, is not a mode of accounting that, like the principlcs it inscribes, would account for itself. Indeed, in contrast to origins or principles of Irgirimacy, the infrastrumres do not command rhernselva, indeed, they do not mmmand in general. At stake in the opcration, thrrefort, writes Derrida, is nor a self-consdousness, an abitity to be near oneself, to maintain and to warch oneself. We are not in thc element of phenomenology (WD, p. 264). Precisely by refusing to command itself nr ,anything eke. this opcrarion can function as that alreriry rhar absolutely escapes the logic of philosophical accounring while ar the same time accounting for it. As soon as the infrastruclures, or the dcconstrucrivc operation of inscription, or wise en rapport, triies to subject something to itseIf, itself included, it turns into what it purports to account tor. In order not to govern, that is to say, in otder not to he subjugated, it must subordinate nothing (direct object). thar Is to say, be subordinated to nothing or no one (servile mediation of the indirect obicct) ( W D , p. 265), To inscribe, or mertre en rapport, i s thus to speak without any philosophical sccurity. The action secms to raemble Platos logismo tini notho. That i s why Derrida can say h a t rMs is a tapport in the form o nonrappon (WD, 268). It is also 3 rupport thar does nor f p. tolerate any rapport. because what the philosophical mode of accounting is k i n g related co is beyond accounting. There cannot be the slightest symmetry bctwmn inscription and what is inscribed, between an origin and the syntax of the infrastructures against which i t comes into relief. It is impossible ro account for somerhing that inscribes the operation of accounting in a cluster of structural possibilities that cxclude their own self-domination and sclf-reflccrion. Yet it is precisely this impossibility af accounring rhar allows inscription, o r mist en rappot?, to explain what it inscribes-the origins, the principle of legitimacy and rcspansibility, the de jarre conditions,



and s on. The explicatory power o inscription spring0 from the o f radical Othmcss o the inframvctural marks to the philosophial f
m o m y o accounts. f

Insaiprion, as I have said, is beyond accounting, because what the o i i s refer ro-thc spsterns of infrascmcrural possibilities-arc not rgn supnorigins, nor do they account fr themselves. Inscription is beo yond teasan, beaux the philosopher who puts origins into relation with what rhey pmuppme as dusters o unthought pmdbilitia speaks f tKyand the Murity that philosophy can. and must, confer through h sclf-rdIaction of i e ~ e discourse, Thus to deconstruct, or inscribe, or put inm rdation the mnwmdental conditions o passibilitia with f their structural possibilities is to displace radically rhc l g . didomi o. that is the ground o reasonable sptcch. This io not, however, to annul f o discard reasonable speech; nor does it entail any flirtation with r irrationalism. On the contrary, it is an attempr, paradoxically speaki g co accauht far cfie ratia, far thc difference between rationality n, and irrationality, in a gesture that both fulfills and transgresses the most insistent and intimate goal of philosophy.


I have d t a r a c t e r i d decomciion as an attempt t account by way o
of inbmmres for a variety of wmtial differenas and contradictions within the philosophical disraurse. Ler us now consider the way in which an infrasmmrc-or as Derrida also calk it a signifying structure (strrtcme signif;mrk) (OG. p. 158)-is produced. DErrida provides a primarily ncgativc elucidation af such an exorbitant pmduction in the chapter entitled The Questions of Method in Of Grmnmrrrology. .in which he emphasizes char a transgression of the contradictions, disaepanacs, and differencesin question toward their unifyinginhastructure,or signifying structure, does not aim at something outside the discourse or tern in which they are encountered. Deconstruction must be intrinsic; it must remain within the iexrs or discoursts under cxamination. Sin= the interpretive efiicicncy o the f infrastructum or signifyiig smctutes depends on their insistence witbin a given text or discoursr, one need not stress Derridas ultimate justification-the absence o any transandental referent or signifiedf for the tequiremmt that deconstruction take the dassial d i s c o m o the tcxt as its point o departure. It may, however, be useful r r f o emphasize &at the determination of deconstruction as an operation immanent or inherent in the discourses or t x s does not ncccssady et

I 64


imply their thematic or formal closure. Dmnsttuction is a production that avoids bath traditionally opposite but complicimusly linked methods of reading. The security with which the commentary considers the self-identity aftbe text, the confidence with which it cmwes out its contour. goes kond in bmd with the tranquil m ~ r a n c c rbot leaps over tbe ter; towdrd its presumed content, in the diredon of tbe pure signified (OC,p. 159). T h e deconstructive production o f signifying structurn, which accounts for the problems it set5 out to tackle, is thus an opcration that remains intrinsic to the classical discourses and texts without, however, positing rhe formal identity or closure of the rexq as does all formalist criticism, New Criticism included. Perhaps at this point it would be useful to address the argument, raiscd by some uninformed readers o Derrida, that deconstruction f is a se1f-defeating method since it can transgress metaphysics or logocentrism ,only by continuing to speak the language of that tradition. Derrida has fomulatcd thc problcm to which thcsc critics refer in thc following way:
But all thme destructive dismurm and all their analogues are mapped in a kind o circle. This circle is u n i q u r 11 describes the form o the relation f f bctwcen the history of metaphysics and the destruction of the history of metaphysics. There is no sense in doing without the conccprr o mrmphyrics f in order to shake metaphysics. We hi ve no language-no syntax and no lexicon-which is foreign to this history; we can pronounce not a single desituaivc proposition which has not alrcady had r slip into tht form, the o logic. and the implicit postulations of precisely what i t scckr rn cont a r . (WD. pp, 280-2811

But what does this insight into the inevitable involvement of demnstrumion in metaphysics mean? For the moment let us note anly that Derrida calls it a circle ofaorts. not merely a circle, and t h a t he links thc very meaning of dccanstruction to this kind of circularity. Thus the circularity of logocentrism and dmnsuuction may well be akin to Heideggers hcrmeneutic circle, which, far from k i n g a circrrlw vitiosus, m be avoided at all costs. is a circle into which one has to come in the right way if one wmts to think dr QII. It i s true that Derrida himself may have encouraged his critics to conclude that deconstruction is self-contadictory, for examplc by speaking of the aporias that appear to engage anyone who takes on the task Qf defining the constraints which Limit philosophical dkcoursc: for it is from the latter that the noncritical notions which arc



applied to its delimitation must be borrowed (M, 180). Bur the p. critics ought M have been aware that rhse aporias a r t aporias only as long as rhe concepts borrowed fmm the dismursc o rnetaphrsics f go uncriricizcd. Deconstruction, says Derrida, does not.wnsist in passing h r n one conapt to another, but in overturning and displacinga conceptual order, as well as the noncancepmal order with which the conceptual order is articularcd (M, 329). This rcveaal and displament p. require that one be solidly installed within traditional conceptuaiicy, SI) that one xrs our with an awareness of at least rhrcc principlrs: (1) that mnceprs in metaphysics are viewad as self-sufficient units; (2) yet thcy appear only in oppositions, which are never simply juaapcsirions of terms but hierarchies and ordm of subordination; and (31 that furrhtrmore, all concepts srand in relations of solidarity. As a resulr of chis Iasdcredennnination, concepts in philosophical discourse cannor kinnocrntly separated. Instead of being d i m e elements or atams, the concepts and gcsnrra of thought are taken in a syntax and systcm. Because of this systFmaticand hisroricai solidarity, every particular bormwing brings along with it the whole oc rneraphysia (WD, 281). The awarcIKss of rhcsc rhree aspemof conccpts implies p. that a concept can never be a self-sufficient unity, as mctaphysica claims. Every conapt is ncassariiy and essentially inscribed in a chain or a system, wirhin which ir refm to another and to other concepa, by the systematic play of diffcrcncs, with the tcsult that a concept is never present in iself, in an adequate presenw &at would rcfcr only to itxlf (SP,p. 140). Two consequenm follow horn this. First, there are no metaphysical conceps in rhemselvex As Dcmda writcs in Pasitionc: 1 have n e w bclievcd that there were metuphysicul concepts in and of thrmsclves. No concept i s by iisclf, and consequently in andof itself, metaphysical, outside all the Mtrual work in which it is inscribed (P,p. 57; scc a k a M, p. 329),And second, deconstruction cannor sirnpiy rcprcscnf a shift from one concepr to anather, since the infnstructurtswith which it aims to account for the specific apotias and differences bctwccn the concepts must also account for the inability of concepa to be purely metaphysical concepts, that is, to bc concepts ar all. The infrasmcture produced by deconstruction is, then, no longer a concept. Now,k u p e these infrastructures, which are the outcome of deconstruction, have somnimcs been dcsignarcd by a word or concept that belongs r the tradition 10be deconstructed, the critics have o charged rhat d m n s m c t i o n is inefticienr and futile in ia attempt to



reach beyond metaphysics. This is not the place to review rhe different forms this argument has taken and to retrace it to an inability to understand the stakes of deconstruction. All I shall try to clarify is the spccific manner in which an old concept can come to designate something entirely different from its previous significd, as we11 as the theoretical and practical impact of such a designation. Derrida calls the provisional and strategic reawns for which an old name is retained to designate infrastructures the logic of paleonymics. First, it must be noted that, although deconstruchon does not aim at something outside t h t discaurse of metaphysics, such as a last signified, still, the old name that i s retained serves to designate something that is of a Certain exterioriry to the discourse of metaphysics, to the extent that it is of the order of an unthought structural possibility of that discourse. Although there is simply n o name for what the infrastructures designate, this is not to say that such an unnamable would not be represenrcd in one way or another in the discourse of metaphysics. Since the infrastructum are implicitly presupposed by that discourse, the rcprcsentatives of these srruchlral mmplexiries can be identified more or less easily. Derrida at one point calls these representatives phantoms or ghosts. Phantoms are the shapes of that from which logic proceeds. As merely the shapes o he infrastmaures. these repf resentarives betray their subjection to the logic that they ungraund (D. pp. 103-104). The ghosk representing the excluded Other from the system arc always construcred within rhc system in a rauralogical and symmerric form as the negative key (le propre tnkgdgotifi to the sysrcm. in shotr, a5 its Other. The names of these ghosts, of the schemes under which the inframucrures abandon themselves to the discourse of logic, are the only names according to which that which exceeds mmaphysical conceptuality can be named within the hisroricat closure or limits of scicnce and philmophy. The reasons for which the X designated by the infrastructurm is given a particular name arc entirely strategic, t h a t is to say historical. Although thc old name t h a t is mobilized to name the infrastrumral X initially designates somcthing entirely different from it, it neverthelm is entitled to do so if the name communicates in an essential way with thar X . Writing is an old name for such an infmstrumral cluster of passibiiitics. Detrida justifies the usc o the name writing, in the sense o f f arche-writing, as fallows: An arche-writing whose nccessity and new concept 1 wish to indicate and outline hem, and which 1 continue ta call writing only because it tssmtially
comrnunicatcs with thc vulgar mnfept vf writing. T h c t a m could not have

i m p 4


i d f hPstaricatlp except by the dissimulation of the arche-writing, by the desire far a speech dispIacing its other and itr double and working t o reduce im difference. If I persist in callingthat differencewriting, iris bccausc, within the work 01 historical repression. writing was, by its situation, destined rn signify the most formidable differem. (OG, 56) p. Writkg i s thus a phantom name for the s t r u m 1 X, despite the fact that it isvcry different from what has a h y s been called writing. What make it susceptible to.bcingnamed X is that, within the discourseof mctaphysics, it marks the repression of that X and therefore essentially communicates with it. The reasons for retaining an old name to name the entirely new reality of the i n f r a m c t u m is, w n SequentIy, historical, yet it is also a function Q( the singularity of a topic. The justification for ia use "cormponds r a condition of fotccs o
and transIates an historical calculation" (OG, 70). p. Deconstruction, therefore, borrows its notions, names, o "conr ceprs" from philomphy in order to name what is unnamable w i h i closure. Yet such an operation of borrowing is instantly followed m by an effort to mark this operation as plagiarism. Demarcated in this manner, the borrowed concepts not only designarc something entirely different from what they referred to before but also suffer a mutation of meaning. And since deconstrucrion'sconccpts have been taken from

the given discourse of philosophy, it will permit an intervendon within this discourse. In Posiriotts, Derrida formalizes the logic of paleonyrnics as follows:
What, then, is the '*smtegic''necessity that q u i r e s the d o n a 1 maintcnancc of an old flume in ordcf to launch a new conctpt? With all the rcservarions imposcd by this classical distinction betwm the name and the conapt, one might bcgin to dcccribc this operation. Taking into account the fact that a name docs not name thc punctual simpliary o a mnupt, but f rather a sysmn of predicates defining a conapt, a conceptual 5trumre mt m d a n a given predicate, we pmcccd: (1) to the extraction of a reduced predicative trrjt that is held in rrserve, limited in a givcn conceptual s m m r c (limited for motivations and relations of force to be a n a l y d ) , n m c d X ; (2) to the delimitation, the grafting and regulated extension of the extracted predicate, the name X being maintained as a kind of h e r of intrrvmtion, in order to maintain a grasp on rhe previous organization, which is to be transformed effectively. Tbercforr, extraction, graft, e x m i o n . (P. p. 71)

What follows from this description OF the formal modes i n which an old name is transformed so as t designate precisely what it reo prcsscs-modss 1 shall later discuss in thmrlvcs-is that the use of traditional language by deconstructive interpretation is much more



complex than its critics believe. Indeed, the necessity of borrowing ones resources from the logic to be d e c o n s r m d is not only no inconveniencc o calamity, as some have betieved, but is rather the r very condition of finding a hothold in the discourse ro be deconstrucrcd. It is the very condition under which deeonstruction can be successful and effmively intervene in the discourse of metaphysics. We cannot give up this metaphysid mrnpliciry without also giving up the critique we are direcring against this compliciryy. writes Derrida (WD, p. 281). The necessity under which deconstruction borrows its notions from the discourse of philmophy secures the very possibility of a subversive foothold-arways strategic and thus historicalwithin rhe historical closure of that discourse. Generally speaking, Derridas attcmpt at dcveloping a hcterology-that is, a nonhomogeneous discoursc-can be effective only if this discourse constantly compounds with the forces that tend to annul it. It must doso because deconstruction is an opention that situates itself in a hisrorical manner with rcgard to the different forces that, at each pamcuiar moment, produce the closure of its concepruality. It rnusr do so precisely because it is a hetcmlogy, which a5 such must include, or inscribe within itself, that which it tries to displace or unhinge, and that which also tries powerfully toannd it. This heternlogical dimension o Detridas f work is undoubtedly one o the main obstacles to its assimilation by f either the philosopher or thc literary critic, whosc discourses are teleologically hound to achicvc homogeneity. Y t the contradictions e that arise in a discourse critical of the premises of metaphysics from the necessity o inscribing within itself these very same premises are f not all of equal pertinence. in Wrirhg mrd Diflerence, Derrida remarks:
But if no onc can escape this necessity [of aceammodating wirhin his own discoursethe premise he is dcnouncingl. and if no m e is thcrefore responsible for giving in to it, however little hc may do s , this does not mean that all o the ways o giving in to are of equal pcmncncc. The quality and fecundity f of a discaursc 3cc pcrhaps mcasurrd by thc critical rigor with which this rdaiion to thc history of mctaphysim and to inherited concepts i 5 thought (WD. p. 282)

A hereralogical enterprise that compounds with the forces that try to annu1 it while simultaneously unhinging them by inscribing or generalizing them differs h a contradictory discourse-that is, o r n from one that, owing to theoretical weakness or to deliberation, accommodates contradictions in an otherwise homological discourse-


I 69

in that it q l i c i t l y assumes a critical responsibility by unflaggingly problematizingits own status asa discourse borrowingfrom a heritage the very resources required for the deconstruction of that heritng itself. One of the ways in which dcconstructivc interpretation assumc6 its responsibility as a discourse is to question unremittingly the solidarity and systematic relation among conccpn in metaphysics: Within the dmum by an obIique and always pcrilousmnvcmcnt, wnstandy
&king falling back tvithin what i s being drmnstructcd.- it is necessary to surround rhc critical concepts with a ferrhrl and thorough dixourrc-to mark the conditions, the medium, and h e limits o their effmivcncrs and f to-designate rigorously rhcir intimate .rclaiionrhip to the machinc whov deconstruction thty permit; and, in the Same proms, dnipare thc c m i c c &mu& which the ye# unnameable glimmer byand the closure can bc glimpwd. (OG, 14) p.

What, then, is the meaning of such a transgression OF the discourse of metaphysia? It should be obvious that demnstruction cannot be an anrmpt to reach a simple outside or beyond o philcwphy and f metaphysics. Deconstruction is neither neutralized by the annulIing form of the conceprs it borrows from the tradition it deconsrmcts, nor deluded by the illusionary possibility of simply stepping outside of philosophy. In any case, deconstruction is profoundly suspicious of the cavalier assurance of those who think Chey have successfully crossed the line. Deconstruction as an attempt to stcp outside thc always historical closure of philosophy not only produces this outside, to speak the language o traditional philosophy, in a finite f fashion; but since it is also, and in particular, the deconstruction of the genuinely metaphysical opposition ofinside and auaide, the operation by which ir must produce rhis outside of the discourse of philosophy can no longer be u n d e r s t d as a parsagc from an interior to an cxtcrior. Nor c a n such an outside be iaelf an outside wt ih regard t an inside. Now, since a transgression must, in order to o afhm iaelf as trmgressim, conme and c o n h in one way or another that which it exceeds, insofar as it is only with rspecr t rhc o limit ir crosses, it can only consist of a sort o displacemcnr o the f f f limits and cl05ure of the discourse. To m c d the dismursc o philosophy cannot possibly mean to step owtsidz the closure, because the outside belongs to the catcgorics of the inside. The excess or transgression of philosaphy is, therefore, decided at the margins of the dosure only, in an always strategical-that is, historically finite-fashion.



For this, reason it is i n c o m a to speak of a transgression or excess at all. In Positians. Derrida remarks:
i5 not a t r a n s F i o n , if onc understands by that a pure and simple landing into a kyond o metaphysics, at a point which also would be, let f UP nor forget, firm of alt a point o language or wriring. Now, even in f aggresJions or nansgrcssions, wc arc consorting with a code to which metaphysics is td irreducibly, such that every transgrcssivt g c ~ n reendoss i r ~ us-precisely by giving u5 a hold on the closure o metaphysics-within this f closure. BUG by means of &he work donr on one side and the other o the f limir the field imidc is modified, and a transgression is produad that conwquently k nowhere prcscnt as a fdil dcmmpli. O n e is never installed within transgression, one never lives clscwherc. Transgression irnplics rhrt rhc limir is always ar work. Now,the thought-rhat-means.nothin&the thought that .e*ceed9mcaningandmtaningar-hearing-oncsclf-spalt interropcingthcrnby rhis thou&, announced in gramrnarology. is given precisely a5 h e rhought for which thcrc is sure opposition bctwcen outside and inside. At the conclusion06 a certain work, cvcn the conccpts of excess or o transgression f u become suspect. (P,p. 12) n


With rhis clarification of the way in which we are to understand how dtconstrucrion transgresses the discour= of phiIosophy, w can c return to analyzing the modes in which the outside oi meraphysics-that i s to say, the infrastrucnrrfi-are produced. As 1 have cmphasized. a deconstruction i s not a function of a subjective desire o r act ofwill, nor is it an absolute act capable of providing the rotatity of its methodological justifications. Defonstructive interpretation, in its search for what cxorbiranrly exceeds the totality o h e conceptual f oppositions constitutive of metaphysics, p d s in a radically ernpiricist manner-that is, in a manner incapable of justifying itself entirely-but not because of empiricisms recognized philosophical inability to do so. We must begin wherever we ore, says Derrida. Nonethelm. the admitred lack o an ahsolure beginning does nor f mean that the beginning is arbitrary or subjective. Derrida continues, Wherever we me: in a text where we already believe o u m t v e s to be. In other words, broaching a deconstruction depends on a historical hermeneutics that justifies its beginninE as subjea t o a certain historical ncccssity (OG, 162). Derrida summarizes these argup. menrs in Positions, when he writes:

The incision of deconsrruaion, which is not a voEuntary decision or an absolute beginning, does not take plam just anywhere, or in an absolute clscwhcre. An incision, precisely, it can be made nnly acmrding t l i n e o o f form and forces of rupture that a r c localizable in the discourse t bc dccono



m d The Idpicar and ndnrical dcnnainadon of thc l O 5 t n a e g ay sm a . i

and opcmtorr-bogtnnings, hold9. Irvcrs, --in a bvm situation dcpcnds upon an historial andysis. This analysis is m& in the p ~ e r a movcmtnt l of the field, and is never exhausted by tht c~nrCious ulculation of a subj c . (P,p. 82) et

h e r a l l y spakin& one could say chat dmwmction stam within rfie texts t be decmsmctedby fonising on traits within wnccptual o stlllCtuteS, ot on concepb within conceptual dyads that, for reasons t be hismridydcrermined, have been c o n h e d to a secondary mle, o or put, w to speak, on =me. Writin& for instance, is such a concept within the bipolar opposition spaechhuriting, whereas the conagt of supplemenrarity relies o n philosophys refusal to give equal consideration to the totality of its traits or predicates. The general strategy of dtconstmccion, ac least as it pertains to the discrepancies and differences a f h i n g concepts and philowphica1 argumcntation, is f f characterid firstby a p h w o revmnl o rhese binary oppositions. This is a sm~cn~rally necemrg-gaturc,sin= a mere neutralization of thc dual opposidons, which arc dc t a m and de jure hierarchical structurez, would Ieavc the field intact and con6rrn what is to be d a o n s t r u d . Nor can the reversal simply limir itself t o reestablishing f an invme hierarchic11 ordet. The operation o reversing the given hicrarchics docs not consist in a renewal o the hierarchy or the f substance of values, but rather in Itransformation of the very value of hierarchy itsclf IS. p. 81). In darifylng this issue, Dcrrida approvingly quotes Heideggcrs discussion o NiemEhes pmblemaucs f o a d(Unrdrrhung)o Platonism. Heidcgger w r i m in Nicrtdw, f f A new Iuerarchy and new valuation mean that the ordering-structure must be changed.= This transfornation ot the hierarchical scheme is not aimed at bringing about an inverse order or a total neutralization of the oppositc terms in an anarchical state free o all hierarchy, but f a t a recasting d the traditional concept and structure of hierarchy: What must occur then is not merely a suppression of all hicrarchy, for an-archy onIy consolidates jut as purely the established order of a metaphysical hierarchy; nor is it a simple change or reversal in the terms of any given hierarchy. Rather, the Umdrehmg must be a tnnsformation o the hierarchical structure itself (S, p. 81). The f phase of rtvcrsal of the hierarchy o prcdicatts or concepts is only f the first step; the second stcp consists o what is called a reinscription, f displacement, or reconstruction. This second phase is necessary because the first operates wkly within the concepruality of h e system to be dcconstrucnd. Without such a second movement. the reversal



would be nothing more than a clamomus declaration of the antirhesis (S, p. 95). War, then, is the function of reinscription, or displacement? In this second phase the hitherto rcprcsscd traits of concepts. or traits held in reserve, are resrored to their generality, to their power of generalization, and to their generative force. With rhis liberation of the traits held in mcrve by the concepts within philosophy, n t w concepaerupt into the territory of philosophy. T h c x concepts refer to something t h a t could never be comprehended, that could never have been an object within the discourse of philosophy. These repressed train, leading through their generalization to the formation of new concepts, can be grafted onto the traditional concepts or names privileged in the first phase of reversal. But since the newly f privileged terms o revemd conceptual hierarchies arc onlyrhe ghass nr spurious images o a beyond within the discourse o philosophy, f f deconstruction cannot stop with them. It is only by grafringonro their names rherneaning o which they are the repression rharrhe operarion f o deconsmctian becomes complete. This step produces conccprs f previorrsly unheard o in the tradition and in the discourse of metaf physia, T h e w philwophical quasi-concepts arc what I have up to now termed infrastructures. Deconstruction, consequently, in Derridas words, proceeds by a double gcsture, a phase of rcversal and a phase o reinscription or f f displacemenr.26 To speak o phases here could, however, be misleading, since the word suggests a chronological sequence. I t is not to be understood as such; rather, the double gesture that characterizes dcconstruction is to be conceived of a5 a systematically unified operation thar simulraneously marks the difference bemeen irs TWO geihres. Dcrrida writes, We must p r m d using a double gesture, according to a unity that is both systematic and in and of i t d f divided, a double writing, that is, a writing t h a t is in and of itself multiple (P,p. 41). It is in this sense that Derrida speaks o deconstruction as a double f science or a double staging. Within the unity of such a practice, deconstrucrion traces the irreducible difference berween its rwu gesrurcs. In Positions the relation ofthcst two gcsrum is furthcr determined in terms o a chiasmatic doubling or crossing: The form of the f chiasm, o the X, intercsts me a great deal, nor as the symbol o the f f unknown, but k a u s e there is in it, as I underline in La disrkninotion, a kind of fork (thc scrics cms5rwd5, quadrrfrrrcum. grid, rrellis, key, erc.) thar is moreover, unequal, one of rhe points exrcnding



its nngF further than rhc other: h i s is the figure o thedoubltgesture, f thc intersection (P,p. 70). Determined as chiasmatic, the double gesture appears t maintain the distinction between its two moveo m n s h u s e o thdr diss)mm&cal aornmunimtion. b et f d o being f simply a mimure that confounds the w o gestures, the two phases o f deconswuction panidpate in one another in a crosswi3c manner, thus emphasizing heir sameness ,despite their difference. But sameness, since it d w s not mean identity, is p ~ t c i s ~ the o p i n g for the difly ference between the wogestures. Yet what interests us here in particular is the fan that thischiarrnatic structure of deconstruction is not symmetric. It is k kind o fork. . . moreover, unequal, one o f f the points artending i t s range further than thc other. The formal f dissymmerry o deconstruction makes it radically dissimilar from reflection. This need for dissymmetry, however, is not only formal. Indeed, the two gestures of deconstruction arc incommensurate. n e y are hetemgenmus gesture, grafted upon one another in the one but irreducibIy split o p t i o n of deconstruction. Whereas the first gesture plays estircly within the dosure o metaphysics, the scmnd f altFmptS a breakthrough toward a Cerrain outside of philw0phy:These two gestures arc o different bearing and scopc. Compared to chc f conceptual hierarchies, r e v e d o r nor, the infrasmcturts produccd f during the m n d phase o d c c o n m a i o n arc unheard-of mncepo within the limits o philosophy. The relation of the conceptual dyads f to t h infrastructures is one of presuppositions, in dissymmmical ~ fashion,as h e general space of their possibility (M, 327). A5 the p. operation that leads to the pmduction of that spa= of possibility, the second movement of deconstruction is entirely heterogcncour t o the f k t moucmmt, which remains within the boundaries or closure of what is t be demnsmcrcd. o The chiasmatic relation of the two heterogmcous gestures of deconsmumion is characterized by a structural asymmetry that defies all reflection; it is the matrix o both thc possibility and impossibility, f the ground and unground, of reflection. As I havc mentioned, this dissymmetry is-rial in preventing any neutralizationof the bipolar oppositions of the aporias or other contradictions resulting from discursive inequalities and disparities. The dissymmetry, as well as the hetcragcncityof the two movements of this double-pointed operation o deconstruction, ensures thc rcinhption-that is, the regroundf ing-of the conccprs o metaphysics i what reprants the generality f n of its Other. This space of inscription of the symmetrically organized binary concepts is the space of the infrasrmctura, which occupies a



lateral and asymmetric rclation with respect to the r c a h of rhe cona p e . Although entircly differcnt, t k two orders communicatc in various ways. As rhe notion of tho old names of the infrastmcrures has demonstrated, infrastruchlres mainrain a fwthold in the mnceprual order, and must continue to do so if they are to intervene in it effccrivcly. And yet, as the open matrix of the cancepmal differcncm, the infrastrucrures function as their grounds o possibility. Yet since f theseinfrastructure are a sort of repressed reerve, they also by virmc o their encompassing power delimit the conccpcr of metaphysim, f making them, rigorously speaking, impossible. They represent thc rwrplur o the conceptual dyads or o the totality of 3 discourse as f f well as what prevents them or that rotaliry from achieving closure. They are, in other words, 3 hcb. As such, they are without the stability and plenirudc of a form or a n equation, in the stationary correspondence of a symmetry or a homology (P, p. 46). The space occupied by the infrastructures, the spacc of inscription, is thus in no sense an opening into an inexhaustible realm o meaning, of manf scendental farms, or of a transccndcntal semantic excess. As a way of summing up,let us review the problems that distinguish deconstruction. and that make it a significant undcrtakinp. Dcmnf srrunion starts with an interrogation of a variety o contradictions and aporias in rhc discaursc of philosophy. These are not contradictions and aporias proper, however, since the discourse o philosophy f awommodam them without difficulty. In addition to these contraf dictions and aporiaz, which pertain to the formation o concepts and to the development of philosophical argurnenb, deconsrrucrion addresses many ocher discursive and conceptual inequalities that have never before been questioned by philosophy. All these aporias, differcnccs of Ievcls, inequalities of dcvclopmenrs, and disparities characteristic of the discourse of philosophy, yet which do not seem m disturb the logic of philosophy, also contribute to the stablishrnent of that logic. All the gestures of philosophy-reflection and transcendentalization, all the themes of philosophy, bur primarily those of subjectivity, mnsccndmtality, freedom, origin, truth, presence, and the proper-are imposstblc without the differences and discrepancies chat permeate philosophical texts. Yet tbese same disparitia also limit c f thc ~ o p of thcsc gcsturcs and o the purity and coherence of the philosophical concepts or themes. Deconstruction is an attempt to account for thcse various and essentially h e t e r o p w u s aporias and discursive inequalitis with what I have called infrastcumres. These minimal ~ t r u ~ t u r are both the es


= 75

grwnds of possibitiri- o the canonical philosophical gestures and f themes and their ungrounds, that is. that which makes them impossible. These suuctum limit what they make possible by rendering its rigor and purity impossihk. The infrastructures arc the internal limit from which classical philosophical concepts and themes take their f r e arid ncassity. Demnstruction does not merely d oc y metaphysical conEept9; it shows how rhese concepts and t~ c draw their l ms possibility from that which ultimatdy makcs them impossibIc. The infrastructures achieve this double task. Since philosophy has p w n out of these ,inframucntres of the formation of concepts, 08 the devehpment of philosophical argum n s of the tcxtuaiity of the d i ~ o u r s cof philosophy, it a n n o t et, dominate these infrastructures with either its gcstum or i themes. s The inhastructures arc in a dissymmctrical and hetcrogmcous rclacian to what they make possible. No reflection can reach our for them, rcturn to them as to surnahing that, like a solid and prcsent ground, would make reflection possible. In contrast to the founding concepts o metaphysics, the inhstructurcs are incapable o accounting far f f themselves. They are not reflected into themselves; chcy d o not relate to chmselvcs in an identity-producing manner. Lacking the ability to justify themselves or answer for themselves, they are akin to writing as it has been dmrmincd by Occidental philosophy sincc Plaro. This Is one o the reasons w y Demda can say rhat they all entertain a f h rtn. m a i n essential relation to w i i g In addition the infrasmctura are heterogeneous, and although they form &aim, the space they occupy is not uniform or homcgeneous. As an invatigation o t w irreducibly hetcrogcneous infraf h smctum, deconstruction is in -ce a heterology, Extending the f requirement o philosophy that a ground mmt be different from what it grounds, duansbuction exhibits such an absolute other ground as constitutive of the canonical philosophical problems. As a solution QF sorts to traditional philosophical problems, such as, for instance, the problem of how something absolute can possibly have a generating, engendering, or comdtuting function, deconstruction both conserves h e immanence of philosophical argumentation and canept formation while sirnultaneoudy opening it up to that which scructurally disorganizes it. As in Hegels speculative thinking, where dialectic has bwn separated from proof, and whcre, thus, the notion of philosophical dcmonsmation has hecn lost, dcconsmction, by reinscribing philadophicai argumentation, radically displaces it.J7 As a critique of philosophical argumentation and o reflection as the f



major methodological concept of modern philosophy, dcconstnrction is consequently also a critique of the Cartesian dream of a selffoundation and self-justificationo philosophy. Deconstruction traces f the inner limits of the project o a philosophy of philosophy, Yet f witbout in the least trying to do away with philosophy, its style of argumentation, with the rigor o classical log& and without ever f dreaming the empiricist-that is, the symmetrical-dream of a final impossibility of accounting and founding, dcconsttucticin pursucs the formulation of problems that, although 'apparently more easily accommodated by the discourse of literature and critical stylistics, arc nonetheless not of that order. Deconstruction opens philosophy to its Others. Literature is only one o these necessarily plural Others. It i s f an Othcr which is not simply beyond, nor simply to the side. It is, uritbin philosophy, the margin of infrartructural possibilities. This quest into the infrastructures is a philosophical quest, drhough it p r o c d s in a new way.

A System beyond Being

Aswe have seen, infrasimctum are the grounds by means o which f deconsnuction attempts to account for rhe saontradictionrand dissimilarities in, from a philosophical standpoint, succcsshl concept

formation, argumentadon. and the production of discursive totalities The nature of the infrastructures can be further clarified by exploring thc system, or rather the chains in which they are linkd together, which, opened up in a dcconsuuctive vista, form an i r w duciblt space-in Platonic term, epekcinn tcs owi--beyad bcing, Tradjdonally it is assumed rhar when Plato refers in the Republic to the idea mu agnthou, to that idea (of all other ideas) that is to the objects of cognition and to knowledge irsclf what the sun i s to all visible objects, he thinks of the Good as the source of all possible knowledge. This SOUKC is iaelf not essence bur still pansccpds cssence in dignity and surpassing power. It i s something more cxalred than being (orrria); i t is the idea of all ideas, which thus becomes the ultimate source of being. Yet it is doubrful whether one can call it a form or idea in the first place. Furthermore, becauseof its fundamental indeterminacy, the uguthon, as Hcideggcr has pointed out, cannot be hastily determined in cthicc-metaphysical tcnns eithcr.l DPrrida fo1lows Hcidcggtrs lead as mll as his warning when, for instance in Plmros Pharmacy. he demonstrates rhar rht roum of all being beyond being is generalized, or rathergmernl, writing, whose essential nonrmth and nonptescnu is the fundamentallyundecidable condi tion of p i b i l i t y and impossibility ofpresence in its identity and of identity in its prcsencc (D, pp. 167-1681. The source o bcmg and f beine;ness is, for Derrida, the system or chain beyond being of the various indrasmtcturcs or undcddablrs. Con-ly, the idea o a f



general sysrem is inseparabie from this space, which is btyond the traditional oppositions of c o n q t s and of the argumentative and discursive discrepancies to which dmnsrmmion has made us sensitive. Yet thc claim thar Derridas philosophical clforts arc not without systematical intentions needs immediate clarification, owing to the general assumption that his philowphy is antisystematical. In order to come to grips with Derridas thought, one must G e m rhe temptation-made possible by ces~urccs within the codified inf terpretive possibilities o philosophy itself-simply to determine it as antisystematic. From its inception in Greek thought, philosophy has contained the two absolutely symmetrical alternatives o a systematic f and a nonsystematic approach ta truth. As proved in particular by the later renewal of antisysternaric thoughr in Hamann, the Romanr i a , Niemchc, and others, the aesthetic of the fragment presupposes the earty determination of philosophy as epistme, and hence the systematic exposition and construction of systems. This antisysrcmatic, fragmentary practice is in no sense radicaliy subversive of the idea o science or o systcmaticiry as characteristic of the philosophical f f enterprise; it is, rather, a genuine possibility wiibin philosophy itself, and it carries out the systematic requirements of philosophy in its own way. W e have already seen thar Derridas effom to reach a beyond of the classical opposition of logic and a[ogic do not lead him to abandon all rigor in argumentation. Neither does his critique of the idea of rigorous science as the timeless telos of all genuine philosophy entail a mere renunciation of scientificity and systematic intentions. Given the complicity between pretentions to systematiciry and the antisysremaric practices in philosophy, we must presume thar Dcrridas exploration Qf the infrastnrmrcs both continua the 5ystematic tclos of philosophy and attempts something entirely differenr, of which fragmentation gives a t best a very oblique image. Let u s first briefly examine the ways in which Derrida assumes certain systematic intentions without, however, yielding to tho ,iotraphilosophical determination of the fragmenr. Take, for instance, the beginning af Positions, where Derrida refers to a certain system [of his work! somewhere open to an undecidable resource that sets the system into motion and determines it to be an interrogation of the order of reasons t h a t traditionally informs systmaric enterprises. Yer at the same time, he admits his relunance for obvious reasons, to call lthe text o that system] fragmentary (P,pp. 3-4; see also S, f pp. l24,134).Among the numerous instances of theconcepr of system in the rexts o Dcrrida, with ur without quotation marks, I shall f mention onnly the following passages from the c s a y Differance,


19 7

where he speaks of the space of the infraspuctures as a spstcm which is no longer that of presence but that of differana or ,as a system of ciphers that is not dominated by truth value, which in this manner 4, becomes an included, inscribed, circumscribed function (SP,pp, L 7 149; translation slightly modified). Derridas intention must thus be viewed a5 aiming at a more encompassing system which inscribes the value of systematicity while criticizing thar very value, but without asserring the opposing [and contemporaneous)value o the fragment. f Derridas philosophy is often seen as indiscriminately critical of the epistemic and systematic exigencies of philosophy, for deconstruction is an operation that also qu-tions the possibility o totalization. As f we have Seen in Hegel, legislation by mtalizanon is the speculative answer to the aporis of reflection; only by means of a faultlm exposition of the sysrem of totality of all determinations of thought coufd Hcgel hopc both to ovcrcume the antinomies of reflection, which had become obvious wt Kant, and to carry out and fulfill ih radically what had u t l then bcen only reflections promise. As an ni intemption of the rot& of reflection, deconstruction also repref f rcnrs a critique o the concept and possibility o system, without revetting to a Romantic gesture d fragmentation, which is itself dependent on the possibility of apprehending totality and system in a pointlike, punmal, and immediate intuition. DcconstruEtion has h n explicitly constmcd by Derrida as an attempt to shake toraliry, to make it tremble in its entirety. Derridas undertaking is to be v i m 4 as broaching the deconstruction of the greatest totulity-the concept of the episteme and logocentric metaphysia (OG,p. 461, insofar as that totality is constituted by the value o the system. Yet this critique of the h i t s of tonhation does f not procecd by means of a dassical refutation, which judges mtalizacion impossible on account of mans finitude: One then refers t o the empiricai endeavor of tirhcr a subjca or a finite diswursc in a vain and breathless quest o an infinite richness it can never master, f There i s too much, mom than onc can say (WD, 289). This p. classical rejection of rotalitadon underlies the Ramantic theology o f the fragment. Derrida outhes a different objection to the possibility of totalization: way: no Iongrr fmm rhc Nontoulizrtion can atso be dercrmintd in a&r standpoint of a concept of finitude as relgatiom m the empirical. but from the standpoint o h e conccpt of p h y . If totafiution no longer has any f
mcening, it is nor baa- the i n b i a n a r o a field cannot bt covered bi a f finite glance o a finite discount, bur b m u x thc nature o h e field-that r f is, languageand a finite languagr-cxcludcs totalilation.T h i s field is in cffcct

f 80


chat ofphy, thar is to say, B field of infinite substitutions only bcwuae it io finite, that is t m say. baausc instcad of bcing an inexhaustible field. as in the classicaf hyparhcsis, instcad of bcing roa largc, rhcre is something missing frum it: a center which arrests and grounds the playotsubairutions, (WD, p. 289)

But this deconsrructive interpretation o totality and system, a t the f bcncfit and in the pcrspcaive of the nontotalizable field of the infrastructures, d w s nor preclude a11 sysrrmaticity. The deconsrructive undoing of the greatest tomlity, the totality of onto-theology, faithfully repeats this totality in its totality while simultaneously making it trcmblc, making i t insecure in its most assured evidences. The mimicry o totality and o the pretension to systcmaticity is an inseparable f f clement of deconstruction, one of the very conditions of finding its foorhold within the logic being deconsrmcred. Moreover, the space opened up by the deconstruction, that of the infrastructures, despite what fundamentally inhibits its eventual totalization is not without structure or systematicity. As we shall sec, the infrastructures form chains; they can and musc bc syscentariztd, up M a certain point. But bccause it is situated beyond the common opposition of structure and gcncsis. thc space of infrastrucrurcs. as thc space of structurality in general, is also the space o the general *tern, Since it lies beyond f f the opposition o system and fragment, whole and part, infinity and the finire, it also consrirutes rhe systemaricity of systems. As 1 have suggested, rhc infrastructures do not form a homogcntaus body, Their space has no simple structure, is not unifarm or formed from one substance. and is not composed throughout in the same manner; it is a hetcrolugical space o ,an irreducible multipliciry of f infrastmctural instances. Here, perhaps, one can bcst begin to understand deconstruction's critique of the classical concept of origin as a point of presence and simpliciry to which reflection tries to rettlrn as t a n ultimate ground from which everything else can bc deduced, o The pluralization of the origin i s a f i r s step toward a demnstruction of the value of origin. This deconstruction begins with the recognition that the 50urce or origin is characterized by a certain heterogeneity: "at first, there are sources, the source i other and plural" ( M , p. s 277). Only by abstraction from rhar plurality, from ant source's refctral to another, can a single origin be rigorously delimited. Deconstruction does not, however, satisfy itsclf with the mere intuition of originary plurality; it does not content itself with opposing thc manifold to the one, but begins to determine the taw of the complicity of origins. When Derrida writes, i Of Gromrnatology, that t h i s mmn



p i i y o originsmay be caIled arche-writing, he is m a n i b t l y referring lct f to t h e infrasmtctural chain, to the general system i n which single Qrigins arc carved out. M d a i s not alone in rhis effort to formulate an organizcd multiplicity o origins (which i s not, o murse, the same thing as an f f abxncc o origins). He is continuing a tradition that s t a m wid Husf scrl and Heidcgger, and he curies ir up to a decisive ruraing point. b t h Husxrl and Heidintroduced the idea of GIeichrsp+glichkeir, a simultaneity of equally original instances or smcrum, in the context OF II p l e m i c against German Idealisms pretcnrions to having deduced the oneness o origin. Let us restrict ourselves to one f example o this equiprirnorddity in Hcidegger alone. In Being umd f Time, Heidcggcr intraduces this concept in order M dtscribc, i a n fundamental and ontological pcffpective, the multiple and constitutivc existential characteristics (Seinschmuktrre)of an underivable and thus imduably original phenomenon such as h-seirt, Being-in. H e writes: *The fact t h a t something primordial is underivable does not rule out thc possibility that a multiplicity of rharacteristia of king may bc constitutive for it. If these show themselves, then existentiaIly they are equiprimordid (g/eichrsp&g!icb). The phenomenon of the cquiprimordhlity of constitutive items has often been disregarded in ontology, because of a methodologically unrestrained tendency to derive everything and anything from one simple primal ground. I4 The irrcducihly multifarious charaEnriscics o k i n g that simultaf ncously CMlStitlloe an underivable phcnomcnon like Jking-in, or k i n g in-the-World, make t h e phenomena structural phenomena. tndeed, what is oomprisbd by cquiprirnordiality can be understoodonly under the btk of structure; mukpliciry, underivarivcnss, and srmcnrra1icy arc t h e prime characteristics o cquiprimordiality. In his lectures of f 1 9 2 5 4 6 entitled L0p.c: The Quesrion of Truth, Heidcgger further refines the concept of equiprimordiality:
In a g c n d mode we say that the 5o-allcd structures that shows plurality pcidcgger m Besorgm and Wirsaqe as quipdmordial possibilities o D&] f are equiprimordid In this way, we have alrcsdy warded off rhe possibility of deriving onc fmm thc ather, at mnrrmcdng one an mp of the other, but as yet we have not aaid anything about the unity of rhis plurality , Above all, nothing has brm dnidcd regarding thc question whether there is only one kind of unity of this pluraliy or w h e k unity ir nm agrin the ride for a m a i n palaibiliiicr rhar belong M Dmeh i d f . In a negarivc hshion, all one can say rrgardingthe question about the unity of thcsc plural m ~ c t u r c s




is that this unity is not il sum total in the ynsc &as as a unity. it would follow its parts as their rcsulg so t speak. On the contrary, the unity of this, o plurality is a totality that, as a beginning, p d c s plurality and, first and foremost, k, IO speak. pam from itself. so

The plurally structured origins are thus characterized nor only by the fact that they cannot be derived but also by the fact that the elements that enter their composition cannot be dcrivcd from one another. Equiprimordial structural phenomena are therefore hmrogeneous. Yet for Heidegger these simuianeously coeval and originary srruccures are still contained within a unity. For Heidcgger, in other words, the irreducibly heterogeneous strunural possibiiitics form a totality that, in an originary fashion, precedes its Severance into amultiplicity. It seems that the unity and totality o the multiplicity are not put into f f quation as such, m e n by the possible plurality o rhe unities to which the multiplicities may give rise. In spite of their plurality. coeval o r i ~ n s arc, consequently, am, tained in oneness. But this can also be wen in Flachs hcterological f foundation o the fundamental principles of logic, which I discussed toward the end of Part 1. In his investigation o the ultimate principle f of thought, Flach comes r the candusion that these principles cannot o be unities of idcntiry, o general simpliciry, in which the elemcnrs f would be at once themselves and their opposites. T h e ultimate prino ciple, according t Flach. can only be thought hctcrologically. rhat is, a5 a unity of one und the Other. The absolure minimum ofthe purely logical obiect is the unity o the equiprimordial moments of the one f and rhc Other. Moreover, because the one and the Other arc simultanmusly original in the last principles of thought, the onc is not disringuiqhcd hy prioricy over rhe Orhcr. Quoring Rickerr, Flach writm The One and the Other are logically equiprimordial, they do not only logically belong to onc another, they are also logically totally cquivalcnr . . With this it is shown, in a well-founded manner, that what we can think as the last instance represents at least a duplicity. But although these principtes arc dctermined as pairs in a process of limiting exclusion between complementary alumativts such as the one and the Other, and although one must recognize a multiplicity o such principles, and hence the plurality of thought, they must also f be related a 5 moments to a totality-the totality of the originary sphere-in which they receive thcir final determination. Plurality, as Flach remarks,isa positively intinite thought. As a result, thc plurality of thc in thernsetves hererothetical. ultimate principles of thought is



synthetic The absolute is therefore this absolutely synthetic unity, e writes Flach, in conclusion. Y t if the equiprimordialicy of the one and the Other lends itself to such a synthesis, it is because Flachs haemlogical principic implics a homogeneity o that which enters f into conjunction. 1t prcsupposcs not only the equivalence of rhc one and the Other but also their similarity in nature. What is equipdmordial thus a150 appears to be.of the same ontological order. Now, in distinction from Flachs contention that principles are endowed with a constituting function oniy if they are linked together in the totality of rhc originary oneness of thought, and also in distinction horn similar statements by Husserl and Hcidcggcr, Derridaa hecerological doctrine of inframctural. grounds radically quesdons the philosophical gesture by which the structural multiplicity of the cocval and underivable origioary phenomena is tamed into one whole, Indeed, if Flachs ultimate principles contain rhe one und the Other, unity and muttiplicity, what allows him (orHwserl or Heidcgger) to raise any of these principles to a position o dominance over all the f other principles? One principle, none of whose components has any priorityovcrthe otherP,israiscdnonEel~sto principleofprinciplcs; a one heterothctical opposition of h e sysrem o the equiprimordial f structural and minimal principlcs of thought is turned into the possibility of the system of all principles, in which it also partakes. By this paradox, the initially heternlogical rnultiplicky of fundamental p r i n a p k is turned into a synthetic uNry. Precisely k u s e of this paradox, constitutivc of thc very nation o equiprimordial principles, which raises one of the dually structured, f hetcrologjcal principles (onelmultiplicity) to rhe srams o a m t i for f arx all principles and thus confers unity upon their plurality, one must distinguish Derridas investigation into the hetcrological i n h a m c tural grounds, which prcmeds from an awareness of this paradox, from the positions discwed up to this point. Undoubtedly thc infrastructura resemble dx Heideggcrian s u u d possibiiities, or Fl&s heternlogical prinapls, multiple and underivablc, that is to say, ultimate stmctum. Yet precisely becauw they cannot be dominated, either by what they make possible or by themselves, their sysrem cannot be absolutcly dosed OHinto a unity. As w e shall see, each of the inframuctures can claim to represent all rhe others and thus to function as thc matrix of possibility for them all. This possibility, h o m e r , which also underminw all domination of the system by one single infrastructure, consequently prevents its evenma1 closure. AIthough the plural infrastructures lack of final unity indicates that

r8 .4


they arc not principles properly speakin& this is not a privation, for it allows the infrastructures, as we have seen, to accounr for the antinomies o philosophical discourse. One such antinomy i s the f paradox consrimrive of a doctrine of Last prinapla. The m m p t of equiprimordiality is thus not sufficient to comprchend the irreducible multipIidty of the universality of the infrastructures. The system o the infrastructures is not a unity or totaliry; ir f is an open system, allhough nor in the sensc of an ,endless infinity, chat is, what Hegel called bad or spurious infinity. Nor is it a finite sysrcm, since the infrastructures are nor simply principles, simple elments, or atuoms. Derrida notes in Positions: By definirion the list [of the infrastrucruresl ha5 no tavonomical closure, and even less does it constimtc a lexicon. First, because these are nor atom, but rather focal points o economic condensation, sites o pasage necessary for f f a very largc number of marks, slightly more effervescent crucibles (P, 40). The system is best conceived of as one of chains. T ~ E p. infrastructures can he linked together in diffcrmt ways, and their chains too can enter into multiple mmbinations. Each infrastructure partakes in a chain or in several chains, but which it nmcr dominatm tn such a chain-arche-trace/arche-wntingldifferance/supplementarity, for examplc, or mmge/marqve/rnarche, or rcscrve/remark/retrdiz/ restnncelretard-each term can be replaced by or substituted for the othct. Yet thcse substitutions are not synonymous substitutions. Although the rems o rhe chains are mulogous to each other, they are f not synonyms for one identical nrm. The substitutions within chains, which, Derrida contends, become necessary according t context. are o not simply metonymic operations that would leave intact the conceptual identitics, the signified idealities, that the chain would be happy just to translate, to put inro circulation (P.p 141. It is more . appropriate to understand this proccss of substitution as one of supplementation. Because the infrastructures are not atoms, because they have no identity in themselves. the irreducibly mulriplcchains cannot be garhcred once and for all upon themselves in some ideal puriry. Let u5 not forget rhar the infrasrructures are the conditions o possibility f (and impossibility) of rhc conceptual differences as well as of discursive inequalities; thus, they are what makes rhe project ~f systematization possible, withour, however, k i n g sysremarizable themsectves. Yet this is not to say that a certain systematization cannot apply to them; it simply means that their system cannot be closed upon itself by means of some dominating center. Strictly speaking they form no



system; rhcrcfolc, their * cannot be fctmlizcd. The infrastructures, Demda remarks, can ncvcr be s t a b d i d in the plmicuh ofa form or an equation, in the etationary correspondence of a symmcay or a homology (P- 46). T h e s y s m of the infrastructures p. cannot be formalized, ideslizcd, or s y s t e m a h d because it is precisely its play that makes t h m projects possible. what the infrutructual chains, the chains af a number of sites of passage necessary for a vcry large number of marks, demonstrate i s the g m r d system. Let us now inquire into some infrasmraral examples in order to demonstrare rhar sysrematic intentions are n o t foreign M rhc field of infrasrrumm. I shall a150 b c u n z e the field of infrastrucmm as a s p a a o repetitionand self-doubling, in what 1 shall cali a gmeml f r h e q of doybling; and I shall show that deconstruction is a medit t o on the general system. or on what makes systemancity as such ain both neeesFary and impossible.

7hc concatenation t w h i h the infrastructures lend themselves is nor o the result o an aIlcged plenitude or abundance Qf transformations. f In what follows, my d b s s i o n o infrastructure US archc-mce. lls f differancc, as supplementarity, and so on entails no predication or limimrion of rhc infrasmccurc ifselfi I have already insisted on the purely expository grounds f r my gcneralizarion of the term inpao mrrctwc. Indeed, rhc infraasaucturc is not a leading mnccpt or genus which could be distinguished fram its subordinate species. T h e 0s of these individualizations is meant to bring to the fore different Fades o the breadth, clarity, and certitude o rhc infrascrcturc, appearing f f each time as diMrmt unitirs reflected into thcmselvcs. Infrastructure
i to be thought of in the plural; the conjunction CIS seeryes to restore s this irreducible singularity and plurality. Atthough as traditionally serves as an operator ofphenomenologization, of the revealing of an esscncc, it m e 9 a very d i f f m n t purpose here., where it is meant to indicate spcci6c inhastructural syntheses or functions that ate imdudbly dn@ar. As a result, an investigation o the gmwul system f amounts to a sort o classification of a variety of such synthcss. To f say that they arc irreducibly singular, and not the expressions of a prior infrastructural cssence, docs not impinge on their universality. k Compared to t univcnaliry to which philosophical concepts must pretend, infrasmmctural legitirnanon hinges, paradoxically, on rhc uni-



versality, or rather the generality, o something 1 shall initially reEer f to as a radical ernpiricity. If, then, thc infrastructural synthcses okcn appear complemcntary or overlapping. one must keep E mind that they arc nor a s p a s or n facm of a unity that offers itself as such in their disguise; there is no such prior unity. Moreover, the infrastructural syntheses ace nor phenomena in the first place but represent an articulation older than the difference between bcing and appearance, appearance and appearing. The inhasrrucrural r a i n are not the traits ofsomething, nor can they be ried together retrospively, tzppr&-coup. T h e cancatenations between various infrastructurm-bctwcen, for cxarnplc, archctrace, diffetance, suupplementarity, iterability, and re-marking4o not obey the linearity of logical time, or for that matter of dialectical time. T h e signifying chains of thc infrastructures are voluminous; they have the appearancc of scenes, stagings, synopses, and their organization changes according to whar they are supposed to account for. For essmiid reasons, I cannot hope ro achieve any definitive prem t a t i o n o the system of the infrastructures. My goal here is more f limited. All I want to show is that the infrastrucrures tend themselves to a certain systcmaticity, to a ccrrain s f r a t i t i d systematization. This f can be acbievcd by S-CKiItg side by side a limited number o these undecidables and exploringsorne of the ways in which they implicate one another.
The hfrusrructurc as Arcbe-Trace

In Of Grummorolqy, Dtrtida indicates a number of givens in the f f contcmponry discourse o philosophy that motivated his choice o the word truce 10 designate a specific inkasmumural amcuhdon. The word ,trucemakes reference to Nietzsches ,andFreuds, k i n a s s and Heidcggdr preoccupation with a critique of the value of presence as constitutive o classical ontology. It must be noted that trace is a f metaphysical concept on the same ground as the concept o pmscna f as self-praence, from which it is derived. Yet for Derrida, the word f designates something o which the metaphysica1 concepts of trace and presence are rhe erasure. From Derridas analysis o Heideggers canf ccpr o die [riibe Spur, ir follows that rrace is the necessarily mctaf physical concept that names an originary uacing and effacement, of which the traditional conceptual dyad of trace and presence within f the metaphysical text is the tram o effacement (M, p. 66). What, then, don the word truce signify?



As I have indicated, it n a m a somahing of which presence and w e or more gmeraIly self and Other, are the crasun Within the c, discourse of philosophy. Whereas philosophy traditionally considers the Other t~ be SKondary to the self, the Other of the self, thus annulling the Other in its own right, Demdas inquiry into their difference leads to the recognition of a certain irreducibility of the
Other with respcct t the self. Indccd, dtspitc the s r l f s traditional o i subjection o the Other to itself, its own identity is a function of Its dcmarcarion from the Ocher, which thus becomes endowed with an mscntial autonomy. The archetrace is the consrituting possibiIiry of this differential interplay h e e n scIf and Other, in short, of what is traditionally understood as difference. Most generally speaking, the originary tram designam the minimal rburtuie required for the exisancc of any difference (oropposition) o urns (and what they stand for). that is, f o r any relation to alterity. f Withi metaphysics, the difference b e e n two t e r n is invariably pcrccived from the pcrspcctivc ofone of the terms, the term o plcnf itude, from which the second term ,of the opposition is held t derive; o the first term is not taken to bc affmcd by h c fact that it appears in opposition to another, less valorized term. In contrast, the arche-trace stems from ZH insight into the mnstiruting function of diffcrcna, the bol$irrg-against-anotber,of perspective variations (AbrchaMtngen), to use a Husscrlian term. The problcmatic o the archc-trace articuf l a m the recognition that the privileged term in a difference of opposmon would not a p p r as such without Ihc difference o opposih r that gives it form. Consequently, the archetrace is a reflection on the form that a term or entity of plcnitude must take, insofar a5 it can appear only in oppitians or dyadic muctures; it is a meditation upon the indissocisblc uppeahg o what mmcs m the fore with f another, lcsscr term or entity. The archetrace explains why a concept ,ofpltnirude or presencecan be thought only within dyadic canccptual

Lct us attemptto imaginea mncepcthat has never bcen held against rdation. Entirely undemmincd, it would another in a di~hotomous bc altogether unintelligible; moreover, it would not yet be a concept. Now, supposc it appcarcd once and only oncc, as if by accident, in a differential relation to another term or entity; then, the very possibility of that accident would have to be accounted for by dcrnonmating what made it possible for it to suffer such an accident. Such a demonstration would reveal that that concept or entity indudcs, in one way or another, what it is opposed to, and also include most



fundamentaIly, the mark of the negativity characteristic of difference. Yet conccptualized entities appcar always simultaneously with other concepts in hierarchically determined (conflictual) oppositions. To say that a concept appears simultaneously with its polar opposite, which is usually in the lower position, designating the simulacrum of the value referred ro by the first, is to admir char that concepr can be what it is suppmed to be onIy fn distinguishing itself from another term that it adds to itself. T h e identity of the leading term, therefore, requires that the possibility of its own duplication and of its reference to another bc inscribcd wirhin itself. Otherwise it could nor enter into opposition with another term, in comparison with which it is what it is. Arche-truce is the name for rhe universality of this diffmence, for the necessary possibdiry of inscription in general, which ItIMSt affect a concept and value of plenitude insofar as it appears as such only within 3 difference or opposition. Since a mnceptual entity is, by right, sclf-identical only insofar as it calls upon its lower self in a dyadic structure, this difermce is not accidental but is the possibility af both its identity and its difference from an Other. Any difference or opposition between rerms, concepts, thing%and so on presupposes rhis difference, which intimately affects everything that enters into a relation of difference o r opposition-that is to say, everything-because it is the condition as such of thc possibility of entering into a

Since, within the sphere of metaphysics, a trace is dcrivarivc of. and opposed to, an instant or instance of ful1 presence, the tram rhar names the d i f f m c e , and char must inhabit that agency of full prcsence in order to distinguish it from its rrace, must be called archetrace. It is a trace of which the rraa is only a trace, and it has breached the moment of hll p r a n c e , which can thus appear in all its plenitude, in opposition to the lack of plenitude conceptualized by the mnvcntional trace. What the arche-trace thus allows to appear in a difference af values, concepts, or entides is its own effacement ifi the form of the valorized value and in the form of the absence of that value, a n absence which is the only possible rcpresentation of the archetrace within the realm of appearances. The trace is indeed consdrurtd by the possibiliry of such an effacement. The trace is the erasure o f sdhood, of ants own presence, and i s constituted by the threar or anguish ofits irrernediabtc disappearance. of the disappearance of its disappearance. An unerasable trace is not a trace, it is a full prcsencc, an immobile and uncorrumible substance. a ,son of Cod. a sien of parousia and nor a seed, that is a mortal g e m . This erasure i s dcath itself (WD, p. 230).



The possibility of erasure wnstiturivc o the me shows itself in f

b trams effacement of what could maintain the tram in prscnce. e

The tracing o f
the tram is

identical with that effacement, and &us

wt the self-erasure of the trace. Through the effacement of what ih a u l d maintain it in prcscna, rhe ma- consticures itself as relation ~6another tract. Hmcq SinGCthe trace can onIy imprint itxlf by referringto the other, to another uaa . . by letting itself be upsraged and fOrgoKCn, i s force of produdion stands in necessary relation to the energy of i erasure (D, 3311. Tracing and effacing are not a p.

simply in u relation of cxreriority; what constitutes the trace in depth is precisely the relationto Otherness by which the traces self-identity and df-prescncc are marked, and thus effaced, by the detour through rhc Other. Also, bust of this soiidarity between tracing and cffacing, the archetram can never be prtstnrcd as such ouside the differences that it maltes possible and as which it itself disappears. It is itself a trace that can nevcr bc prcsmtcd, that is, can never appear ,and manifest itself as such in its phenomenon, It is a trace that lies beyond what profoundly ties fundamental antology to phenomcaology. AIways deferring, the trace is never ptescntcd as s u h . In prrxnting itself it becomes effaced (SP, 154; translation slightly p. modified). Indeed, if the truce is relation to anorher trace in selfeffacement only, then ir has nothing thar could be called its own or that could, as its proper es6cnce. be made to appear as such. Fot essential reasons, nothing of the infrastructure arche-traa as such can become present. Itfollowsrhatitisimpassiblerr,arkwhatrhearchc-tfacc~, because this would imply that it couId appear, come into ~ i min its essence. , To s k what the arche-traw is is to pmuppox a differcnce, between appearance and essence for instance, which the arche-trace is intended to explain. Although this i n f r a s m m r e cannot, for these reasons, be 6xcd within the definirc and fuIly decidable contours of an eidos, a deseriptian of its main fcamres is nor thereby precluded. No one would challenge the nuclear physicists assumption of the theoretical txistence of such particles a5 quarks or gluons, an assumption required by quantum chromodynamics to explain artain properties o matter on the subatomic level. Such a hypothesis could f never be mhrantiared rhrough rhe perception of such a single, uncombined particle, aithough its existence can bc i n d i d y inferred from cxpcriencc, since it leaves dcrccrablc signatures. Yet since rhtse signamrts do not rand fat rhe eximnce of the partide as such, as &c sclf-prescnt entity, but only justify its assumption as that of a necessary possibility or mathematical function, the ontological status



of these particles is most peculiar. In an anahgous way, an infrastructure such as the archvcrace must be assumed if one is to explain the difference asxlciatcd with concepts and entities We begin to 5ee, writes Derrida, that difference cannot be thought without the mce (OG, p. 57). The arche-tracc, or difference in itself, is not B difference with respect to an already constituted presence. On the conrrary, as an originary synthesis not preceded by any absolute simplicity, it ie before all determination o a particular ditkrence the PWE movef ment which produces difference (OG. 62). Since it produces difp. ferends as an effect, the arche-trace is thus mow originary than the diffcrends it consritutcs. As the origin of differencc, however, the archemace also undermints the value of origin, for reasons discussed in previous chapters. The trace is not only the disappearance of origin-within the discourse that we sustain and according r the o path that we follow it rncans that the origin did not even disappear, that it was never constituted except reciprocally by a non-origin, the trace, which thus hecomes the origin o the origin (OG, p. 61). f Similarly, and for the same reasons, the arche-trace is no longer a principle properly speaking. If the mace cannot be submimd to the onto-phenomenological quesrion of essence, it is because i irs case n one can *no longer trust even tbc opposition of tam and principle, which, in a11 its metaphysical, ontological, and transcendental forms, has always functioncd wirhin rhc system o what is (OG. p. 75). f Although no difference a n be thought without presupposing the archetrace, its conaituring funcrion can no longer be cast within the framework of such concepts as origin or principle. It cannot be fully anti appropriately accounted for with the traditional judiciary questions. How, then, is the archc-trace, as an irreduciblyoriginary synthesis, capable o cansumring differences? The arche-mace has already been f described a5 the minimal scructurc of all difference, and hcncc o all f alrerity between rerms or entities. Given the solidarity between tracing and cffacing. thc infrastructure arche-trace can now be made more precise by detcrmfning it in t a m s of what Derrida calls a strucnIre de renvoi generalisit? (M. p. 24). T h e notion o rhucture de renvoi f translates the German Vecl.lueismgssttuRturand has been rendered by it5 English translators as referential smcrure, *structureof referral, or structure of reference. The archetract is a minimal structure o generalized refercnce, whcreby r e f m c e must be understood, f in the broadest scnseofreferring, as alluding or pointingto Eomcthing other. The arche-rnce is a minimal structure of refcrral to the extent that it constitutes difiercncc betwccn tcrms or cntities. Indeed, what



it dcsaibwis that all reference ro 5elFakcs place by way of a detour through an Other and thus prcsuppoxs an originary df-cffaccrnent. The arche-trace unites the double movement of referrncc (to self or Other) and o self-diversion. Derrida conceprualizcs this structure of f t Ca I a structure closely related to what Husserl calls fomard e f m, ce e m and backward r f r n (Hin-md Rlicktvrisirngen], in Speech and Pbmornma, as p a n o f a discussion of Hwerls C investigation in m h g h l Imstigaiiom. Aidad by the disaqancy betwom various strata o description within the work of Wusserl, Derrida proceeds, against f Husscrls cxpcss wish, m a dwnsmrctive generalization of inditarion, which this philosopher had attempted to dist.inmish from a p e s sion as one sip-hnction from another. For Husserl, indication is a made o assadation of ideas characterized by empirical modvadon; f f C consequently, it is void o any truth value. In indication, a thing dO g not count scparaoly but onIy insofar as ir helps to present and point M anothwthing. Husscrl writes, The single item itself, in thme various forward and backward references, is no mere experienced cuntcnr, but an apparent objm (or part, property, etc., of the same) &at appears only in so far ss experience (Erfahrung) endows m t e n t s with a new phenomenological cburacter,.so that they no longer count separately, but hdp to present an objea different from themselvcs. According to Husscrl, exprtssion and its meaning function arc entirely different from indication. In solitary m n a life, where .it etl a c h i m s total purity, expression is free o all indication and intimaf tion. Derridas argument in Speech and Pbrnonrena demonstrates that this essential Hurserfian distinction (essential because the privileging o expression over indicadon inauguram the specific domain of phef nomenological mearch-intentional consciousness and cxpcricncc) cannot ultimately be upheld, since indication, in the form of selfintimation, must inhabit expression even in its pure form of mental soliloquy. Obvioudy enou&, the ensuing genetalirion of indication f implicr the nrccssity for a cornplm rethinking o indication, which, in the essential Husserlian distinction, had ban entirely determined from the pcrspxivc of expmion-that is, as a deficient and derivarive made of exprcrsion. The arche-uaa &us n a m a a ndical gcncralization o the indicative function. f As an originary nonpresence and dterity at rhe root of what Husserl mccptualized under the name expression-the ideal self-presmce of meaning without the mediation of signs-the arche-trace is thought as the mndition of the ideality of meaning and of self-prcscnce in gencral, insofar as both must he infinitely repcatable in order to bc


what they arc supposed to be. This necessary possibility of n-petition in irs most general form-without which the ideality of meaning or seIf+prescnce, that is, of the domain proper of phenomennlugical investigation.could not come about-is the trace in thc most universal smw. The irreducible and unavoidable nonpresence and alterity within self-pmmce and meaning strikes. says Derrida, at the very m t of the argument for the uselessness of signs [of indication, intimation, and so on! in the self-relation. Indeed, for a n idcal entity to repeat irself, it must be able to intimate itsdl in contrasr to an Other from which it is different. T h e trace that makes possible such reference to self by way o an Other is more primordial than what i s phenornf enologically primordial, or pristine to cxpression-that is, meaning. self-presence, evidence, and M on. T h e originary trace is thus the: constituting impurity or alterity, the constituting nonpresence, that allows the phenornenotogically primordial to come into its own by providing the phenomenologicaIly primordial with the mark of a minimal difference within which it can repeat itself infinitely as the same by referring to an Other and to (an Other of) i t d f within itself. In short, the archc-trace must be understood a5 the foldaf an irreducible bending-back. as a minimal ,(setf--)difference within (selh)identity, which secures xlfhwd and self-presence through the detour of oneself [as Other) to oneself. The arche-trace is both thc minimal difterencr requited by selfrepetition, and thus by ideality, and the minimal relarion 10an Other (the reladon of indication). wirhour which a self could not bc self, As the very condition of being a self, the archctrace is the inscription within the stigme o self of the other point toward which it cantinf ually drifts (D, 241). Yet clearly enough, in this most universal p . sense, the tncc is also that which forever prevents a self from being self, since the reladon IO Other is older than selfhood. The structurc o generalized reference that is the archc-tracc is also the limit of the f f self-Identical referent. In irs capacity as such a general structure o referral, thc archc-trace constimtcs the minimal synthesis of self-presence and self-idcntity through self-deportation. The arche-race is this minimal unity of being at oncc oneself and an Other; it i s the minimal and general structure of the constitution of an identity through relation to alterity; it is, consequently, a strucfllfe o the retention o f f thc mark o rhe Orher by the self, by which the sclf is what it is only f insofar as the interval that constitutes it simultaneously divides it. This double movement is not that of a n already constituted identity or personality, but is the minimal logical 5tmcture of relation to



a l k t y that such a constitution must presuppose. The difference that such a consdrution entails is the trace ofthe archc-aacc. the trace a s which the arche-trace appcars; but the minimal rcfcrendal structure that is the arche-trace dDcs not appear us such in what it mnstitures as the trace of its effacement. As we have men, it rather disuppeam in what it makes possible, since effacement, from the start, constitute the trace as a trace. Effacement belong to the structure of the trace, f since the minimal synthesis o the rcbrtntial strumre makes selfdiverring and being marked by rhc Other a condition o self-identity, f For rhe same reason, the irreducible dupIicity of the synthesis of this structure of rcfetral is the origin of repetition and thus idealization, &cause this trace is the-opening of the Srsr cxterioriry in general, the enigmatic relation of the living to its other and of an inside to an outside: spacing, it is also the origin o spacc (OG, 70). Moreover, f p. bccausc the doubling characteristic of the structure o referentiality f is a proms of tcmporalization as well, it functions equalIy as the origin o what is called time. These different implications of the inf frastructure, or general S~UCNCC o referral, will be anal+ f in more detail. As archctcace, the general structure o reference-that is to f say, the minimal unity of self and Other before all relations between constituted personalities, entities, o idenritics-explains the n m r sary insaiption of all of phiIosophys axial concepts (and of what they designate) within differential structures or sysrcms. Also calling the a d e - m c e arche-writing, Denida notes: To think the unique within the system, to inscribe it there, such is the gcstureof the archewriting: arche-violence, loss o the proper, of absolute proximity, of f sclf-pmcncc, in truth the loss o what has never taken place of a f self-presence which has never been given but only dreamed of and always already split, repeated, incapable of appearing to itseld except in its own disappearance (OG, p. 112). In its capacity as archc-trace, the gcncral struucfllrc o reference, f whereby constitution o self a n rake place only through relation to f Other, aaoun!s for the fact and the necessity that all concepts a p p r in opposition to other concepe and are, in fact and of ncccssiry, fomd by h e difkrcnct in which they appear. Such would bc the originary trace. Without a retention in the minimal unit o temporal f cxpcrimcc. without a cram reraining the other as other in the same, no difference would do its work and no meaning would appear. It is nor the quesrion of a canstitured difference h m , but rather, before all determination o the content, o the pure movement which prof f ducca diftercncc (OG.p. 62). As the minimal unit of differential



determination, as the unity of the double movement o xlf-effacemmr f and relation M Other-that is, as arche-trace-the general smcttlre of referennality is, then, rhe fabric fmm which systems can be cut. It is i t d f rhe general system-thar is, the condition of possibility and, in accordana with the logic of the infrastructures, of impossibility of the systematic exposition 5fconcepts,

The Infiasfruciure 0s Differamce

For rhe same reasonsthat the archetract could not bt fixed into place once and for all, differanm is a heterogeneity whosc movement cannot be bounded within a definitive setting. Nonetheless, this impossibiiity f docs not preclude us from outlining the nuclcar traits o differancc. The arche-synthesis o the arche-trace is the minimal structure of a f relation to atteriry, which, as pure difference, produces differends as an effect The (pure) trace is differmce,wrjtes Derrida (OG.p. 62). In Speech m d Phenontenu, for ,the first time Detrida i s compdlcd to think of differance as both a pure and an impure difference, without decidable poles and without independent o r irreversible polar terms. After showing how Husserl achieves sense and presence through a transcendental reduction of everything indicative, of all mediation and relation to Other in the sphere of solitary mental Me, Derrida argua that this same transccndental reduction aIso yields difkrance, once Husserl admits that auto-affection is the condition o self-presf cnce. Indeed. without such auto-affection, no p r w n t could reflect irsdf into itself; yet to g a n t that without df-affection no present muld truly be self-present is to admit a minimal and pure diffcrena (and hence, relation to Other) into presence as the vety hinge upon which it turns into itself. Aum-affection, concludes Derrida, is therefore not something that happensto a transcendental subject, it produces ir. Auto-aftacrion is nor a modality of cx@cnoc that characrerim a being that would already be itsdf (autos). Ir produces sameness as sclf-relation within selfdiffemcc; it produces sammtas as thc nonidentical" (SP, 82). But the interval of this pure diffmna, which p. divides self-presence so that it may fold itself into itself. also harbors everything that Husscrl hoped to cxctude from xlf-p-ce as a threat to its purity. To say, then, as Hwerl does, that self-affection makes selCprcsence possible is also to say that self-prcsence can never be pure, that the very difference that allows self-presence m cum into itself also makes it former differ from itstlf. Differance, then, like the pure self-presence reached in transcendental reduction, is cleariy a



transcendental concept, but it is iust as clearly h e reason why no pure transcendental reduction is possible, and hence why no pure transcendental comepts arc possible either (SP, 82). The pure difp. hence of dt-affection, w h i l e it m a k s wlf-prrscnce p i b I e , ~ a tthe same timefissures aud retards presence, rubmining it simultancnusly to primordial division and dday (SP, p . 88). It acconnts a t oncc for ideality and noni&aliry, and for rheir difference. How, &en, docs diffmancc h m c the possibility of the difference b m c n the ideal and the nonideal? In Positim, Bcrrida has given the most exhaustive aaaunr.of the fonna! h u m s of d i h n c e - Differance is not simply deferring, bccause an a a of delay daes not n-rily entail a rnwemmt of difh m .In addition m ddcrrin~ differancc neq5sarily i m p k difference. As an to be conceived prior to the separation it h e e n deferring as dday and differing as the acdvc work o differf ence (SP,p . 88); thus, it is mom primordial than deferring and ,differencetaken separately. Like a1 other infrastructures, diffcrana, 1 in h a v i q m account for a varietp of thmdfal phenomena, is an emomica1, conceptual, formal s t r u m r e to the m n t t h a t it draws togctbcr a configuration of signifying movcmcncs from a variety o f heterogeneous resources; it is not a homogeneous unity o hcterof p e a u s fcaturrs, however, and is wen inconocivable as a mere homogeneous mmpliutian o a diagram or line of time (SP,p. 88). f As an intnsrmciurc, diffcrancc is a nonunitary synthesis of heremgcnmus featurn. As wc know, tfrc word wwmce is b e by mbrtantivizing the md parduple o the verb d i f f h r , ?to defer, to postpone, to adf j a m In creating his unusual noun, in which heII substituted for the t remains purely graphic, since r h e diffcrmcc between the nvo row& cannot be heard (it is a difference that dcpcnds on the mute intervention of a written trace, and thus of a trace t h a t tics diffcnnce inwith the functioningof t h e arche-trace), Derrida opcns h e semantic fieldof chis noun t a variety of meanings, not all of which s e from o tm theoriginal verb dijyircr. Liktsa m n y otherinfrasmctum, t h e -unw ending o differance already Icavcs undcddabic whether this word i s f to be understood a6 active o passive, thus enabling it to occupy a r place beyond what phmomenology would distinguish as active and passive constitution or synthesis. More strikingly, difemce knots togetherthedifferent rnunings o tbcworddiffcmccwith theentidy f different significations of the verb t defcr (diff&er),h whoK o o r n parriciplcthe noundiflermce was derived; yet there is no etymological



justification for doing s .Only by means of quasicatachrestic violence o can the nmlogism differurrce be made to refer to the semantic field of the word difference. The sort of linguistic abuse at stake here is required by the necessity of good economic formalization, which the infrastructure differance is intended to achiwe. I h e lack o harf mony bcnveen such different things as dcfcrment and difference, instead of being a misfortune for the intended coherence, is preasely what the term differawe Kwes to account for. Furthcrmorc, diffcrance tics together in one archesynthesis much more than rhe movernenr of dclerral and difference; it is composed of at lcast rhrec additional, entirely heterogeneous concepts of difference. However heterogeneous the different concepts that enter the structural configuration named by the plural noun diflerunce may be.they act in unison to form a systematic and irreducible ensemble of possibilities rhar economically accounts for a variety of distinct concepts of difference simultaneourly at work in the discourse of philosophy. Differance ties together five concepts, which owe their incommensurability to their scope, spherc of origin. and level of argumentation, in one synthesis that accounn for them all. Let us, rhen, discuss thmedifferent concepts of diflcrcncc to which dif/erance rcfcrs, in order to dcterminc what this strange linguistic formation is intended to achieve:
Fits?. diffmmce rclcrs to the (active mid passive) movcmmt that consists in deferring by meam of delay, ddcgation. reprieve. rehml. detour, postponement, rculrving. In this sense, differonce i s not prccedcd by lhcoriginary and indivisible unity of a present pussibility that I muld rmervc, likc an expenditure that 1 would put off calculatedly or for revons nf economy. W h a t defers prescnct, on the contrary. is the very basis on which presence i s announced or desirrd in what rcprcscnrs it, its sip, its trace. (P,p. 8 )

In this first determination o differance, Derrida make USE of onc f of the meanings o the Latin verb diffme insofar as it refers to time, f
namely. rhc action o postponing until lam, of raking inra account, the f taking-account of timc and form in an rrpcratim that implics an cmnomic reckoning, a detour, a rcspitr, a dclay, P rcserve, a reprcworarion-all the mncepts that I will rum up here in a ward . . . tmporulizing [tmporiwtiotr]. To differ in rhis sense is to temparaliu, t rcsarr, consciously or uneoro sciously. to the temporal and tcntporaliung mediation of a detour that suspends the acmmplishmcnt or fwlfillmcnt of a dnirc or will. or carria Jcsire nr will out in a way that annuls o tempers their cffcct. (SP, 136) r p.

With differawe as deferment, timc opens itself as the dclay of the origin in relarion to itself (M, 2901. p. Let us now see in more detail ~ D W temporahzing aspecr of rhis



d i k n a is the condition of possibility of rernporalization (ienrpwdisution), temporality, and time-their primordial COO5tiNtiOn, as it would be c a U d withii the conccpwal s s e and according m the ytm f classical requircmcnts o meraphysia and transcendental phenomenology.

The operation o deferring implicated by the 0 of diffcrancc dacs f not refer m the delaying of any already constituted or anticipated moment of presence. To defer [dif?rm]...Cannot m a n to retard aprcscntpossibili~,topostponeanaa,toputoffaperccption already now possible. That possibility is possible only through a diflwmcc which must bc conaivcd of in orhcr terms than those of a calculus or mechanics of decision. If the am of deferring relared only to such a moment, it would rcprexot nothing but rhc lapse which a mnKiousness, a &If-prcsencef the p e n t , accords itself (WD, p 203) o . snd would derive from the prcscncc; ycr the retardation in quetian is originary and thus not a relation between two moments o presence. f Instead, what Derrida is attempting here is to think the pmcnt based on time as differma. Differaim as rime, as the minimal acriviry o f postponing, is to be understood as COnStiNtiVe o presrnoc, as wcll f a$ o past and turnre, to the extent that they are only modifications f OF the now. Differance a5 t m ,or rather as t e m p o n l i n g (temporie isntim) is n t hen, a more simple and authentic time mompared to o, the vulgar time progammatic of the philosophy o time from Aristotlc f to Hcgcl. Indeed, as Derrida argues in Ousia and Gramme, the very question concerning the meaning of time aupprcsscD time by linking it to appearing, truth, presence, to essenceingeneral. To think difkrance as tsrnporalizing, however, does not complicate time by looking for its origin in the imcrdmc cxpedenm of consciousness; such an attempt, which belongs to the pmjccrof a transcendental phenomenology, cannot avoid thinking the time of the inner-time canscioumcss accarding m the modci o mundane time. In distinnion f has from the vulgar concept of time [which, according to Heid-, informed the philosophy o time since Aristotlc), f o Husscrls conf rm cept of an inner consciousness of time, and fmm H e i d e w s notion o authentic temporality, diffcrana as r m points at an absolute d ie past, a past that is na longer a modification of a present, no longer a present-past, but a past to which, according to the logic of the archemace, a present moment must rekr in ordcr to be what it is:
Diffcrana is what makes the movement o signification pc&ble only if each f rlcmmr char h said to be present, appearing on the smgc of pr-, is related m something omcr than i t d but rctains the mark of a past element

198 -


and already Im itself be hollowed our by the mark o its relatian to i future f elemenr. ms tram relam no less ro whar is called the future lhrn to what h ii is called the part, and it constitutes whar is called tbe p r m t by this vcry rclation to what it is not, to what it ahlurely is mot; that is, not cvm to a past or k t u r c considered as L mdified present. ISP, pp, 142-143) As a result of this radical alterity, without which presence could never come into existence, pmence is always belated with regatd to itself and comcs ex post, as an c f f m , to the absolute past t which o it must relate in order to bc constituted. Differance as temporalizing names the irrcducible temporal movements rhat thus affm the idea of presence itself. While time has always been thought f o the present rm now, this is a time anterior to time, P past o/ time, a past that has never been prcsent. So if differance is conceived of as the primordial f consriturion o temporality and rime as commonly understood, then differance allows time to come to the fore only a5 limited by what makes it possible. This is why Derrida can contend t h a t the intermission or interim o rhc hymen does not establish time: neither time f a$ theexisrcnce o rheconcept (Hegel), nor lost timenor time regained, f and still less the moment or eternity. No prcscnt in truth presents f p. itself there, not even in thc form o its self-concealment (D, 230). But since the reference to an absolute atterity required by the consrif mtion o f a present now is the insinuation o a space inm the sup posedly self-sufficient present, its spacing, this reference M alteriry. is also the becoming-time of space, 10 the extent that what is referred to is a n absolute past. Indeed, differance as temporalizing is inseparable from, though not identical to, diffcrancc as spacing, since the becdming-time o spa- is the condition proper of spacing. f Second, the rnovemcnt of that which produces different t h i n g , that which Cfferentistes. is the common r w t o all the f oppasirional concepts that mark our language, such as, to take only a few examples, sensibldintelligible, intuitiodsignificatian, nature/ culrure, erc (P,p. 9). In this second determination of differance, Dcrrida refers to the second meaning of the Latin verb differre. the etymological root of the French dif{erer, which translates the Greek diuphorein (to carry diffcrent ways, spread abroad, scatter, disperse, separate, differ, be different). Diffcrance is here understood as the producrive and primordial constituting causaliry, as one would say in tradirional philosophy, o diffcrmds and differcncs. But since this f production of differences takes place through the opening of an inbetween, of a polemos based either on dissimilarity o allergy between r poles, terms, or mnccpts whercby hierarchical relations are installed,



ditfcfancc is here determined primarily as spucing (espamtmt]. In differents, whethm referring to the alterity of dissimilarity or the dhrity o allerg or of polemics, iris necessary rhar interval, distance, f spacing ocau among .rhe different dcmcnts and occur actively, dynamically, and with a certain perseverance in repetition (SP,pp.

136-137). L t us try t undustand how differancc as spacing renders possibic e o spatiality and space in the common m e . Spacing is neither time not space. Rccail that the mlation to an Other constitutive o a self, whose f minimal unit is the archetram, presupposesan intenraI which at once a f h and rnakcs possible the relation of self to Other and divides the self within i d . In the same way, differana as the production
o a polemical space of differen- bath presupposes and pddufcs f the intervals between conapts, notions, terms, and s on. I that o n m e , archc-mace and differantach in a difkrent manner, are spacing. From the perspective ofthe acchc-trace, spacing is the opcning of the first exteriority in general, rhe enigmatic relationship of the living to it5 other and of an inridt to an outside [OG, p. 70). Spaang is the spae in g ~ ~ m ~ l , minimum ofascntial spacing that or that any entity (real or canccptual) must contain o r bc inhabited by in order to fall into a space x e i r to it (WD, 219).Since spaetro p. tializarion-king befallen by space-is a possibility m which any entity is subject, this possibility musvbe inscribed wirhii that entity. As this n-ary possibility--that is, a possibility that must always be pwpible--spacing ensure the spatialization o enritie. C w f a qucnrly. the falling into space o an enwry is never accidcnral-it never f happens by surprise-because its interiority i 5 already inhabited by its outside as the possibility of an outside befalling it. Spacing, then, also names the difference that insinuam itself within the self-Riation of a self-identical cntity and that prevents this cnrity from cycr relating only M itself, Spacing in rfiis sense is cxteriority in gercrd, without which the outside, spatial and objective cxteriority which wc believe we know as the m s familiar thing in the world, as h i l i a r i t y ot itsclf, would not appear (OG, pp. 70-71). From the pempoaive of difhrance, sprang i the f m o rupture s o f by which concepts are r p a r a t d f o one anodxr, the staging o rm f conccpcp in an arche-scene at rhc origin o f and, thcreforq the condition of posibility o conccpmal signikation. This spaanb f notes Rcrrida, s the sirnuleamusly active and passive.. . produci tion of the irltcrvals without whih the fuil terms would not signify, would not function (P, 27). The intervalsopened by spacing allow p.



the different conceptual elements to enter into relation without, how. ever, permitting them to coincide. Still, spacing is not the simple negariviry o a lack (M, 317); it is the emergence of concepts as f p. already marked by their relation to other concepts in the primal Scene of signification. f Space in general, then, as the condition of possibility o the cxit of any entity outside of itself and of signikation. insofar as the constitution of concepts as hierarchical: or differential terms grounds thcir itenbiliry, is the dimension neither of o surface nor of a depth. It is, as Derrida points out in Dissemimtiort, literally nothing. H c wrires in Positions, Sprrcingdesignaresnothing,nothing chat is, no presence at a distancc; it is the index of an irreducibltexterior, and at thesame tirnea movement, a displacement that indicates an irreducible alterity (P, p, 81). Spacing is the synthesis without reconciliation of this passive and active aspeck it is not only the interval, the space constituted between two thing (which is the usual sense of spacing), but also spacing, the operation, o in any event, the movement o f sating aside r [d Iicart] (P, 106).Spacing, which blends in part, and tach time p. differently, with archerram, differance. and other undecidables, is in every instance the discrete synthcsis of (1) the movement by which the self-idcntiry of an entity is interrupted and (2) the passive constitution by inscription as habitation. The very nature o spacing does f not permit its own syntheric structure to be anc of remnciling the two aspects it rcunitcs. For this same rcason, spacing cannot serve as one expIicative principle for dl differences and for all specific spaces; to elevate spacing into a theological function of total accounting is a mtradicrion in rerms. Spacing certainly operates in all fields, but preciscry as different fields. And its oprration is different each time, articulated otherwise (P,p. 82). This is also true of all the other infrastrumrcs, whosc purification and idcatization is impossible because the specific surt of synthesis that they achieve is context bound. Another result of this kind o synthesis is thar the function represented f by each infrasrrucrurc also spplics to itsclf, so that it remains essentially dislocated from itself. (This aspect of the infrastructures whose name is that of another infrastructure or undecidable, the re-mark, is analyzed later in this chapter.) I have consrrued spacing to mean the originary constitution o f exteriorit).and space as it is known in a sensible o intelligiblemanner. r Yet this is not to say that the transcendental question conccrning space elaborated here falls within a transcendental acsrhctics-whcrher Kantian, Husserlian, or of an entirely new kind. As should be obvious



at ti poine; this cannot possibly be the case. Spacing is not a form hs Qf (pure) intuition that structuma a mbjccts cxpcriena of the world. Nor does spacing follow from Husscrls radicalization o the Kantian f question. which concerns the prehistoric and prccultual level of spacia-temporal experience a5 a unitary and unjvcrsal ground for all f subjectivity and culture. The notion o spacing as the condition of

possibility of sensible and inteIligible, or ideal, spacc undercuts the very possibility of a self-present subject of intuition or of universal and absolute expcrieuce; spacing aurharim such d i e m by limiting them. 5 i n e it questions the veq possibility o the distinction k e e n f sensibility and pure sensibility, the transcendental qumion of spacing has t be situated beyond what Huwrl calls the logos o the o f anthhctic world. Nor docs spacing wincide w t the logical concept ih o space developed by Hegel. In his Emcyc!opopedk, where h e d i s c u s e f the udstentiaf ground of contingency a$ that which prevents nature from being rtducible to logical coherence-the impotence o naf lure-Hegel develops an ontological substratum wherein all the p b nomena that lack affinity and arc totally indifferent to one another can be gathered topfther. This substratum, this ideal d u r n of luxtaposition, is space, in which the unthinkable absolute incoherence characteristic of the phenomena of nature is transkmod into a m c mrod totality. The birth of rhc logical mnccpt of space serves to makc the existence o incoherencelogically possible. Although spacing f has this one ftature in common with l g c l space, in that it r pa oia e3 medium o cohabitation o what is logically incoherent and indiff f ferent, spacing, unlike logical space, is not governed by the relos of logicality within the boundaries of which space i s onc moment, Spacing,hm, is not theobjaafa philoscrphyof nature, whether Wegelian o o an entirely new kind r f But could spacing bc tributary to a hcrmencutic philosophy? Is it the hermencutical concept of that openncs~ that primarily provides the space in which space as we usudly understand it can unfold? This htnncncutical concept of space, the pnspatial region which fim gives any possible where, conaisa o the foreunderstanding o f f separatcncss and manifoldncss in genml. According to Heideggcr, this foreunderstanding, thcmatized or not, is imperative to any un,derstanding o spatiatity and space; without it, spatiahy or space f would never bc g k n to us. The hermtncudal concept o space thus f nams the meaning or truth of spaa. Yct spacing is not o the f ,order of unthematized preundcrsmnding, nor is it a truer meaning o f h e common meaning of spatiality. As that according to which any

20 2


entity is what it is only by being divided by the Other to which it refers in order M constime irstlf, spacing is also the pmignifying opening of concealed and unconcealed meaning. Spacing as a presignifying openness is the very possibility of laying out, of bringing to understanding, or o the translating that distinguishes any herf

As the movement by which any possible mtity is scparatcd within itself, spacing $50 affects the now constitutive o the metaphysical f concept of time. It dividcs the present moment af the now within irself. Insinuating an intervd in each presenr moment because dependent on a movement o retention and protention (since that mof ment is present only with rcgard to a past and a future), the spaang diastema is also the becomingspace oi time, the possibility proper of ternporalization, as well as the becoming-time of space.
Tbkd, diffcrmcr is a h the production, if it can still be put his way, af these differences, of rhe diacririciry that the linguistics gcncarcd b stussure, y and dl the structural sciences mdeled upon it, have recalled i s h e condirion for any sipiCcaiion and any structure. T h e ,differcnms--and, for example, thc raxonomical sciencc which thcy may occasion-arc thc cffas o d+f ance; thcy arc neither inscribed in the heavens, nor in the brain, which does not mean that they ate produced by the activity at some spcaking subject. (F,p. 9)

By tying the scientific conccpt o differcncc-diffemce as diacrif f ticity-into the predicative cluster o differana, Derrida makes diffcrancc also serve as rhe principle of m i o n c and linguistic inoclhglbilicy. The differtncta at the basis .of intelligibility arc not to be confoundcd with those constimtiveof concepts;the differends under consideration here arc thc differential or diacritical characterisria of signs and sign sysnms. These differenriaF fearures. situated in a horizontal srructure o dissimilarities (in contrast to the hierarchical nctwork of tbc conf cepts), are the elementary components of possible signification. Derrida notcs, Om has to admit, bcforc any dissociation o language f and speech, code and message, etc. (and everything that goes along with such a dissociation), a systematic production o diffmmces, the f production o a system of differences-a di{fmmce-within f whose effects m e eventually, by abstraction and according to determined motivations, will be able ro demarcare a linguistics of language and a linguistics o speech (P, 28). In ia capacity as a manix for there f p. diffcrcnccs of inrclligibiliry, diffcnncc i s thus the condition of signification, serving, in a way. as Its primordial constitution. Clearly, as



the principle of diacritical diffmtiality, differance also overlaps wt ih its meaning as m n q m a l spacing, inasmuch as mnceprs are n e sarily and c~scntially inscribed within systems and s ~ ~ c t l l c c 5 wherein they refer negatively to other concepts. Difmunce-fourth would name provisionally this unfolding o difference, in parricular, but nor only, or Erst o all, o the onticof f f ontoiogical difference (F,p. 10). Here, differanct is made into the preopening, an opening by right anterior to the ondcwnmlogical difference. In this sense the concept of differancc is what not only p d e s mctaphysia but aIsa extends beyond the thought of being (OG, p. 1431, which, for Derrida, i s nothing other than metaphysics. After all, the difference between king and what is, between Eking and beings, the ontological and rhc onuc, which grounds in rhc tranf scendence o the being-there (Dusxin), coincides with Being in an authentic way, as Being no longer conceived within the perspcctivc of what is present. Dif-fmmce,then, is Being as rhe opening in which Seing ~m itsclf forth as absent in what is present. According to Hcidegger, difference as Being is determined in terms of the differences betwccn presenting and prsence (Anwesen and unwe$emf), presence and absence, and Being and what is. Yet this implies that the onrimontological difference, or difference in short, i s described in terms o f intrinsically metaphysical determinations; differace is thought within the horizon of the question o the meaning of Being. Perhaps diff since Bting has never ference is older than king itself (M, p. 67), been thought othctwise than as prcscna, as concealing itself in what is. Thus, a difference anterior m the onticoontological difference or to the truth or meaning of king, a difference which would be the trace of the trace that is the ontico-ontological difference. insinuates itself of necessity. Thew may be a differenre sdl more unthought p. than the differencc between king and beings (M, 67). This mote originary difference is not yet determined as the difference berween Being and what is but precedes it as the possibility of difference as such. Considering rhc metaphysical concept of the name and what it is supposed to achieve, it is impossible to name this more originary difference. The name differunce, by emphasizing the active movement of difference that is comprehended by this infrastructural construction but that does not exhaust it, economically accounts for the dissimif larity o the diverse functionsthat such an originary difference would have to carry OUI. BeyondBeing and beings, thisdi~~ce,eeasdesslydifferingfrom and deferring (itself), would tram (itself) ,(by inelf)-rhis diffeerancc




would be the first or I a a trace if one still could speak, here, of origin and end (M, 67). p. Compared to the ontico-ontological differencc, whwc difficult and urgent darificadon Heidegger took upon himself in his epoch-makingwork, differance is a difference o trace preceding r all possible dissociation and within which the ontko-ontological diffennce eventually cafves itsetf our. In distinction M diffetance, the ontico-ontological difference is not as absolutely originary as Hcidegger believed, since its form as difference depends on the possibility ofthat form. Since this passibility is diifemncc, differance must also bc construed as the condition of pssibility of Being. These, lhm, are the different kinds of differences drawn synthezicaIly together in the term differmcei difference as ternporalizing, diffcrencc as spacing, difference as the result of opening a polemical rift between conceptual poles, difference as diacrikal differentiality, difference as ontico-ontological difference, and so on. The list of these incommensurable and heterogeneous kinds of differmcm is, for structural reasons, open; their synthcsis as differance is not complete, for such a synthesis necessarily defers its own closure. Ditfcrance as a synthesis is precisely an altering diffcrcnce (M, p. 290), in the sense of a tempor3lizing and spacing of itself, which thus cannot be a synthesis in the classical sense. Because differance is a synthesis of incommensurable modes of diffcrence, rhcir unity cannot rcprcxnt the sublation of the conflictualtty that dietingoishe each differmcc in itself or in relation to the other kinds of diflcrenccs. By insisting on the irreducible ,difference among differences, Derrida refuses 10 reduce them to logical difference-that is, to contradiction-which would make it possible ro resolve them in one unity. Since i t can no longer be subsumed by the generality of logical contradiction, diffnunce (the proccss of differentiation) permirs a differentiated accounting for heterogeneous rncdesofconflictuality,or, ifyou will,forcontradictions(P,p. 101). Hence, because ir knots predicates of logical (Arkroteltan and H e gelian) differenccdf contradiction-into its synthesis, differan- is, filth, an archesynthesis that n o Iongcr privileges contradiction as the one outstanding and dominating mode of difference, destined to subjugate all other kinds of difference. Differance, in this sense, is more originary rhan difference modeled afrer the law of thought according t which the opposite of a True proposition is necessarily false, o o r afrer the dialtcrical law according to which the ncgativity o tcuc f contradiction wakes it the spcculativc Other, and hence one moment in the becoming of truth.


w 5

As a spthtsis of differenm of incommensurable identity, differa n ~ promoas the plurality of diffcrmae, of a mnflicrualify that dcxs not e culminate in dntradiction but remains a conmadicrion without mntiadidon, that is, without eventual dissolution within the irnmanencc o the Canocpt capable of interiorizing its own exteriorization or f nfgauviry. Wirh rhis, d i k a n c e appears r be a concept at odds with o the Hegelian notion of difference as well as with the process of Aufiebung made possible by the interpretation of diffcrcnce exclusiveIy in m s o negativity. f 1 have attempted m dininguish dilfemnce (whwe n marin, among other thingP, its pmductivc and mnflictual characteristics) fmm Hqelian diffcrence, and have done s precisely at the point at which Hcgel, in the greater o Logic, determines diffefercnct as contradiction only in order m resolve it, m inteciorize it, ti lift it up (according to the syIlo&tic pmms of spcmlstiv~ dialcctio) intothe sdl-prescncc of an onm-theological or onto-teleologid synthesis. Dilfr*rmce(ar a painr of alrnosr absolun proximity to Hcget -.. I
must sign the point ar which one breaks with the system o the Auficbung f and with spetll~tive dialcctia. (P,p. 44)

AIthough differana entertains deep relations of affinity with the Hegelian discourst insofar as it i a qmthcris of differences, difs Icranm must also he ddincd as precisely the limit, the interruption, chedtsttucdon of the Hegelian relhe wherever it operates (P.pp. 40-41) As the essay Difkrancc notes, it is for this reason, among others, h a t the aaivc movement o the production of differenas i s f not simply called difiermriation. Apart from the fact that such a denomination would eliminate the temporalking aspect of diffcrancc, it would also suggest the existence prior to in division of an originary hamogmmus and organic d i t y . T h e d o g i s m d#emm was m i n d in order m undercut rhe possibility of such a unity as rhe origin and tclos of differences. It is thc nonunitaty synthais of all thew very different types of difference and. as such, the matrix from which they
draw thci r cxisrcnce

The Infrusrrumrre as Supp!mentmty

supplemcnr, says W d a in Of G ~ m t m t r r t ~ l ~ e y , is *another name for differana (OG, p 150). Supplementarily is in reality diffcrmrce, . the opcration of differing which at one and the same time both fissures and retards presence, submitting it simultanmusly to primordial division and delay, because thc supplementing difference vicariously stands in f r pmence due to its primordial self-deficiency (SP, a p.



88). But unlikc diffcrance. supplcmentariry 5 t r c s ~ ~ cxplicitly mom the function o substitutive supplementation in general, which is r o e f otd in thc primordial nonself-prescncc of full terms (SP,p. 8 ) It 7. places greater emphasis on the structural necessity of the addition of a difference to a full entity such as an origin by showing it to be a consequcnce ofthe fact that fult rerms compensate lor their lack of anorhcr origin. In this sense. supplcmentarity could also be said to be a variation of the arche-trace, but again, instead af referring to Other, supplcmentarity aatibures the structural need of adding an Other to the vicarious nature ofpresence itself, I do not intend to develop the logic of supplcmentarity by following Derridas rich and detailed analysis of Rousseaus work in Of Crarnmtology. Nor will I cnrich the exposition of that logic rhrough recourse to analogical structures such as the phannakon and the parergon.12 In order to understand this particular infrastructure, however, we must beawarc that it represents an attempt to account for a certain contradictory logic characteristic of the philosophical discourse on origin-in the caw of Rousscau, on nature as origin. The idea of supplementarity ammpts to reunite in one structure a number of contradictory statements and propositions on origin. in such a manner that this contradiction is not oblireratcd but, on the contrary, explicirly accounted for. As Dcrrida has argued in Of Grurnrnutology, these srarements make rhe following assertions: (1) origins, nature, animality. primitivism, childhood, and so on arc pure; (2) compared to these pure and fully present origins, everything else (speech, society, r c a ~ o n i)s an crterior addition which leaves their purity unbreached; (3) the necessity of these additions is not rationally explicable; (4) t h e e additions themselves function a5 secondary origins; ( 5 ) these secondary origins are dangerous to the primal origins to the extent that thcy pervcrt and undermine them; and so on. The logic of sup-

plernenrarity developed from Rousseaus own use of that term to dcscribc thc rclarianship ktwecn origins and thc additions to origins accounts for the coherent incoherence of these statements within Rousseaus discourse. In his use of the term supplement. Rousscau displaccs and dcformr rhc miry of ihc signifitr and the signified, as it is aniculared among nouns (supplement, substitute [srrpplhm. suppliutir]), verbs (to supply, ro be subsritured [suppldm, se substisue*], etc.) and adjcctivcr (supplementary. supplctory [supplimentaire, supplirifl) and m a k e the signifieds play on the register o PIUS f and minus. But t h c x displaccmcnts and deformations are regulated by the contradictory unity-idf supplemmtary-of a desire (OG, p. 245).



Dnridas ancmpt to construct supplemrntarity as an i n h c t u l e in order to amount for that ,rrgulatcd unity draws upon aU the reis, sourocs of tbar word. But f r t Ict us see how Rousscau limits the play o supplmcntariry. Rousscau, writes Dcrrida, f
wishcs on the OM baud to u(finn. by it a positin value, mrgrhing of which aniculation is the principle or everything w i h which it wnstruns a sysmn [passion, language, society, man, ctc.1. But he intends m affirm sirnulamusly all that is cancelled by articulation (acmx, life, passion yet agmin, and so on). The supploncnt k i n g Be articulated structure of there two pussibilitim. Rousszau can only decompose them and dissociate them inta rwo rimpte u h , logically conrridimry yet allowing an intact purity to b b the negative and h e pmitivc. (OG, pp. 24s-246) o ,

Having thus dissaciad the two possibilities into two mnflicring units, Rousscm pwccds to define the supplement (in this case, everything o which articulation isthc principle] as a mereexterior addition, f asthe nothing o a simple uneriority. In this way the addition is f annulled (it i insignificant), W M c the origin r c m a k umouched. Wbm s is added is nothing because it is added to u fiil presmce to which it is exterior(0G. p 167). Falling back on thevalue o a simple ourside, f Rousseau can simultaneously a h , in tom1 isolation, both the origin and the supplement. Yet, not only must he assert the danger that follows from the supplement;he must also describe the supposedly pure plcninrdc of the origins in terms of seduction and threat-in t e r m of the negarivc, death, absence. Nnw, the logic of supplementarity is the ammpt r ric all t h e diffmnt propositions together o into a ~trtlcture that explains bmh their possibility and the I h o h f their scope. Thii structure is construed as a field of relations that inscribes withh itself the function and value of the philosophical ,concepto origin; it shows how the myth ofan unbreached origin is f dependent on the eHacement of the logic o that supplementarity. f The concept of origin or narurc is nothing but the myth o addition, f o supplementarity annulied by being purely additive. I t i the myth f s ofrhc effaccmenrof the trace, that is to say of an originay differancc that is neither absence nor pmnce, neirba negative nor positive. Originary differance is supplemenrarity as s h c b r e (OG, p. 167). Let us try to draw the basic features o this infrastructure which, f by making the value of origin possible, a h imposes its limitations on it. T h e logic of supplementarity is r o o d in a recourse to two conflicting meanings intermined within the term, but it also makes UBC of the entire consdlation of concepts dependent o n its system.



thing that adds itself, . .. a surplus, a plenitude enriching another plenitude, the f u l h t measure oi presence. It cumulates and accumulates presence. It is thus that art, rechne, image, representation, convention. ctc., come as supplements to nature and are rich with this entire cumulating function. This kind of supplementarity determints in a certain way all the conceptual oppositions within which f o Rousseau inscribs the norion o Nature t the extent that it should bc self-suflicient (OG, 144-145). In this sense, the operation of pp. supplementation i s not a break in presence and plenitude hut rathct f a continuous and homogenous reparation and modification o both. According to irs second meaning, howevcr,

W h a t are these two heterogeneous meanings harbored by the term slcpplemerrt, whose cohabitation is as strangc as it is nccrssary? (OC. p. 144). According to the first meaning, B suppfmmt is some-

the supplement supplements. It adds only to replace. It intervcncs or insinuatcs itxtf in-rhopbce-of; i f i r fills, it is as if one 611s a void. It it npnscnu and makes an image, it is by the anterior default of a presence. Compensatory [supplirmt] and vicarious, the ~upplcment an adjunct, a subaltern instance is which tubes-(tbe)-plu [timt-lieu].As substirUte, it is not simply added to the positivity o a presence, it produccs no relief, its place i assigned in the f s structure by the mark o an emptiness. Somewhere, something can be fillcd f up ofitsdh can accomplish inclf. only by allowing itself to bc fillcd through sign and proxy. (OG, p. 145)

Now, instead o playing aEternately on these two meanings of supf plernmr and juxtaposing thcm in a contradictmy fashion, as does Rousseau-a possibility contingent on the fallacious determination of the relation o the supplement m t h a t for which it compensates [a f full plenitude or an absence) as one o exwriority-Derrida draws f the two meaning of suppkmnt together in a structural manner. It
is not, howcver, because of semantic ambiguity that supplementar-

ity qualifics as an infrastructure. The new and thoroughly unnatural synthesis ,of the two conflicting meanings o supplemcnr qualifies as f an infrasrructurc only if the proxy aspect of supplement i s genf eralized. According to the logic o identity and the principle of ontology, the supplement adds itsefffrom the outside as evil und luck to happy and innocent plenitude (OG, p 215). Yet if one combines . the two meanings of supplcmmt. then the supplernenc, which seemingly adds itself like a plenitude to another plcnitude, alsb fills an absence of ptcnitude, makes up for a deficiency of plenitude. The vicariousrms of the supplemcnr or the surrogate, howevcr, is not a



function of somerhing that smehow preexists ir; the ddiaency in q u a i o n is much more d i d , 5incc the supplement repFaces or t a k a the place o an abmt.origin. Supplemmmrity, then, as the action of f addition to and vicarious substitution o an absmt origin, is the minf imal structure required to explain the contradictories that reulr f o rm assuming the simple ntcriority o the supplement and, sirnultanef ously, Its dangerow threat rn self-presenr origins. As h i s minimal organizational unit, it is not only absolutely fint, but also accounts far the possibilities f o which it ,draw its major pdcatcs. rm Whar fallows from the law of supplemrnrariy is that origins (plmihldcs, p m w ) are always already additions o surrogates cornr pcn$ating for a more origisary absence of plenitude. An origin, consequently, is an effect brought about ex past by an originary rm substitution of an origin that had fallen short of itself f o the start. Only under this condition can one explain why an origin a n haw supplements and also why it must call upon them and repel them at once. Only as a supplement for another origin aIready impaired can an origin itsclf require a substitute. If, according to Rousscau, the danger of the supplement stems from ics smcruraI ability to replace and takc tkplace of what it ir addcd to, then this danger is a clear function o the lamers belatedness. S i m thar unity which coma to f substitute vicariously and compensate for a lack of a full uniy must be at once sufficiently the same and sufficiently diftermr to replace that absence, the origin bclatcdly reconstituted as plenitude and p m ence in the absena of another origin is also affected in i s interiority by the lack for which it compensates. As always, the supplement is inwmplm, unequal to the task, it lacks something in order for rhc lack to bc filled, it paniapatcs in the evil chat it should repair (OG. p, 226). Al&ough the supplement is a plus, to the extent that it substitutes for a lack on thc part of the origin, it is also less than an origin, since it is itself in need o compensation. In shorr, then, &his f logic of supplmenrarity, which would have it that the outside be inside, that the Other and the lack come to add themselves as a plus that replam a minus, that what adds itsdf to something taka the place of a default in the thiig, that the default, as the outside of the inside. should be already withii the inside, etc (OG. 2151, dep. scribes, within a lo& o belatedness, an infrastructure that accounrs f for the emergence of origin as an &reffec~ It accounts for the possibility & a t such a reconstituted and reconstructed origin can i d f be supplemenred by addidons, for h e possibility char such additions can mdangr so-called origins, and fnr h e possibiliry that the opcr-



ation of supplementation and the function of vicarious substitution f are unlimited. The infrastructure o supplementariry, by knotting together into one structure the minus and the plus, the lack of origin and the supplementation of that origin, does not choose bcnveen either one of them but shows that both functions are depcndmt on one another in one srructure of replacemcnrs, within which all p m ences will be supplemenm substituted for an absent origin, and all differences, within the system of presence, will be thc irreducible effect of what remains epebeina tes ,ousius (D. p. 167). Compared to the play of absence and presence on which it rests, but which it also makes possible insofar as it ties both together in the p d u a i o n of origins as supplemcnrs and o h e supplmrnts of origins, f the infrastructure is absolutely first. It is a last instance; yet as an instance epekeinn tes DUSIUS it is, like all other infrastructures, nothing, or ulmost nothing. It is not something that is either absent orprcsent, although it could be said to be absent on the condition that absence is not understood as a rnodificarion of presence, as an absent-presence. The supplement occupics the middle point benvcen total absence and total presence, writes Derrida (OG.p- 157). It isa nondialectical middle, a structurc of jointcd predication, which cannot itself be comprchended b y the predicatcs which it distributes: origin and supplement, origin and what is derived from it, inner and outer, presence and absence. Therefore, this economic intermediary that is supple f rnentarity is inconceivable to reason and to its own logic o identity. Although rhe logic of rhe ,supplemenr should allow us to say the contrary at thc same time withouc contradinion {OC. 179), its p. logic is not simply irrational. Instead o being simpry an opacity within f the system ofrationaliry, which woutd thus be comprehensible by it, it is nanrational, as the origin of reason must be (OG, p. zS9). Reason is structurally incapable of comprehending its origin in the possibiliry ofsupplementsrity: The possibitity of reason the supplemcntny possibility, is inconceivable to reuson (OG. p. 259). Not that thir inability of reason to understand its origin in what it is notin the nonrational play of the structure of supplementarity-shows a lack of power; rather, this inability is constitutive ,of the very possibility of the logic o identity, and of what appears o netmiry to f f reason. as its irrational Orhcr according lo that very logic. Still. reason cannor turn the strumre of supplementariiy inro simple irrationality, f f into the opposite o reason, which would conform with the logic o idcntity and thus be less irritating and waylaying rhan a structure that refuses determination in terms of what it makes possible. Reason is



21 I

blind t the supplement as one is blind to the source of seeing. Thus, o supplemenrarity has no sense and is given t no intuition. It is the o
suange esscna o the supplement not to have csscntislity: it may f always nor have taken place. Moreover, lirmlly, it has ncwr rakm place i t is never prcsmt, hem and now. If it werc, it would not be what ir is, a supplement, taking and keeping the plact of the other

(06, 314). p.
L t us sum up. The ar m e of supplemcntarity makes h e mne tu r stimtion o an origin dcpendcnt on an originary subatirurion of an f absnt Other (origin]. It b t explains the possibility of origin (presoh mu, plcnitudc. and so on) and mrrim it to a function of sccondarinas. Supplementarityenassume t h t role o an origin mom originary f &an any origin, k u s e supplements m supposedly full origins (supplements which the discourse of philosophy is bound to recopnk, and which it cxpcrienai as threatening to the origin to which de lure ir should remain indifferent) are pluscs that cornpeware for a minus in the otigin. The supplemaration is &us also a cornpensadon (supp l h c e ) . Since an origincan invite supplements,it is already inhabited by their negativity and is not simply an origin but a substitutive supplement for a lack. In its positivity, an origin compensates f r the o lack of mother origin, but is inhabited a& i w a by this lack, becaw of which it can supplement itself and can w e as a supplement. IlwtC consequences follow: (1) a generatization of the structure of supplcmentarity, which thus appcsrs more originary than the substituta or supplements and what thew substiturn repIaoc, compensate or, or supplcmcnr, that is, the origin; ( 2 )the possibility of a sugplemcnr to the suppIcmenq that is i say, of the i t h i e and indefinite play o o f rrpctitiwt and substitution (As soon as the supplementary outside i opolad,its m ~ t implies that the supplement iself can be typi, s ll~ replaced by its double, and that a supplement to the supplement, a surrogate for the surrogate, kpossiblc and nausary, D,p. 109); and (3) the impossibility of going back fmm the slrpplmmt to rhr smrtl: one must rccagnire that there i a nrpplemtnt at the source s (OG, 3043. p. By denoting wbat saucturally exaffds any toraliry ar whole, supplmcnurity is the essential nothirrg from which this whole and its doublcs can surge into nppurancc; but, as the excess of a signifier which, in in own inside, makts up (for) space and repcan the facr o f o p i n g (D, p. 2351, supplementaricy a h firnits this whole in its

plcnitude by restricting ir m semndarinem or belatcdncss, Supplmtnrarity as an infrastructure is also the possibility of a



doubling repetition; this aspect o the infrastructure, however, is f thematized as the minimal structure o itcrubitity, a subject to which f we now turn.

The lnfrasmcture rzs 1terrrbiliiy

The issue of iterability has to do with original repetition-that is, a mpetirion prinr to common repnition, rhc lartcr k i n g alwayi the repetition of an already constirured entity, moment, instance, or the like. One must think o a repetition that already divides thc point f ofdeparmreofthefirst time (WD,p.Z13),andthatwouldbecapabIe of accounrtng far thc fact-the possihiliry and the necessity-that any singular and unique momcnt must be repeatable in order to exist. This original mpetirion is not of the same order as repetition in thc ordinary sense, which presupposes the uniqueness, singularity, and integrity of a Erst time. I t is not, like empirical repetition, a repetition t h a t muld possibly tuke place. The term refers, rather, to the repetition of repetition. or reperition in generul. rcpeatabiliry. In order not to mistake this possibility for the always accidentaIly occurring Tepetiiion of common sense, Dcrrida calls it not iteration bur iterabiliry; but this name d m more h a n just designate the possibility of iteration. Like most o the othcr infrastructures. the dcsT ignation iierubility draws upon a cluster of concepw, and rhus ir simultaneously accounts for a variety o philosophical problems. Itf erubility reunites two opposite, o rather incommensurable, meanings: r the possibility of iterarion or repetition, and also the porsibility of alteration. lter comes from ituru--other in Sanskrit-as Derrida has pointed out on several occasions. Whether this etymology is correct is beside the p i o r , ,since it is only a pretext for condensing a variety of concepts in one linguistic m a r k in order to exhibit a set of necessary relations between them. Since the validity o etymology is f of an exclusivcly empirical nature, it cannot positively or negatively affect the infrastructural relations, which are conceived as necessary relations between possibiliries. kfore: investigating the nuclear traits of the mark itefdbiliry, Ict us recall that herobility is anorher name for supplemenmrity, to the f cxrenr rhar the lartet is already rhc space of duplication and thus o repetition. herability is also another name for diflerdnce, with which it shares the structural deferring of the possibility of a present instant or entity. lterubility also partially overlaps the idea of arche-trace, becausc it names the relation to Othcr as constitutive of the relation



to self. But despite these overlaps, iterability is an original infrastructure insofar as it links its various filiations, each of which actualizes a slightly different aspm from those stressed by the other infrasmcturcs, in a new and original syncheis, which serves to muster a unique set of phiIosophical phenomena. We can distinguish five different functions o iterabilip: f lrcrubiiity a the origin of iterdion or repetition. As we saw with supplcmentariry, a repctition becomcs possible only if a unit that i s both sufficiently similar and suficiently different to occupy the place o another c a m s to fill in the lack created by its absence. At chat f moment, thc supplementing unit both repats rhc abscnr unit and bemrnes an aiterity that takes its place. Repetition thw h i n p on the strudural possibility of an absence of the repeated. If the unit to bc repcatad were totally present and present to itself, if it were not f breachedby a certain lack o pIenimde, no repetition could ever occur. This abscnce, however, is not to bc understood as a continuous and f ontological modification of pmence. It is not the absent presence o a full plenitude, o a o n a or at one time self-prtscntpcescna; it is f an absence owing not to an empirically effective and hence accidental occurrence of abscnce but, on the contrary, to the pmsibiliiy of being absent. This possibility, as Dcrrida has argued in Signature Event Context, and even more powerfuUy in Limited Inc,is what breaches f and dividts the plenirude o r self-pmnce o even the mosr unique and singular event. T h i s m c t u r a l pssibility make its factual rcpetirion possiblc, even if it occurs only once. The mere possibility of the absence of a unit c o m p n d s to the rime and place o the other f t m [lirutre fois] already at work, altering from the s t a r t the start ie itself, the first time, the at once (&I, p, 200). Therefore, what is in quwion here is not iteration or repetition bur only chdr possibility, o iterability, which tun occur as a possibility to any unit and is, r consequently, a neassary possibiliry that must be inscribed within the w c e o that unit itself. A priori. then, the possibility o iteration f f divides the identity of all units; iterabiliy is the impurity of an absence f that, from the start, prohibits the full and rigorous artainment o the plenitudeof a unit, and that in principle subvertsits =If-identity. Such an absence makes it possible for that unit t be repeated, iterated, o which is of course nor to say that it must be repeated. But the possibility of itcrarion inhabits the unit from the start in such a manner that if its repetition does occur, it will not be accidental and will not affect ir only ab extra. Iterabbility i s also the condition o possibiliry of re-production, ref



presentation, citation, and so on, and can bt read as the generalization o rtprescntation. reproduction, citation. Everything begins witb ref producrion, writes Derrida in Writing md Difiermce (WD, p. 2111. Everything, begins, then, with citation, he writes in Dirreminlrtion (D, 316). And in O f Grummotology he concludes his essay on p. Rousscau b y stating that the very m n a of presence, if i t must always be repeated within anorher presence, opms originarily, within presence itself, thc structure of representation (OG, p. 311). Everything, hence, begins with repmentation; the possibility o reproducf tion, rcprcxntation, and citation must be inscribed in any entity, sign, or a c t o speech in order for an entity, sign, ar speech act to be possible f in its singularIry in thc Cra place. If Dcrrida calls the inscriptian of these possibilities the death from which l i f e with i t 5 limitations and finitude spring forth, then this i s not merely a metaphorical manner ofspeaking. This i s a meaning of dcarh prior to the proper meaning of what wc commonly understand by death and, mutoris m u t a d i s , to a figural, metaphorical meaningo death. Death is understood here f as the condition af iterability without which no unit could bc cxchanged, transmitted, represented, referred to, reproduced. remembered, and so on. itcrabdiiy 0 s the origin of idedinztion and identificution. Since iterability suppsm a minimal remainder (as well a5 a minimum of idealizadon) in order that the identity o the sdfwme be repeatable f and identifiable irr. through, and even in view of its altmtion (Ll. p, 190). it can bc construed as the origin of idealization and idtntification. The possibility o repetition depends on the recognition of f sclf-identicalmarks; yet repetitionconstitutes thcse very marks in their identity. A repeatable ideniiy is an ideal idmticy, however, independent from thc mnmt and thc factual and multiple ments of its occurrence. most ideally conceived in thc form o the ideality of the f eidos: the truth of the eidos as that which i s identical to itself, always the same as itself and therefore simple, incomposite ( a s w h e t o n ) , undecomposable, invariable.. Thc eidos i s rhar which can always be repeated as the some. The ideality and invisibihy of rbc eidos are is power-t&e-qeated [D, p. 123). Without iterability. thcre would be no tmth; yer rhc minimal. idcntity prcsuppod by iterability and the minimal identity chat ir makes possible ir necessarily a divided identity. Only an identity that already inscribes in itself the possibility of nonidentify wodd lend itself to iteration. The idcaliry broached by iteration is a breached ideality, a lirnired ideality, since iterabiliry ruins (even ideally) the very idendcy it ren-



ders possible (LI, 217). Although ircrabiliry as such is the becowp. itfg o intelligibility and ideality, the very possibility of repetition as f ot f the r o o truth also prohibits truth from ever bcmrning itself. Irerability, without which the ideality o n which truth is based could not be achieved, i s at oncc the dcarh of mrh, irs finimdc. It docs not heIp to try to distinguish betwcen good and bad repetition, as Platonism has done since i t s incipience, to differentiate between a good repetition that g i v a and presents the d o s , the ideal and unchannging self-identity of truth, and a bad rcpctition thatrepeats repetition, merely repeating itself instead of the living.truth. One Cannot choose between the living repetition of life ,and trnttr and the dead repaition of death and nontrurh bcouse, as the infrastructure iterability demanmates, these two repetitions relate to one another, implicate one another, and cannot even be thought except together: These two typcr of rcpctirion relate to each orher according 10 [he graphiu of supplernentarity. Which means thar one ,can no more separate them from each other, think of either one apart from the other, label them, than ane can in rhe pharmacy distinguish the medicine from the poison, the good from the evil, the true from the fake; rhe inside f o the outside, the vital from the morral, the rm first from rhe second, etc (0,p. 169). The infrastructure itcrability ties these OHO repetitions together in such a way that their separation m s a violent decision, which results iri the coincidence: of the beginning o philosophy with rhr forgetting of the mndirion d origin f of it5 valucs. Itnabihy a the origin ofaltcration. As a result of the diffcrenm . inscribed in each ideal unir as the possibility of its iteration, that unit is always already something other than it purports to be. As I have rm mentioned, the time and the place of an orhm time must f o the outset affect the first time if the latter is to be suwcptible to repetition a a first and unique momcnt, whether or not such a repetition actually 5 happcns. Now, the possibility o a displacement by iteration implies f that iteration alters, something new takes place [LI. p 175). T h e inhastrumre iterability-an Orher which is mrjrcly hercragenmus t what it grounds, idcntity and di&rcnce-affccrs o the grounded by altering it; it alters it by repeating it, Iterubility us duplication. Since iterability mnstitutcs the minimal identity of the repeated as something divided by the possibility of repetition, itcrabiliry is rhe possibility of xlf-duplication, of redoubling, of metaphoricity-that is, of an elementary translation or transference by which the thing is always already transported within its



double (that is to say already within an ideality) (OG. p. 292). lrenbiliry is a dupIication or reduplication which redoubls the first rime, or rhe ideal idenriry, rhraugh its repicion as an identical and a t the samc time different momenr o r endry. It is a reduplication in which the repeated is already separated from itself, double in itxlf. Since I investigate this originary duplication and doubling in greater detail in the following chapter, I have limired myself here to these fcw remarks about this particular nuclear trait of iterability. Iterability u the possibility of the effacement of the truce. As I s emphasized in my treannenr of rhe arche-race, the possibility of an originary effacement is an essential trair of the trace. It now appears that ,suchan cffacemenr, awing tu the f a a that repeatability, be it linguistic or not, as a necessary possibility of each instance, is also a decisive mark of iterability. This is one manner in which iterability marginally overlaps the arche-trace. Let me add a few remarks cnncerning ircrabiliry in general. Like all other infrastructures, iterability is a univcrsal and necessary structure, a transcendmtal law on which rhc c f f m listed depend. Although iterability is such a law, this does not amounr r saying that a this law has the simplicity of a logical or transcendental principle. One cannot even speak of it being fundamental or radical in the traditional philosophical sense (LI, p 234). lterability is not a pure principle. Its simplicity is thoroughly cr~sscd our;itcrability can only bcwhat it is in thc impuriryof its selhidentity (reperition altering and alteration identifying) (LI, p. 203). This impurity stems from the fact that an infrastructure ties heterogeneous threads together into one law. If it is a principIc at all, it is, in Derridas words, 3 twofold mt.Y t twefold mots cannor play the role o philosophical e f p. radicality (LI, 234). As soon as there is a double borrom. rhere is no bottom or ground ar all in process o formation, writes Derrida f (D, p. 308). Because of this nonsimplicity, iteribiliry is neither a transcendental condition o possibility, in rhe strict sense, nor a n f csmce or suhsrancc clearly distinguishable from phenomena, attributes, or accident$. Since it is what makcs idealization (the production of the differenr forms uf the eidos) poreible and. by v i m e of is twofold radicaliry, also impossible, iterability does nor lend * itself toany purc, simple, and idcalizable conceptualizarion. No process or project of idealization is possible without iterability, and yet itcrability itself cannot bc idealized. For i t cornpans an internal and impure limit that prcvena it from being idcntified, synthaizcd, or reappropriatcd. just as it excludes thc rcappropriation of that whose ireration



it nonetheless btoaches and breaches ILL p. 210). Therefore the infrastructures, and itcrability in pamcular, arc at once the condition and the limit of theorizing; they make philosophical mastery possible, but they themselves escape mastery.

The Infiasmrmre as Re-Mark

TI-e re-mark mts a m s all the other undecidabks that wc haw cxamined up to this point. It i s a form of the general law of supplemcnrarity which dislocate all presence, plenitude, or propriety. As the remark demonstrates, supplementation always m n s i w of adding a mark to another mark. According to the structurc o supplcmmf tarity, what is added is thus always a blank o a fold: the fact of r addition gives way to a kind of multiple division o subtraction that r enriches itself with zeros as it races breathlessly toward the infinite. More and Icss are only scparatcd/unitcd by the inhimima1 inconsistency, thc next-to-nothing of the hymen (D. 262). p. T h e re-mark is also a form of the minimal StNCture of referral that I have analyzed as arche-trace. As I shall attempt to demonstrate in discussing the remark, every d t m i n a t e fold unfolds the figure of another, thusdisruptingall prescncc in the mark (D, 270). Derrida p. can, therefore, speak of the remark as a form o articulation of the f differential-supplementary smcture, which constantly adds o withr draws a fold from h e series, wirh thc effm that no possible heme of the fold is able ro consrimte the system o its meaning or present f the unity of its multiplicity (D, p. 270). But the re-mark is also a form of thegmeral law ofiterability. A mark has the form o repetition f and duplication because the remark by which any mark is marked in advance i s part of the mark i t d . That which is rcmarkablc in the mark, passing between the re- o the repeated and the re- of the f repeating, is the break that intervcncs in the mark. Condition or effect-take your pick-of iterability /LI, p. 190). Considering the multitude of its intersections,the re-mark, whether or not it re-covers all of them by merging wirh them, is nemsarily a very complcx structurc. Bcforc trying to give a detailed account of the different movements that enter into its composition, I want to offer a brief definition and a succinct circumscription of the maior r probkms the remark address-. The mark (or mrgin, o murchin the sensc of boundary-all of which belong to the same scrim of words) as re-mark i s that parrimlar infrastnmural fcaturc that prohibits any diacridcally constituted series of rims,conqts, traces,



or marks from ever closing upon itself. This impossibihy o totalif zation or of self-closureis not due to an infiniteabundanceof meaning, which a finite consciousncss would be unable to master; on the contrary, it hinges on the existence o a certain nerve, fold, or angle on f which, as we shall see, this Impossibility is structurally based. The re-mark is an infrasrruaure that accounts both for the neeessaty illusion of mralization and for its simultancous displacements. The re-mark interrupts the mdizations of which it is itself the condition of possibility, Yet thc economic scopc of this infrastructure is not limited to the sole problem of totalization (and reflection). The rc-mark is also that which opens up the possibility o referentiality f f within rhe play o applicarion of one mark ro anorher. Since, in such a play, the referent is wt asidc (a Iicurt) in infinite rcfercnce. the n ternarkrenders rhe function of truth possible by limitingit. I general, the re-mark is the structure that accounts for the possibility of all transccndenral or theological illusions, because the supplementary $tams of the re-mark (as a mark added to another mark) can always be isolated from the mark it doublcs and can thus be rendered indcpcndent of that mark. Derrida notes in Dissemimtion that the structural place o the theological map is prescribed by the remark: f de The mark-supplement [le s~rpplirnmt marque] produced by the rcxtsworkings, in fallingoutsidcofthetextlikc independent object an with no origin other than itself, B trace that turns back into a presence (or a sign), i s instparable from desire (the dcsirc for reappropriation or reprcscotation). Or rather, it gives birth 10 i t and nourishes it in the vcry act o separating from it(D. p. 258). f Let us, then, distinguish the basic traits of the re-mark. It combines of em at lcast four diffcrent E C ~ S C S the t r mark and two distinct movements. As in our prcvious analyscs, 1 shall discuss this inhastrucrurc in absrractjon from the rich context in which it is produced within Dcrridas work. Consequently, I shall nor take advantage of rhc examples of rhc remark, such as the fan, the blank, o r the fold in the work of Mallamre, on which Dcrrida reliesin formulating thisgeneral law. I shall also privilcgcrhc general Implicationsof this infrastructure f over the possibility o irs parricular consequences for literary criricism, f which represcnrs part of the conrext o The Double %$ion, is whtch Dcrrida develops this notion o remarking. Part III of this book f focuses on these specific problems. The term m r k refers, first, to the empirical objm commonly known by that name: a sign, an indication, a trait, or token. Second, it refers, through a tropic (analogical, metaphorical, metonymic) twist, to rhe



totality o o b j m that function ar marks, t the semantic unitiesand f o the chains or series that they form. And third, the doubling of these
series, in a suppIcmcnrsry trop~logicat movement, allows the mark to serve as the cancept o all empirical marks. In all three cases the f mark is understood to refer IO a referent as a function of truth. In the h and sccond instan-, the mark is a distinguishing mit o t r quality o something or someone; in the third it is the concep~ f 5r rather the totalizing s m e (-1, of the series of possible tokensin other wards, that which confers the meaning of relating to a rcfercnt upon the different forms ofmarks.In this last case,at least, the mark functions as a double of the mark, as the mark of the mark, as the mark or mi6 of marks thought. A5 such a double of h e mark, it adds itself to each individual mark, a well as to the seriesof its s analogical, metaphorical, or metonymical substitutes. T h e fourth sense of the term is mom complicattd. According to the law of the arche-trace, a mark is embedded in a differential system of m a r k in which it acquim the minimal identity necessary to refer

to something other than itself. This identity hinges on its relation to anothcr mark, on ia daour through another mark in thc very act of self-referenw..A mark mum be re-marked by what it is not [anocher mark) in order to bc rcpeamblc as the identical sign of a signified. Therefore, the tropolDgiEa1 movement by which the mark (or seme) &rs to the polyscmic series o marks, totatizing or embracing them f as their conccpr, BS the m n q r chat refers to hem in.rheir totality, must contain mi additional tropological movemmt by which the scme mark refers to what d c m a r a t e the marks, to the blanks between the marks that relare the different marks to each other. Indeed, in addition to designating the totaliry of all marks within a series, and to remarking in this manner the singular mark, or the scrics as a whole by the srmic mark or concept of the mark-a marking by which the singular m a r k become dre visible (ar invisible) incarnations of the content of the xmic mark-the nature proper of the mark also demands that it refer to that which opens up the possibility o marks f in general. Through the additional mopolngial movement, rhe scme murk i s thus made M refer ta its asemic space of irmriptian, that is, to the mark or march (both mean boundary) o thc mark. Dcrrida f calls this s p a a the m r spaced-out semiopening jlcntrarrvermre aks

Because a mark a q u i m the ideal idmriry necessary to its iteration as the mark o something other than itself only to rhe extent that it f is constituted by what it is not, the totalizing semic mark must also



inscribe or insert within itself the differential siructure of the mark, that which makes the mark possible. The mark must thus be marked, or re-marked. by its own mark (march, margin). Since in its irreducible duplication it must include a reference to what it is not, inserring something heterogeneous to itself in itself-namely, what demarcates it as a mark-the mark a150 names the space o inscription o c h i f f marks, what holds them together and separares them, what makes them resemble and differ from one anorher. Irreducibly double, the mark remarked by the hercrogeneous order of what makes it possible--the re-mark-is thus the concept of the roralig of the scmic valences of the mark plus the spaced-out semiopening of the whole of these valences. The re-mark is thus more than the totality of the marks and more than tbe totalizing concept of the mark; in addition it is what make that totality possible. A t this point the remark seems to coincide with the speculative concept of Alrfiebung a s a way in which reflexivity reflecrs itself into itself, even including its own possibiliry. Indeed. Derrida has acknowledged that Aufbebmng, and thus the operation proper of speculatinn, is mast similar to the graphics of the remark I .p. 248). The mait by which the mark becomes D doubled, however, is an undecidable trait, one that constitutes a limit to the [conceptualizing or represenring) reflecrion of the lmt or iis margins of the mark, and with which Aufiebiing cannnt come to grips. Let me cmphasim t h a t this remarking of thc mark docs not come from the outside, nor does it accidentally affect the mark, or series ot marks. Since no mark, whether an individualmarkor the"eoncept" of the mark, can lunction without referring to rhat which makes it n possihlc, the mark is i advancc re-markcd. The re-mark only makes the mark a mark. As wc shall see, however, the n-iry of such remarking, without which the mark could not hope to refer to anything f at all, also affects the destiny o referentiality. We may anticipate rhe following: if the remark were a self-reflcxivedoubling, it would make all tefcrring to another Other than the self impossible. Ir must conscqucntly Entail the failure of self-reflection 50 that the mark can assume a function of reference. Yet by virtue of the irreducibly double n a m e of the mark, a doublinb constitutive of its ideality. the mark's referencc to another Other than itself, to a nonrnark, is also constantly deferred. Moreover, ,since the orher ro which the mark refers in order to bc itself can only be another mark and not the punctuality o a f present instance o moment, ir must aIways be a referring without r referent. Bur thc mcraphysical illusion of a self-present referent is



inscribed within the s t r u m & o the mark as re-mark; itr place i s f prescribed in advanct. By dissociating the marks r c f h n g from what demarcates them, from their space of inscription, by reducing the remark constinruvc ,of rhc mark to a mere scmic function, the mark begins to unction as a signifier f r a signified. From the fact that o each mark, as well as the conapt of a11 the semantic marks, must take on the fold of the asemic space that unfolds benvstn the terms of the scrim or system, w e may draw a double mnscqucnse. The remark is indeed double. As we have sccn up to this point, each individual mark and each series o marks is remarked (doubled, rctlccted, mirrored) by irs conf cept, as well as by its asemic space of mibility. Prccidy because the mark as a mark must, irretrievabty. refcr to that non-senw space that demarcates ir from other marks, no fuIfilling equarion beween marks (or, for that matter, b n their concept) and their meaning can ever be achieved. By referring ro the place where nothing takes place but thc place ID, p. 2-57), to the marks spaced-out semiopcning, to the re-marked site of the mark (F, 46), Derrida shows that, fifth, thc totalizing p. rcmic concept o all the semcs or marks of a serics, a valence that i s f not just one among others is added to that series. Such a valence docs not enrich that series; what is added, necessarily, through a rcduplication that is always rcprescnted (D.p- 2. 21, is the meaningful 5 and signifying delegate or representative of h e semantic void between the marks of thc series. Only by making it signify can the haerogcneous space of inscription, in an extra turn, be referred to by the mark (D, p. 222). Clearly, one trope too many is thus added to the series, and, in the form of a proxy (of a metapbor o metonymy), it r represents what does not really belong to the serics of 5cmt5, the nonmcaning against which the full marks stand out. If that tmpc is subtracted from the scrim m be mtalized by the conccpt (of rhc mark], however, this totalization leaves at least one mark unaccounted for. Thus remarked by h e space of insaiption that demarcates all marks, ID concept o theme of the mark could hope to coincide with what r it aims to embrace. T h e remark is a n Essential limit to all coinciding reflection o r mirroring, a doubling of rhc mark rhar makes all selfreflcctivc adquation impossiblc. For structural rcaaonh there is always more than totality; the extra valence added by the delegate of the asemic spacc o diacritical diffmndarion of the rotalig of semes f always-infinitely-remains to be accounted for. Not only the marks of a series must bend to the foid o heir asemic f



spacc o inscription; not onIy the full tcrms of a series are affected f by the remark. To the extent that that a m i c space is represented by a proxy within, and in addition to, thc series, it becomes rnetaphorially o metonyminUy tnashrmed into a mark, that is, into r precisely what it is supposed to make possible. Hena, sixth, the heterogenencous space between the marks becomes re-marked as well, bur this homogcnizing remark effaces that which makes signification possible at the very rnament that it bcgins to signify. Under the remark, the demarcating spacc that itself remarks the signifying marks rccoils, withdraws, mtreats, disappearing-infinitely-in its own forward movement. T h e remarking of the mark (or of rhe totality of the marks in a serier) is, therefore, not only to bc understood as the represented inscription of the spaced-out scrniopming in the mark but also as the withdrawal of what makes the marks possible from the marks themselves." By remarking itself, the mark effam itself, producing in this manner the illusion of the refcrent. I t effaces itself, disappears in the appearing of what it is not-a proxy of itself. In affecting itself by the remark, designating i own space of engenderment, the mark s inscribes itself within itself, reflects itself within itseff under the form of what it is not. T h e mark is heterogeneous to the mark. In marking what de-marcates it, the margin of the mark is turned into a mark that is hetcrogcncous to the hcterogcncous spacc of i t s inscription. Infinitcly re-marking that space by another semic mark, the mark rcnders its margin invisible. Likewisc, it can be said that a11 the marks of a series are in the position of sernic substitntcs for h e spaced-out scmiopening that makes them possible. 1\5 a result of this constant retraction. thc me-mark docs not lend itself to phenomenologization; the remark does not present itself as such to any intuition of it as a phenomenon.
lo themoilingofthchlankupon t h e ~ l a n k , t h c ~ l a n k m l o ~ ~ ~ l f , ~ c o m ~ for itself, of itself, affecting itself ad infinirum-irs own c~lorltps, ever more invisible. ground. Not t h a t it is out of reach, like the phenomenological horizon o pcrcepnon, but that, in rhc act o inscribing itself on itsclf indeff f initely. mark upon mark. i t mulriplics and complicates is text, a tcxr within a tcxc, a margin in a mark, the one indcfinitcfy rcpcaml within the other: an abyss. (D, p. 265)

Because of the remark's nature as a n angte or fold to which each mark must bcnd tf it is m function as a mark, the very inscription of in condition of possibility into the mark itself can nwer be the in-



scriptiono this almost nothing a ,such. f s The marks transcendental opcning withdraws in its represenration, making manifest the limits o speculative Aufhebmg, which is incapable of accounting for the f re-mark us such, not only because rhis inlrasmcnrrc cannot be phenomenologized and aperimcod, but also because at least one repmcntation of it-that is, at least onc Egurc in which it disappearsis left unaccounted tor. This last figure i s ultimately the figure of Aufiebbung itsell. By effaang itself, the infrastructural an& of the re-mark provides Mom far the porsibiliry o rrurh as udeqrurrio or bmaiasis, as I have f already mentioned. Moreover, the infrastructure of the remark is also rhc matrix for thc conception of mh as aletheid, of truth as r revealing and concealing, since the angle of the re-mark-the undecidable play between the re- of the doubling rcpctirion of the mark, and of the re- OF the rcpcatcd and thus altercd doublc. and the re- of the retraction o the mark-also accounts for the movemrnt of corning f to the fore and withdrawing in that which presents itself in this manner. Consequently, the infrasrmmre of the remark, inscribing wirfiin f itself the possibility o the difference bctween appearing and what appears, as well as the possibility o udepatio and homoiosis, acf caunts, in an economical stnrnure, for the major theories of truth as they have bcen formulated in Western metaphysics. In light of the foregoing rcvicw of the fivc systems of predicates, which Derrida calls infrasrructures or graphemutic irr getieral {M, p. 322), some concluding remarks may be appropriare. A certain systematicity exism among rhtse five infrasuuctures. Althou& the formalizing capaciiy of each infrasmcture differs from the others, the variety in scope or range of the organizing power of the undecidablcs does not prevent our recognizing the ways in which they overlap. Lct us first review the five infrasmctures hemselves: (1)The niche-trace is a stmcturc o referral linking all relation to self to the xlFs cff facement in its relation t an Other which is not the speculative other o o the self. (2) Differance corresponds to a nonunitary yet originary f f synthesis o the movemenrsof differing, deferring, differentiation, and so on rhat rclegares rhc possibility o plenitude and self-prescnoc r f o rharof anaftereffecr. (3)Supplemmturitydesignatesthe law according ro which the possibility o the unbreached plenitude of an ntiry is f dependent on the absence of an Other which it coma to replace, and which, consequently, marks is proxy in deprh. (4) Itwubiliiy. by t linking together in one srmthlre the possibilities of rcpaition and alteration, is the explication of idealization constitutive of both iden-



tity and its limits, to the extent that the dupIication presupposed and made possible by repetition is also thc mnstant alteration of identity. ( 5 ) The re-mmk, which knots ragether in one cluster of ,predicates themovcmcnrr of doubling, repctition,and retraction (oreffacement), makm the possibility of reference hinge on the mark's or the trace's withdrawal in the doubling movement of the reflectinn of its heterogcneovs space of inscription. Each infrastructure draws together in a differest manner a difkrenr Stt of concepts: hrncc thc varying scope and reach nf what can be derived from each. Since they represent the systematic exploration o f what Derrida calls the space of inscription, they exhibit the density of a fanned-out volume, within which systematic overlapping, recoverings, and intetscctions b e c n the different structures can easily he distinguished. This does not mean, however, that they can bc derived from one another within the totality of what is traditionally called a system. For many reasons, rhe polywmie, or rather disseminating, structure of the necessarily open ensemble of the infrastructures cannot be governed '"by the unity of a f m s or of a harizon ot meaning which promises ir a totalization or a systematic adjoinrncnt-"" One such reason is the strategic, contextual, and historicaE nature of the economical Enfrastructurcs. Another mason is that the infrastructures are not stTiciu sensu transcendentals of condirions or possibilities; since the unity of rhese originary synthcses is not unitary, their explicatory power is not thealogically ahsolutc. Among the reasons I have not yet considered, one in particular needs to be mentioned here. It stems from thc fact chat each infrastructure as a relation to Other-as a structure of selfdeferring, self-effacement, duplication, repetition, and alkration--can be substituted for another, and can ulrimately cornc to represent the whole chain of infrastructures, or what Derrida calls text in an jnfrastructural sense (see Chapter 11). AIthough each singular infrastructure is one among others, each onc also dtscrihe the chain itsclf, the bcing-chain of an infrastructurat chain, t h a t is, the strumre of substitution in which they are caught and which they articulate. Owing to this possibility of each infrastructure to inscribe within itself the 'being-chain of rhe chain, each inhasrrucrure becomes thc nuckus of a system; but since each infraaruaure can and must assume this rote, no system is ultimately possiblc on the lcvcl of the infrastructures. What can be grasped. however, in the play of substitution o the inftastructumis thegrnerol f system. Before discussing this decisive aspcct of Derrida's thought, I want to concentrate on what in this philosophy corresponds to a genera1 theory o doubling. f




It may not seem appropriate t privilege theprobtern of duplicity and o duplication in attempting to formulatc the gcnerui symnt. Yet if one considers chat iterabiliry, f r instance, as a necessary possibility cono stitutive of idcaliries, produces as much as it presupposes alterity; and that the necessary possibilities of supplementarity, differance, and archotrace broach the identity of a full instant, entity, or moment by establishing an Other, a double opposite to them, then duplicity must f appear to be a major feature o all infrastructum. The whole logic of the re- that I have tried, explicitly and implicitly, to prove decisive in understanding the infrastructures seems to prmuppdse an initial duplication. The h t i n particle re-, which corresponds to the English again and against, properly denotes a turning back (upon oneself or iwlf) o an appasirion. Its figurative meaning denotes dther a r restoration of a thing to its original condidon, a transition i n t o an opposite smte, or the repetition of an action. Insofar as same of the infrastructures make explicit UK of the logic of re- by tying all or several of these meanings together, as i s the case of the re-marko r the re-trait (but also re-presentation, re-producrion, mstmce, and so on), and others, such a5 the infrasuuctures ofiterability and supplementarity, presuppose it, il gencral thcory of duplication seems necessarily to underlie all theinfrastructum. Yet duplication is not more o original than, 5ay, iteration, although one could show duplication t be a presupposition as e a d y as an effect of that infrastructure; rather, as I have suggested, they arcequiprimordial.This becomsparticuiarly obviousin those infrastructures, such as inrability, in which dupBcation and repetition are clearly tied together. Thus, although I am about t concentrate on doubling, I could just as easily focus on o itcrabiBty, diffcrance, or remarking. A gmerat theory of doubling should help acmunr for dupliciry in gencral. in canformirywith what infrasasrmchlraa t e s u p p a d to achieve, such a theory will not explain duplicity by way o an undivided whole f that would precede it. A5 all the infrastructures demonstrate, such a whale is only an aftereffect, a necessary illusion produced by the play of the undccidables. To explain duplicity and doubling preslrppo~s an originary doubling, which would not be preceded by any unity, and which thus annuls rhe traditional restridon o doubling to a f macrer of accidentaliry and semndarinss. Traditionally, the double comes after the simpIe, andsubscqmdy mdtiplies it. in order, then, to account for the possibility of an opposition such as that between a simple and its double, a general theory af doubting must conceive



o a doublc that doubles no simple, a doublethat nothing anticipates, f nothing at least that is not Emelf already double (D, p. 206). Such a theory must conceive of an a priori, and from the start irreducible, f double, o a double rootedness, of a dupIicadon that mnstitutcs the simple, and only within which it can emerge as a simplicity. Indeed, if the simpIe could not be doubled, the simple would not be what ir is. As a consequence of its identity, thc simple must inscribe the possibility of being divided within itself; in order to be simple, the simple must already be doublc. A general theory of doubling will have to focus on this dupticiry, which logically precedes the philosophical opposition of the simple and the derivative double. How is this originary duplication or doubling to be understood? In Of Grammatology. Derrida notes on several occasions that thc reflection, the image, the double splits what it doubles, by addins itself to it, and the reflected o r doubled is also split jn ir5df. Because the possibility of reflective duplication must b i n 4 M within it, the reflected is divided by its reflection in iadf. An original division of the reflected must double the dual relation between the doubk and the original if thc original is to lend itself M duplication at all. The originary duplicarion eliminates the possibility of establishing a last source, origin, and original, installing instead an infinitc reference between originals and doubles. The dual relation of the simple and rhc secondary, ofthe original and Be double, bemmcs derivative of this ,structure o dividing reference, or infinire duplicity. f According to the requirements of technical philosophy, one may want to understand this structure of dupliciry, which doubles the relation between the simpIe (edos) and its simulacra (&h~ eibon) o r as a simulacrum itself. A simulacrum, as dehned by Plato. is a copy of a copy, a double of a double, which itself signifies an original. Within philosophy, the simulacrum is indced dependent on an ontology, since the nontrutb Qf the copy o the copy is l i k e d to the f truth ofthe premt rcfcrcnt of which the first copy is the tmc repetition. Therefore, the subtle excess of truth and ontology that the origjnary duplication designates cannot be qualified simply as a simulacrum. To call ir by this name r u i r h philosophy is not only to call it by one of the names o t h a t which is severcly condemned by this f discourse as spurious, if not bad duplication (and repetition), but also to strip it of its most unsettling implications. To name the originary duplication-that is, a doubling anterior to thc metaphysical oppositions of truth and nontruth-a simulacrum is to continue to speak within these comforting oppositions. Yct what this asks us to conceive



is a simulacrum without an ultimate ref-, in other words, a nonPlatonic simulacrum. Indeed, the original duplication, doubling the opposition between copy and original, is neither p d e d nor followed by any refmnt, prcscnce, or unbreachcd identity. Theoriginary duplication, or non-Platonic simulacrum, initiates but also displaces f the rneraphysical opposition of original and copy, and o the copy of a mpy, into a complctely diffcffnt field. Doubling, mnsqucnrly, is no longer derivative of present onta or of their totality; it is no longer a phenomenon within the world, but rhat within which the on& and their images, phantasms, or simulacra c a n e themdvrs out. To cite Derrida: lmagine that mirrors would nor be in h e world, simply, f included in the totaIity o all o m and zhcir images, but that things PTCSC~, the contrary, would be in them. Imagine that mirrors on (shadows, reflections, phantasms, e t r ) would no longer be comprehended within the structure of the ontology. . but would rather mvelopit in its entirety, producing here or there a particular, extremely derrrrninatc effect (D,p. 324). As such a non-Platonic simulacrum, rhe originary duplication escapes binary logic. As an unAaggingly dislocated and displaad identity, a5 an identity that inccssantly refers to another (double), it i s not governed by opposition and contradiction. The concept of the ncgarive i s unable to cover up its play; on the contrary, its status mnsisrs of doubling the play of the ncgative and inscribing it within itself as one ofits many possibilities. The hncdon a such an originary doubling serves as a matrix for rhc simultaneous posibiliry and i m p i b i l i r y of any self-present entity. It accounts for the fact that any OH can come into p r c x n a only by immediately producing the possibility o its duplication. Included f in the at once of the originary duplication is the necessity of each appearing on to be able to appear as such only by reflecting, mirroring, or doubling i d f in another. No on can come into p-ce without simultaneously referring to something it is not. At me, then, means hat the movement of duplication to & accounted for is rhat o a f simultaneous opcnjng and dosing of the possibility of self-reference.
-At once means that the being-prrwnt ( r ) in its truth, in the prrscncc of un its identity and in the identity of ih prcsmcc,is doubled as man as it ,appears, as won as ir prexnrs irrclt 1 Q ~ ~ C ~ imSirr essmcc, a$ thc possibility of its 2 T , own most proper non-truth, of i p u b t r u t h rdlccfed in the icon, the n phantasm, or &e simulacrum. What is is not what it is, identical and idemid t itself, unique, u n l m it nddr to itserf the possibility of being repented as o such. A d iK idmtiy i hollowcd out by that addition, withdrzws itself in s the supplement that prcscnts it. I , 168) D p.



To say that the originary duplication accounts ot once for the classical f apposition o the double and what is doubled, by demonstrating rhat rhe original can appear solely on the condition that it is (possibly) doubled, ism maintain duplication as rhtexplicamy MUSC, instead of dialectically deduang it from a presupposed anterior unity. To account ot once for the duplicity of the double and what is doubled is to double the cause o duplication, and to think a primary douf ble rootedness. f The general theory o doubling attempts both to lcgitirnise and to undercut the possibility o dialcnis and speculation. The possibiliry f of dialectically comprehending the opposition between what is douhlcd and I t , double asa relation o exteriorization and reappropriation f o the double as the negative o what is doubled is logically dependent f f an the originary duplication according to which no on can refer in i appearing to irseli except by doubling itself in an Other. Since the n possibility of all identity is depcndenr on a refcrral to Other (and therefore on il limitcd possibility), the unity between identiv and difference, berween what is doubled and the double-or, as Hegel would say, between reflection-into-self and reflection-into-other-is derived from an originary duplication which is never sublated in the procas of speculative reappropriation of the Other. Although I shall return to this in mate detail later in this chapter, lot the mament 1 would like to emphasize anorher critical irnplicarion of this general theory of doubling. The general theory of duplication not only undercuts speculative dialectics bur reaches beyond phenomenology as well, in particular in its Husserlian form. Derridas critique of Husserlian phenomenology does not focus only on the privilege Husserl attributes to the f instance o the riving presence, nor is it limited to Husserls bending of the form of all experience to this essentially metaphysical motif, whethcr it cantems cxpcrimcc in general or, more particularly, transcendental experience. In addition to this criticism, and to his questioning o banxendcntal phenometmlo&s unaddtedd complicity with f the mundanc, Derrida asks thc more fundamental question whether the phenomenological model [is] itself constituted, as a warp of language. logic, cvidcncc. fundamental s w r i t y , upon a woof that is not its own? And which-such is the most difficult problem-is no longer ar all mundane? (OG, p. 67).As Dcrrida insisrs, such a question is undoubtedly provoked by ccrrain devclopments in Husserls phenomenology itself. Yet phenomenology cannot entirely Ecrtify this qucstion. which refers phcnomcnology to a zone in which



5ec it, its metaphysical principle: the original self-eviderrce snd presmce of the thing icwlf in person) is radically put into question (WD, 164). As a m a m r of fact, the p. theory o originary duplication dislocates and displaces this principle f of principles. If it is tnte that the principle of prinaples of phenomenology hingm on the possibility of the self-presentation of the thing f itself, originary duplication puts the very possibility o that which is called a phenommon radically into question. From the very beginning o Western philosophy, the nation of f phenomenon has b a n linked to the movement of duplication. Thus, for instance in the philosophy of Plato, phenomena double the mtos on as the bccoming perceptible to the senses, that is, as the nonidcal. As derived from the self-pracnce of truth, phmomcna for Plato are o the order of phantasms, icons. simulacra. and so on. At least since f Kant, however, phenomena have no longer been understood as mere appearances (Schein), but rather a5 that which appears t rhe sen= o (Erscheinungm), in contrast to the noumena of which they are, so to speak, the doubles. This motif ofduplication is tied up wirh Husserls undcrsranding of phenomena as much as it is with Kants; indecd for Husserl, phenomena are appearances reflexively bmt upon themselves, and thus capable of presenting themselves in themselves. As Husscrl makes quite clear throughout Philosophy as Rigorous Scimce, only those appearances of which reflection is an intrinsic part can be called phenomena.15 The phcnomcnality of phenomena-that is, their quality of appearing as rhcmxlves to rhemsclves-disrinyishcs them, insofar as they consricure the realm of meaning, from all sheer, rnundane existence. As pure appearing itself, phenomena are opposed to what is, to what appears, and of course to mere appearances as well. Yct the general rheov of duptication qusrions precisely the passibility of distinguishing, in a clear and distinct manner, between appearing and what appcars, bcrwccn phcnorncna as the nuclei of meaning and presence, on the one hand, and the mundane appearan=, which lack all constituting immancnt intuiting, on the other. Still, Husserl makes all other differences depend on this difference. For him, rheunhcard [the remarkable, amatinhand soon]diHertnct b m the appearing and the appearance.. . ( h e m the worId and lived experience) is the condition of all other differmm (OG, p. 65). Derrida argues, however, that this difference is preceded by theoriginary duplicaiionofwhich it is but a traqsince the movement o the self-prmtarion of the phenomenon in pure appearing, in f pmcnting itself m suck to an intuitive consciousness, alrcady pre-

i principle of prinaples (as we s



suppascs a movemcnt o doubling without which the appearing could f not dare to itself* In other words, in order to p m t itself a5 such, rhe phenomenon must already have divided itself. Precisely this differcnce is what bafflcs appearing and limits to a secondary role the unhearddf and remarkable diffmncc between appearing and appearance. With the thought of such an originary duplication, more originary than the difference between phenomena and the world, the possibility of clear-cur distinctions bccomes altogerher questionable: What is lifned, then, is not difference but thedifferent, thc diffcrends, the dcadable exterioriry of differing terms. Thanks to the confusion and continuity of the hymen, and not in spire of it, a (pure and impure) difhrence inscribcs itself without any decidable poles, without any independenr, irreversible r m s . Such diff ercnce wirhout presence a p penrs, or rather baffles the process o appearing, by dislocating any f orderly rirneat the centerof the present (D,p. 210). It isas impossible to bend the language of phenomenology, with its oppositions of absence and presena, so that it may name this irreducible doubling that reduplicates thc unheard-of difference beovcen appearing and a p pearance a5 it is to account for it within phenomenology, because this originary doubIing docs nor prcscnr itself us such. This originary doubling i s not a pure and infinite opening for the experience of phenomenal meaning; it is, in structural terns, in withdrawal, in disappearingasan opening; ir is impossible to phenomcnohgize, since in arternpting t do SO, it aIways becomes more invisible. o T h e invisibility of rhe infrasrrucrure, of originary duplication as the impurc apcning in retreat from the difference capitalized by phenomenology, seems to be linked to a powerful motif in classical philosophy according to which what makes visibility possible must iaelf remain invisible. If that source were seen, i t would blind the beholder. Visibility should-nor bc visible. According to an old, ornniparcnc logic that has rcigncd sincc Plato, that which enablcs us m scc should remain invisible: black, blinding* According to this logic, one cannot face thc source of light, one cannot speak of that which makes speech possible, because one cannot withstand so powtrful a plenitudc. Yet the morif of rhis invisible source of light, this unheard souroeof spcech, is anly the negative image of what I have called the irreducible and originmy doubling. If thc absolute origin of vision or speech is marked by invisibility and inaudibility, it is hecause, as Dcrrida has demonstrated in Plaros Pharmacy, what is epekt-inu t e ortsks should not ~ be perceived as an already divided (and hence impossible) plenitude. As we have mn, for structural reasons. rhat which, as the absolute ground. d m not bclong to the totality of what it makes possiblc


~ ~~

za 1

cannot possibly Qffcr itself to perception (invalidating in this manner the possibility of percepdon in general). Consequently, to speak of this ground as rhc blinding origin o visibility-that is, to subject it f K) h e ethico-heoretical code of philosophy-is to continue to speak in the language o that which that origin makes possible. T h i s coded f blindness to the originary duplication that dividcs origins r o b s duplicarion o irs most pristine katum, f Now,how does this originary duplicity, which doubles the classical opposition o rhat which is doubled and is double, make reflexivity, f sprmlarity, and ultimately autoaffection possibleand, in making them possiblq trace their limim as well? To answer t h e questions, let us circle back to the artempt to ritcrate Derridas thought with rcspea to that tradition in phiksophp that, in the aftermath of Hcgcls speculativc solution of the aporetia of retlecrion, sceks new ways to come m grips with this problem. In what follows, I shall also show how deconstruction i s to be ~ e e n a critique of reflexivity (and implicitly as of all the other themes and motifs that are in complicity wirh this major philosophical theme). mar, then, is the general strucnire of auro-affection? Dcrrida has andyzedrhis smcrurt in Spcechmd Pbenommatl in particular, under the form of the hcating-on~lCspeaL constitutive of the metaphysical privilege of speech. In the system of the hacing-onexifspeak, the cxterioriry ofthe vocal significr is expcriend as effacing i&lf entirely in the very moment of in untrance, with the cffem that rhc subjca o uncring comes into an immediate relation with the h l f u meaning of his spnch. The m m r e of auto-affection consisrr o f giving-onaclf-a-prrscncc, of mastering all cxterioriry in pure inrrrioriry, by asimilaring and idealizing ir, by mourning its passing, Auto-affection is the suppmsion o diffmncc or duplication. It is a t f the basis of a dream of immediacy, spontaneiy, and undivided xlfpresence, the dream of a mode of being that would not have to borrow horn outside itself anything forti@ to its own spontaneity. Yet, although auto-affcnion in this sense is mn mormot~s phantasm, it is irreplaceable because it is, in essence, the s t r u m r e proper of a p e ricncc, insofar as experience i s always crPn;cnce of presence. Dcrrida writes in Of Gramutology:
SMEN~C of cxpericncc. All living things i r e opablc of a u r o a f f ~ o o And only a being capable o symbalizing, that is . f m ray of aum-affecting, may In i d f be e k e d by thc othcr in general. A u w a f k i o n is the conditiono an cxprricna in general. This pssibiliqf anothcr name for Wc-is a gmcral stmmrc articulated by the history of life, and leading to complex and hierarchical o p t i o n s . Autwaffcnion, the

Auto-affection is a universal



as-for-itself or for-itwlf-subiectivify-gains in power and in in mastery of the other t the. cxtcnt &at its power o repetition idrdizes i d f . H m o f idealization is the rnovcmmt by which rcnsary exteriority, thar which affects
mcorservcsmeassi~ifier.submitsirself tomy powerofrepetition, m what thcnmfoward appcan to mc as my spontancity and scapes me less and less. (OG, 165-1661 pp.

Despite the fact that auto-affchon is a universal strucrurc-the very condition o experience {of rhe Other)--and whether or not it f explicitly gives rise to the phantasms Dcrrida alludes m, autoaffection has a border, an absolute overboard. Auto-affection is a pure speculation (OC. 1$4),writes Dcrrida. The border o the p. f pure autarchy of auto-affection, or pure speculation and spefularity, concerns both the possibility and newssiry of what, in thc context from which this last quotarion has been drawn, i s understood ,a5 a mere chimera. Auto-affection has been characterized by in exclusion ofdiffemnce. n i s exclusion is essential for aura-affccrion M be auto-affection, for it to achieve an immediate and sponraneous identity in self-presence. Yet paradoxically enough, auto-affection constirum rhc same (owto) as it divides the same (OC, p. 166). Most generally, the structure o auto-affection requirfs a minimal division of the samc in order for f this same ro constitute itself as irself. This minimal division takes on manifold s h a p . Ir cxplzins why auto-affection is possible only through an immediate exiting from interiority and why the same as rhe same, the retroflecrcd sarnc, must affecr irself by Otherness. Thus the presence that is ,achieved in auto-affection i s a supplement for a lack o f self-presence, an absence that structuralty haunts the self-affecting self. In short, U K C d y irreducible hetem-affection inhabits-intrinsically--rhe most hermetic auto-affection (VP, p. 5 6 ) . As a result, and as Derrida has demonstrated in the case of Rousseau, who was vividly aware o this, in affecting oneself by another p a n c e , one f compts oneself [makes oneself other] by oneself [on solt2re soimime] (OG, p. 153).Moreover, since the presence one gives oneself in auto-affection is possible only on condition of a prior privation of presence, and since each such presence is itself an idealized substitute lor another absent prescnce, auto-affmion leaves an impregnable worldly residue. Apart from thc trace of absence that continues to cohnbir rhe presence one gives oneself in auto-affection, apart horn the narrow gulf that separates doing horn suffering wherein one receiva the Other. auto-affection admits the world as a third p3rty, whosc spact remains irreducible (OG. p. 165). All these residues, which prevent rhe general s t r u m r e of auto-affection from dosing



upon itself and from achieving a faultless self-presence, are essential cracks, a b m q icarts, without which there would bt no such thing as auto-affection. A5 P result, the auto constituted in auto-affection is constituted as divided, as differing from itscIt Aura-affccrim, as this brief analysis clearly indiates, yields to the general infrastmctural laws, to the law o supplcmcntarity. For inf stana, as Derrida points out with respect to Huscrls w n a p t of d f pmencc: What we would ultimately like todraw attention tois rhat the for-iwlf of self-pmence (~r-sicbJ-rradidanally determind in its dative dimension as phenomenological self-giving, whether reflexive or pre-reflexive-ariscs in the role of supplement as primordial substitution, in the form in the place of (fiir ctwas), that is,. ,. in the very operation of significance in gcneml. me for-itsdfwould be in-the-phce-of-irrerf;. put for-itsdL instead o itrtlf (SP, 88-89). f pp. Furthermore, it also yields to a fundamental law of duplicationmore preciwly, of reduplication-as we shall see. To give oneself a prcsmce entails relating CD o n e l f ; rhis is the meaning o auto-affection. Still, if one can achieve sclf-prcscn~ f excIu$iveiyby referring tooneself, autc-affectionalsoimplies a condition o df-division. The difference of self-division yields nothing less than f that angle at which it is necessary to fold o n d f upon oneself. This angle is, so t speak, the inexreminable evil char insinuarm inelf o within the relation to onseIf, bacause of which the full interiority aimed at in auro-affection remains deferred. l possibility hings on a what will never allow it 10 close upon imlf fully, namely, an insrance of spacing. Thmforc, the inrcrioriy, however successfully produced in a u t o - a W o n , appears to be dependent on srrumrt6 o finitude; f a certain outside inhabits this interiority. which is thus prevented from fully coinciding wi& itself, Yet without the impurity o this outside, f o a self could not even hope t aim at coinciding with imlL This angk, which strumrally constitutes auro-afkction, is not an empirical exrerioriry, not any particular remainder Ich standing i n the process of giving-aneMIf-a-prnce. Such a separation in cffm remains ungraspable in linguistiq poetic, or phenomenological terms (M,p. 288). As an example, Detrida, in discussing VaILry, formulate the problem o rhc hcaring~neselfk f in the hollowing way:

Nci~rrinlcformnorrhcconanro~aruremmrwuldwcrsrii~ mincrinric differem h r m the m c I am pronouncing hen+now, in my soallcd mc speaking voice, which soon will return to the silence from w h i h it p d s , very low in my voice or on my page, and thc =me mrcncc m a i d in an inner instana, minc or yours. The wo events are I $ different as pa6diblc as wmis, bur in thc qualinrivc dewriprim o events, in the derrrminndon o f f



prcdicarivc traits, form or mntent. the principle o dirmnibility, the mnapt f o diffcrcncc evade us. Like theseparation that disjoint$rhc circlt, a certain f tangcncy here appcan TO be borh null and infinite. (M.p. 2881

The difference, the spacing, the angle ar the hcart of self-affection is not an extcriority of the order of either form or content. It is a diffcrmcc causcd nor by cxrernal prolalion which accidcnrally would come to interrupr the circle, but by a disjunctive folding point thar occurs in the circuits return to itself. The circle turns in order to annul the cut, and therefore, by the same token, unwittingly signifia it. The snake biles its tail, from which above all it does nor follow that it finally mejoins itself without harm in rhis suctssful auto-felario

(M, 289). p.
A t stake is thus the structural disjunction of an altering difference without which no auto-affection would be possible, bur owing to which it is also, rigorously speaking, impossible. The difference in quesrion accountsd once for the possibiliry and impmsibiliry o autof affection, withour dialectically annulling the disjuncture. This difference or originary duplication, which docs not belong to simpie exteriority. which is o the order of neither content nor form, and which f is not a lchover rhat the self or the same was incapable o assimilating, f is a structural agency or instancc whose nonthematiration is precisely thc condition under which auto-affection can work succssfully. It is thus not a negativity or a conrradiction within auto-affection. Successful auto-affection functions precisely as a sublation of contradictions. The negative is its business and its work. What it excludes, whar rhis very work excludes, is what d m not allow irxlf to be digested, or represenred, or stated-does not allow itself M be transformed into auto-affection by excmplorality. It is an irreducible hete r w e i c y which cannot be eaten either sensibly or ideally and whichthis is the tautology-by ncvcr lctting itself be swallowed must rhcrefore muse itself to be vomited.* it now becomes imperative to understand thar rhc originary duplication, which parallels the difference auto-affection attempts to resolve by its spcculativc and spccular enterprise, is not a mere doubling but is rather a duplicmion that has the S ~ N C ~ U W an angle, a of fold, or rather of a re-fold or re-mark. Owing to this angling of duplication, originary duplication is originarily divided, o doubltd. r It is a principle of duality duplicared by itself in such a manner that its own reflection divides it in depth. For this reason, originary duplicarion is better characrerized as reduplication. Only because of



its strumrally abyssal cundidon can the minimal smcturc of reduplication.assurne the double function of constituting and dcconstituting auto-affection on both a p r d e c t i v e and a reflective level. Wcrc it nor doubly double, it would funmion as a theological principle of dualism, as an ultimate and infinite instance. The originary duplications reduplication is preciscly what infinitelyprevenrs it from becoming a sdf-suficient ground. Of &is self-division in reduplication, of this folding of duplicity upon itself, Deaida notcs the lack of coinciding: The fold i s not a form ofreflexivity, If by reflexivity one f means the motion o consciousness o r self-presence thar plays such a determining role in HegeIs speculative logic and dialectic, in the movement of sublation (Aufiebung) and negativity (the esccnce is reflection, s a the greater Logic),then reflexivity is but an effcct of ~ the fold as t&t (D, 270). p. As concerns auto-affection, Derridas philosophy is aimed at disp. dosing the remaining angles of round frames(VP. 94). Since autoaffection is not only a pure speculation, in the m s e that it is the dream of total autarchy, bur also correlatively, in the m e of a mral s rdlection, Demdas regrounding of auto-affection mncern5 speculationand reflection, spccularity and retlevivity as well, Auto-affection and what it promises, undivided self-proximity, is not only the much Iongcd-for fulfillmcnr of mctaphysical desire; it is also that which is experienced, paradoxically, a idmtical to death. Rausscaus anxieties concerning the state of plenitude he so desired arc a good example of the threat h a t t t l self-reflection represents. This insight into the oa paradoxical nature of philosophys reIation to the absolute as something dreaded as well as desired lcads Dcrrida. panicularly in his analysis of Rousseau, to thc recognition that this apparent contradiction can be accounted for only if one assumes t h a t diffcrcncc alf ready inhabits indifferent proximity. Yet if the ilIusion o indifference or the dream of total scif-reflection by auro-affection is dependent in rhc first place o n a difference (a doubly double fold} around which the dream of the abolition o ,diIfcrence can be drcamt, then a conf tradiction such as the one I have just referred to acquires a status that can no longer be addressEd by traditional means of problem solving. If difference must breach indifference, inasmuch as it reposes on the possibility of auto-affection, thm those aporias and contradictions traditionally associated with reflexivity take on an entirely different meaning f o that which they possess in rhe discvurse of philosophy, rm since within it thesc riddles cannot hope to be solved. from the moment the possible domination of rhe source by what has flown from



is ruled out by a recognition of the sources originary structural duplicity, problems such as the spatial and temporal hiatus= b e w e n the sources constitutive function and the return to that source in the operation of self-reflection, the difference of Icvels bctween source and whar ha5 been made possible by the source, and s o on gain a different meaning. With this insight, the traditional phibsophical paradoxes and contradictions berornc lcss symptomatic o rhc originary duplication than f of the very instances o division mnstitutivc of auto-affection and f self-rcfleaion. From thc perspective of the know[edge based on autoscopy and autogosis--that is, of the knowledgc made possible in setf-reflection and speculation as absolute self-reflecrion-these aporias have the form of mnrradictians. Each o the conflicting arguments f may be shown to contain the negation of the other, and thus to be susceptible of sublation in a dialectical logic. Yet for the philosophical f perspecrive that 1 am daborating here, the pandoxcs o reflection are neither unresolvable problems nor manifestations of the negarive, which would yield to a dialectical process whereby the conflicting arguments would be overcome, but rather the very presence of heterogeneity, o a certain cxterioriry a t the heart of all self-relation. f Whereas the heterogeneous, the exterior, bcgins only at the limits af the hoped-for totality that metaphysical philosophy beliores i t i s able to think, for Derrida it sfam in that interiority itself, at the very point a t which it must fold wpon irsclf to be itself, auronomous and auf mrchical. From this perspecrive the elements o the aporias of reflection evade all final solution, since their contradiction i the very s condition (of possibility and impossibility) of whar is aimed at. They are not, for rhat matter, witness to a pseudoproblem; although there is no intrinsic way ofsolving them. a law regulates their contradiction to the extent that thcy are mnstitutivc difficulties. In order for any self or any speculative totality to retare r itself, either a t one o blow or through a process o mediation, immediately o r as a resulr, f there musr be a supplernenrary rrair. While referring to itself alone, such a self muscat once rcfer to an Other, indefinitely. Whilc referring to itself (only), it must repeat itselfIn duplication and duplicate i s l tef in repetition. Butsccordingto thelogicof duplicarion,this alsoimplics that what is doubled becomes doubled. A5 a result, Derrida can state t h a t the origin of the speculation becomes a difference (OG, p. 36). Speculation is bared OR rhe structural repeatability of a mark, as well as on the structural relation to Other. Most imporrant. it is dependent on infrasrmcntral re-marking w on the re-fold, which, as we have
the source



seen, is not itself a reflexivity. Because o this angle, whkh cannot f


t h e m a t i d from within mflcxiviry o r speculation. the rcfkxivc totatity differs from itself in irseif at the moment it relares to itself. Because o this angle o reflection, the ring of reflecrion doe not d s itself. f f oc It bars reflection forever from rejoining a unity, from achieving a unity or totality. Hence one can say that the sprmlar agency, far f o constituting the I in its properness, immediately expropriates ir rm in order nor to halt its march. Instead offaIding the self into itxlF, instead o embracing the totality of all the reflexive determinations, f sprmlation or absolute reflection. thcmirror of reffection, manifests f in rhis double lm the singular operation o a multipiying division which transforms the orj$n inro effect, and the whole into a part (M, 285). pDissemination is the name by which the in-advancc divided unity is uffmcd. T h i s i n a d v a n d divided unity o the infrastructures is nor f the p o l y m i c dispersion of a once unicary meaning but is, as we have seen, an always open rnsemble of structures, presupposed by the project of unity and totality and affirmed by reflection and speculation, without their knowledge, as the limit o their possibility. The f general rhmry o dnplicarion or duplication outlines in rhis manner f the l i t s of the philosophical presuppositions of the-philosophy of reflexivity-prpuppositions of an original spontaneity, of productive imagination, o intellma1 intuition, and w on-as they have been f made explicit by Hcgel, who could then resolve the traditional aporias of reflexivity in the speculative manner we have witnessad. Derrida has made it quia clear that insofar a an originary intuition pnsupposs an originary synthesis, it is a myth, a liction (see f r instance o W D . p. 226). No virgin substance or homogeneous and organic unity precedes or superintends rhe originary duplication and the system of the infrastruirtures. T h e myth o a unity is onIy an effect made f possible and irrevocably undercut by reflection itself, insofar as it must rely, in order to take place in rhc firsr place, on what it cannot hope m reflect. What lies beyond the mirror, on the other side of the speculum, in the beyond o rhe presuppositions o the philosophy of f f reflection-that is to say, thesystcm of the infrasuucrurts-cannot be undersrd in m o unity, synthesis, tonliry, and &he like, or f in tcrmsofspontancity, without engaging in a conceptual monstrosity. Dmida, addressing the problems of the more originary origin of the infrastructures, writes, The spontaneous can emerge as the pure initiality of the event only on the condition that ir does not itself present itself, on the condition of this inmnaivable and k h u b k



passivity in which nothing can present itself m itself* (M. 296pp. 297). In other wards, spontaneity can be ascribed to originary duplication only on the condition that it withdraws (itself) in the very act in which it allows reflexivity to dream its dream of achieving homogeneity and unity. The spontaneity that grounds in rhi5 manner the spontaneity of synthetic reflection at the heart of alt philosophiesof identity evades all the characteristin of true spontaneity. Ir is scandalously passive and is in constanr rctrear from prcsenrarion and sclf-prcscntation. I t is iefinitcly divided. T h e generalization o reflexivity, which 1 claimed a t one point to f be the first step of its deconstruction. thus implies a breakingthrough of the tinfoils of the mirrors of reflection, demonsrrating the uncertainty of the speculum. In this first step of the deconsmction of reflection and speculation, the mirraring i made excessive in order s ther it may look through the looking glass toward what makes the speculum possible. To look through the mirror is to look at its reverse side, a t the dull side doubling the mirrors spccular play, in short, at the ruin of the mirror. It is on rhis reverse s i d e - o n the tinfoil-that disscmination writes itself, remarks Derrida {D, p. 33). On this lining of !he outside surface of reflection, onc can read rhe s y $ m of the infrastructures that commands the mirrors play and determines the f angles o reflection. Yer since this fail is made af disscminatcd strucrural instances, the mirrors tinfoil necesnarily becomes sernitransparent and, as a cornlaw, only semirctlecrjvc. Reflection, thm. appears to be affected by the infrastructures that make it possible; it appears broachcd and hrcached as an inevitably irnpcrfect and limited Schrinm. Total reflection is a limited play, nor because of some defect owingto itc. finitude-as Hegel has shown, it is a twEy infinite playbut because o the struauraliy limitks play of the undecidables rhat f make it possible, which the mirrors play cannot accornmodatc witho u t a t the same time relinquishing the telos of its operation: the actualization of the unity o at1 thar is reasonable At 6rsr thc mirror f o that Derridas philosophy holds up Ktms r show us only its a i n ; yet this opaque t i n is also transparent. Through it one a n obscrve the play of reflection and speculation as it takes place in the mirrors mirroring itself. Seen from the inside this play gives an illusion o f prfection, but observed through the tain, ir appears limitcd by the infrastructural agencies written on its invisible side, without which it could not even begin to occur. In all its perfection, thc specular play shows itself incapable o reflain& o sublaring its limits. f f In short,unlike 3 certain criticism of reflexivity, Derridascriticism



does not rtjcct reflection and speculation in favor o total immediacy, f nor does it prcsuppasc ,an originaty unity by virtue of which the traditional problems af reflexivity can be dialectically overcome in absolute reflection or speculation. Dcrrida's debate with reflection and speculation is not dependent on the mentially philosophical problem of the aporias, contradictions, or negations of reflection, in t e r n 5 of which it rchscs t criticizc or soIve the pmblcrns of reflection. As o we have sten. both operations are intrinsically speculative. Focusing on an analysis o those heterogcneoua Instances that arc the "true" f conditions of possibility ot reflection and speculation without being susceptible to accommodation by the intended totatity, Derrida's philosophy reinscribes, in the strict meaning af chis word, reliemion and speculation into what excceds it: the play o the infrasnucture lnf stead o disposing o reflexivity in an empiriast or positivist manner f f (rhcsurst way for it to reenter through the backdoor), the philosophy wc havc been considering rake rdlection's exigencics seriously. It is the only way 20 trace the limits of reflection without falling prey to the fictions on which it is based.


In describing a number of particular infrastructures, I have shown that they are susceptible to a classification of sorts and thar, by overlappin& replacin& and supplementing one another, they form a certain system.W e also SIW that wveral o the infrasmaurcs r c p r m t f conditionsof the possibility and impossibility of systernaticity in general, or of what I havc calkd the general system. In what follows, I shall py to show more precisely what s r O ~ S ~ S ~ U I I can attribute ot one to infrastructures and aim in what sense they can be said to make systematicity in general possible (and impossible). Lct us first recall that systematicity is an csscntial philosophical rquircmcnt. In the system, knowledge lays itself out and thus camcs to know itself. The system as a complm and in i w l f ' n e w a r y order o foundation in which philosophical truths acquirc their required f internal coherence and unity is a function o the philosophical desire f for sclF-concepmalization. As I havc said, infrastructures arc cconomically and strategically minimal distributions or constellations-archesynthescs-of cssentialIy hetcrogcnwus prcdicatcs. T h e pnndple articulated by each singular infrastructure applies ta iuelf as well, and although each one of the by right in6nitc number of infrasrructurn can bc replaced (or supplementcd] by another, they are n o t



synonymous with or even identical to one another. Thus one can see dearly how infrastructures contain the possibility o tying clernettts f together into a totality of foundation, as well as of self-thematization and of element mmbinacion and transformarion. Since inhastmctures combine heterogeneous predicates, however, and apply to themselvm only the better to unground thcmxlvcs, they also appear ra be strangely ambiguous or ambivdcnt. Ycr it is not the sort of ambiguity that would be wimcss to an absence of clarity in the process of their determination, to the negativity of a lack of precision, to vagueness or looseness o terms, in short to semantic f confusion, nor is ir an ambiguity concerning the meaning of the infrastructures, owing to some polysemic richness. Ambiguity in these senses is always a function of presence-that is, of an ultimately selfi d c n t i d signification-as i s demonstrated by the possibility of the dialectical sublation o ambiguous meanings, whcreas rhe ambiguity f of the infrastructures i not the positive sign of a dialectical or specs ulative stare uf affairs. Finally, this ambiguity do= not signify the cnigrna o all truth as an unmnccaling. Indeed, the ambiguity of the f infrastrumres i s not univacal in a higher sense. It docs not simply coincide with what Heidegger calls zweideurige Zweidmtigkeit. an ambiguity grounded in a gathering (Versummlung) or unison (Eln&lung), whose uniry itself remains ~nspeakablc.~ specific ambiThc guity o the infrastrunums cannot be sublated o made to sound in f r unison. If determinacy requires self-identity, then the ambiguity o f thc infrastructures has no houndarics. For all rhcsc reasons, i t i s advisable M avoid the term ambigflity altogcthctin characterizingthe infrastructures. By analogy to G d e l s discovery of undecidable propositions, Derridn suggests that they be qualified, provisionally, as undecidablcs. In an essay publishcd in 193 1, On Formally Undecidable Propositions of Principia Marhematica and Related Systems, Gildel demonsrrarcs rhar mcralogical sratemmrs concerning the completeness and consistency o systems f any mare mmpkx than logical systcms of the first order cannot he demonstratedwithin these sysrems.m Derrida, in ~rsSerninuii~n, transcribes Codels theorem in the following terms: An undecidable proposirion, as Girdcl demonstrated in 1931, is a proposirian which, given a system of axioms governing a multiplicity, i neither an ans alytical nor dcducrive conscquencc o rhosc axioms, nor in bonrraf diction wirh chela, ncirher true nor false with m et to these axioms. pr Tertium dniur. without synthesis (D, p. 219). To call the infrastructures undecidablm i s thus not merely to stres the essential in-



mmpletenss and inconsistmcy o their 1 v of farmaiizadon. W h u f ed not denying the philosophical i d a l of exhaustive deductiviiy-in other words. o the possibility ofdctcrminingcvtry clcrncnt of a multiplicity f a5 either an analytic cowquence or as a contradiction of a system ofaxioms said to govern that multiplicity-the undecidability of the inhastructures questions that ideal from a structural point of view. Finally, as Dcnida remarks in Positions, to call inhastrumrcs undeudables is to stress that they arc unities o simulacrum, [oQ fake f verbal properties (nominal or semantic) that can no longer be included within philosophical (binary) opposiiion, but which, however, inhabit philosophical opposition, misting and disorganizing it, withour ewr cowrimring a rhird term, without ever leaving room for a solution in the form o speculative dialectid (P,p. 43). f Before continuing this analysis, let us recall thit Derrida emphasized that infrastrucnlres were to be called undecidablc only by anaIogy. The notion of the undecidable, he remarks in his Inrroductias to the Origin of Ccm&y, in its very negativity, has such a sense by some imducibie reference to the i d n l o decidability. Its,revof lutionary and disconamng sense remains sscntially and intrinsicaIIy haunted in its scnse of origin by the relm o decidability-whosc f p. disruption it marks (0, 53).Yet what is being thought under the titie of the infrasrmcturts transcends the pmjcct of d.$nirmcss itself. Thtrefore, undeciduble must be understood to refer not only to e s sential incompletcncss and inconsistency, bearing in mind their distinction from ambiguity, but also to indicate a level vaster than that which is encumpassed by the opposirion bcnvm what is decidable and undecidable. As originnry syntheses, or economic arrangements o traits, the f undecidabls constitute both the medium or the clement between the bmy philosophid oppositions and bawcEn philosophy and its Other, as well a$ F ~ medium that e n c o m p a s s t h e e coupled terms. They C arc undmdabk k u x they suspend the decidable opposition bec w m what is true and false and put a11 the concepts that belong ta the philosophical system of dccidability into brackets. By virmc of their constituting a 5paa in b e t w a n conceptual dyads and, at the same time, comprising hem, the infrastrucrural undecidable are rhe ,mediumin which opposita arc opposed, the movement and the play that links them among themselves, revens them or makes one side cross over into the other (a. p. 127). Their undecidability, their floating indetermination, permits the substitution and the play of the conceptual binary oppositions, which, by turninginto one another,



become incapable of denominaring and defining the medium from which t h q cmergc (D, 93). Thus, if one calla infrastructures *amp. bivalent or ambiguous, ir is in the sense that they do not offer

themselves to mastery in terms o simple and clear-cut distinctions. f Indeed. conceptual couples and their play essentially represent norhing other than thc attempt to bring the play of the medium of the undecidables to a stop, to make rationat what, according to their implicit and explicit ethos. can only be irrationa1,ro appropriate it, to identify it by forcing a self-identity upon it. The restricted play of the philosophical conccptual cauples p r o d s 10 this task by trying to reconstitute the undecidables as dialecrical conrradictions susceptible of cvenrual dissolurion; bur, Dcrrida notes, undecidability is not contradiction in the Wegelian form of contradiction (P, p. 101). The undccidahlcs. on the contrary, arc what suspend decidabiliry in a11 its forms, particularly in its dialecrical form of a mediation of mnrrarics and of that in whish decidabtlig and definiteness came themselves out. Above all, the ambiguity o undecidables is rigorously f irreducible and irresolvable because of its csscnrially nonsemnntic character. Speaking of the hymen, Derrida says: Undecidability i s
nor cnuscd here by snmt enigmatic quivecality. some inexhaustible ambivalence d a word in a narural language, a d srill less by some Uegmsinn der Onuorte (Abel). 1n dealing here with hymen. it is nor a matter o repeating what Hegel undcmok ra do with German WO& f like AtrJbebmg. Uridl, Meinen, Bei5picl. cfc., marveling over that lucky accident rhat insrrlls a natural language wirhin the elcrncnt o sprcularivc f diakctica. What c o u m here is not lexical richtms. the semanric irrfinirencss o 3 word or concept, ia depth a t breadth, the sedimentation that has pmf duced insidc it two contradictory layers of signification what counts hem is the formal or syntacticat prosir that compoxs and daornpscs it. {D.


. 22a) ,

The undecidability of infrastructures results from the syntnciir U P rangment of their parts. But what does Derrida mean by syntax?As opposed to semantics (and pragmatics). as anothcr major aspcct o f the grammatical construction of sentences (and of the general rhmry of signs), syntax refers traditionally ro the formal arrangements of words and signs, to their connection and rclation in phrases or smtences, as well as to the establishedusagesof grammatical construction and the rules deduced ihcrefram. Derridas use of thc concept of syntax, however, is not simply a reference to the formal propertiof laoguage insofar as thcsc arc traditionally considered to refer to the articulation of the ,signifieds. Indeed form is just another name for prcscnce, Derrida notes. His use of syrrrnv docs not imply the


24 ?

traditional subjection of synrax to semantia. In distinction f o the rm grammatical opposition of the syntactic and the semantic, o farm f and amrent, and so on, Dcrrida's USE of syntax is intended to undo rhcse appositions systcmarically. Syntax is conrrivtd by DerCjda as being irreducibly in cycesd of the semantic, and cunsequcntly as disequilibrating thar traditiond p a m a t i c a l and philosophid distincdon. How,then, are we to think such M ~"'irrcducibkmass o the f syntactic over the semantic!" (D, 221). Such an ex= rakcs place p. where it can b shown that the fotmal properties of language ate not e simply a function of signifieds, of the cuntent of rhe words, but that they arc arranged in and intrinsically dependent on a syntax of their own. Yet if it can be demonmated that fonal syntactic properties can be syntactically cumposcd and decomposed, a 5yntoz of sy"tux comes info play, along with the problem of the simulacrum, which, as wc have m, is no longct s u b j m t crurh at, in the case of o syntax, M the content of the words. In "The Double Session," Derrida has shown that the writing of Mallarrni is precisely such an attempt to explore the possibilities o syntactical excess. It i, therefore, a f s litmature in which "the suspmx is due only to the placement and not to the content of words" (D. 220). p. Now, the syntactic excess raponaible for the infrastructures' undecidability s t e m h r n the fact that their formal arrangmcncs, dispositions, distributions, or constellations of predicares refer m a supplmenrary mark. The infrastructure ofremarking or o the douf ble'mark demonstram this essential character o infrastructures in f general, which consists of their being folded upon themselves in such a manner that they rhmsclvts became a paradigm of the law they r e p r a n t . Inftasrmcturesapply to themselves. The arrangemmr that they r e p m m t is always rearrangement by thcmselvcs. For this reason they are, as we have seen, in cotstant displacement, incapable of assuming any stable identity. By re-marking the syntactic dispasition with a supplementary syntactic trait, the infrastrucwzs can no longer be brought to a semantic halt. lficy seem 10 purely syntactic; yet be since t h e purely "formal" or syntactic strumres or knoa of inrerscctions are their own paradigm, they also, unquestionably, signify and are tfius not purely syntactic. "Through rhe re-marking o its f stmantic void, it in fact begins r signify. Its semantic void s i p i f i s , o but it signifis spaang and articulation; it has as ia mcanIng the f possibility o syntax; it orders the play of meaning. Ncitbcr purely syntactic nor purely srmmrric, it marks the amcutatcd opening of rhnt opposition" [D, p. 222). The infrastructures thus float indefmirety between the possibilities

u 1


d the scrnanric and the syntaaic, in short of meaning. Thouph not

purely syntactic [or, for that matter, purcly xmantic), they are in a position of anteriority and possibiliry M both aspects o language, f precisely htcausc of the exof the syntactic over meaning-that is, ofthe re-marked syntax-of a syntax t h a t arranges (itself]. It is in this $ e m that I shall continue t o speak of thc infrastrucrurts as syntactically undecidable. After having demonstrated, in The Double Session, that the infrastructure bymen is undecidable because of syntaaic re-marking, Derrida w i e : rts
What holds for hymen P!H) holds, mrutis mutmdis. for all othcr signs which, like phormokon, supplcmcnt. differmce, and othcrs, h a w a double, mnmdimry, undecidable vahc thar always dcrircs from heir synrar whether the lamer is in a scnse internal, articulating and combining under thc same yoke, huphhen, two incompatible meanings, or external, dcpcndmt on the ccdc in which the word is made ro funcrion. Bur the syntactical camposition and decomposition o a s i p renders this alternative b m m n internal f and external inoprative. One is simply dealing with greater or lessor syntactical units at work, and with economic diffcrcncLs i condensation. (D, n
p. 2211

Because of this undecidability, the infrastructures can serve as originary s p t h c s q without, at thc same time, lending themvlvcs to a movement of (teleological o archaeological) reappropriation: these r points of indefinite pivoting +.mark the spots of what can ncver be + mediated, mastered, sublared, or dialecticized through any Erinnerrrng or Aufiebung {D, p. 221). If they mark dialectics a sterile by uns dercutting the possibiliry of a reduction of their undecidability through sublarion, how much more do they evade nondialectical philosophy and its reflexive oppositions! As undecidables, infrastmcturcs rerpmble syncategorcmata. Like hosesecondary p a m of discourse, disringuishcd in grammar and logic fmrn the medieval William o Shyreswwd ro Huss~rlsLogical Inf rrestigutions. which, in contradistinction to cattgoremara, arc undosed cxpmsions that have no determined and fixed meaning, undecidabb also predicate jointly. They cannot function as terms and thus are not of the order o the phone sematrtike. ,Similar to f qncaregoremata 5uch as and, or,not- if, every, some. only, i between, expressions that cannot be used by rhernsclvcs but only in conjunction with othcr t r s infrastructures are essentially uscd together with em, predicates. categoreman, o concepts with respect to which they exr ercise a specific organizational function. Yet syncategoremata, which


24 1

arc considered logicaf constants dttermining the logical form (as in Buridan), never relare to themselv- in the complex manner that we have seen to bc m c o infrastrucrum. If rhcy never signify their own f
semantic quasivoid, it is because the ethical orientation o grammar, f giving priority to categoremata, a n n o t afford t blur i hierarchical o a and clear-cut distinctions. As Matlarrnis texts reveal, however, syncategorcmata such as in between oror lend thernselvcs to an operation of re-marking. Speaking of mrre, in herween, Derrida stccsses that it can be nominalizcd. turn into a quasi-catcgortm. receive a dcfinitive article, or even be made plural (D, p. 2U). When 1 speak o f thc infrasrmmres a5 syncsrcgorrrnata, it i s i n this scnx af a nonreflexive doubling of their incomplete meanings. For the remainder o these reflections i r i s imperative to recall that f Derridas references m syncangoremara occur in the context o The f Double Session. that is, i a n essay that sets out to pmvc thc irren ducible excess o syntax Over semantics. This demonstration i s framed f by a cririque of rhemadc criticism and its overevaluation af the role of the word, in both philosophy and literary criricism. As the totaIiry o Derridas work clearly indicates, in paKiCUlar but not exclusively f Of Crommutology, t h i s critique o thematic criticism i s aimed at the f mainsmam of Wsrern philosaphy, which until recently ignored and trivialized the difference between words and sentences, between semantics and syntax, by confining the latter to a lateral role a t best. All o Derridas work is engaged in a systcrnatic cririquc of rhc status f accorded to the word, the noun, in order to uphold t h e secondarincss o the syntactical; it is perhaps the most radical arrempt ever made f a t allowing syntax an independent form. To condudc this part o the f present study. ler us restate what has already been sufficienrIy devcloped, namely, that Demdas criticism of the ward, of semantics, in favor of the forms o syntactic constmaion is also aimed at what he f perceives as phenomenologys (partiCUhdy Husscrlian phenomenotopvs) continuation of metaphysics. What d needs to be devdopcd l 1 i s thar this critique is linked to Derridas compler continuation o f Husserls project in L o g d Iwesfigutiuns of a universal and a priori, in short, pure logical grammar. Dcrrida continues this idea, which HusKrl never dcvclopld, in a Eomplcx rnanncr, bccause his critique o phenomenology, of the values of prcsencc that it shares with metaf physifs in general, of form as another name for prcscncc, o semantics, f themadsm, and so an radically displace what he calls in Positionr the rcmarkablt project o a purely logical grammar thar is more f important and more rigorous than all the projem o a general reaf



s o n 4 grammar o seventeenth- and eighncnthsentury France. projf ects that certain modern linguists refer to, however (P, 32). p. Before elaborating on this project, I should add a bricf note on Derridas indebtedness to Husscrlian phenomenology. Not infrequently one hears the opinion that Husserlian phenomenology is a dead end and that, consequently. any attempt to continue the qum rioning of that philosophy is doomed to failure from the start. CErtainly what is true of other philosophcrs is tnre of Husml as well: by evading what is worthy of questioning in their texts, they all lead us to dead ends. As far as Dcrrida is concerned, his rclarion to Husserl is at lcasr threefold. Firsr, ir is a relarion, ro usc Granels words. m simply the greatest philosopher who appeared since the Greeks. To put it differently. it is a relation to the philosophical as a battle o gods and giants about being (gigantomuchin peri tes oersias). as f Plato calls it in Sophist, as well as to the philosophical in all ia technical and thematic richness. Second, Derridas relation to Husserlian thought is radicatly critical of the metaphysical implications o thc projcct o phenomcnology isl, as has been amply docuf f tef mented. Third, it is a continuation and radicalization of a number of motilstn Husscrlsown works thatarc~pableofunhingingthemajor metaphysical themes a t the center ofhis philosophy, such as the idea o ,a primordial axiomatical grounding, the ideal of deductivity in f general, the idea of evidence, and the idea of the idea itself. Yet to contend, as I d o here, that Derrida continuer Husserl (and this is true o his relation to HeidcKcr as well) precisely o n those issues that f foreground the classical erhico-theoretical decisions constitutive of philosophy as philosophy is also to say that such a continuation is at the same time a decisive break with the idea of tradition. continuity. Ocdipality, and so on. Indeed, since the matifs in question arc of such a nacure that they themselves are radically mom fundamental rhan the possibility o continuity, and since, moreover, they cannot bc f developed within rhe philosophical discourse as such, their continuation is possibleonly from a perspective that ie marginal with respccf to the history o philosophical development. From this standpoint, f the fact that Derrida may have discovered t h m motifs in Husscrls works is, in a cerrain way, rsdically contingent. Now, let us rccall, in as succinct a manner as possible, what the project o a pure logical grammar corresponds to. Logicui Invesiif gationr. in which this idea is set forth, are preliminary investigations requircd by Hurserls anticipated project of a pure lopic or theory of theory, a logic thoroughly different from what one commonly calls



epistemology o theory o science, which would govern the implicar f tions of rhe very possibilrty of a n idea such as knowing. In these preliminary examinations. Husserl is soon led t the insight that such o a pure logic would have r include, as at l e a s ont o i t s parts if not a f i t s foundation, a purely logical grammar, a logic that would be a purely formal mapping our of the primitiue essential conceprs o the r ideal singulna contained a priori in the very content or meaning o f certain genera, such as knowing. Indeed, i f such a purely logical investigation of what constitutes the idea of knowing anreriar to its objective validation and intentional fulfilmmt must also, necessarily, investigatc the laws related to rhese primitive concepts, laws that organize the ideal singulars canstirutive of the gcnera, then the task of k i n g these a priori laws would be incumbent on a discipline such as a purc logical grammar. T h i s grammar must not be mistaken for a universal science comprehending all pamcular grammars as contingent spccifications, Husserl warns us in Logical Invcstigutiotrs. Unlike such a science, which would srill be empirical, the pure logical grammar is mdusively concerned with that field o l a w relative to f the pure semantic forms contained a priori in rhe idea o knowing. f Such laws affectthcsc forms insafar as rhey regulate their compoundings and rnodiiiarions and watch over their meaningfulness, even bcfare rhse forms and their possible combinations cnrcr the mth relations drat are the object proper of logic in a cogent sense. The sense or non-sen= of these forms is b a d on rhese laws, indepmdent of the obiectivity and validity o these forms, which themselves depend f on their prior scmanric fullness. The purely logical grammar is thus a form-theory o meaning or intentionality prior to all possible obf jective validation of meaning or intenrional fulfilmenr. The ta5k of this mmempirical logic i s to pmvide rradirional logic with the abstractly possible farms o meaning, whose objective value it thcn f becomes i t s first task to determine {p. 522). I t i s important here to mention that on more than one occasion, Huswrl conceived of these forms of meaning, o t h e l a w of essence that regutare the primirive f elements and structures of meaning, as trivia, PS obvious mrnmonplaces. Yet these trivia, which are intrinsically prior in the sense o f Arisrorle, behind whose obviousness the hardest problems l i e hidden, and which have never been thtmatized by the logicians, become the m e obica o[ the project of a pure logic, i f not, for Husserl, of philosophy in general, .specially since philosophy could be called paradoxically, but not unprofouttdly, the science of the mvial ,(p, 528). Now, what arc rhcse trivia, these forms of meaning, which,

.. .

14 f3


although they make n o knowlcdgc possihIe, are still hill of meaning because they obey certain rules? What arc thae trivia that are the a priori ,conditions of the intelligibility of discourn? The primitivc forms o meaning that constitute the whole semantic f tealm are the format taws that govern thc Formation of unitary meanings out o syntactical materials falling under definite categorim f having an a prion place i n thc realm of meanings, a formation accardingrosyntoctical laws whichare likewise fixed apfiori,and which can bc rcadily secn to constitute a fixed system of forms (p. 513). Thus, rhe pure logical grammar or form-theory of meaning faces rht task OF fixing in a system the categorical and synta~ficalprimitivc laws built a priori into thegeneral idea of meaning. As Husserl poina out, this sysrem o caregarical and syntactical laws f d o w i n g from f the generic essence of meaning as such, which i s constirutive of the articulation of i t s dements. is an ideal framework and. as the csscncc of all speech as such, holds a position of primacy over all actual languaga and their empirical grammar. For rhat reason, it is to be celled a pure logical grammar (p. 526). At this point it should not be difficult to see, by analogy with the trivia in Husserl (and with what Heidcgger ha5 thcmatizcd under rhe name o the most obvious or most simple), rhar rhe infrastructures f to some cvrenr continue Husserls (and Heideggers) research into the a prioris of meaning (including that of Being). In dismssing Husserls projm o a purely logical grammar in Speech otrd Phenomena. howf ever, Derrida also points out that irs formalizing power does nor cover the whole field of possibility for language in general, to the cxrcnr that it concerns only the logical u priori of language, and rhat it is pure [ogiculgrommdr(SP, 8). In spiteofits interest i n thc system p. of rules rhar make a discourse, properly speaking, a discouae, and not non-sense. beforc any objectivc fulhlment o the meaning-inrcnf tinn, pure logical grammar remains governed more or less immediately by the possibility of a relarionship with objects (SP, 71). p. Indeed, the purification o rhe formal i s [icselfl guided by a mncept f of 5enw which is itself derennined on the basis o a relation with m f object (SP, 98). Derrida, apart from insisting that there are modes p. of sense that do not point to any possible obieas, also sets out to demonstrate that the rigorous distincrion i n Hussert bchvccn mtaningintention and its possible fulfitlment by an intuition of an obiem is itself possible only becausc all meaning-intention is structurally resramentary. I n other words, ir functions only because it is always already supplcmenting a lack of actuality. T h e discovery of thc in-


4 9

htructures extends Husscrls project of a purely logical pmmar. The expansion ~f its formalizing power impiics a reinsniption of the
logical as merely one of a pluraliiy of linguistic functions. Whereas in Huwrl the primitive Iaws o essence o all meaning prior to its f f

validation are all laws concerning the unity of meaning, thus giving priority to rhe categoricalover the syncategorical and the syntacrical, rhc infrastnrctum question the very differences k c e n the a priori and the world they open, as well as thc difference between the Eategorial and lyncaregorical, between rhc semantic and the syntactic. In this sense the infrasmcrures and their system are anrerior, in an unheard-of way, to a phenomenology of meaning, that is, in short, TO phenomenology. Rtflecdng on those u n t b e m a t i d differences, the system o the infrastructurcs p d s by right the discourse of f phenomenology. a o Having cstabiishtd that much, l us now r i r d e back t thtgmeml s ~e . now becomes possible to determine it as a system o unyrm It f decidablcs, of syntactically re-marked syncategoreman articulating prelogical and Iateral possibiliris o logic. To put it differently, rhe f sysmn can be vicwed as 8 synrax of an infinity of last syntactically overdetermined syntactical objccrivitics. To characicrizz the general system in thew terms not only serves to conclude all that has brm laid out up to this point but also, and above all. indicates a decisive poinr at which this system leaves the philosophical realm of phen o m m o l w . This point is that of a radicalized, no longer phenorncnologirablc notion of syntax. Dcrridas concept of a remarked syntax undercuts, in fact d e a n s m a s , Husserls distincdon, made toward the beginning of Idem, in paragraph 11, o formal ontoIogical synf tactical categories and formal ontologicalsubsmtive categorim. This distinction bccumrs important to the whole project o Idear. since it f allows Husserl m make the syntactical forms and their carcgories depend on what he t e r n thc ultimate content-laden srrbstrutn as the nucleus of all syntactical consirucli~ns.)~~a result, syntactical As ohjcctivitics appear in the formal region of objectiviti- in gmcral. as detivntiues o these ultimate substran, that is, o objecrs which m c f f m h g m conrtrudions o f a symtaaico-catgorid k i d , [and] which f contain in thcrnselvcs no f u n h r vestige o tbosc ontological f o r m s which ate mere correlates of the functions of thought (p. 7 ) As 0. uhimdte !ems, which no longer contain in themselvs any residue of syntactical formation, they ere pure and syntactically formless individual units, and/or ultirnatc substantive [Suchhakip]cssenm (p. 74). In one of the most classical gesturrs, Husserl, afrer having



opened the radical formal province of pure obiecrivities, makes syntactical categories secondary to those tcrms, which as eide or rode ti (as essence5 or individualities) link substance (orcsiu), in the fullest and most primary sense, to presence. The remarked and undecidable infrastructures arc thc ourcome of a deconstruction of these hierarchical distinctions in the purcly formal region of the logical, distinctions by which form is subjecred to conrent, syntax r sernanrics, a purely formal forms to nonformal forms, thar Is, to singularities or ,identical subiect marten Csachverhrrlre). T h e system of these infras t m a u r n as one of syntactically rc-markcd syncategoremata is a system that escapes all phenomenologizarion as such: it constantly disappears and withdraws from all possible presentation. In privileging the syntactical in the sense in which I have been developing itt h a t is, in rhc sense o re-marked, doubled sytactic structures no longer f suspended from semantic subject matters o whatever son-the gmf erul system spells our thc prelogical conditions of logic, thus reinscribing logic, rogechcr with irs implications of prescnce and evident mcaning, intn a scries of linguistic funcrions of which the logical is only one among others. Dcrrida remarks in Limited Inc.: The rnaner we arc di~curring concern the valuc, pooribili~y, system here and of what is called logic in general. The law and the effects with which m haw been Ilealing. . .govern the psibiliry of every logical proposition. . . No constituted logic nor any rule of a logical order can, therefore, provide a decision ~r impose it5 norms upan these prclogicol possibilitics of logic. Such possibiliries arc nor logically primary or m n d a r y with q a r d t o other possibilitics, nor logically primary or secondary with regard to l g c oi itself. They arc bpologically?) alien ro ir, but not as irs principle, condition of possibility, or radical foundation. ( L i , p. 235) As the systcrn of thew impurc and nonideal grounds. grounds so different from what they ground as to be thoroughly alien m ir, the system of rhe infrastructures is also the exposition of what I have rtrmcd haerolopv. T h e general s y s t m , then, i s the system of what is Other m the Ioggos-Orhcr, however, not in the sense of absolute, that is, abstracr opposition, or in the sense of the Other o the same, f but rather in rerms of what i s alien to irs own self-thematizarion. I t is thc system 01 what, in spite of its thorough altcrity to the selfunderstanding of thought, is presupposed by such thought, precisely insofar as its handed-dom goal is rn secure its own foundation in itself and by itself. By taking thc classical cxigencirs of philosophy to their logical end,



without, however, giving in 10 its nhico-rheomical, ethico-ontoIq+al, ahi~teld0g;Cal. ahico-plitical decisions, Dcnida brings or philosophy to a certain close. This, however, is an armmplishmmt in an unheard-of scnw. Opening the discourse of philosophy to an Other &at is no longer simply its Other, an Other in which philosophy becomm inscribed, and which limits its ultimate pretension 10 sellfoundation (a pretension independent of philosophial orientation), is an accomplishment that marks not theend bur the structural limits of philosophys autonomy and autarchy. Philosophy mmcs to a dose, paradoxically, bccaux in hctcrological presuppositions constitute it as, necessarily, always incomplete.



Literature or Philosophy?

10 Literature in Parentheses

In a recxnt text, or more prcsiwly in the text of his thcsis defense in
1980, Derrida reminded his commitme that his most constant interest, men more con.mnr than his philosophical inrcrcsr-if this were possibl&was in litcrarure. that writing that is called literary. In fact his first thesis, in 1957, w s to have been entitled The Ideality o the a f literary Object. As originally pianned, this thesis was to have put the Husstrlian rcchniqucs of transcendental phenomcndogy in the service o a neur theory o Iiterarurc, of that very peculiar type of f f ideal objm that is thc literary object. M contention is that Dery ridas marked interest in literamre, an interest that began with hi$ questioning the p a r t i d a r idcaliiy of literature, has in his thinking never Ied to anything remotely resembling literary criticism or to a valorization of what literary critics agree m call littraturc. Paradoxically, Detridas inirial inquiry into the idcality o rhc literary objcct f had the effect of situating his work a t the margins not only of philosophy bur of literature as wll. Such an observation d o n not man, however, thst Dcrrfdar philosophy is wirhout any relevance to Iiteary criticism. Rather it implies that the impoKanCC of Demdas thinking far the disciplinc of literary ciiim is not immediately evident, and that any statement of its rtcs relcvana to that disciplinc rcquircs amain mediating s t c p ~ bcforchand, So-called daconmuctive criticism, which, however important, is but an offspring of New Criticism, has not, m my knowledge, undcstakm t h a e preparatory steps and has done little marc than apply what it takes to be a method for reading literary texts to the unpmblcrnatizcd horizon o its discipline. As a result, thc genuine f impact that Derridas philosophy could have on literary c i i i m has rtcs



not becn, or a t best has hardly been, noticed. T h e following remarks arc not intended to offer a true vcrsinn of dcconstrunive criricism but only to clarify some of the preliminaries which any deconstruaive criricism would have to observe. If it were possible to draw one major proposition f o Dcrridas rm stawnents on Iitcramure, it would ceminly not be that evcrything i s literature, but on thc contrary that thcre 15 nv-or hardly any, ever so M e - h r a r u r e [D, 223). How arc we to understand this p. seemingly provocative claim?What this statement first of all suggcsn is that Aristorlesproduction o theconcept of lireraturc in the Podia f (in the aftermath o Platos determination o p m r y as mimesis) inf f augurates the history of literature as a history in which rhe certification of literarures birth, the declaration of its name. coincides with its disappearance. Literature, says Derrida, was born of that history, which lasted until thc ninaecnth anrury. and dicd of rhat history (El. pp. 338-339, 183). The inrerprcrationafmjmesisassuhjKtrormth,asamimetologism that proclaims the priority and precedence of the imitated over imitation, suhjcctn litcrature to a sratiis of mctaphoric scmndariness. Accordingly, lirerature possesses no specificity of in own and is reducible lo its signified, its message, the truth it expresscs. Yielding from rhe outset to the constraints of its phttosophical conceprualizahon, litcramre, like philosophy, includes rhe project of effacing itself in the face of rhc signified content which ic transpom and in general tcachcs.ThcspCcificity of philosophy and lirerature alike rests on this systematic curtailment of the signifier. Consequently, rcading i s in csscnce always a transcendentar wading i search of the signified. n f Dcrrida writes of rhe entire history o texts, and within it the hbrory of litcrzry forms in the West, thar it has almost always and almost cvcrywhere, according to some fashions and across very diverse ages, Icnt itself to this mnscendenul reading, in rhat search for the signified ( O G , p. 760). What is more, rhis philosophical inauguration has not only govsrncd the reading of literature but has dcrcrmined the rnodc af its writing as well. With the exception o certain rare exarnpls, literary f writing has subjugared itself to rhc constraints of the concept and co the crhos of philosophy. Literature, then, speaks rhe voice o philosf ophy. I t is a merc proxy, stillborn. There has hardly ever been any literature, if literatiire is supposed ID mean something other than philosophy. The contemporary trend-a rrend that begins wirh carly Romanticism-of minimizing the diffcrcnce benvcen literature and



philosophy is at i n s t to some extent an involuntary recognition o f this state of affairs. I t rcmains within the tradition of literary sccondacincss. W h e n Denida asserts that today, or more spnifically from MalIarm6 on;a &main derermincd furrn o literary pramice announces f thc subvemion of logocentrism (P, la), that certain t e r n seem to p. mark and t organize a Structure of resistance t the philosophical u o r conceptuality h a t allegedly dominated o comprehended them, wherher directly, or whether through categoriesderived from this philosophical fund (P. p. 69), certainly this is not simply in ordcr to assert that literature has finally found irs specificity o come into its own. r Indeed, if that specificity is understood to be constituted by litcrf ariness, a second reading o Dcrridas statement concerningthe scarcity of literature becoma possible. It is well known that the question of literariness was first formulated by the Russian Formalists in order to dcrmincwhar, in literature, remains irreducible to the message, to metaphor, m the voice, and so on. Yet as Derrida has argued, this intcrcst in pwrc litcraturc, in the litenmy element, in what in literature passes through an irreducibly graphic text docs nor k l i t e r a t u m from its philosophical or Iogomtric subjugation, for it t i s the p b ofform ma determined f substance o expression (OG, p, S9), Undoubtedly the emergence of the question of lirerariry has permined the avoidance of a certain number o thematic reductions, o misconstructions owing to a i r m f f scmdenfual reading; yet such a h s on the irreducible literariness of the graphic (as opposed to the phonic) substance leads to a symmetric limitation and restriction o the play of form. This respect for the f literariness af P work o arr consists, indeed, in rhe mere isolation, f in order ro shcltcr it, (09 a formal specificity o the literary which f would have its own proper essence and truth which no longer have to be articulated with other ihcomical or practical fields IF,p 70). . Literariness o lirerariry,therefon, dmores the essence. rhc mrh. r the literary-being and the being-literary of literature. By making all literature exemplify this one essence o literature, however, literature f is, once again, condemned m nonexistence. If we thus determine the essence of literature (as that which confers being upon it), litcraturc once more loses i t s specificity, at the very moment when it seemed most firmly established. Hence Demdas wariness o the concept of f literarity, and likewise of its opposition to the stubborn aurhoriry o f mimctologism. Mimetologism and literariry are the birth and death of literature through philosophy. What has been r e p m e n t d and de-



ermined under the name of literature throughout the history of Iirerature, from Plaro 10 MallarrnC, has almost always yielded LO either mimetologism or literariness, says Dertida. Ultimately, neither the one not the other has put the authority of philosophy into question. Thcrcfore, thc a n m p t to play out rhc fact that phiIosophy is always written, that it in marked by literariness, and that phiIosophys desire to control and eliminate the ,opacity of its signifier must necrssarily fail is at bcst an empiricist argument against thc domination o litf erature by philmophy. In exchanging one essence fur anothtr, this f Platonic inversion of sans only confirmsthe supcrioriry o philosophy. Given the insufficiency of these two intcrpretations of the proposition that rhere is n o - o r hardly any, ever so little-Iirerature, we must examine a third possibility. If, as Derrida asserts, with Mallarm6 literary writing became a thrust or a point of msisrance against the dominant concept of literature; if, as he gocs so far as to state, it was normal that the breakthrough in philosophy was more secure and more penmaring on the side of literature and poetic writing (OC, p. 921, the question arises as to what, in the end, endows literature with such power. As we have seen, undcr no drcumstances can this power flow from its mimrrological or literary (formal) quality. Literature. or what was called literature up to the nineteenth cenmry, does not undermine philosophy through its content or through an empirical cxces of writing on the page. Rarhcr, if the first brcak in the most entrenched Western tradition o both literature and philosf ophy stems from litcrary or poetic writings destruction of the transcendental authority and dominant category ot the episime: being (OG, p. 92), rhen this vacillarion could have been achicved only through its generalized putting-in-quotation marks of literature, of the so-called literary text (D, 291). In other words, it is by susp. pending its being as literature that literature becomes capable of challenging philosophys dominant categorization. Literature pwts irsclf f between quotation marks by opening itself to the absolute loss o its meaning, whether of content or of form. Lircrarure becams a radical interrogation of philosophy. and of most past litetarure as well, nor only by refusing its foundarion in il. preceding and pdor being of meaning but also by disclaiming any formal csxnce a5 mncerns its substance o expression. Therefore, Dcrrida must regard the use of f the tcrm Iiteruhrre for that sort of literary writing with suspicion, since ir subjects the concept to belles-lettres, to the a m , to poetry, to rhcroric, and m philosophy (P, 69). H musr write literature p. e ot literary between quotation marks precisely because the new



practiu o this SORof writing "supposes a break with whar has tied f the history o the litet.;lry a m ro the hisroty o metaphysics (P, f f p. 11). Litmturc rhus acquircs a subvcrsivc funEtion with regard to philosophy and thc literature under in dominion. not by nsroring its specificity at any m$t but, pndwly, by recognizing that it can effect such a subversion only by hardly being literature. titera~m~ (is) almost no tircrarure. It appears, then, that thc disruptive and subvcrsive effects of litapture are directed not against logoceotric phil~sophyalone but against literature as we15 to the extent that rhe latter submits to philosophys demands. Hence, what subverts philosophy is not in fact k a t u ? C , f o r it also solidti the very foundations of literature, depriving it of its external foundation in philosophy, or in other words of its be in^. l n d d literature has a greater power of fomaliution than literamre and philosophy alike. I a recent s interview ~Demda smted, My first desire certainly did not Iead me toward philosophy but r a t h a t w a r d literature, no,toward something which literarum accommodatcs more Easily than philosophy.*z In the light o this third interpretation of Derridas statement on f the scarcity of literature, let US bridty reflect on the nature o the f argotnatation that I have laid out. After arguing that there is hardly any literamre because all literamre is either mimcrological o forr malist, Derrida makes thesmpcnsion of k i n g a major characteristic of literam. tn a movement that rcscmbla, to the point of confusion, a phewmmologicat mnsrrndcntal reduction in which liter: atutc i subjcmed to a sort of epochs, bracketing its mimcrological s and formaEia determinations, Derrida,rather than producing the tobe-eltpected cssena of literanrrc, yields a radically nonphcnomcnologizablc structure. Indeed, DerriNs parenthesizing o literature ref veals whar I would call the epochal rhanmr of limarurc itself. Liferamre, instead of having a true &cc o its own, a standing f in being, appears to bc characterizable only by its structure of bracketing, which puts the mnscendenta1 authority and dominant category o being into quesrion. Thereby, however, Iiteran~resepochal naf ture is nor only no longer in the service of being but also radially displaces phenomenological reduction. In short, Dcrridas interest in the idcaliry of the lircary abim pmnirs the pradumon o a strucf ture of bracketing that escapes phenomcnoIogitation, that cannot be beheld in person, and which is thus what allows for the phcnomenological W c s m c h u while at the same time drawing its irreducible limits. The noMsKncc of what Derrida has called limamrc is an ideal structure of p a m t h t s i d s g which has no foundation in being;



it is basically a f u n d o n of the debate concerning the status o phcf nomenological idealities and the method by which t h q become apprehensible. Litcraturc, then, is scarcely of the ordcr af being. It has as little being as.ray. a between, a corner. an angle. Lireratures subversion of both philosophy and literature, of both rmth and the simulacrum, as Derrida remarks at the beginning of The Double Scssion, proceeds from its status a5 a between, forming a certain

corner. a certain angle, with respectto both litentureand phiIosophy. This angle. which resists thc history o philosophy and literature, is f further determined by Derrida as the general text. From what has already bccn established, text in this wn5e is nor rcstricted to writing on the p a p , nor doe5 it irnpIy that borh literature and philosophy are de facto always written. Before elaborating in some detail on Derridas concept of the general texi a5 a struaure of nonreflmivc re-marking and retrait, I should like to nore that literature, or the gcneral rext. as that which forms an aoglc with both philosophy and literature, i5 what limits both discourses, whose authority is marked by this margin and thus dependent on it. From this it also become obvious what the subversivc function nf the general texts consists of. The general text does nor annihilate literature and philosophy; rather, by puttingthcir authority back into thc position of a mark in a chain that this authority intrinsically end illusori[y believm it wishes to, and does in fact, govern" (P,pp. 59-60), it assigns thcm their respective places. In other words. by reinscribingthe discourses of philosophy and litemure into their margin, thc gcneral text unwttln their pretensions to authority and autonomy, and groundsthem in what they do not control. The deconstruction effected by [he general text i s both 3 destruction and J regrounding, or rcinscriprion. In short, [hen, in terms of the classical language o philosophy, literature, or the general text, is f a grounding agency for philosophy and literature in thcir differcncc, Yet since literamrc is a nnnphcnamcnnlogizable srmcrurc, it also ungmunds what it makes possible. Consequently, if Dcrrida puts the transcendmtal authhorily of thc categories of p h h o p h y , in particular that of being, into question, o o r if he questions whethcr the liremry operation yields r rhe philosophical dcmand ofevaporating thcsignitier on behalf of thesignificd, it is nor in ordcr to annul them but rather to understand them within a system to which they arc blind. Without thc general text as rhar which inscribes literature and philosophy within t h a t angle that marks them from a cerrain outside, no philosophy. no logoccntrism, no


2 I 6

authority of being would h possible. Without the general text, there e wouldbe noliteratumorwhat hasbecncalledliteraturein thehistory o literature. Also, it is owing m the constituting marginality of the f general text wirh rcspm to Iiteraturc and philosophy that, despite their own ideology, ncither philosophy nor literature is ever simply and entirely governed by a message, a form, or their dialectical interplay. Thus, although it is only in the modem practice of writing that the dominant rtprcsenntion of lirerature is pracrically decnnstructed, it is well understood that long before these modem texn a certain literary practice was able to operate against this model, against this representation. But it is on the basis of these last texts, on the basis o the general configuration to be remarked in them, that f one can best reread, withour retrospective telmlogy, the law of the previous figures (F,p. 69). Only on the basis of marginality, which modernity rcprescnts with regard to the entire tradirion, ha5 mod. ernity, as that which already breachsthat tradition from within, been able to become manifest in the first place. Yet it must not be forgotten thar although the philosophical and literary text may always fail to evacuate or minimize the encompassing power of language at the benefit of the signified, such is indeed the project af philosophy and literature; consequently, they must be studied from this point of v i m . Literature and philosophy are constituted by the attempt to efface thernsctvcs before their content or aesthetic message. Therefore, it should be apparent that literary criticism, in all its traditional forms. is not simply to be dismissed. Literature, or what has been called by that name, is a province within the general text; and since wirhin rhcse (however unscrrling) boundaries it is characterized by the project of achieving transparency for its message, Iitcrary criticism as the dihplinc that presupposes the decidability of meaning prior to the literary text is a legitimate offspring of rhc very project constitutive of literature. Thus, the principles organizing different critical reading arc not simply to be refuted or criticized. They are legimitate. fruitful, m c , says Dcrrida, especially if rhcy are informed by a critical vigilance (WD, p. 174). These readings are prrlecrly valid, ar lcast insofar as literature prior to the nineteenth century is conrerncd. Yet it is obvious thar the delimitarions nf that criticism rcquircd by Iitcrary writing since Mallarm6 are not without certain retroactive effects on traditional criticism. For the time being, let us consider only the cast o traditional literary criticism. To begin f with, let us recall t h a t the sclf-effacing and deferential doubling of literature in the form of critical commentary is rooted in the history



o philosophy, determined a$ the history of the reflection of poetic f inaugurarion (WD, p. 281. Knowingly or nor, valunrarily o nor, r literary criticism has been determined as the philosophy of literature. This essential link to philosophy also explains the security with which the commentarpconsiders the scIf-identity of rhe text. the confidence with which it carves out its contour, [and which] goes hand in hand with the tranquil assurance that leaps over the text toward irs presumed content, in rhe direction of rhe pure significd (QG, p. 159). Yet tbat which a u t h m i m the commentary-the metaphysics of the commcntaq-does minimal violence to the works o literature f because this metaphysics already governs the works commented upon. The critical cammenary seems to be commensurate with traditional literary works. Literary criticism, then. is a philosophy of a literature which has from the outset yielded to the categories of philosophy, or in other words to literamre as snch. The critical enterprise is, as its name reveals, a philosophical enrerprise. 11 is linked to the possibility of the brinein-that is, to the possibility of decision-of a mastery of the meaning or signified of the literary text. Since the crirically assurcd and secured identity and prior cxistencc of rhc meaning or the signified of literature is what literature exemplifies, literary critif cism as such is part o what Dcrrida has called the antologicdl interpretation of mimesis, or metaphysical mimetologism, One of the more specific narncs For such a critical approach to literature is thematic criticism. Although in Derridas work it S e s em robe linked closely with rhe names of Jean-Pierre Richard and Gaston Bachelard, it is indeed a variety o phenomenological criticism repf resenrative o all criticism oriented toward content, meaning. or thc f signified. This becorncs obvious when, in The Double Session, Derrida circumscribes thematic criticism. It is, he writes. at work wherever one tries to dctermine a meaning through a text, to pronounce a decision upon it, 10 decide that rhis or that is a meaning and that it is meaningful, ro say that rhis meaning is p o d , posable, or transp. posable as such: a theme (0, 245). Generally speaking, a theme i s a correlate of attcntivencss. the result of an anentional act in which the mind i s applied to an object or 10 that which regulates such an act. More broadly defined, it is meaning .or rhe signified. A theme is a more fundamenral notion than meaning o r the signified, however, because it d e n o t s the minimal unit of meaning or signification. I t is a nuclear unit of meaning posed there before the eye, present outside of its signifier and referring only tn, itself, in thc last analpis, even though its identify as a signified is carved out o the horizon of an f



infinitt puspectivc [D, 250). p. Manifest or invisible, empty or full, the theme is an originary-that is, a constituted-unity o substance. r

As such a consdtud unity, the theme e x d s c s a rotdting function with regard to all the signiiiers o a literary wo&. The theme s u f Km a works .unitary meaning, i t s inner continuity. It is in the logic o f thematism to be monistic, monological: therefom, the totalization to be achieved by a theme can succecd only if rhere is no other competing

And yet a structural semantics that proelaims poyscmy or P plurivivocaliry in meaning-a polythcmatism in shorr-dws not in p M ciple diffcr h h e monathcmaticpDsitian. By opposingthe pIurality m a of mmning to the linearity ofrhe monothematic which always anchors
itself to the tuteIary meaning, [to] the principal signified of a t m q that is, its major rcfcrenr, amaural scmanrics undoubredly rcprey n t s an advance over what prcccdcd it; ncvcrthclcss polythcmatisrn mains organized within the implicit horizon of a unitary mumption of meaning (P, p. 45). In Dissmrination, Dcrrida writes: Pol s m always ~ U U in multipliades and variarions wirhin the yey out h o r i z ~ n a t least, of some integral reading which contains no absolute . rift, no sc11stlcss deviation--the horizon o the final parousia o a f f meaning a t last deciphered, revealed, ma& pt in the rich collecrion o its determinations (D, 350). However belated such a final f p. moralization might be, however far off its realization remains, it S M I ~ by right the multiplicities reassemblage into a unitary totality o the meaning o a c a t and thus secures the totality of the text as f f well. All coetcnt-oricntad literary critiasm accupics h e in-between Peld staked out by these two critical approaches, mono- and polyhemarism. Whether philosophical. sociological, or psychbanalydcal, contcntaicnttd criticism pnsuppogs that a mare or less complex simple mesning (theme) can be construed as the unifying agency of 8 literary work. Whatever its specific nature, the theme is a unity of meaning that SCNCS to constitute the literary work as a totality. To the extent that this tetmlogy of factual and instantaneous or delayed and ideal retotaliunon also rep-rs rhe very guidclinc of the opcrarion of almost all literary writing-the horizon of its vorrloir-dire-thcmatic criticism of all shades is undoubtedly a very legitimate approach to such writing. Before elaborating, however, on the essential limits of thematic criticism with respec7 r b t h modern literamre and wrirlngcomposcd o in a thematic perspdve, I should emphasize that Derridas criticism



o thematism, as well the relativeimporrance hc gives to rhe marrnmt f o thematic criticism, must be understood as a hnaion of his debate f with phenomenology in general. His critique must bc placed in thc context of the phenomenological problematics of thematization and
o thc unthematizcd. f

Husserl conceives of rhematization. as he dcfines it in Idem?as the articulate formulatian o what was somehow already implicit in an f unthernatic, unthought, and unpredicated manner in the primary natural standpoint, an attitude toward the world that is also characreristic of the natural sciences. Thematization objectifies the unthcmarizcd o f the natural standpoint in a n articulate judgmcnt. What is the unthcmatized in question? It is the natural standpoints implicit assumption of the factual exisrencc of what it encounters in the real world around ir. As Husserl has shown, this thetical positioning-as the being out there of what natural mnsciousncss cncounters-is grounded in the f originary general thesis (Cenerulrbesis) o the natural standpoint, according to which constiousnea has as its correlate a present reality, an existing world, and only such a world. Themarization, then, is a predicative taking in of the originary universal thesis, which in this manner can become, together with the narural standpoint which grounds imlf in it, the object of a phenomenological e p o c h . T h e antinatural standpoint that is philosophical reflection puts the unthought of the natural amtudc into phcnomcnolagiwl parenthais in order to unearth a truly radical unthernartzed upon which the very possibility of the general rhesis of rhctic natural consciousncss depcnds. This phenomf enologically unthernatizcd is thc phenomenon o the intentionality of consciousness, a relation of consciousness to its correlate that is prctheric in t h a t it docs not posit the existence of the intenrum. Phenomenology thus appears as a superior thematization. as the objectifiatian of transccndcntal and ideal structurcz o consciousness. f Whereas, in its Husscrlian form, phenomenology is an attempr r o themarize the unthernatized transcendental structures of consciousness, phenomenology in Heideggers early philosophy determincs the unrhematizable as essentially in withdrawal from the rhematizarims to which ir lends itself. wirh this, the unthematizable escapes all possible objcclificdiia and predication. but bccomes its very condition of possibility. When Derrida points to an irrcducible phenomenological nonthematiration of the opcrativc and nonthcmatic concept o Idea in f Husserls work, it becomes obvious that he is continuing the phenomenological problcmarics o rhematization, yet with the dccif



difference that instead of philosophiz!ng in the perspccrivc of a passiblc and evmtual r e c u p t i o n of thc unthematizcd, Ikrrida shows the irreducibiliry o phenomenological nonthematization to be the f very condition o possibility of phmammalogys thematic approach f (see 0, 141). If at first Dcrridas debate with such L necessary p. unthematiuble ~ c m to prolong its Heidcggerian interpretation. it s must, however, be remarked that by tying thc irreducibly unthcmatizablc to the pmblmatics o the difference b e e n h e unthcf m a r i d and the themadzed, Derrida also removcs i from the sphere t of jurisdiction o detbeio in that the latter unfolds only as and in that f d i k c e . Derridas critique of thematic critiarm, literary or philosophica1, is a challenge to phenomenology insofar a5 it quesrions the ultimate possibility of an End,sti&ng through thematiution. Its scope reaches far beyond the problemarics of literary c i i i m and find5 its rtcs meaning in hi$ debate with phenomendogy. A Erst insufficiency of rhc literary variety of thematic criticism is that it d m nor rake the formal and synracriml aspect of Iituanrce into account. Thmatic criticism, in ptincipb, is not interested in the code, in the formal crafting, the pure play of significrs, the way a text is a m b l e d , the technical manipulations o the text object, and 50 f on. If it deigns to consider thew aspccts of literature at all, it is only to subiugatc them to the semantic. In general one could say, with Derrida, rhat thematic criticism excludes from its field everything char is not o the order of the word. of the calm unify of the verbal sign f (D. 255). Hence the importance of fomlt3t or mucmrolirt crirp. icism as oppaed to mntent-orimted thematic criticism. But as Derrida has argued on s e v d oaasiorm, formalist o struauralisr aiticism r is as insufticient as thematic criticism, and can no more than the lamr measure i 1 against literature, because in focusing exclusively on wf the formal aspca of a text, it overlooks the genetic effects o r the (%istorical, if you will) inscription of the text read curd of the new rcxt this airicism itself wriics (P,p. 47). Moreover, formal and strumtalist criticism is oblivious to the text in its uniqueness insofar 35 the diaplvcry of the formal or srmmral arrangement of the text is dependent on an tidctic d u d o n that lays that arrangement bare as the texts essential mrh. The "structure whost essential permanence bemmes the prime preoccupation oi the structuralist commentary mtralizco the specificity of the text and raises it to the status o a merc example o the transcendental structure or universal esencc f f o thought (WD, 170). f p. It thus appears that both fonns o criticism are rigorously m f



plcmentary and complicitous. Once again, ir must be emphasized that these two brands of criticism-which togcthcr with dialectical aiticisrn exhausr in principle all rhe possibilities of lirerary criricism-arc not simply to be reiected, to rhe extent that, wirhin thc history of literature, litcrature has indeed conformed to philosophy. Yet one cannot avoid remgnizingthar if certain literary texu, a certain lirerary wriring, as Derrida points out, put philosophy into question, rhen this subversion will also cause the various forms of literary criticism to vacillare. It philosuphy is subvencd by cenain lirerary rexls, rhen all forms of literary criticism established in thc shadow o the multiple f philosophies are similarly threatened. ,One could go 50 far as to say that rhc very rcasons why Dcrtida i s intcrcstd in literature are reasons that subvert the very possibility of the institution of lircrary criticism 3s such. This subversion takes place through the tracing Qf the limits of lircrary criticism. 11 is thus a subversion rhar is nor absolurc, rhar is by no means an annihilation of literary criticism. but that is a decapitation, so to speak, of its prercnsions, and thus an assignment of its lorus. Thetefote it is equally right to say that thc very future of the insrimtion of Iiterary criricirm hingB on its deconstruction, Sincc Maliarmi, say, modern lircrary texts offer t h a t writing that delimits both farms of criticism (and particularly the thematic); it delimits them to a degree thar not only makcs apparent c i i i m s rtcs inability to account for such writing, but suggesn rhar the approprif ateness o criticism to what has hitherto been called literature is itself questionable. Throughout his work, Demda h a s tried to dcrnonsrrare thar this 501-1 of text will always defy and baffle criridsm, not because criticism wil! not yet haw sufficiently sharpcncd its analytical mols, but for more esmtial rcawns that preclude the decidability all criricism presupposes. indetd, such rcxrs rigorously swcep away the possibility of decision, of mastering their meaning as unity, that is. of mastering their meaning at all. But the fact rhat these texts cannot be thematically exhausted in terms of content or form does nor a t all imply, as Detrida points out in Spurs, that one ought to abandon the warch for their meaning. Such a conclusion would amounr to an oesrheticizing and obscurantist reaction by the hmnmeuein, that is, hy understanding. This search fnr meaning should nor be abandoned but rathcr intensified, and in such a manner as to account for the ultimate possibility of these texts meaninglcssness. The gesture of thought required to, deal with the structural possibility o mcaningf lessners, however, is thoroughly alien to the critical gesture, which prm~pposes decidability of its atrentional obiecr, its theme. Bur the



. -


s i n e h m a 1 s t r u m m of h c possibiIity of the meaninglessness o e f certain text6 owes its muctural status to the impossibility o its own f thcmatization, the gcshtrc of thought that takes this stmruccural posdbiliiy into account m w t d f i m ia unthematiubility. It must, in other words, affirm an ultimatc impossibility of knowing this n o n t h m t i c condition of possibility, an impossibility that is the rcsult neither o f its unfathomable depth nor of thc finitude of its human beholder but rather of the mmral nature of this condition. Indeed, such a structure must withdraw itulf from being mastered in totality, from being decidable, from being itself a theme if it is to account for the possibiliry o the meaninglcssncss of a text. If it m l d be hilly determined, in f fact, it would bt the texts ultimate meaning and would no longer account fur its essential undecidability. If, in ?be last resort, the unthcmariuble because undecidable agcncis of modern literary textsagencies that am not at the order of imagc or concepq mntcnt or form, but that arc textual structum-radically subvert the possibility of literary hermeneutics, it is becausz they represent the limits from which understanding and knowing become posi;blc. Thcrefore, undemanding its gesture o unifying deciphering must be pushed f to cxaspcration in order to account as rigorously as possible for i t s sauctural limits. Consequently, far from &ng a SOR o empiricist f r o agnosricism o skepticism. &canstrumion is. s to speak, a hypercognition of a m t h beyond truth, a supplement of rmthIcss truth, to thc extent that it aIso i n s c r i h the structural limits of cugnitionthus, however, radically altering the concept of cognition as such. At this point the question o the relation bctwrm deconstruction f and literary criticism may lend iwlf to a more decisive cliuification. Undoubtedly Derridss opinion i s that literary c i i i m &Is to acrtcs count tor the specificity of the literary work of a- c~pecially insofar as it proceeds rhematically. This spccificity is lost at the mornem we bring to it, as K-Feidcgger says, only this or that dull sense of unambiguous meaning.s What is wrong with literary cridasm, to refcr to Heideggcr oncc again, is that it aperimas too liKk in h e neighborhood o the work and that it expf its already diminished expcricncc tcm crudely and too titeraily.~ Yet this critique o criticism f is not motcd in a moral or aesthetic indignation over c i i i m s inrtcs ability t catch the subjtctive existence, the originality and force of o the work, or the singularity of the beautiful. I t i s just as little an invitation to take hold of &at uniqueness by further and further decomposition. T b i s critique of criticism acknowIodgm, h t of f, that the flaws o Iirerary criricisrn owing to the uniqumcss of works f

26 8


of literature are inrrinaically linked to literary criticisms status as

comrnenrary. As commentary, cenainIy the discount of c i i i m prertcs supposes rhe works uniqueness. But as commentary it can onty turn that work into on example of a universal rruth. Lirerary criticism can ovcrcomc thcse fatal dcficicndcs only under the condition that it destroy itself as commentary by exhuming the [originrryl unity in which is embcddcd rhc differcnms h r w e e n work and commentary, force and signification, litcramre and philosophy, and so on. (WD, p. 174). Such a libcration f m m its $tam5 a5 mere cornrncnwry would coincide with its liberation from philosophy. If literary criticism were to opcn irsclf toan cxchange with literary writing, ifit wereto become strcntive to what takes place in tcxrs. parricularly in modern rexrs, it-in essence a philosophy of literature. and thus dcpcndcnt on the master discourse of philosophy-would have to do so all by i t d f . In one of his first essays Derrida writes: Criticism, if it is called upon to enter into explication and exchange with literary writing, some day wit[ n t havc to wait for this resistance first to be organized into a o philosophy which would govern some methodology of aesrhetin whose principles criticism would reccive (WD, 28). Yet this independence cannot imply a rejection of all analytical appmachm to the tcxt. Once again, this would rcpresent a mere aesthetic response, programed by philosophy. Literary ctiticisrn must manage a place for the reduub[ingcarnmenmry, for its epistemological project, lest it become entircly aubjenivc, illusory, and lirnitcd. Wirhout rhe recognition of and respect b r all the classical exigencies, critical production runs thc risk o becoming idiosyncratic and of f authorizing irself to advance almost anything. What is neccsary, thcs, if literary criticism is to address literary writing is a connection o f deconsrrucrion and scholarship, of deconstruction and tradition. The program thar Drrrida developed for a science of grammatology is also valid far a literary criticism tibcratcd from philosophyl Now a reflection mu5t clearly b t undertaken, within which the positive discovery and the deconstruction of the history o metaphysics, in all f its concepts, are controlled reciprocally. minutely, laboriously (012, p. 83). If such a critical discourse, liberated from philosophy but extremelyaw;lreal thc latrers exigencies, were roachiwe anexchange with literary writing, this exchange would not takc placc by pacticizing the critical discourse, as the Romantics intcndcd. but through rcflecring on the originary unity in which is embedded the differenas that organize the litcrary and critical discaurscs. Whereas a poeticization of the critical discnursc would lead to P mutual overcoming o f



both in a higher, fulItr synthetic unity, and woutd thus yield to the most d m c n t a r y tclos of philosophical thinking, a reflccrion on the originary unity in which literature and criticism are embedded maintains their differcncc and respective uniqueness, whilc at.the same time accounting for this difference. The originary unity by which criticism and litcramre come into an exchange precisely insofar as they are unique d w s not, therefore, repraent a more primitive or higher synthetic unity preceding or fallowing the process of differenriation. It must be a unity of the order of that which Derrida has cafted infrastructures. In other words, a critical discourse in full respect of the uniqueness of literature would have to be a discourse produmve of such infrastmcrurcs, also called signifying structures. The contact between lircnry writing and criticism is established when the latter exhibits the phenomenologically unthematizable unities, that is, the nonsyndretic unities rhat organize and limit the conceptual differences rhat make up the critical discourse. It is here that one can glImpsc what dcconstructive literary criticism could be about. Without confounding itsclf with the deconstruction o philosophy, f the specificity o a deconstructivc literary criticism would procccd f from the signifying structures rhat reinscribe, and thus account for, &he differences consrimrive of the literary work and the critical discourse. Except marginally, Derrida has not systematically undertaken m establish the particular infrastructures ,of the critical discourse. More than once he has shown a variety of forms of literary criticism m L absolutely insensible m the most insistent operations of literary writing. Yet while questioning the OngiMry nonrynthetic unity of literature and philosophy, Derrida has, by reading literary writing iaelf, exhibited precisely those s t m m r e s of rextuality and literature o with which literary criticism is t enter into exchange. Still. thc kind o infrastrumrcs that underlie this exchange have not yet been def veloped as such. The phcnomcnologically unthcrnadzabk unities-that- is, supplementarity, rnise-m-dyme, and re-mark-that Derrida has exhibited f in his rcading o literary texts are numerous, as arc tho= (writing, ICXI, quasirnecaphoricity, and so on) thar resu1d at first h m a dcconstruction o the philosophical discaurse. A certain brand o literary f f criticism has avidly appropriated these notions in a thematic manner, losing sight of what these notions were initially meant to achieve. In addition, only o n rate occasions have the critical discourses in which they have been accommodated opened themselves to these notions via a deconsmction of themselves as critical discourses. Such a de-



canstruction, howwer, is the condition under which they would have been able to establish contact nor only with literary writing but with thc dcconstruction of philosophy as well. Just as any possible extrapolation of Derrida's philosophy for Iiteraty criticism can be fruitful only if even his developments concerning literature and literary criticism arc undcrsrood within the boundaries of his debate with the phdosophy o phenomenology, all the so-called f infrastructurcs can be put to use in literary criticism only on the condition chat their mtus is fully recognized, as well as their purpose, or what, precisely, they arc to achieve in Dcrrida's controversy with phenomenology. Of the many infrastruaum that catch the literary critic's eye, of the many issues of interest to the critic and upon which Derrida has elaborated, such as genre, mimesis, plot, event, fictton, and rn an, I shall examine only three notions, which have bEtn appropriated by a certain criticism: writing, text, and metaphor,


The Inscription o Universality f

. .


Rather than dia&sssing i n derail the numerous analyses i which Dcrn rida has developed the nation of writing, I shall attempt only to define i p m a l the system of csRntial predicates which he calls miring. n Before I venture a definition, howcwr, it is imperarive to outline the context in which the problemtics of writing becomes a subjea of meditation.b r Dcrrida. Since this cantext i5 manifold, I shall n s t r i a the discussion to certain instanccs in which writing becomes probImstizcd. In the first itmane the notion of writing becomes a crucial issue in Kknidas work early as Edmund Hysscds Origin of Geometry: An brmdrrcrion. As Dcrrida points out, it i s a t l a striking that en Husserl, in The O r i ~ of Ceornerry, resorts to the vmy p i b i l i t y n o writing-in flagrant disregard of the conrcrnpt in which writing is f held throughout the history of philosophy-in otdcr to 5 m m the absolute ideal objectivity, and thus the traditionaliration of meaning. H d argues that without such srriptural spatic-rcmporality and the ultimate objecdficstion that i t pcnnlts. alf meaningwould as yet remain captive of the de /act0 and actual inrmtionality o a speaking f suhjcct or armrnunity of speaking d i e m (0, 87-88). The pp. uldmce liberation of idcality, ie highat possibility of cotrsticurion, that which inaugurates its itcrability and ia rdation to a universal transcendental subjectivity guaranteeing its intelligibility in the absence of all actually present subjective intentionality, is &us the possibility o being ~ r i t t ~ n . t that it i s not the factuaI spatiof N e o
tempotalization by writing that cmurcs mcanings ideality but, marc



primordially, only its possibility. Considering the context, writing is no longer only the worldly and rnnernorechnical aid to a truth whose own being-senscwould dispense with all writingdown.The possibility or necessity of being incarnated in a graphic sign is no longer simply cxtrinsic and factual in comparison with ideal Objecriviry: it is the sine qua non condition of Objectivitys internal completion (0,pp. 88-89). Hence, the effcct and thc value of rranscendentaliry bemmc linked in a n essential manner to the possibility of writing. In rhe second instance; as Derrida has shown in Of Cwmmntology, the artempt m account for the principle of differcnct, ditfcrentiality or diacriticity, as conditions of signification, forces Saussure, in spite of hi5 initial condemnation o writing, to fall back a n scriptural metf aphors. H m ,itappeaa that meaning is dependent on a determination through alterity, on an irreducible relation to otherness. SinceSauwre is concerned with linguisric mcaning, and since the Other par cxcelIence of s p m h is writing, the recourse to scriptural metaphors to cxposc the principle o differentiality cannot be fortuitous. f In the third instance, in Platos Pharmacy. Dcrrida demonsrratcs how Plam, in Phaedrus, a k r having severely rejected Thotsinvention of wriring as a mnemotechnical r o because o its dctnmcntal effects o1 f on living memory, cannot avoid turning to a meraphor borrowed from the order of the very thing he is trying to exclude-the order of the simulacrum--at thc prccisc moment when hc trim to define the specificity of thc living discoursc that he wants to OPPOSC to writing. By determining rhc living discoursc as an inscription o truth f in rhc soul, the self-presence of speech, o r rhe intelligible, is made to hinge srrumrally, as far as its possibility is concerned, o n the empry repetition of writing. or thc copy, previously cxcluded. And in the fourth instance, on several occasions Derrida has pointed out rhe contradiction that exists between the philosophers condemnation of writing and the necessiry of effectuating this condemnation in writing. Thus, for instance in Marges, the philosopher writesagainstwriting,wriresin~rder tomakegood thelossof writing, and by this very gesture forgets and denim what occurs by his hand. If ir is true that this contradiction is in no way contingent, then philosophical ideality, its logocentric ethos, is constituted from its first breath as a s s e o differential traces, that is as writing before ytm f the letter (M, p, 291). T h e discursive valorization of the phewlogmcentrism in short-appcars to be irrcducibly linked ro the cxrcriority, altcrity, discontinuity, and delaying effecr of writing. However succinct. these four contextual examples shodd $uFf;cc



problem addressed under t h t titk o wridng f concerns rhe paradorid economy of the philosophical condemnation and [metaphorical) rehabilitation o writing. I t is, therefore, of grcar f importance thar we realizc that rhe analysis o the constitutive funcf tion of writing far idcatiry, transmdentaliry, signification, speech, philosophical discourse, and so on docs n t imply a rehabilitation of o writing as it has been determined by philosophy. Nor da these analyses entail any mvahation of literary writing with respect to philosophical dimurst. Derrida, from Of Grummarology on, has repeatedly suggested that the question cannot simply be one of reversing the tradirional hierarchy in order to make writing innocent {OG, p. 3 ) 7. Nar can it be a question of returning to writing its rights, its superiority br is dignity (D, p. 182). Nothing would be more ridiculously mystifying than such an ethical o axiological rcvmal, returning r a prerogative or some elders rigbt M writing (P, 13). Indeed, such p. a rmorarion of writing to a prclapsarian state, beyond thc debased and degraded field of history, would still yield ro the category of a h m t m t , which is prcciscly the rcpresenintim of writing, of its p. situation in the philmphica1 hierarchy (P, 53). Therefore, ail substitution o a graphoantrism for logocentrism is thoroughly cxcludcd. f The order of dependencc between speech and writing cannot be argued. As longas one thinks of speech and writing in conceptual terms, writing must efface itself M o r e speech as its truth. As I have suggested, Derridas analyses pursue a different goal, aiming M establish the law that governs the contradictions of philosophical discourse, the law that cxpIains why and how what is supposedly pure, ideal, transmdental, and s on is unavoidably contaminated by its opposite, and a why speech in ia purity cannot be thoughr cwccpt by referring to writing. To deconstruct the eihico-thcorcticalhierarchy o speech and f writing-a deconstruction that includes an account of the factual return of debased writing in the form of metaphors (for instance) in f the very attempt m dcsmibt the puriry and self-premoc o the logois to m s t r u c t the signifying structure or system of referral that accounts for both exclusion and contamination. The name that Derrida gives to this infrastructure, or rather, as we shall see, duster of infrastructures, i s that of the archesynthesis o f writink or more properly, gcneral m i t i n g o r a r c h e 4 g . As such a synthesis, arche- or prom-writing is nKssirily aansnndmtat in thc sense that I have csrablishcd. Since, as a law, it is able to account for the economy that organizes dre various relations o speech and f what is commonly called writing, it exceeds the conceptual symmetry


LITERATURE OR P H l t 0 5 0 P H Y !

of speech and writing. Derrida writes, T h e concepts o general: wrirf ing can hc read only on the condition that they be departed, shifted outside thc symmetrical alrcmatives from which, however, rhey sccm to be raken, and in which, aher a fashion, they must also remain (WD, p. 272). The concepts of writing and speech, as they are commonly used, cannot sewc ta explain archc-writing. Writing, in its colloquial sensc, as the visiblc and c d c d scripr in the world, is only the metaphor of general writing (WD, p+ 209). Major writing, as Derrida calls rhe arche-synthesis of writing in the context of his essay on Bataille, and which is opposed to minor writing, is not reducible to the sensible or visible presence of the graphic or the literal (P. p. 65). General writing, having nothing mundane about it, is beyond being, epekeim ter ousius (D, p. 168). In short, writing, in the x n x o arche-writing, a concept that has h e n so easily accommodated by f so-called dcconstrunionisr criticism, has little o nothing to do with r the (anthropological, subjerrive, and s on) act of wiring, with the o psychological pleasures and displeasures to which it gives rise, with an instrument of notation or communication, or with an aesthetic and merely self-referenrial signifying pradicc. Nor only have the socalled deconsrructionists misconstrued the signihcation, and consequently the status, of arche-writing; philosophers have as wcll. Taking writing in Derrida to mean the scriptive and worldly practice of writing, a practice that would differ from its usual philosophical intcrpretation ro the extent that the object it is about is no longer the world but texts, Rorty, for instancc, in Philosophy as a Kind OF Writing, is bound to misunderstand it as literary writing Writing in Derridas sensc i s not determined by whar i t i s about, nor ha5 it anything essentially in common with the signs prcscnr on the page, or with the (lirerary or philosophical) production of these signs. Neithcr is it thc esscoceof thc literal sign or of the act QF its engendering. Despite itsquasitransccndental status, or precisely because of it, archewriting is not essence. It has no proper value of its own, positive or negative (D.p. 105). Arche-wriring is only, it one m a y say so. the quasitranscendcnral synthesis that accounts for the necessary camp tion o the idealities, o r transcendentals of ail sorrs, by whar they are f defined againsr, and at the very moment of their constirution. Archewriting is a construct aimed at resolving the philosophical problem of the very possibility (nor primarily the empirical fact, which always suffers exccptions) of thc usurpation, parasitism, and contamination of an ideality, a generality. a universal by what is considered its other, its exterior, its incarnation, its appearance, and SD on. Ir is nothing


. .. .


buttheoriginary structural unity that accounts for the philosophical contradiction: or instance. rhat the ethos of philosophy, the value o the proximity in the hmring-oncsclf-svk. can establish i d f f only through a reference to what it is not-writing-as well as to what it resents as the pncticc o writing. It is not writing i d f rhar f is at issue here but the system of relations that link ir to speech. It is h i s system that Demda names general writing. If Dtrrida persists in calling this system writing, aIthough writing in the vulgar m s e is its dssimulation in the form of a metaphor, it is because, he admits, arche-wriring e.scn~Alycommunicarcs with thc vuigar concept of writing, insofar as, historically speaking, writing has signified by its . situation the most formidable differend from speech (OC, p 56). Writing o itrodicr, arche-writing, is, tviihin the boundaries of phir losophy, a most likely name for thc originary structural unity in question. Rather than k i n g the d o c double o spadr, pro-writing is f h a t synthetic structure of refern1 that accounts for dre fact that in the play of diffcmm berwtcn, say, s p c h and writing, ideality and writing, meaning and writing. philosophical discourse and wriMg, lo name only those to which I have already alluded, the pole allegedly p-r i and of itself, which allegedly refers to i s l alone, m s in n tef ut fact constitute itself through the d m c n t that it abascs. Because this synthetic structure demands the detour of all self-referential, selfd k x i v c , and self-present elcmcms through the Other, archc-writing can b said to be the u n i y of differen= that opens and comprehends language as the common mof o both spec& and writing. Obviously f enough, this detour is also what fundamentally limits all self-appropriating B u s . Thus writing, in Demdas sense, links together in one structure the possibility o xlf-reflexive ideality and in irreducible f limits, both awing t h e same referral to mhhrmm, without which o

no ideaIity could ever hope t hound itseIf. o A5 the oriinary diHercncc within which an dcmcnt can bcgin to refer 10 itself on the sole condition that it refer to rhe clement it abases as exterior to it, and which seems to bc entirely derivative, ar&ewriting is a synthetic concept of SORP. One might wish to call such an originary synthesis ideal in the sense that Kantian rranscmdental functions are ideal. Yet how could a srrumtc that accnunis far both the possibility and impassibility of idealities still d m e to be called ideal, particularly s i n e the originary synrhsis in question, unlike Kanrian originary Synthescs, i6 not a strucrure ofuNficationand totalization? Although synthetic, because it links together in one struc-



ture o possibility self-reference and reference t Other, the miry of f o archewriting cannot be a totality precisely becausc it is a strunwe of referral to Other, and hence of self-deferral. In the same way that this smcturc allows nothing m be a mere self-present element in a system ofdifferences, it Eannot present itselF as a mere self-contained structural totalky either. Thus, dmplrc i t s seemingly ideal status, it is an idea not in the Kantian but rather in a Husserlian sense, provided. of course, that one takes into consideration Derridas analyses o that f of notion in Edmrrnd Hwmls Origit~ Geomehy. Archewriting, while not being reducihk to any ordinary intraworldliness. is not, for that matter, simply transcendental or ideal. It is in be a synthesis which, by rcspccting both orders, erases their distinction. Arche-writing foregrounds this distinction by opening the difference between the origin of the world and intraworldly being. In a srrange way, arche-writing is at once both more and lt5s rranscendenral than the Kantian wanwendental originary syntheses. As I have suggested, archewritink instead of being one synthesis. i s a duster of synrheses. In Of Cramarology. Dcrrida holds that arche-writing opens in one and rhesarnepossibility, temporalization. as well as relationship with the other and language (OC, p. 60). In other words, arche-writing is a cluster of infrastructures. It is rnadc up of the infrastrucrurcs differance (spadng/tempnrizarion). archetrace, irerability, and so on, which Derrida analyzed separately and in great detail following his discovery of the problematics of archewriting. If rhc infrastructurc~ are minimal synthess, thm general writing is 3 synthesis of syntheses. Writing in the sense of archewriting f is thus a possible name for what I have called the system o the infrasrmcrures. It names the unity of inscription in general. But it i s cqually corrccr r say thar writing is only a represenrative of the o infrastructures in question. Because the inhartructures do not exist, because they arc not entitia, not beings-present, writing a n n o r be said to be the archc-trace, diffcrancc, or itcrability itsdf. Derridas assertion in Of Grommotology that writing i s one of rhe representatives of the trace in general. it is not the trace itself holds true for all other infrasrrumures ,as well (OC, p. 167). Therefore, the task of thinking the infrasrructura1 chain itl g c n e d remains, even if, in order to think this generality, we must setde for the structural Iimirs of gencraliry itself. Letuslinger fora momenton thcnaturcoftheunityofthccomplex, because clustered, qnthcscs OF writing. The individual and singular infrastructural syntheses arc synthcses in a ncw sense. Thesesynthcscs,



which originariIy* ground the classical distinctions o the One and f the manifold, the Self and the Ocher, essence and ics appearmm. and 50 on, and thus replace and rrintcrprct the classical unity o meaning, f are not dialectical syntheses. They d o not reground the distinctions o the Onc and the manifold, thc Self and the Other, as would a more f essential totality, with respeft to which the elements would be the bipolar and separated representations. The unity that characterizes the infrasrmcrurcs i s not that o the One as opposed to the manifold, f nor char of rhe dialenical One encompassing barh rhc Onc and the manifold,T h e infrastructures have the unity of thediffmnccbctwecn the One and the manifold and their dialccrical synthesis in the One that dialectically encompasses both. Since within the unity of this difference both the opposition and the sublation of opposition takes place, this unity is more originary than eirher. Thus Ers unity grounds the Onc while at the same time representing its limit. Although a unity, it is not om unity, n t an csscna, origin, ormtality. It is plural o by namrc. Gmral writing as a duster o infrastructures, however, is f plural not only bccause it links a variety of xlf-dcporting structures but also bccause it is operative on variety of Icvels. All these diffcrcnt lcvcls of writing do not form onc fotality. There is mom than one kind of writing: the different forms and genrcs are irreducible [D, p. 242). By nature rherc can be no such thing as a mono-writing; writing is plural by a n c c . To suspm writing o monism is sheer f absurdity; rhe different forms and genres of writing call for rigorous f disrinaion. The pluralidm o writing, however, is not a liberal-hat i , ultimately totalizable (and hence monistic]-pluralism but is wits nes to a savage pluralism, embracing heteragcnous forms o writing. f What these irreducible forms of writing have in common is the generaliry o wriring as the produaion of generality and irs limitation. f The heterogeneity of different writings is writing imlf, the graft. It is numerous from the first or it is not ( 0 ,p. 356). T h e generality of writing consists in the operation of referring to irreducible Othernss, of grafting onc form of writing onto another. In short, it rcprcscnts the genetaliry of inscription. Inscription i general is rhcreforc w bemnsidercd as the spccificiry, n SO IO speak, of the clustered synthesis of arche-writing. Znsm$tion in gmeral-that is to say, the gmerality afthe inscription or institution ofthcgmem-is the feature common to a variety of infrastrumres linked together in what is called gcnml wriring. Writing as archcwriting is thus not reducible to the production of durable signs, It affirms the originarity of the trace us rram over the general and uni-



versa1 i what most properly d d n e s them-heir self-suffrdent onen ness. Ncedless M say, any ammpts by lirerary criticism to seek selfauthorization in the Derridean notion of wnnng would have to confront rhc full philosophical impact o its delimiting thrust. At stake f is not only the universality of the discourse of literary criticism but also its t~capisc altcrnttive tendency of parricuirrizarion and private wlf-discovery. Nor is thc Iamr free o the claim to generahy; if it f wcre, it would not bc heard.

Towmd an Entirely Different


On several occasions, Derrida has clearly emphasized rhat rhe g m cralization o the concept of the text in n o way imp1ic-s a theology f of the Text (D, 258). In Positions he pIainly acknowledges rhat p. the necessary generalization of the concept of text, its mension with n o simple exterior limit (which also supposes the passage through metaphysical opposition), must n o t wind up [under the influence of very precise interests, reactive forces determined to lead work astray into confusion) . . . as the definition of a new self-interiority, a new idealism if you will, o the text (P, 66). The literacy criria, as f p. well as those philasophers who have been speaking of tcxtualIsrn, pantextualism, text-fetishism, and things of that sort with respect to Dertidas philosophy, therefore share a similar if not symmetrical confusion. Before attempting t dcfrne precisely what Derrida ntcans by the o general rext, I should like ra enumerate rhe traditional ways of understanding to?. Paradoxically, these traditional meaning of tmf, from which Derridas concept of text must be clearly st off, also e happen to be thosc attributed to Derrida by literary critics and a number of philosophers. We can distinguish r h m kinds o conccpts f of texr: 1. A text can be dcrermined as the sensibly . . oa,aCnble. empirically encounrerrble transcription of a n oral discourse. as a material opacity that rnusr efface irsclf before its oral reactivation and the meaning it represents. In the same way. however. as writing in the sense of archewriting has little or nothing in common with the scripNra[ figurcs o n the page, text in Derridas understanding is not reducible either to the sensible or visible presence of the graphic or the literal (P, p. 6.5).



2. A t ~ x t be detcrmined as an intelligibk obi-. According t mi o t i conception, which is indeed the prevailing one, a t a t is thought hs to comespond to the signifying oiganization o diacritically or differf entially determined signifiers and significdr. In order m prove that this definition o lnct cannot coincide with Derridas general t x , f et let me merely quote the following pawge from Dissemination: a text is never truly made up of signs or signified (D, 261). p. 3. Another, and perhaps final, concept conceives of rezt s the dialectical sublation, either a5 form or mntent, of both its smsible and ideal determinations.Unlike the previous definitions o text, f which, by virtuc o thcir opposition and isolation, could bc t m c d f intellectual (vcrs*m&s&sigc) concepts, the dialectical dmrmination of mrt i s its reasonable or rational concept. All chose analyse that link a texts sensible and intelligible constituents, as well as the ctyrndogics, allusions, implications, and mu-mtmdws o all sorts, f d h i n one totality of cithcr form or content, understand lcrt within the limits of speculative philosophy (Idealist or Romantic). By exhibiting thetext as the totalily o a positioningand reciprocal annihilation f o~oppositio~asthcplayofamutual IimitadonofselfandOthcm~, the rcxt is determined as the milieu, the element o Aufhcbung, or, f which is the same, of the dialectical exposition o that which is impiicd f in its very concept (KWim Begrife el&@ Instead of recalling Derridas sustained critique o 5uch a conapt oftext, it is enough here to rccall f his lapidary remark, The text excludes dialectics (D. 122). p. T h e generalid mncept o ttxt wcrridts all three definitions, all f those boundaries that form the running border of what used m be u l k d a text. Yet docs this dehiration and conxcutivc gcneralization o the conapt of the t x imply that t m is nothing outside f et h the t x , rhat myrhing is t a t , and that all that is is only text? One et knows the indignarion excited by Dcrridns proposition, taken out of context and ttansformtd into a slogan, I I fiy a pas de h o r s - r e ~ r e ( T h m is nothing ou&& rhe e t ) (OG. 158). ,A5 rcccntly as 1983 p. a Critic could still write that the most distinctive elcmcnt in Dmida, and of coursc the elernenr that has appeilcd to S D ~ C the experts of about t u t e l i t e r a r y critis, i his reduction of thought and exs perience to tcwrualiy. *Before stablihing that the statcmmt that & m is no extra-nxt d m not allow the infenncc that all is, theme b c text-and this even lcss if one understands text in any of the r, traditional manners-and beforc venturing an interpretation of the proposition in qucsdon, one ought to recall that according to Dcrrida the generalircd concept of t x i s precisely t h t which e& et x the



traditional determination of text as a totality. In whatever termsempirical, idealist, or dialmical--text is dcfined, it always implics a dosure upon itself with a dear inside and outside, whether it is the empirical closure of the unity of a corpus, the intelligible unity of a work, or the dialectical totality of its formal or thematic mcaning. Yet if the general text delimits the traditional rotaliring concepts of what ha5 bccn called text, it also implies rhat thc entirdy different text, because it is no longer a totality, has no inside or outside. The gmetalized text ,is not somcrhing that is closed upon irself in such a manner that its limits would demarcate an inside from an outside. As Living On argues, thc general text is rather that border iself, from which the assignment o insides and outsida takes place, as well as f where this distinction ulrimsrcly collaps~s. &fore I fakc up this definition of the general tcxt, l us remernbcr a that the idca of an outside makm sense only with regard to the common notions of text. The generalization of thc tcxt, however, is not an exrension or application of the traditional conccpt o the texr r f o irs traditional autsidc. Derrida writes in Living On: lr was never our wish to mend the rcassuring notion o the text to a whole exfraf textual realm and to transform the world into a library by doing away with all boundaries, all framework, all sharp edges.. . ,but rhat we sought rather to work out the theorctical and practical system of thew margins, these borders once more, from the ground up. In Posirio~s, after cautioning against an idealism o the text, Derrida remarks that f we must avoid having the indispensable cririque of a certain naive relationship to rhe signified or rhr referent, to xnse or meaning, remain fixed in a suspension, rhar is, a pure and simple suppression, of meaning o r rcfercncc (P,p. 66).In orhcr words, the rejection of the text as a totality dependenr an a unifying last reason or transcendental signified does not simply mean thesupprmion ofthc texts rcfercntiality. Indeed, Derrida has never contested that tcxts, or for that matter literarure, are mimeticor referenrial. T h e DoubleSessioni5 ample proof of rhis. W h a t Derrida calls the general texc is characterized, if not conrtitutcd, by rcfercncc, hut that does not imply that the term rcfers to a rcfcrcnt thet would come to stop and thus exhaus its refercncc. Thegeneral tcxt is mimetic, but itsmimcsisisnot suspended upon an uhimateimitatedand isthusnotsubjectto truthasudequatio, or even, as Uerrida argues i The Double Session, M rrurh as n abtheiu. Bur, as he remarks in this essay, although thc referent is lifted, rcferencc remains (U,p. 211). Though truth is set sidt from



the general text, relation to truth, pmjcctcd coinciding, m a i n s . In

shorr, then, the general text is rrboilr, yet without a decidable rekrmr s that could saturate, in the last instance, i referral to Otherness. There is no extra-text means just h s : nothing outside the text can, like a last reason, assume a f d f i h g function (rfullunssfun&tion]o f the textual referrals. It certainly does not permit the conclusion that there is nothing else but m t s , or for rhat matter, that all i s language. Atthls point it should also becomeclear what philosophical problem is met by ihe general text. If rht text is characterized by tcference, f and if no extra-texr (the existence o which is nor being put into question) can ever hope to saturate the tcxts referring function, then it represents, phcnomenologjcally speaking, an intentionality without an intenturn. Such a decapitated or M e a d e d intentionality, because it lacks a decidable inmturn. cannot be fulfilhi by a corresponding extraintentional referent. The text, as defined by Dcrrida, does not do away with the phenomenological idea of intentionality. On the f contrary, it inscribes and displaccr the intentionality o consciausn~ss with i o corresponding inhntum and irs possibly fulfiIIingobjccc. From agroundingperspecrive, the text asan intentionality without intentum is o a greater power of fonnaIizadon than phenomenological inrenf tionality, since the unsaturatable relation to Otherness that charactcrirs it can serve as the matrix to account for the possibility of phenomenological inrcnrionality, and thus o the principle of all prinf ciples, evidence, as a ntccssary cMa. As such it can scwc to account f also for the structural impossibility ofa final coincidentx o intention and its intcntum. Besides interpreting Dcrridas statement there is no e%tra-tcxt to mean that all is texr. critics pro and con have also infcmd from this statement that the r a t is a b u t itself. Bur if the text is characterized by structures of referral without a referent, then it can be as little about itself as it is about something extratextual. Dcrrida could just as wcll have stated there i5 no inside ofthe text. As the textual structure ~f the re-mark demonstrates, for structural reasons the text has no identity or self wirh which to coincide. Though the text necessarily n refers to itself, this movement never comes m completion. I addition. s all =If-referral. as shown in The Double Session, I grafted on a srrunurally endless refcml to other determinate texts, thus making a11 textual sdf-reflexivity ultimmb impossible. To sum up, then, what does Derrida mean when he claims In Of Crdnmratology thar there is no extra-re%t,or when in D*snninaion he writes, There is nothing befarc the text; there is no pretext that



is not already a text (D, 328)? Rarher than negatingthc existence p. of everything besides the text, these stanrnentr simply indicate that the general text [literature which i s not litcramre) has no extrarextual signified or referent. no last reason, whether empirical or intelligible, at which its referring function could came to a final halt. It also means that the generalized text does not refer to something outside the system Qf referentiality that could do without being rcfcrred to, but that i referentiality is such that it extends abysmalIy out of s sight without, however, entailing the textr self-reflexivity. T h e absence of all extra-tar, about which one could decide independently of the textual system ot referral, implies that there is no one final meaning ta the text. Again, it must be repeated that this is so not because of the general texts semantic wealth o unfathomable depth, r nor because of the finitude of irs human decipherer, but for structural reasons. let me add that although there is no extra-text with rspect M the general text. it docs not ~OIIDW this that the novel, the pocm, from the short story, or more generally the literary. work of art, has no extra-text. First. the absence of an extra-rcxr is affirmed in the case of the general ~ e x only and not of the traditional, reassuring because t totalizing, concepts of text. The novel, the poem, the short story, and so forth may depend o n the preexistence of a Mtalizing referent or signified outside the text, especially if they are conceived within thc perspective o mimetologism. But it may also be that their meaning f cdnnor be exhausted in such a manner. If thar possibility exisrs at all, however, it must be accounted for. The notion of the general text is nothing other than a philosophical *constructwhich gives that essential possibility its full importance. Since all literary criticism hinges on the possibility of dccidability with respect to an extra- or intra-text, the notion of the general text f ruins the very projea o that discipline. But at the same rime, the notion of the general text opens a horizon o new possibilities in f literary studies. The concept of text that we arc thus invited to think has to be understood in an infrarrructural sense. What this means is that the concept of the general text is to be thought, beyond the distinction berween empirical and merely universal concepts, a5 a truly o general idedconcepr. Nothing empirical or abstractly unir versal-absacted, that is, from empiricaI r e p m t a t i o n s - m a y enter thc dacrminarion o the law o the text. To interpret the general text f f in an infrastrumral sense is not, however, to make the text one infrasrructurc. A5 we shall JCE, it is on the contrary like writing a



clustcc of infastructum. To render this infrasauctural sc~lseof the text more precise, we must next determine its ontological status.

Of Ttxhtnl onrorogy

Like Sams inquiry What i lituamc? the more m t question s what i s a text?-&c tt of an essay by Paul Ricaur publish4 ik in a fesaduit for H. C.Cadamer-is a htrmencutiml question whose modatirics and fonn anticipate the The question What is a text? asks for the whamcsr, the essence, the being of the text It consequently prc~upposa,by its very nature as a qurstion mnarning the ti&iof the text. the arisrmce, thc bang (orabsence as a negative mode o preacnc~)o the essence of the textualicy o the text. Turf f f tuality, in this sense, grounds the bcing o the text, caum the text to f comc into presence, into cxistencc. Of coursc, rcxrualiry as rhc ontol~gi~al gmund o thc text can a m p t a variety of dctaminations. f corresponding mpeaively to the & r e dcfinitions of ttxt ourlincd above whetha dcttdrred by empirical or i d d criteria o as a r synthesis of both, tcxtuality is an esscncc or subrtancc, that is, a more authentic and mnre fundaments1made o k i n g rhan h a t of the WXM f which, in their empirical vuicry, depend on it a~ to their last reason. Yet if texcualitg in this me is to account for the being or presence g o texts, of the empirically given tms,it mum unqucstionably fail, f f since it i s imelf a mode o being (however authentic or otiginary). Thus it is incapable in the last instance of explaining the being o the f text. As Heidcggcr would have said, ir is as if one wanred to derive the sourn h rhe river. The ontological horizon which inevitabiy o n r comprises the qumion What is a m? the arplicarory pawcr limits of tcxmality as an answer to the nature o texts. f It is my amtation that, with tht notion of the general text,Dcrrida transcends tlK opposition of text and termality, o appearance and f -ce, by paradoically denying all ontological status r rhe general o t a t . There i s no present text in general, and there is not even a past present tcxt, a text which is past as having bten p m t (WD, p. 211). If, acmrding to Aristodes definition, essence is what has bccn (to ti cn em , then the gcncral text certainly is no - . Indeed, i ] a the v e r a l texts prcontolqgial and pmscndal status cnablcs it to account for the fundamental ditficultics that all theories o texf rualiry must fact: to haw to pmuppwe in their explanation precisely what they are s u p p d 10 account for--the beingar prtsmcc of their object.

~~~ ~


In what follows I shall attempt to clarify further the notion of the general text by mmmcnring on a seemingly contradictory statement by Derrida in Thc Doublc Scssion: If thc texr does not, to the letter, exist, then there is [if y a1 perhaps a text ID, p. 270). What this sratcment claims is t h a t thee mny be a tcxt only on condition that, to the letter. o r literally. it does not exist. The proposition contends that in order for a text to bc there, ir must bc deprived of all property, ownness, essence, and so on. It is a statement that makes the bcing there o a text dependent on its Endcpcndcnce from what f one usually associates with the text, the existence of thc letter (or signifier), as either a material or ideal subsrratum. Thc being them of a text is thus made to hinge on the nonexistence of the text as either an crnpirical substratum or an intelligiblc essence. In short, the text is said to be there only if it i5 not+if it is not endowed with being, if it lacks presence. Obviously this cannot mean that there would be text mlely k obsentiu, as one could hastily caonclude; absence is another mode of prcwncc and bcing. One must, consequently, qualify Derridas statement as follows there is perhaps a text if it doe5 not, to the letter, cxist, which i s not. howcver, 10 say that it would therefore be a nonpresence, a nonexistence. an absence, or a mere nibil negutivum. What rhe statement enunciates, that f r a text t~ be there it must o not exist, i s not reversible. The noncxistcnce o the tcxt is not P f sufficient condition tor there to be a text. This is marked by the adverb perhaps, akhough this meaning d o a not, as we shall see, exhaust that words function in the proposition. These few remarks may clarify in part thc meaning of Dcrridas statement, but they do not do away f with the obscure and seemingly contradictory nature o a statement that afhrms that the being-rhcrcof a tcxt depends on its mnexistence. Yet thcrc is nothing contradictory a b u t this statement, for IDbe there and to exisr do not mean the same thing. Instead of being synonyms, thcy rcprcscnt two entirely heterogeneous lcvels of description. To exist means to be present. t be endowcd with being and meanin& o and applies to the order o both the scnsihk and the intelligiblc. To f exkt is a qudilication of phenomena in the Husserlian sense. To be there, or more precisely there is. which translates the German es gibt. has, first of all, the ideal meaning this Expression has in mathematics. s Second, there i scrves to exprm the pure idea of the pure possibiliry ot a meaning in specie: there is is thus to be said of truly general or ideal corrapa. Third, there is characterizes thc modc of giveness of phenomena in general, and of Being in particular, as thc phenomenon


28 T

par exccflcncc. According m Hcidcggcr, k i n g as the radial ground of all beings mnnot imlf be; it only has the mode o being there. If f Being were m exist, if ir were to bc endowed wirh being, it would be a ground unable to account for that which it has k e n summoned to

explain: the k i n g o being. Derrida, who through a meditation on f the general text aims at repunding o rather reinscribing the difr k r c n a bctwcen text and temality. bemeen the empirical manifold of texts and the texts ever-prcmt csscnce, a t first UMS &is Heideggerian qualification m characterize the general text. There is, perhaps, a general text. The general. text accounts for the difference between texts and f m a l i t y , both o which are endowed with modes of being, or pmcnce. an[y on thc condition that it (the general mr) docs not exist. Yet it does not partake in any ontology, however fundamental. The question what is the general tcxt is an illegitimate question. To ask rhe hermeneurical question of the m n c e of the general text is to confuse issues and to mix levels of thought. Indeed. if the general text is in a position to account for the onmlogical status, o rather ontological illusion, o texts and their texr f tualicy, iris because iris nota phenomenon. Thereforethere is,perhdps, a general text. It never appears (bs nrch). i t never bccomcs present us such in either a sensible or intelligible mode. Ir cannor, therefore, become the objra of a perception, whether such a perception is an apperception or an intuitive act of ideation. Dcrrida writes at the beginning of PIatos Pharmacy: A text is not a text unlcEs it hides f from the first corner, from the first glance, the law o its composition and the rules of i t s game. A text remains, howevcr, forever impcrceptible. Its law and its rules arc not, however, harbored in the inaccessibility of a secret; it is simply that they can never bc booked, in the present, into anything that could rigorously bc called a perception (D, 63). The gcncral text escapes all possible phenomp. enologization. Instead of appearing a3 such, it disuppears. What disappears, Dertida -plains in Edmund Hurserls Origin of Geomety, is what is annihilated, but also what ceases, intermittently or definitely, to appear in fuct y e t without affecting i being or beingn sense (0. 931. This possibility o disappearance without dissolving p. f into sheer nothingntss characrerim rhc status of the general text with respm to what is phenomcnologirable-the phenomenon of Being in particular. As we have seen, the general text accounts for the terruuIdiffkcrrcc (or the difference between the tcxo and tcxruality) m the extent that



it disappears, that i , t the extent that it is not a phenomenon ens o

dowed with existence. presence (and meaning). It is widmt, then, that thc relation betwrcn the gcncral tcxt and what it accounts for can no longer be thought in traditional terms. It can certainly not be a relation of crnanation, engenderment, or creation, nor can it be a relation of derivation, of constitution, or even of possibility. Both series of relations b e w e n ground and what is grounded presuppose the uristcnce, presence, phenomenality o the ground. Whm Dcrrida f s t a m that if the text does not, m the lcttcr, exist. then ?herei5 perhaps a text, hc at first suggests the possibility of thinking the relation bctween a ground such as the general text and what it accounts Fortexts and their textual essence, within the scope of the Heidcggerian f it problematics o the gf (Gabel. Es gibt is indeed to be translated as it givcs and not simply a5 there is. Heideggers attempt M think the gih o Being is an attemptta think, in a more fundamental manner, f the relation between what as ground must be cntircly hcterogcncous to what ir grounds and what is grounded. Although Demda borrows theexprason esgib? from Heidegger and a d d r w a problem similar to the one concerning the ontico-ontological difference, it is nor put to work in the same way. As we shall see, Drrridas transference of the problematicE of donation to the question of the general text results in a n even more radical regrounding or unsettling, if you will, of ontology than does Heideggers invesrigtion inro the question of Being. Indeed,Dertida notes in Dissminurion that thcgeneral err, which is never present but in constant withdrawal, has no proper, literal meaning; it no longcr originates in meaning as such, that is, a5 the meaning of being (D, p. 229). No present in truth presents itself f there, not wen in the l o r n o sell-concealrncnt (D. p. 230). The question of the text clearly dernarks itself from the quenion of Being. As he chows in The Double Session, the general text whorstruaurc of remarking folds the text upon it(selfl in a nonsymmecrical and nonteflcxive manner defers, discards, or sets &ing aside (ilkurt). The general text marginalizes Being, being itself the margin of Being. As the margin of Being. rhc general text has no ontological status; with rcgard to Being it is neither absent nor present, since both modes of temporality and o being are particular to Being alone. In The f Double Session one reads with respect to the figure o thc hymen, f f which is just one figure o the general text: At the cdgc of Being, the medium of the hymen never becomes a mere mediation of work af the negative; it outwits and undoes all ontohgin, all philorophemes.



all manner of dialectics. It outwis themand-as a cloth, a tissue, a medium again-it enveiops them, turns them over, and insaiibcs them (D, p. 215). Now, the 6ei.g there (es gibt) o the text indicates preciscly this f marginal status of the general text with regard to Being. Although nothing says the present better, it seems, than there is, it, rather, 0) points at a scission (a.p. 3 7 , at the cut-off of Being, of the present, of presence. This them is . . is in the prescnr only through the illusions o statement or utterance (D, 3 11).The being rbere f p. o the text stts the existcncc, the pmencc and the signification of the f text aside; ir suspends it on its margin. The being rbm, in Derrida, thus characrerim that which makes the margin, which rakes piace as the f margin of k i n g (and o what i s ) , in short, the nonphenomenologizable. In Ln Yiritd en peilrtirre we read, There h frame. bur the frame does not exist (VP,p. 93). We must, consequently, recognize that the relation o being there f (or donation) to what is, m what exists, to whar is present in tither a sensible or intelligible manner. is one of framing, of marginality. r Applied to the general text, this would mean that it frames o marginalizes that which it accounts for, texts and textuality. In short, the general text, in its rclation to the phcrtornenologizable, to the texts, m their essence, to Being in generai, no longer preserves the or& ofdl dppeurunce, the very process of appearing in general, the order of truth (D, p. 192).The general text questions what this order presupposes-the possibility of distinguishing between e w n m and a p pearanm, between phenomena and what they allow to come into appearance. lndnd the possibility of decision hingts on that of the of in perception (Anschurcutrg) the thing itself (die Suchese~bst) perso*, or as Merlcau-Ponty would have said, in f l s h and blood. tn its relation to the texts and to textuality as their essence, the general text is a nonphenomenologizable ground which by virtue o the mode of f its givenness-its being there-broaches and breaches the difference within which the distinction characteristic of the order o appearance f takes shape. Yet by opening the pbssibiliry of such a distinction, the general text also circumscribes the decidability of what is thus ser free

into opposition.

Here, in pamcuIar, it becomes clear that Derridar investigation of

thc general text and its particular 5 t a t u s with regard to k i n g is part o his systematic debate with Heidegger. Whether o not the norion f r of text ha5 becn borrowed from literary criticism, Derridas U K of ir implies a radical rethinking o this notion in the direction o whar f f



one may call the unthought of Bcing, its yiclding to the p r o m s of appearing. Whcn Derrida srates that there is no extra-text but the gencral text (onty), then chis also mcans that Being itself, in order to be the gift of Being, must already be within the text. Without its textual margin, Being could n o t fulfill its fundamental role as the ontico-ontological difference, which in Heidegger preserves the order of appearanrc. But at the samc rime this margin severely limits the grounding fumction ,of Being. This relation of reinscription to Being and to Hcidcggcrs rncditationon Dif-ferencecharactcrim the Dcrridean concept of tcxt. Although the notion of the general text is not limited to this debate with Heidegger-and m rcpreseniinga solution for a specific philosaphical problem-it receives its essential determinations from this debate. Unlike Heideggers concept of king, which accounts in si fundamental way for the ontireontological difference, there is nothing fundamental, profound, or deepabout thegcneral text. Ir does not function as what onc used to call an essence wirh rcgard ro what it makes possible through reinscription. On the contrary, the general tcxt functions as the margin of thc opposirion of texts and textualiry, as the frame of rhe textual difference. Without this margin no texts could be, no essence could ever hope to set t a t s free. Yet one cannot [egitimatcly claim of a margin, of the general text, that it engenders or constitutes that which it is the margin of, texts and tcmaljry. One cannot Even contend rigorously thar it i a relation of conditions of s possibility. Yct what exists, rhc text and texnrality, is possible only because thcre is a text. What exists, thc detcrminable and decidable text. is possible only because it is inscribcd into the margin of an indetcrminablel text. To cite again:
There is such a general text everywhere that {that is, cvcrywhe~c) this dismury and ik order (essence, sense, truth. meaning, consciousness, idcdiv, etc.) are nvrrflowd. rhar is, everywhere that rhcir authority is put back into the position oi a mar&m a chain that this authority intrinsically and illusorily believes it w i r h n tn, and does in fact, govern. T h i s gencral text is not limited, of murse. as will (or would) bc quickly understood, to writings an the page. The wricing of this text, moreovcr, ha5 rhe extcrior limit only 01 a certain remurk. Wriring on the pagc, and rhcn lirerature. arc drtcrmined types of this re-mark. ( P . pp. 59-60]

Thc general tcxc functions as thar which delimits and rcndcrs possible the limirs o the empkicity and immediacy of the writing on the page f on thc one hand and of litcramrc on the other, a$ well as o rhc f





empirical plurality of the sensible and palpabktexts and oftbe essence or tatuality shared by them. Roland Barthes,making use of Lacanian rerminology in his essay From Work to Tcxr, formulates this relation very succinctly by saying that the work is the texts imaginary tail. As what broach- and breaches the apposition o text and ICXf mality, the general text accounts for the possibility of an essence of texts by limiting, marginalizing, o framing it. The general text, slr though it makes tcxtuality possible, also makes it impossible, since rextualiry as the essence of existing tern is srrucrunlly incapable of csscntializing the pius or minus, the more or less of its margins. It one decided, however, to call texttrafity the general text, one would have to make this concept express the lack o an essence o texts. To f f speak of tcxtuality, hen, would imply &at discoums and literature have no final and last essence, that there is nothing pmpcr to discoucscs and literature. no discursivity, and no such thing as literarity or literariness us such.

A System of Traces

As 1 have mentioned, the text in the infrastructural sense is not one

infrastructure but a composite of tt~fsefundamental subunits. The text io never consrimred by what one calls signs or signifiers-that is to say, by units signifying a signified outside the tern-but by traces, A text inthe infrastmmnl sen= is a fabric o traces, a systcm of f linking of t r a q in other wards a network o rcxtual referrals ( r e n d s f teuhrek). Bccausc of this dtlrcntiat network, this dssuc of traces endlessly referring to something other than itself yet neva to an extratext that would bring its referring function to a clear stop, the general text is by nature heterogeneous. It tics in with Othemm in an irreducible manner; the threads it cornbincs am nor o rhc same order, and f its interlacing o thew filaments is not subjected to an ultimate unity. f Thus the text in an infrastrucrural sense leads back to Derridas critique of the Platonic concept o symploke discussed at the end of Part f I. Although a system, againsr which thc prcscnr, living, and conscious repmentation af the text stands out in relief, the text is constitutcd by a mode o linkage that is not odented by oneness and f totality. This also explains why Dcrrida expressed reservations as to the representation of the text as a fabric Not only is the weaving metaphor an all too amsanal, aesthetic, and empirical representation of the general text, which impinges upon the rather abstract and quasitransmdend status that it has in Denida, but the philosophical



past OF this image governed hy rhe category of unity also makes ir an inappropriate description of the general tat. If the general text is a fabric or interlacing at all, it is not because it interconnects homogeneous threads into one totality but precisely because. in an almost nonsmsible, nonanrheoc manncr. it links hrrPmgenmus forces, which constantly tend to annul the tern precarious unity, a unity constituted by an cssential incompletion, As a system of textual referrals, of differences and differences of differences, a text, therefore, cannot be a torality. Yer if the text is impassible to totalize, this is due not to the excess of an infinite richness of content, meaning, o intention r butm structural rea5on~. Derrida has noted, it is thevery structure As of the textual agency as a system of referrals that turns the whole into the too much or the too little of the text (D, 246). m e ideal p. of rotaliry is thoroughly foreign to the text; it is the texts imaginary. What this mcans is that the text cannot be totalized by a themc constituted independently ot the play of the text, a theme that would supcrvise its own inscription as wcll as the signs through which it is expressed. Nor can the text be a formal totality. All Formal selfrcflcaion of thc wxt f a m structural limirs similar to thmc owing to totaliration by content. The fate of these totalizations, based on 3 preexisting signified or a formal self-repremtation, is decided upon by what Derrida calls the reserve of textual operations which takes place dccp in back, in thc shadow of the pharmacy, 50 to spcak. Yet one may perhaps want to objcct arthis poinr that ,inOf Crammatology. Dcrrida contends that Rouswau, fat instance, inscribes textuality in the text. that he tells us in the text what a text is, that Rousseaus text tells u s in writing what writing is (OG, p. 163).Is not this self-consciousness of the text, the discursive representation by which a tern rcprpvena i s own mots, a clear sign of t thc texts self-tcflexivity? First, two things need to be rigotously distinguished: the self-reflexive Strata of texts on the one hand, and on the other the textual operations in the background that both permit such reflection and prevent it from finally coinciding with itself. After arrributing the texts self-refleaion to the discursive actual, living, and conscious representation o a text, Derrida writes: If a text always f gives itself a a r t a i n rcprcsentation o its own roots, tho% mats live f only by that representation, by never muching the soil, so to speak. Which undoubtcdly destroys their rodicrrl essence, but not the necessity of their rarinating funcrion (OC, p. 101). The circumscribed discourse in which a rext presents itself i s a representation thar is constanrly overrun by the entire system of the texts own resources


29 1

and laws. A t the same time, since rhfs repmenradon plays an organizing tole i n the structure of the text, it must be accounted for, and it musr be accounted for by the very ccsourccs and laws o rhc text. f If Dnrida can sag i n Of Grnnu~foalogy&at a theme such as supplemennriry is nor only one rheme amongd m in a chain but also that it describes h e chain itself, the beingdain of a textual chain, this does not imply t h a t t h e whole chain would be governed by this one heme, This theme docs not reflect the whole chain, i f
reflection means what it ha5 always meant, a mirroring reprentation through which a self reappropriates itself. Instead o decting the f cham of the text into i & supplemcntariry rc-nrrlrk rhar chain t , in the same way as it i s inelf *marked, that is, put back into the position of a mark within the rema1 chain. Reflexivity is only an cffcct of what Dcrridn has called r e - w t k . and which Ihave analyzed in some detail in Part 1 . The iUusion of a reflexive totalization by a 1 theme o a concept i s grounded in the rcprcmtarional effacement of r their position as marks within the chain that they tend to govern. Because of the remark, self-reprentanon and xlf-reflection never quite take place. A rheme or concept can o d y desipan rhc rwct m a m ; that is, its rrprmmtation is t h e repre+mtanon o a rcpmenf ration. Yet instead o produang a raruration o dilfemcc, the rcpf f resentation of representationkeeps the difference endlessly open and thus pments any ultimate self-repmentation o self-presence of the r

The illusion of self-reflection of a text i witness only to the reps rcscntationalfunction of text,nor to its representationof something a outside the text or its self-representation. It is an effect of the texts namm as a system o referral. T h e gmcral text i s generalized repref sentation, or as Dmida also d l s it i n The Double Session, generalized refnmcc. Wihin such a sysrm, no xlf-reflection or selfrepresentationcan coincldc wirh i d f to constitute itself as p c s t ~ , because as repmentation i t is already inscribed in the space of repetition and splitting or doubling of the self- Thus, the m c t u r e that
bcst chatadzco thc text, and at the same timc accounts for the necessity and essential l i m b of a texts sclf-refl&on, i s the s r m c t u r ~ ~f the re-murk. in which a11 tcxtuaI traces arc not only elements of referral but arc also overmarked by the space of their engcndcrment and inscription. The rc-mark, by which the text is folded upon finelf, is not, then, t be mistaken for a reflemon. The ande of rhc remark o by which tbe text as text is folded back upon itself exduds any passibdiry o its timng back over or into itself (a.p. 251). The f



fold is nor a form of reflexivity, Dcrrida concludes (D, 271). p. Instead, like the or& in Living On, it kccps all "reflecting mpmsentation from folding back upon itself or reproducing itself within itself in perfect self-correspondence. from dominaring or including inelf, taurologicaHy, from translating irself into its own rorality. At this point, where the structure of the general text has revealed itself as onc of rckrcncc and rc-marking-as a system of re-marked traces-it becomes clear that the texr can set k i n g aside precisely f because of irs structure o generalized rcfercncc. Yet since the structure of re-marking is,, as t have tried to show, an extension and tadicalization of rht logic nf thc rrair, wirh which the larcr Heidcgger continued his elaboration of the question o Being, the text a5 constituted f hy thc rc-mark can also set its own being aside. Indeed, in the same way as the rrait o Being is at once the retreat (retrait) of Being, the f mark that is folded upon itself. the re-marked rrace. also retreats in its being. It is rhe constant casting aside of its own being. This, then, is one more reason ro undcrstand Uerridas notion o f texr as an attempt to come m grips with the Heideggerian question of Being. for Derrida inscribes this casting aside of Being into the text of the logic of thc rrait, which. for Weidegger, may have nmained subservient to the question ~f the mcaning o %tin& What Derrida thus calls the f text, instead of being governed by Being, makes Being a function of the general text. The text, rather than being primarily the body or the ideal form of a literary written work, as arc rhc objccfs of litcrary criticism, is, if taken in an infrastmctural sense as the general text, the nonunitary fabric o laws that allow for thc possibility o Being. f f These laws, which at once inhibit Being from articulating irself without difference, thus making it ultimarcly impossible, are those of the cluster of infrastructures linked together in the macrosynthesis of rhe text. Conscquenrly, text as undcrsrood by Dcrrida is the nonphmomenologizablc strumre of referral and remarking whosc nortunitary fabric is the quasitranscendental frame constitutive ofphenomena in the Husserlian sense-more broadly, of essences, last reasons, grounds. as opposed m what thcy allow to appear-and o Being, as f thc phenomenon par exccltmce in all its radial difference from bcinp. As an irreducible background, the general text undercuts the order of all appearancc. While lending irstlf to the philosophical operation o the krine:n and its effects of decidability, the general text remains f in retreat and reserve from everything that comes into its own within its frame, either by an interruption of the unlimited process of refcrencc or by a sclf-reflection owing tn the illusory effect o the ref



mark. H e n q although the general text is a condition of possibility for phenomena (and all they entail: ideality, presence, purity, and so on),it is also their mnditian of impossibility. Ncedlcss to say, if the notion of the general text is to bccame an operative m n q t o literf ary criticism at all, its function in Derridas debate with Husscrlian phenomenology and Hcidcggcrs philosophy cannot simply be overlooked. The conrexi of this dcbarc alone makes the general text a $ig nificanr [em, and determines its specific features and implications. Na mere invocation or magical conjuration of this term can make up for the indispensable reconstrumon of its actual context.

Derridas insistcnaupon the fact that philosophy, from its beginnings, has conceived of itself ss a discourse entirely transparent t Being and o free o all figurative use o language has fostered the mistaken opinion f f that Derridas aim would be to challenge or dcconsttua the regim scientidnrrn by playing literature and its metaphoric use of language off against this discipline that pretends to dominate all other disciplines. Nothing, however, could be more inaccurate than to confound the deconstruction o philosophy wirh a nonargumcntative. literary, f and metaphoric play. This belief is i n c w m not only because of its reductive understanding of literature but, as we shall see, far other, more essential reasons. Derrida has never lehtheslightcst doubr that metaphor is by M ~ U E a rotfaphysical concept, In spite, or rather because o its negativity, f it belongs to the very order and movement of meaning: the provisory loss of meaning that metaphor implies is subordinatcd to the teleology of meaning as one moment in the proass of the df-manifestation of meaning in all its propriety. T h e philosophical concept of metaphor (and there is no other) makes metaphor depend on the absolute parousia of meaning. Metaphor denoresa reality derivarive o proper meaning whether f thc metaphoric displaamcnt is seen as a rnament of toss anticipating a future recuperation or only as an ornamental and exterior supplement to proper meaning, Instead of uncritically revalorizing metaphor, instead o simply playing it off against philosophy, Derridas f repetition of the question of metaphor is an interrogation of the philosophical concept of metaphor, o its limits, and, as is to be wen in f White Mythology, o philosophys atrempt to question systcmadf cally the metaphorical origins of its concepts. In other words, Der-

~~ ~ ~ ~ ~~


ridas reformulation of the question of metaphor i s concerned with the fundamental complicity between the philosophical dererminarion of the conccpt of metaphor and rhe apparcnrly subversive arrcrnpr to challenge philosophy on the grounds that its concepts arc hidden tropes. Rather than participating in rhis double enterprise, Derridas efforts involvc an analysis o the presuppositions of this problematic, f and an attcrnpt to dclimit the rnctaphysical and rhetorical schemes that constitute it. This analysis implies a profound suspicion of the concept o metaphor as a metaphysical concept; consequently, one f never finds Derrida flirting with this mncept of metaphor as if it posscrscd within irs limits and all by itself any decisive proprieties that would be portntislly subversive of logocenrrisrn. Yet thcrc is of coursc no such thing as a purely rnctaphysical concept. If concepts could bc purely metaphysical, they would m i s t all questions concerning them. As a mulr, Derrida can nonetheless point ta a certain irreducibility of metaphor with respect ro its possibility, and short of its rherorical repetition and philocophEcal concepmalization. Focusing on this specific irreducibility, Derrida shows metaphor to bc the metaphysical name for something older than the philosophical distinction between the proper and the metapharic (SP. p. 103), and which might thus bc in a position toupset the conccptual columbarium of philosophy. Consequenrly, rather than simply artempting to rcvcrsc thc classical hierarchical opposition of the proper and the figural, the philosophical and the metaphoric, Dcrrida aims at something that is only very improperly called metaphoric without k i n g proper in itself. Being no longer either metaphoric or literal, an allegorical illustration without a concept or a pure concept without a metaphoric scheme, the irreducible in question can no longer be referred r by the M ~ of metaphor; indeed it is properly unnamable. o L As Dcrrida has argued in The R e m i t of Metaphor, the sort of metaphor i quesrion is in withdrawal; ir n Being of rhc order f neither of the concept nor o the metaphor, the irreducible in question escapes the order of the noun in general, within which, as Derrida has shown in his analysis o Arisrotles Poetics and Abetoric, rhc f f philosophical elaboration o metaphor takes place, an elaboration f that links metaphor, via a theory of mimesis,to the doctrine o being or ontology. It is unnamable not because of some Romantic nostalgia for the ineffable, nor because the limited faculties of man as a finite being would be too narrow to cxprcss what ovcrpowcrr thcrn, but because of this irreducibles exorbitant position with regard to the opposition o the proper and the figural, Being and beings, God and f



men, a position.that =p the logic that ties logos and Being to-

gether. Dcmda r c h t it as quusimckrpkricity, or simply nietao

phoricity. Metapboricity, then, is not a quality that presupposes an already constituted and philorophicalIy determined metaphor. Nor is mctaphoricity the savage production, unrnediated by concepts, o metaf phors as a quahy amibuted to, say, literary language. As that which opens the play between the proper and thc metaphoric, and which metaphysia can only name as that which it makes possible, metaphoricity is not endowed with those qualities traditionally attributed to metaphor but rather with attributes which in traditional philosophy would be called constituting or transcendental. Metaphoriciry is a transcendental concept o som. Yet ir does not follow that Derrida f would simply do away with the m-callcd ornamental and poctic functions of metaphor, reducing them, as does philosophy, to a literary border phenomenon of philosophy. T h e absmcc o such a dmgarive f gesture, however, does not mean, as is ,often assumed, that Derrida would turn the littraryqualitics o metaphoricity against the conccpf ma1 Ianguageof philosophy, with its desire for univmality,exactitude, and clarity. In truth, the notion o rnetaphoricity as advanad by f f Derrida is neither opposed to the philosophical concept o metaphor (and therccan be noorher), nor simply identical wirh whatphilosophy calls the ornamental poetic function ofmetaphor; nor docs it view metaphor as a moment in the proccss ofmeaning. Metaphoricig, in Derridas sen- refers to somethingsmrchrraf~phenomenal, sameto thing of the order of the concepruat. the rransctndenral, but which in spite of it5 heterogeneity to thc socalled real world also combines with the supplementary and ornamental modc of rhe rhetorical figure o poetics. As the result of a dcstmcrion of metaphor, and co ips0 of f the proper and the literal, maaphoficiry yields a strumre that account5 for the difference between the figural and the proper, and which comprises properties that are by right older than those traditionally the transcendental and the empirical. Since, as an originary synthesis, metaphoridty is more originary than what I have formerly referred to as transcendcntality, and since it also combines with rht most emrior qualities of metaphor, with mctaphorb exrcriority to the concept, 1 shall try to define it as a nonphenomenologizablt quasitranrcdental. The following anaIysis of White Mythologyis an ammpt EO characterize a bit more fully the status of metaphoridty by examining the different ways in which Dcrrida is led 10 ciaborate this notion. I



have alrcady stated that metaphoricity is something structurally phenomenal that serves M account for the philosophical difference between the proper and rhc figural. I t is evident that this notion is altogether different from what either the literary critic or the phitosopher designates, or would dcsignatc. by such a notion. This gap widenrevcn further assoonas wcexplorethepmblem thatthis notion of metaphoricity ultimately serves tn address in Dcrrida's work. Such a demonstration. however, requires a detour of sorts.

The Multiple Senses of Being

As Heidegger himself points out, his interest in philosophy was awakened by his reading in 1907 of Franz Brcntano's disscrtation "On the Several Senses of Being in Aristotle" (1862)." Studying Brenwno's analysis of the multiple ways in which being i s expressed (polfukos legomemon}. Hcidcgger h g a n ro reflect on the primary and hndaniental meaning of Being p r e s u p F e d by t h e e multiple senses. It is important to recall herc that within the problematical horizon of classical philosophy, the question concerning the unity and the manifold of the senses of Being is none other than that of analogy. Indeed,

a tradition that srarrs wirh scholastic philosophy has Arisrorle derermining the relation between being and its multiple W$ES in terms of this figure of thought. It i precisely within this same tradition that s Brentano situates his own investigation of the problem. Although Heidcgger's fundamental philnsophical concern is not subsumed undcr the cxplicit title ol "analogy." it is clear that his invesrigation into the qucsrion of the mcaning of Being. or into rhat of the differcncc 0s difference, is essentially an attempt to come to grips with the traditional problem of analogy, whcrhcr ~r not he mentions that notion. In what follows, 1 shall try to substantiate this poinr with a brief analysis of some paragraphs o Being and Time." f Whether o r nor certain philosaphie explicirly reflect on the problem of analogy. all wcraphysia, insofar as it i s concerned with thc unity in difference, must understand itseIf primarily as a philosophy of analogy, as Puntcl has most farccfully ,argued. Although "analogy" acquires the explicit status of a philosophical issue only with Plato, analogy, as the problem of the idcntity that lets differences [as well as thc various linguistic arri~ulatinnrf king). came to the fore was o already a, if not the, major figure of thoughr in philosophical thinking from irs very inception." Up through Aristotle, analogy hadthe mean. ing ,of mathematical propanion, relarion, ratio, correspondence, thus



reflecting its origin as P mathematial concept formulated by &he 4.thagoreans. It did not signify a simple relation or a simple proportion but a system of relations or proportions. Puntcl writes, Analogy i s a relation o relations, a proportion of proportions, in short, a corf respondence o relations. According to this originary meaning of f analogy, the unity o the identity thar difference presupposB, and r which mediatcs between what is different, becomes manifest i the n similitude of opposing but back-stretched relations. As a matter o f ,fact, the wholc problematic of analogy i s one of determining these relations. As I have mentioned, scholastic philosophy extended the problem of analogy to the question of being and made Aristotle the first thinker to have determined being in such a manner. Indecd, the f Scholastics mntendcd that Aristotie conceived o the relation between the different senses of being and being irsclf as one of similarity by analogy. Ever since Ockhams view that thcrc i s no analogy of being, this question has been an issue in philosophy. I cannot atrernpt here to develop in full this most difficult problcm. nor can I dimss Aubenques thesis, in L e Problme de Igtfe chez Arktore, that the Scholastic position docs not correspond to Arismtles thought, but that the doctrine of the analogy of being rcprments, on the contrary, a PIamnitation of Aristode. Nor shall 1 linger on R i m r s contention in The R d e o f Metaphor that the entire theory of analogy is no more rhan a pseudoscience, the result of theological presure on a Spccifia l l y philosophicaldiscourse.5 Suffice it to say that the fundamental f reason why these and other authors rcjeci the idca o an analogy of being i s that they contend that Aristotlc knew only the m a t h m a t i d notion of analogy as a quanrirative proportion which, srrictly speaking, could not be applied to the rclarion between the meanings of being and k i n g itself, for k i n g itself can no longer be posited in relation to an Orher. T h i s argument would seem to be substantiated by the fact that Aristotle never applies the concept of analogy-a concept which he uses on scveral other occasions in the stria m c of a relation of s propomon-when speakingot the multiple meaningsaf being. When, for instance, at the beginningof Book 4 at Metuphysics he writes that being has K v c r a l meanings bur that they a l l have a central rcfercnce to some one nature [pmshen kai miun fina physin) and are not entircly differcnt things that happen to have rhc same namc [homonymas], he does not u s rhe word mdogy. Moreover, the pros hen in rhs proposition, instead o signifying a cormpondmce o relations, inf f dicates only the simple relation of a manirold to an originary oncncss,



with m p c m to which everything dse is derivative and dcpendcnt. In the aftermath of Trendelenburgs attempt to Save the analogy of being by elaborating a qualitative ptoportionaliry, and hcnm a concepr o f analogy more general than its first and original sense as quantitative proportionality, Brentano, following in this Scholastic tradition, also assumed a second type of analogy in order to explain rhe relation in Aristotte between the nongeneric cancept of bcing and its diffcrcnt senses.*T h i s second type of a n a l o g is not, however, one of proportionaliry (quantitative or qualitative) but, as the Scholastics called it, one of attribution, or, to USE Brentanos wotds, one with respect to o n e and the same t m i n u s . Being. according to Brentano, has rhc unity of analogy, a unity that gmundc the manifold and caregorial senses of being, because its different meanings relare to it in an ad unum relation. Beings equivocal meanings ate c o n n e d M the unity o a nonaccidmtul name (homonymos). Although o diffcrenr mcanf f ings, the categories relate to B common name as to a common origin by virrue of an analogy of artriburion. They are indeed not cntircly different things that happen ,rackfenrally) to have the same name, bur refer to one necessary name as the source o their plurality. The f miry at this homonymon is rhe nongeneric unity of analogy. For Brcntano, therefore, being i s douhly analogical: its different meanings relate to it according to the analogy with r e s p m to the same terminus, and. as Trcndclenburg has shown, they also form an equality af relations. Indeed, although Arisrotle in Book 4 does nor use the term analogy wirh regard ro the qucstion of the rnulriple sensm of being, hc ncverthcless says in Book 5 t h a t whatever is related as a certain thing to another, and bears to each other the mme ratio or relation that another pair has (osu eCei os ullo pros d o ) . is analogical. Yet ir i5 such an quality rhar Acistotle claimed for his categories. and which, along with an and ousiu, are, according to Brenmno, the majot Senses in which being is said. For what follows, ir is important to nore that thc theory of thc analogy of being implilg that being is in itself relational. Yet as Puntel has, intimated. this %If-relationality of bcing prewpposn that being is in itself and as itself difference, Le,, a self-relation that repeats itself in and rhrough itsclf.l Only to the cxtcnr char being is differcncc can it be said robe analogical. Although this conclusion may not have b n n rhematited in the aadirion rhst stretches from Aquinas ro Brentano, the crirics bbjecrions to the doctrine o the analogy of being f may well in essence pivot around this issue of difference. In any case, it is as a doarine o thc difference of bcisg that the theory of thc f



analogy of being is of interest ro us here. I t is only in this perspective that this doctrine is taken up again by both Heidegger and Derrida, as 1 shall now ammpr 10show. As an inquiry inm Ihc manifold senses of Being from the perspcmive of Dnsch, Hcideggers investigation in Being ,and Time at first continues the classical prablernacics of analogy, for ir displays a n o n e neric conocption of Being. As the transcendens pure and simple, to quom Being and Time, Bcing lies beyond what is, beyond all imaginable ontic determinations. Heidegger conceives of his fundamental theme in a genuinely Aristotelian sense as no sort o genus of b h . f e g But the m e reawn for xcing Heideggers philofophy as a continuation, even as a radicalization, of this tradition is that his investigation of the different modes of saying Being is an investigation of Being as the difference chaG within Being as ,a terminw, makes ir possible for one made o umring k i n g to relate-analogously-t f that terminus, in the two senses of analogy 1 have distinguished. The differma o k i n g a5 a diffcrence o the same is the tirlc under which f f Heidegger engages his dcbate wirh the traditional philosophical problem of analogy. In Being and Time this problem takes shape as the m-stnrchrre of the understanding of Being, After having dablishcd that understanding and states-of-mind (Verstebetr and B&dfichkeitJ are fundamental exi5tmtiuh.7 o the being of the Du-exitientialia which sccurc the f primordial disclosedness of D a s h as Being-in-the-world-Heid-er completce the stmcturcs of D a e i n by adding to it not language but the possibility of language. In section 32 of Beingand Time, Meidegger starts out by demonstrating that understanding is made explicit (ausdriicklich) &rough inmprctation (Audepng). The analysis of inrerprctation in the sense of Awkgung (bemenmein)is an intermediary step in the discovery of the third fundamental structure of the Dusein. which isdiscaursc (Redel.Dimurseisindccd thepossibilityofspeech. It i s imperative to understand in what way interpretation is said to make explicit what is implicitly understood or sensed by the Dusein, W must realize that interpretation of what is understood must take e place, according to the strurhrrul status of Dusein (which, one must repeat, is therefore not just another name for subject or formthropos), in an essentially prelinguistic, nonprogositiond, prepredicativc, and nunthematic manner. The Daslin encounters rhe chings thar surround it primarily as thing that serve this or that purpse, and not as pure things or objects upon which it subsequently bmows determining attributes. Hence, the interpretation of what is understood circum-

3 m


specr*eIy is characterized by the structure of somPthIrrgussomething. Heidegger writes: That which is, disclosed in understanding-that which is understood-is already accessible in such a way that its as which can be made to stand out explicitly. The as makes up the structure of the explicitncss of something that is understwd. It constitutes the interprcrarion (p. 1891. In other words, inrcrpreration is the laying out (Auslegm) o the primary articulation of what is undcrf stood according to the as-structure, which is an a priori artkUlatiOrI (Gliderung, ArribuLtion). Intcrpreratian makes explicit that all understanding is primarily articulated according to the structure of something as something, or in other words with regard to something (mf e h a s bin). Heidcggcr calls this primary articulation of undemanding and inrerprerarion Redc, which one may translare as discourse, if one keeps in mind that it marks a srmctural level o f articulation anterior by right to all possible linguistic UttEraMCC. As the arriculation of intelligibility, discourse is coeval with states-ofmind and undemanding and prccedcs all predicative and thematic expression and vocalization of understanding and states-of-mind (pp. 104-10s). As the third fundamental existmtiale of the Duseiv it represents the very possibility of vocalization, of speech, of speech am, of language as the mundane or worldly mode o the being of f the logos. Discourse in the sen= of Rede is merely a translation of logos. It signifies rhe logical aniculation of Daseinspreundcrsranding of Being and thus corresponds to the onrologically fundamental strumurn of the meaning of Being. The meaning of Being hinges on i t 5 articulation in tcrms of the as-structum. The c x i s t e n t i a l - h e r m ~ e as~c in ~ name Heidcgger eves ~ ~ ~ thc to the primordial us of all interpretation that understands circumzpectively, in other words with regard to something (p. 201). T h i s m is the fundamental structure of the logos as discourse, as the primary articulation o understanding and interpretation, and achiwes the f originary dis-covering and dis-closure, which Hcidcgger latcr calls thc primary opening, wirhin which propositionat predication may (ormay not) come forth. I shall not deal herc with the leveling modifications us that are required to transform the existential-hcrmeneuri~1 into thtapophmticm which isitselfthestructure of possibility o assertion f (pp. 196-21Ol.u Let mc Say on[y that as little as vocalitation is an attribute of the logos as Re&, it is just as little an integral part of assertion. Yet iust as logos asRedecontains the possibilityof language in thc form of the structural determination of exprmedness (HiRausgesprochcnheit), ir also contains rhe possibility o assertion in the f



maural form of what is called Attsppmcheffheir, and which ens m that stating a n become communicative revealing. These smcu ruraI dclcrminadorw are strumrally phenomenal and belong to an order altogether heterogeneous to that of factual rcalization and vocalization. L am concerned hcrc only with thcsc originary s cu mt m o the logos, apart from its factual and contingent vocalization. T h e f strumres a n not dixovcrcd at the cxpcnx of the logoss vocalization bur inrcribe it as a possibility.

Having characterized, with Hddegger, bgos as discourse-that is, as constituted by the articulation o inteltigibility aceording to the asf smcrurc-1 must point out that rhe primary disclosure achieved by the as-structure is a t the same rime a primary covering-up. Indeed, o since the a s m m r e uncovers with regard t , it veils und reveals in the same Thus, Heidcggcr has inscrikd an originary falsehood into the very articulation o the logos, which will allow him, f with one structure, m explain why propositions cun be wrong. I l e lh as-strumre as the primary articulation of the understanding of Being, made explicit in interpretation by the logos as discourse, is rhus a structure that makes all understanding o Being by Doscin srrunurally f dcpendmr on circumspectivc inference. Everyrhing, as it were, is understood primarily not by focusing on the thing as such but with regard to something else, say, to the wkuf-for o the thing. As far as f the meaning o &ing is concerned, it can be known only us its diffcrent f Since rhe ofigi~ry amculawn o h e undemanding of kingf its intcrpremion-prccedm any particular determination of Eking, and since each such particular senx of k i n g is s m m r a l l y coveredup Being, Being icself is always only in its own deferral. Bting is difference; it is analogical in the sense that it is articulated within inelf a s the unity o its selfsame scnscs. Being i s nothing in itself, but it is f the very Iogieal articulation of its own understanding within which ir appears in a multitude of irreducible senses. Ricocur, in The Rule of Metephor, shows a certain awareness o f the continuity b c n m n the traditional problematic of analogy and the philosophies o Heideggcr and Dcrrida, when, in Chapter 8, after a f discussion of the problem of the analogy of being in Aristotle and o f the andogia entis in Thomas Aquinas, he discusses Heideggers and Dcrridas treatment ofmetaphor. Yct becau~eRicoeur is primarily a into philwophy, mnccrncd with warding off any intrusion of @ he m a i n s blind n the ha that Hcidcggtrs and Dtrridas investi, gations inn, metaphor and mctaphoricig are not simply pOnica1 inquiries but are based on a philosophicd cancept of metaphor, and




are thus a debate with that philosophicd concept. Moreover, he tails to sce that this debate is engaged with the classical problem of the analogy of being. One can perceive the real continuity of all these problematics only by recognizing that thc concept of metaphor in Heidegger and Derrida is not simply one of poetic rcsemblance but o m that receives a transcendental qualification from the field it is applied to, to use Ricoeurs words-a qualification similar to the one that RictKur powerfully demonstrates in the case o the analogy o f f being, and with regard to the concept of the mufogio I n t i s , both o f which are said to k nonmrraphorical theories of analogy (supposing that metaphor is one with pocric resemblance). I should now like to argue that Derridas treatmmr o metaphor f is a resumption not of what Hcidegger explicitly developed about metaphor bur olthc more fundamental structure of the logos and o f the much older problem o the analogy of being. Consequcnrly, I shall f attempt to show that Derridas critiqvc of the philosophy of language or of linguistics opens itself, not unlike Heidcggers critique, to an exploration of ground structures which account for the phenomenon of language. Yet, as we shall see, the status o these ground structures f in Derrida is, for essential reasons, very differcnr f o what I shall rm call the immanent or tinite transccndcntal strucrures in Hcidcgger, Since analogy is, according to Aristotle, not only one genre of metaphor but thc metaphor par cxcellcnce insofar as it is based on an cqualiry of relations, the doctrine of the analogy o being-whatf w c the meaning o analogy may be-indicates that a certain metavr f phoricity is constitutive of the vety uniry of being, The as-structure of understanding unearthed hy Hcidcggcr characterizcs understanding and the saying of Being as hinging on a movement of transfer. The relation wich regard ID in thc primary mode of circumspemive understanding makes all understanding o something understanding f of sonerbitlg us somctlJing. A movcrncnr of epiphora. the movcmcnc constitutive of metaphor, is present in all understanding of the ds what. With this, we face a clear continuity between the traditional problem of the analogy at being, Heideggers investigations into the fundamental structures of the logos. and, as we shall see next, Derridas treatment of the problem o meraphor. f

The CmeruEi~tiotl Analogy of

Before embarking on an analysis of White Myrhology, I should fim establish that my linkage of Derridas treatment o rhe concept f



o metaphor to the question of the analogy of being ,is not an artificial f impsirion but is supporrtd by the texts. Indeed, Derrida cxplicidy recognizes thar his analysis af metaphor CUKinto the probIerns delineated by h e analogy of being. What remains irnpIicir perhaps i s
thar rhesc analyses o ntcraphor arc intrinsically C O M C C ~ C ~ with the f problem of the analogy o being. After having m i n d e d Bcnvcnistc, f in The Supplement of Copula, that the very possibility of a science of language hinges on a knowledge about the c s m m of whar i s called
category, Derrida writes:

The uttgories arc the figurn (sbbmrotu) according t6 which thc sit+Ee term bring is said in thar ir is said in several ways, thmgb -1 tropes. Thc system of the angorin i s the system o beings turns of phrm. It brings f
the pmblmnaticaf thcanalogybf king, i n i r l u i v ~ l n c s s o r u n r g u i v o c a l ~ , into mmmunianon with rhc pmblmatic of the metaphor in general. Arktotle explicitly links fhcr problmatics in affirming tt & t b m metaphor b caordinarcr irxlf to h analogy o pmparrionality. Which wodd suffice to e f pmve that the qucstion o metaphor is no mare 10be asked in the margins f o rnetaphysim than metaphorical style and the usz o figurn is an a-q f f anbcllishmenr or secondnry auxiliary a philosophical discourse. (M, pp. f 183-184)

The problcm of metaphor, then, is clearly s m to encroach upon both the problems of analogy and being. Any inquiry inro mctaphor is tbus per sc an investigation into the possibility Qf the univocality o being. Yet Derrida does not explicitly address the problem of the f relation of his analysis od metaphor in general to the problem of the f analogy o being. Although he claims in White Mythology that all the features that ,distinguish metaphors i n the theory of metaphor seem m belong to the great immobile chain o Aristotelian ontology, f with its theory of the analogy of Being (M, . 236),and that the p privilege that Aristotle attributes to the metaphor by analogy shows that this privilege articulates Aristodes entire timaphorology with his general theory o rhc analogy o &ing (MB 242), he refrains f f p. from clarifying this relation. We cannot undertake t h i s problem ha, he writes, referring the reader to the studies of Aubenque and Vuillemin (M, p. 244). Still, throughout his work D e m d a has repeatedly linked the problem o analogy and metaphor, and has sysf tematically questioned the relation o thcsc two figures with respect f to the problem of being. Although in rhe Poetics, Aristotle conceived o analogy as only one f species of mcraphor-metaphor by analogy-in his Rhetoric i t b e comes the paradigm of mctaphor. Analogy is metaphor par excel-

Od 1


Ience. Aristottc ernphasizcs this point often in the Rhetoric, not= Derridi in White Mythology (M, p. 242). Such a privilege m a k a the whole of Aristatles rnetaphorolngy dcpendcnr on his general r h o ory concerning thc analogy of being. Metaphor in general, the passage from onc existent to another, or from one signified meaning to another, [is] authorizrd by the initial submission of Being to the existcnt, the a n d o g i d displacement o Being (WD, p. 27). Elsewhere f he writes. Metaphor, thus, as an effect of mimesis and homoiosis, [is] the manifestation of analogy (M, 238). In other words, analogy p. is a phenomcnally more fundamcntal made of transport t h i n the epiphorn constitutive o metaphor. Metaphor and the movement of f epiphoru arc to be thought against the background of and with respect to the mart general problematic o analogy. f It is in parricular in his analyses of Condillac and Kanr that Derrida has pointed out that this *fundamenral analogism (AF, p 83) from . which metaphor is derived is not only a principle o methodical and f universal linkage for philosophy but a general principle par excellence insofar as it concerns rhc proper name of bcing. Indccd, within metaphysics, analogy ensures h u h the continuity of all derivation and thc homogenization of opposite atden (M, 31 1-312). Thus, for pp. instance in Kant, the recourse to analopv, the concept and the effect of analogy, are or make the bridge itself, as and through which the Third Crifique bridges ihe abyss berween the two absolutely hcterogcnmns worlds of Nature and the EthicaI (VP,p. 43). The analogy brings together without-concept and concept, the universality without concept and the universality ,with concept. the without and the with ( V P , p. 88). It serves to seal up (cicufriserjthc gap and to think the diffcrcnee (VP, p. 43). But the function of analogy is not exhausted by establishing such continuity and homogeneity through a relation of proportionality or o attribution between homologouselcments. Thheanalogical prof is 3150 a refluence towards the logos. The origin is rhe logos. The origin of analogy, that from which analogy procceds and towards which it returns, is the logos, reason and word. In metaphysics, analogy is suspended upon the nonanalogical iogos as its origin. In Econornirnesiswe ,read t h a t what regulates all analogy and which itsclf is not analogical, sincc it forms the ground o analogy. [is] the f logos of analogy towards which everything flows back but which itself remains without system, outside of the system that it oricnts as its end and its origin, its embouchure and irs SDUICC.I~ Derrida As has dcmonstratcd in Platos Pharmacy, a certain dominating and decisive hierarchitation takcs place between the terms of the relariotis



thar enter into mrrcspondcnce in a relation af analogy. This hicrarchizing authority of logocentric analogy mmm from the fact &at one tcm within the relation of relations comes to name the relation imlf. Consequently, all the elements thar make up the rtlations find &themselves compriwd by the structure that names the relation of analogy as a whole. That name, ultimately, 1s that o the logos (see D. p. 117). f Suspended at the nonanalogical ground of the logos, analogy is dominated by the proper name of rhe log05 ourside and beyond language, which, according to Derrida, isana1ogy through and through (SP,p. 13). Dependent on the proper saying of Being by the logos, the initial submission of Being to what is in the analogical displacement becomes sublated in the nonanalogical ground. And yet what Demdas analyscs consistently show is that the attempt 10 name analogy proprrly, and consequently to ground it in that name, takm place only through analogies of analogies. As a result, the analogy makes itself endlessly abysmal (VP, p. 43). Ir continues to belong to language and to the l a m of difference, relation, and proportionality which characterize it. Thus, although the analogy sewcs to connect the heterogeneous and to homogenize rhc diffcrenm at the benefit o it5 allegedly external ground (the logos), analogy also engenders, f as Condillac knew, a negative product, rhe analogue of the analogue, the useIess and vain simulacrum of discoutse, prattle, nonSens.e, in short, the frivolour (AF, p. 83). The message o this double of analogy f is that the proper or literal meaning of andogy is analogical. Hence analogy is the rule, nor logos. In light of what 1 have tried t develop up to this point, the geno eralized analogism that I have pointed out must serve to account for a t least two things: The first is the fundamental analogism in metaf physics which, under the form o the analogy of being, secuces the univocaIity and the proper name of Being through an idealization and a simultaneous destruction of analogy by casting metaphor against metaphor in a war of languagc against itself, in short through the metaphysical Aufbebung o analogy, metaphor, and all other rhetarf ical figures. Even in Heidegger, where it is clear that Bcing is nothing outside the existent and that it is impossibIe to avoid the ontic metaphor in order to articulsteBeing in language, Being itself is still said to be done in its absolute resistance to e v q metaphor" (WD, p. 138), And the m n d is the ineradicably analogical nature of the proper name of Being and the irrcducibie plurality-Nothingnessthat separates the different senses of Being and haunts Beings proper name precisely insofar as it is a proper name. One may argue, as Ricoeut does in The Rule of Metuphor, that



the introduction of the prohlcrnatics of analogy into the transcendental discourse on being is the r e d of an exterior pressure of the discourse of theology upon the discoursc of philosophy. One may also argue, as he does, that philosophical discourse maintains irs sovereignty by stripping rhc mathematical norion of analogy of its conceptual rigor, a loss through which it acquires the necessary transcendental qualities of the CeId to which ir is appficd. Onc may, f in addition, recognize in this reduction of the nation o analogy a movement similar to Hegelian Allfiebung through which a notion foreign to the philosophical discourse is turned into a truth o being. f Yet however one attempts to explain away the impaa of the question o analogy on that of being, the simple f a n that the notion of analogy f m and m w t be brought to bcar upon the question of being shows n that this notion profoundly affects the very concept of bein&.It can be surmised that this aftecrion cannor necessarily be entirely controlled by Artfiebung. If the concept of being-the concept of that which is supposed to be the most original, unique, and irreplaceablc-can be affcacd at all by analogy, then this possibility has to be accounted for and must be inscribed into the concept o being i d f . [f beingcm f be said in different senses, it is because the name of being i s not a proper name. In that case, however, analogy or metaphor docs nor surprise being from the outside. T h e possibility of bcing affected by analogy must, then, come to being from the inside. Indeed, it is the very idea of a unity of being, the idea of a being as such. of being as thought (01s Cedochtes), that requires the inner doubling of being in order to appearrrssuch. Thc space o this inncr doubling within being f is the original space of analogy or metaphor in general. T h e analogy of being reveals what Derrida, in Of Grammurology, calls a metaphoricity, and elementary transference (OG, 292).This irreducible p. metaphoriciry o the us nrch cannot be sublated in a gesture o idealf f ization, because the space of doubling and repetition rhar it opens, within which being can be rclatcd to itself, is the very condition of idealization, Ideation, or the beholding of the general, of the universal, i the intuition o the as what o species and singularities. Yet the s f f generality o the as wbai, that which corresponds to the proper, literal f ,meaningof singularities, is the accomplice o analogy or metaphoricity f in general. Indeed, it is from the tmpe that we learn about the status of literal, proper meaning, the matus of that whichgives itselfus proper meaning (M. 2801. Hencc, gcncraliry, universality-rhat Is, the p. origin in general-is clearly derivative of derivation, o the genf erality of analogy or mctaphoricity. 1 shall discuss in marc detail this



compliary b c m n rhe general as the proper, rhe QI~~~II, &in& and s on, and a general analogism which a t the same time constantly o disappropriatesand particularizesrhe general, as I engage i n a n anatysis of Whiee Mythology.
Quasimetap h i c i t y

be sevcrcIy misguided if one cook *WhiteMyrholagy, as Ricocur does i The Rule ojMetqbw , as an m a y developing n r some thesis or truth about the concept o reality of metaphor. To do so wauId be m miss Dcrridas whole srgummt, and to atrriburc t o Derrida one or several of the traditional philosophical or rhetorical positions on metaphor that arc dealt with criticallg in that may. White Mythology i s not primarily concerned with metaphor. From t h e outset, Derrida makes it clear rhac metaphor is a philosophical mnccpt through and through, and thar i t fosters a continuist [diachronic and symbdic) conception a t the cxpcnse of the systematic, the syntactic, and the arbitrary. T h e subordination of the syntactic is inscribed in rhc most invariable traits of rhe conccpr of metaphor to such an c ~ t ~ that a valorization of metaphor, say over concept-a n c philosophicalthesis par exceilence-is radialIy excluded by the premiscF of Dcrridas philosophy. White Mythology is a text concerned wirh h e diffwmce (andits economy) bnvccn metaphor and mnocpt. If we assume that both arc irreducible to one another, Dcrrida examines here the more general analogy that allows metaphor and concept m reIate to one another and organizes the cxchangcs that take
One would

place b e e n them. Focusing on the regulated play within which f these exchanges take place implics rhc (relative] autonomy o both metaphor and concept, and precludes any h n l resumption of the conapt by metaphor. From this perspective. the pbilkphical positions on metaphor displayed i the essay-that philosophy is a whirc mythology on the n one hand and on the o&+r that phdosophy i s frce of all metaphorsarc not positions an which to capitalize, but whose impiiut logic is rather to be exhibited. This logic belongs neither to a rhetoric of philosophy nor to a mecaphilrisrrphy; it repmenrs the larger vista of a discourse on figure no longer restricted to a regional or specific science, linguistics, or philology. As soon as o n e rdects on the conditions of possibility of a gcncral metaphorology according to which alF philosophical concepts would be hidden, worn out, or dcad maaphors, the need for a more embracing discourse on figure becomes



evident. Following the prcsupposirion of ruch a (philosophical) position to its logical end-the belief that one can demystify the discourse o philosophy by forcing it to deliver the metaphorical d e m i a l a f of its concepts-Derrida demonstrates that the conditions of possibility of a general phitosophical metaphorology are hy right its conditions of impossibility. Indeed, if a general metaphorology that f systematically invcstigares the meraphorical credentials o philosophy's conceptuality must presuppose the concept ofmetaphor, then at least one concept, thc concept of mctaphor, nccessarily escapes the enterprise of accounting for thc metaphoricky of all philasophical conceprs. At tcasr one mcraphor, thc rneraphor of thc conccpt of metaphor rcquired to makc a phifosophical metaphornlogy possible, a escapes thc cntcrprise ~Fclassilication s well. f h u s the metaphor that escapes a general metaphorology, the metaphor of metaphor, rhe metaphor of the philosophical concepc o mctaphar which one pcef same5 in order to reduce all other conccpk ro the metaphors they conceal, can, o course, no longer be a simple metaphor. It cannot f f merely be identical with the improper figure o a proper concept, which, however, is not to say that it would be a more fundamental proper concept. 7)le metaphor o metaphor, since ir is no longer f derivative of a mnccpt. or a n ultimate signified, signifies a misa en abyme of the philosophical concept of metaphor. As a relation of figure to figurc. of thc improper ' othe improper, it is indicative of a t different articulation betwcen metaphor and conccpt, which Derrida substitutes f r the classical apposition. o Thc larger vista o a discourse a n figurc M which Dcrrida refers is f primarily concerned with this other articulation. It is imperative to see that this articulation is not some common essmce of both concept and metaphor, not a truer definition or proposition that would embrace both in a moreglobal concept. As thccondirionsof irnpossihitiry o 3 general philosophical metaphorology have shown, this dillerenr f articulation is rhar ofa general mctuphonkity on which rnetaphorolow's claim reuniversality is based.This general metaphoricityenables metaphor and concept to enter into a relation E the first place, and n thence to indulge in a murual cxchangc. It is an articulation that f allows a concept to bc a n idealized counterpart o a sensible image, without, however, lending itself co any final reduction ra its sensible substrate. T h e general meraphoricity organizes thme exchanges, their gmeralicy and universality, wirhout cvcr having been thematizrd in traditional philosophy. 1 shall now try to characterize in more detail the irreducible meta-



photicityin qustion. The following lengthy passagc helps sum up the conditions of impm$ibiliry of a philosophical metaphomlogy: Metaphor m a i n s , in all incssmtial char;lcrerisdcs, a classid philosopheme. a meraphyriul concept. It i s therefore enveloped in the field h a t a gcncral metapbornlogy o philosophy would wek to dominate. Metaphor has been f issued from a nenvork of philosophemcs which themselves cormpond to m c or to figurn, and t h e philosophenm a f t contemporaneous to or in ps a systematic mlidariry with thesc tmpesorfigum.This stratum of tutelary m o p (hopes insritullunl, the layer of primary philoxlphtmcs (assurning hat the quotation marks w tl MWC as a sufficient precaution here), cannot i be dominated. It cannot dominate imlf, cannot be dominated by whar it itself has engendered, has made to grow on its own soil, s u p p o d on its own base. ihmbrc,it gm r i away each rime that om of itr pmdumn rd here, the concept of mctaphor-attempts in vain to include under its own law the totality o thc field to which the product bclong. If one wished to f conceive and to class all the metaphorical pssibilitis of philosophy, one metaphor, at least, always would m a i n excluded, outride the system the metaphor, at the wry Icast, withour which rhr concept of m a p h o r could not be constmad. or, KO ~yncoparcan entire chain of masoning. the mcra. phor of metaphor. This extra metaphor, remaining outside the field that i t allows m bc circumxribcd, extracts or absrrams itself from this field, thus subtracting irwlf as a metaphor I-. By virtue of what wc rnighr entitle, for economical reasons, tropic supplcmcnrarity, since rhe extra rum of s p c h becomes the missingrurnolspcech, the taxonomy orhistory o philosophical f f metaphors will nwcr make a profir. T h e statc nt $talus o the complcrnent will always be denied to the interminable debhcmce of the supplement. Tbc field is mver muratcd. (M, pp. 219-2203


Let us recall that both metaphor and concept are philosophical If a general metaphorology claims that all concepa arc worn-out metaphors, &en thc same must b true of che philosophical conccpt o metaphor. Yet this metaphor ot metaphor must remain f unthernatized if a general metaphorology is t o auccecd a t all (and thus to fail). T h e metaphor o metaphor is therefore the founding trope f of the pmjm o a metaphorology. As a tutelary or instituting trope, f as a first philosopheme, as a dehing rropc ,(M, 255), a5 Dcrp. rida also calls it, the metaphor of metaphor forms a system with a chain of other such archaic tropes, giving the character Df a %atural language to the so-called founding concepts of philosophy (the&. cidos, logos. and s on). But, asks Derrida, can these dea fining tropes that arc prior to all philosophical rhetoric and rhar produce philosophemcs still be called metaphors! (M, 255). p. A concern wirb the founding cancepm of the entire history of phiconcepts.

3 10



losophy docs not coincide with rhe work of the philolo&, etymol-

ogist,or classical historian o philosophy, nor with that o the rhcmrician f f

o philosophy. In other words, scmng out the defining tropcs of the f founding canceprs o philosophy, such as the metaphor of mcraphor, f neither proclaims the literary or poetic nature of phiIosophy nor gcneralim metaphor as a figure. The Nietzschean generalization of weraphoriciry by putting into ubyme one determined metaphor, Dcrrida notm, is possible only if one takes the risk of a continuity p, between the metaphor and the conccpt (M, 262). Indeed, such a generalization o metaphor may weU signify the pamuria of the proper f and the concept. Insofar as rhe invesrigarion inro the rropological rnovemmts at rhe bask of the grounding concepts of philosophy lends itself to a generalidon, it is onc t h a t decanstitufts the borden of the propriery of philosophemes. Of this generalization Derrida remarks in Dissminulion that since everything becomes metaphorical, there is no longer any literal mcaning and. hence. no longer any metaphor either (D, 2 5 8 ) . W h a t is p. bcing generalized here is neither the proper nor the improper, neither metaphor nor COFI EE~LOn rhe contrary, it is something that explodes the reassuring opposition of the metaphoric and rhc proper, rhe opposition in which the one and the other have never done anything but reflect and refer to each other in their radiance (M. pp. 270271). The generalization hinted at by the metaphor of metaphorf general rnetaphondry--is that o the logic of contamination and of the contamination of the logical distinciion h e e n concept and 6gurc. Thcrefore, what is thus generalized can no longer be dcsignated by the philosophical names of mctaphor, trope, or figure, much less by the philosophical name o concept. In short, the metaphor o f f metaphor, or mom generally the founding tropes of thc founding tropes. As Dcrrida asks i n Platos concepa, are not, stcim~y,speaking, Pharmacy, how muld the heart of all mctaphoricity bt a simple metaphor? Hence, Derrida has recourse to Fontaniers notion 01 catachresis in order to characterize the instituting tropes or the primary (de premierde@) metaphors as the nantrue meraphorn thar opened philosophy (M, 259). Indeed, thcse forced metaphors o r cap. tachreses are none other than violently creative tropological movements which, within language, found the values of propriety. For the 5ame reason for which rhe metaphor of metaphor is a mise en a b y m ~ o the conccpr o metaphor-the absence of any ultimate mnccpr of f f which this metaphor would be the metaphor-the metaphor of metfphor i s also B carachresric production of concepts (and subsequently


~~~ ~

111 -

of metaphors of these concepts). Conxquently, the metaphor of metaphor is a nonaue metaphor, a philosophical phantom of metaphor (M. 2581, at the basis of the philosophical values o propricty, p. f concepruality, Being, and so on and heir dcrivarives, such as impropricry, figurality [metaphor), nothingness. In the essay The Retrait o Meraphor, Derrida advances his f elaboration of the 5mmre of metaphoridrg, or quasimetaphoricity as he calls it here, by analyzing a tropic movement which is complementary to the vioIent catachresticproduaion I have outlincd. In this essay, the articulation that is said to be more originary than the distinction o meraphor and concept, that splits, interseas, and recuts f ir, is analyzed in rerms o the Heideggerian notion of trait (Zlrg). The f rrair, wrircs M d a , is their common origin and the seal of their alliance, remaining in.this singular and different fmm them, if a trait could be something, muld be properly and fully originary. Yet rhc quasimctaphoriciry of the trait through which a relation or reference in general is traced, by which something UIPIcome to the fore in the f i ~place, also implies an otiginary withdrawal, a retrait or retreat t o the trait. bnscquently, within the ntachrcstic production o rhe f f instirutingnonrrue tropes. metaphoriciry does not reveal itself as such. On the contrary, btcauw the trait is by essence rehait, the act of insrimring, groundin& and defining, inaugurated by the 6mtropes, is self-effacing. I t is by the remit o the trait h a t the originary tropic f movements o metaphoricity permit rhe likes of the propcr, h e mnf cept, Being, and SD on to come forth as the vcry oblirerarion o their f relation to the trait. At this point let US r R on what Dcrridas inquiries into the cm f question o metaphor aim a t As is well known, the problematic of thc trait, for Heidegger, is linked t the question of Being. The trait o of k i n g reveals itsclf in its vcry withdrawal. Now, wc have seen that the question OF metaphoricity is that of the genetaliation of something anterior to what is traditionally considered to be general and f universal. It mnccms the genera1 conditions (and limirs) o generalization. By tying the problem of this more originary genrraliry to the problematic of the trait as r e h i t , Derrida makes ir dear that this more primary generality-beyond and a t the root of the distinction of the proper and rhe improper, the concept and metaphor, the literal and thc Cgural+annot bc a more proper general. It cannot be cxhibited as such. Moreover, by Iinking the pmbimatic of this generality anrcrior to the yneral to the Hcideggcrian notion of the Zlrg a~ Ewtrug. Derrida shows that his explotation of metaphoricity i s also



an attemptto cometogripswith the question o Being. Moreprecisely, f it isan undertaking chat inquires into the gcneraliry o the most general f and proper-the generality of Being. I t is an attempt t link. in one o nonphcnorncnologizahlc synthesis, the general o r universal and Being. From everything that has been said thus far, it should be clear that the linking of Being to the no longer metaphysinl concept of quasirnetaphoridty do= not promulgate, in a Nierzschean or Renanian fashion, a metaphorical origin of Being. Such an enterprise is grounded in etymological empiricism. What we are dealing with here is, on the contrary, a sort afrrsnscendmtal undertaking. Lct me cummmt briefly on the folhwing passage from Writing and Diffwmce:
Every philology which allegedly n d u m the meatling of king to the metaphorical origin of the word&iog, whatever the historical (scientific)value of its hypothesis, misses the history o the meaning o Being. This hisrory is f f to such an extent the history o a liberation of being as mncems the deterf mined existent. that onc may mmc t think of the eponymous existent of o Being, far cxamplc, respiration. as one cxismnt among others. Renan and Nictzschc, lor example, refer tn respiration as the ctyrnological origin of the word Being when they wish to rcducc the meaning o what they take m bc f a concept-thc indetcminatc p e r a l i t y o Being-to its modest mcnphorf ical origin ,Thus i s exptrincd all of empinral history, excrpt precisely for thr csrcntial, that is, the thought that respiration and non-respiraimn me, lorexarnplc.And arcin a detcrmimd way, amungothcronticdcfcrminations. Etymological empiricism, the hidden root of all empiricism, explains everything except that at il given moment the metaphor has been thought us metaphor. that is, has becn ripped apart a5 the vcil o Being. This moment f is the emcrgencc o the thought of Being itself, thc wry movement of m e f taphoricity. For this emergence still, and always, occurs bcneath an o r b n metepbor. As Hcgel says somewhere, empiricism a[ways forgets, at the very lean, chat it employs the words tn be. Empiricism is thinking by meraphor without thinking the metaphor us sucb. (WD. pp. 138-139, translation slightly modified)


The Fallacy of empiricism as outlined here affects both thegeneral project of B philosophical metaphoroIogy and the attempt to explain philosophy (and the question ,ofSting) by in linguistic, literary, or metaphorical origins. The enterprise o reducing philosophical conf cepts to iigurcs of specch, tropes, and particular rhetorical operations amounts to a facto-genetic description, with the help of available empirical tools, of what by right absolutely resists these empirical linguistic roots. Without denying the utility and legitimacy of such reductions, such attempts. however, would have their full value only



insofar as they would be conducted with the certainty thar everything is spoken of then except the reduction itself, except the origin of philosophy and history t h m s e h s and as such {O,p. 132). l n d d , what thc empirical erymalogism andlor mpatagism cannot account for is the rift in the fnite linguistic and mpologiul figure through which it derignats nothing less than Being. In Wriritrgutrd Difference we read: Supposing that thc word Being is derived from a word meaning respiration (or any other determined thing), no etymology or philology-as such, and as determined sciences-will be able to account for the &ought for which respiration (or any other determined rhing) becomes a d m i n a r i o n of k i n g among others (WD, p, 139), What all rhcsc rmpirical approacha cannot hope to account for is the interruption of metaphor by rhe thoughr of mcraphor as such, by which rift metaphor as such, or metaphoricicy, becomes f thinkablcas themovcmcnt o k i n g itxIt Without thcthinkingof mctaphor as metaphor, one particular rnmphor could not be raised m the status 08 naming k i n g as that which renders metaphors mere existenrs. Being, then, is absolutely resistant to metaphor, as Hcidegger claimed, because (as the ontico-ontological difference) it corrcspan& to the vety movement of metaphoricity irselt Consequently, to investigate mcraphoriciry as Dcrrida docs i s to continue, in a certain way, the Heideggerian quenion of Being. As I have explained, both f f Heidosgcrs exploration o rhe fundamental srmctllre o the logos, the as+truUtTUCe, and Derridas exploration of rhc i d u c i b l e metaphoricity o the foundingtropcs reprcxnt debam with thc much older f problem of the analogy o being, and are thus related to rhe question f of Eking as such, and particularly insofar as this question penaios r o the being of language. For Heidegger, the being of language r a i d s in the as-stru~turccharactcrisrico rhc logos; far Dcrrida, it coincides, f within the context of this given problematic, with metaphoricity as previously outlined. But to the exrent char Heidcgscrs notion o Bring, according M f Dcrrida, is also a proper name, a proper unified meaning outside the system of differences and metaphors that it makes passible-in other words. a metaphysical concept-Dcrridas inquiry into quasimctaphoricity is also an a m p t to di$place more radically the question o king. Dcmda achIms this displacement f i r s by demonstrating f that king, rhc proper, and so o n do nor csape rhc chain and system o difkrcnca (ll ny a pas & bars-r.te) and s m n d by deepening f the qusrion o k i n g through a systematic exploration OT the rnovcf mmm of quasimcraphoricicy h a t it designates. Schematically, the first



demonstration t a k a place in White Mythology, whereas The Remait o Metaphor addresses the second aspea o the displacement. f f In White Mytholqy everything developed with r n p n t to the proper name of the sun as implicated within the general law o metaphorical f valu~ also applies to king. If the proper name of thc sun cun give rise to heliotropic metaphors,if the sun, this nonmetsphorical prime p. mover of metaphor, the father of all figures (M, 243), can be said to *sow. then i t s name is inscribad in a s s e o relations that ytm f constitute it. This name is no longer the proper name of a uniquc thing which metaphor would avefinlte; it already has begun to say the mul!iplc, divided origin o all wed. (M, 244)Similarly, the f p. proper and the essence of Being can be said analogously. Being is not One or unique: the determination of the truth o Being in presence f passes rhrough rhe detour of. .. [a]mrpic system (M. p. 254). Although the concept in its universality is irreducible to metaphor, figure, or trope, i6 status m concept (its intelligibility and universality) hinges on its possibility of lending itself to rnetaphorization. General metaphoriciry, o r quasimeraphoriciry, i s the name for that possibiliry that inaugurates rhe conccpts universaliry. At the same rime it limits this universality by virtue of its generality, a generality that cannot be subsumed under universality inasmuch as the latter has grown o n its soil. T h e displactmcnc of chr: question of Being is thus twofold. On rhe one hand, it appears 10 be inmibed in a system of differenm: on the other, it appears to be a function, of quasimctaphoricity. In wizhdrawing, the forthcoming trait makes it possible for something such as k i n g to come forth as thc proper name hors-tcxte for a nonmeraphorical origin of metaphors. Meraphoriciry names the origin of an unavoidsblc illusion, thc illusion of an origin. Obviously emu&, the origin of what ha5 always been construed as origin can no longer be understood in terms of origin. The concept of origin (urkh) is a founding concept o philosophy. The instituting tropes which, in f a catachrestic movement, give birth to that concept cannot be original, first, and elementary in the sense of origin, or derivative of the founding tropes act o founding, To cite again, Supposing char we might f
reach it (much if, 5cc it, cornplchcnd it?) this tropic and prephilosophical resource could not have the archeological simplicity of a proper origin, the virgjnity o a history of beginnings ( M , p. 229). f Yet therc is still one more reason why the instituting mopes cannot have the simplicity of an origin, a reason that may be coeval with the founding mopes production of the concepr o origin. This reason f



concern the plunlity of the tutelary tropes: Metaphorn The word i s written only in the plural. If there wcrc only one possible metaphor, f the dream a t the htart o philosophy, if one could reduce their play to the circle of a hmiIy or a group of metaphors, that is, to one ceniral; fundamental, principal metaphor, there would be no more true metaphor, bur only, through the one true metaphor, the assured legibility of the proper (M, p. 268). This plurality o the defining f tropes, o the imduciblc mctaphoricity. contributes toward characf terizing in depth the sort of transcendental status of this prephilosophicai resource. T h e irreducible metaphoriciry o the instituting f tropes-tropes that are not preceded by any pmpcr sense o r meaning but arc the origin o sense or meaning-is nsmHaIly of the order f o syntax. The last chapter of White Mythology, which demonf f strates that an exploration othe founding tropes o philosophy cannot be a meraphilosophical enrcrprise comparable to Bachclards metapottics, opposes this value of syntax to the primarily thematic and xmantic understanding of metaphor in traditional philosophy and poetia: Now,it is because the metaphoric is plural from the outset that it does not escape syntax (M, 268). The inamcable p. plurality and miduary syntax of the mnaphoriuty of the founding tropes leads to a dissemination of the metaphorical in the prelogical, within w i h metaphor destroys itself+It is a detrucdon that p a w hc through a supplement o syntactic resistana, through everything (for f example in modern linguistics) that disrupts the opposition of the xrnantic and the syntactic, and especially the philosophical hierarchy that submits the latter to the former (M, 270). How, then, are p. we to characterize the irreducible metaphoricky to which a deconstruction o the philosophical discourses on metaphor gves rise, that f is, an opersrion that fallows a cerrain logic of thcse d i m u r n to its necessary conclusion, and that recognizes the necessity of marking o f that result from its homonym within the d i m u r x o philosophy! f f The irreducible mctaphoridty of the instituting tropes o philosophy f is to bt characterized as a struchrrc of instituting, of grounding. of deiining, which qud structure, and by virmc o i n plural and residuary f syntax, eliminates itself as origin. This self-dsrmction of metaphor, although similar in s many ways to thc Hegclian Aufiebung o o f metaphor in the paro~sia meaning, is totally different from it, if of for no reason other than the abscncc o all rclcology. This self-def struction of metaphor allows Derrida t write, Metaphor, then, alo ways camcs ics dearh within itself (M, p. 2711. This death within metaphor rearha beyand the traditional apposition of dead or Iiving




metaphors, that is to say. beyond the grid within which Ricoeur attempted m m m e r Dcrrida. Metaphoricity, because of its s t r u w r c and the problems i t a r m u n s for, is rhus not co he confused with its empirical (philosophic or literary) hamologue. In Derridas sen% mctaphoricity is a shucturc of rcferral that accounts for the possibility and impossibiIity of the philosophical discourse, yet not insofar as this discourse may be construed as literary (sensible, fictional, and so on) because o irs inwif table recourse to rneraphor and poetic dcvises, but insofar as it is a getreruldiscolrrseon the trtiiwrsal. The literary dimension of the philosophical tcxtis by nature incapable of pointing to, let aloneacmunting for, this constituting nonorigin,ofphilosophy. Seen in this perspective, mctaphoricity is a transcendental concept o{so.ts. Although iris likely that the term I pmpme will meet with a g o d bit of disapproval, I shall call rnetaphoricity a quusitramcendentol. With quasi- 1 wish to indicate that mctaphoricity has a structure and a function similar r o transcendentals without actually being one. In conclusion, let me elaborate briefly on whar I understand by such a notion. Ir certainly makes sense here to define the qeasirranscendental by demarcating it from that to which it seems tocorrespond in Heideggers philosophy, from what I should like to call finite or immanent transcenden&. Awaiting further sysrcmatic and technical f clarification of the notion o a finite manuendental, and its differcnce from and conrinuity with Kants a priori forms of objmive knowledge-farm5 that characnrizc the finite subjectivity and reason o the f human suhiect of cognition-I shall al finite thosc structures in l Heideggers fundamental oncology that characterize Duein. Since Dascin is, according to the Heidrggcr af Being and Time, the exemplary locas o the understanding of thc meaning of Being-that is, f of the Zrosscendens pun! and simple-the finite transccndenrals are those existential structures that constitute Being as Being understood and interpreted. It is clear that such a detcrmination of the transcendental in Heideggcrs thought hinges upon Heideggers concepr of finitude, insofar as it pcrrains to Dusein or man (Mensch) and in particular, after the so-called Kebre, to Being irsclf, although the term of finirudc i, as Birault has shown in his excellent study of Weidegger, s no longer rnentioncd after Weideggers Xant and the Problem of Msmphysics. IS 11 i a concepr rhar has lirtle or no relation to the Judaeos Christian idea of finitude. A5 Birault has demonstrated, Heidepgcrs concept of finitude does not coincide with the ontico-ontological idea o a summum ne-enr in its diffcrence fmrn L summum em. Nor can it f



b conceived of in terms o the classical or modern forms of the oub e f on or the me on. Rather, Hcideggers finite concept of thc tnnscendental is a function o his investigation into the scrtlctures of the logos f of k i n g , whether this investigation is pursued in thc perspective of an analytic of the Dosein o , as after the Kehrc, in the pcnpactive o r f Being itself. whereas Heidcggers discovery ofthe finite tranxwdentals is the result o his philosophizing logic, the logos of Being, Dcrridas quasif transmdenta~sare a function o his inquiry into the condrtions ,of f possibility and impossibility of the logic of philosophy as a discursive enterprise. (Discursive is meant here t include the conceptual, h e o torjcal, argumenraiive, and textual order of philosophy as the thought of unity.] The quasimnsandcntals-metaphoridcy, for instanceupon which pbilosuphys universality is grounded are no longer rimply transcendcntals, for they represent neither a priori s r c u o tut m f the subjective cognition of objects nor the structures of understanding o Being by &he Dasein. The quasiaanscendenlals are, on the contrary, f conditions o possibility and impossibility concerning the very conf ceptual difference between subject and object and even between Daein and Being. Nor arc quasimnscendcntals Cnite, as one could provc by pointing to Derridas persistent critique of the notion of finitude. Instead of being situated within the traditional conceptual space that stretches from the pole o the finite to that of infinity, quasitranscenf dentah, more importanr, are at the border of the space of organized contamination which they open up. Unlike the finice transcendental smmm that preserve the difference between the a priori and the empirical order (though for Heidegger, Being is clearly not exterior to the cxistent) bccausc they represent answers to fwdumentul qucstions, onto-phcnomenotogid or not, concerningthe essence of k i n g , the quasiuanwndentals an: siruarcd ar the margin o the discincdon f between the transcendental and the anpirical. They teinxribe the opposition of fact and principle, which, in all its metaphysical, onrological,and transcendental forms, has always functioned within the system of the question what is (OG, p 75). Therefore, the quasi. ztanscendmtals cannot be said m account by means of mom rodiwliy fundamenral concepts-say. by a more radica1 concepr of presence (Anurem~)-for the presence (Pr;iretrJ o metaphysics. By dislocating f the opposition o fact and principle-that is, by accounting for this f conceptual differencc as difference-the quasimnscendentals, instead of being more radical, seem to be characterized by a certain irreducible erratic contingency. This contingency of the Derridean transccnden-



tats. their aleatory heterogeneity, is, however, nothing less than that of the structural crrnmainrs t h a t simultaneously open up and close philosophys argumentative discursivity. The question o the quasif rranscendental, o ,quasimetaphoriciry in this case, is a judiciary quesf tion in a new scnse. Instead of inquiring into the a priori and logical credentials of the philosophical discourse. Derridas hetcrology is the setting out of a law that is written on rhc tinfoil of the mirrors between f which thought can either maintain theseparation o fact and principle in an endless reflection of onc another, ar sublatc thcm in an infinite synthesis. Again, it must be emphasized that Derridas developments concerning meraphar cannot simply, without mediation, be integrated f into literary criticism. First o all, meraphor as a figure and tropeand that is the only way in which it affects the discipline of criticismi s overcome in Derridas work by the more general nation of rnetaphoriciry. Second, owing to the particular status of this quasitnnscendental, dcrermjned by the very sptcific phiImophical problems to which it mponds, Derridas theory of metaphoricitycannot beof any irnmedkte concern to literary theory. Finally. the problematic of metaphoridty is also a radical challenge to the generality and universality o a discipline such as iirerary criricism. Only when rhtsc difficulties f have been acknowledged by a discipline that at the same timc would rm have to frce itself f o its status a5 a regional discoursewithout bcing tempted to elevate itself into a new regina rcinttidnrm could literary criticism acquire thc independent means to open itself to such issues as those I have discussed. This, however, would also imply that literary criticism had o p e d itself to a new kind of rationality and a new practice of knowledge.


Bibliography Index



T. Scc my * Smung and h u n g : Norn on Pawl dc Man, Din-. arifirs, 11, no. 4 (Winter 19811, 36-57, and cspccially In-Diffcrmce t o Philosophy: D Man on Knnr, Hcge!. and Nicrzuhe, in Reudmg de Mum t Reading, ed. Wad Codeich and Lindsay Waters (Minneapolis: Usivcrsjty of Minnesota Press, 1987). A h all. see Stefan0 Rosco, An lnrcrvicw with Paul dcMan, NWOUO Comntc. 31 (19841,303-314, where De Man himsclf spcako of this diffcrcncc between his own work and Dcrridas. 2. Barbara Johnson, Taking Fideliry Phi[osophically, in DiHermce in TramlaFion, cd. J. F. Graham (Ihaca: Cornell Uniwrsiry h 1985), p. , 143. 3. Jacqus D d d a , The lime of a Theis: Punctuations, in Philosophy in France Tmby, cd. A. Montefiori (Cambridge: Cambridge Univmiry P, 1982). p- 39. 4. Edgar Allan be, The Pudojncd M e t . in ,PM@ mrd Tuks ( N m Yo&: Library o America, 1984). p. 694. f
I. Dcfining Rdectian
1. Dieter Hmrich. Identitrst m d Objekriuitit: E k U~tcmrchrmg iibn K m b hunszertdmlale Dedvlttion (Hcidclbcrg: Carl Winter, 19761, p. 83. Here and elxwherc throughout this book. whcrc no translator is named. the
translation is my own.

2. Edmund Husrcrl. I&. trans4.W. L. Boyce Gibwn (New York: Humanitics Prcss, 1969). p. 191; Johann Gortlicb Ficbtc, W & e , cd. 1. H. Fichte (tkdtn: dc Gruym, 1971),1,67. 3, Hans Blurncnbcrg, Licht ah Metapher dcr WahrhGt, S d k m Gme*u/c,10, no. 7 (1957).

3 z=



4. Herbert Schnidelbach, R&xio# und Diskurn: figem einn h g i k der Pbilnsophie (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1977). pp, 6Sff. For the following brief characterization of the history of reflection, I am greatly indebted to Schnldelbachs study. 5. lrnmmuef Kant, Criliqlre of Pme Reason. trans. N. K, Smith [New York: MacMillan, 19681, p. 267. 6. [bid., p. 287, 7. Hurrcrl, I d e a pp. 215, 219; SCC also Martin Hcidcggcr, Rolegonrmc evr Geschidrre de$Zeithtif(f$.GesmIdvsgabe, XX {Fmnkfurr: Klostermann, 1979), p. 132. 8. Apart from the more narrowly psychological or introspective sen% of re&?don. thcna~ralisticmnccpt reflection. thcrcacc obviously more of rypes of renecrinn than those Ihave distinguished here. For a more exhausrive review, see the entry Reflexion, by Hans Wagner, in Handbitch Phihsopbischer C m d b q r i f f e ,ed. H. Krings et al. {Munich: Kirscl Vcrlag, 1973). pp. 1203-1211. Scc also Hans Wagncr, Philosophic m d Rcflcxion (Munich:
Reiohardr, 1980).

9. Hans Hcinz Holz, Die Sclbstinterprctation d t r Seins, in HegelJuhrbuch (Munich: Dobbeck. 1961). 11, 83.

2. The Philosophy of Reflection

1. Ccorg Wilhelm, Friedrich Hegel, Fuirb and Knowledge, tmm. W. G r f and 4.5. Harris (Albany: Stare University of New York Pms. 19771,
p, 189.

2. Georg Wilhelrn Friedrich Hcgel, Phenomenology of Spirit. trans. A. V. Miller (Oxford: Oxford University Prcss, 1979). p. 18.
3. As to the determination of reffection as freedom. Hcg4 shows that this m 3 i n s an abstracr determination whose refation r the obiective world o i s one of an endless procerr of approximation. ofa StrtGcn or Soflrn. 4. H-I, Faith and Knowledge. p. 77. 3. Eugkne Flcischmann, Ln Scimce universef/eou fa lop+? de ,Hegel (Paris: Plon, 19hS),p. 138, 6. jean Hyppolire, Figures de 1 pens& philosophiwe (Paris: Prrsscs 0 Univcrsiraires dc France. 1971). I, 195. 7 Flcischmann, La Science universcfle,p. 183. Rcischrnann continues: . In afl c a s e docs Kanrian mediation have this rcflcxivccharamr .. . : r h m arc two separate t h i n g defimcd as in opposition. and one is in search of a third to link them together. This third element i s not a thing properly speaking, but a relation (Vo.hiiir~nisJ, an entirely pejorative term for i.e.. Hegcl It is impossible M tic the separated and bipolarly opposed clcmenrs together by means d an exterior link situated behueen both (pp. 183-184). 8. Hegel, Foith and Knowledge. p. 72. Subsequent references t this o work will he cited parenrherically i r i the ICXC




3 53

9. Gmrg Wilhclm Fricdrich Hcgel, Science of Ldgil.trans. A. V. Miller I c Yo& Humniries Press, 19691, p. S89. Nw 10. Fritdrih Wilhelm Joseph Schclling, Systrm of Tranmmhtul I& slim, mnr. P. Heath (Chrrlottnvillc: University Pms of Virginia. 1478), pp. 14-31. 1 . H-I, Phrnommologyof Spirit. p. 1 . 1 0 1L Je8n Hypplirr. Logiqrrc ei c*islmce (Faris: Prrsxs Univmitaim dc France, 1953, p: 106. 13. Hegels amque of reflerrion a n thus alsa k viewed as rhe radical dcparmrc of a philosophy of integral immanence from the idea o a beyond. f Hyppohc describes this aspect of Hegels criticism of Kants philosophy of reflection in rhc following nrms: Hcgetian philowphy rcjccrs alt transcendcnu. It ia the attcrnpt at a rigomus philosophy that could claim t remain o within the immanenr, and not t lcavc it. There is no other ,world, no thing o in imlf, no transcendence, and yet hire human dmughr is not condemned to remain a prisoner of its finitude. It surmounts iself, and what it m e a l s ,or manifests is king i l l (Figures, I, 159). wwr

3. The Self--De5rrucrion of Rtfleccion

1. See a h Qominiquc Dubarle, L zogiquc de la &exion s la trana sition dc la Iogique de fem a ccllc de Icsuncc. in Die Wismschafi der h g i k m d die Logik der R q L d o a , ed. D. Hcnrich, Hegel-Stdiefi, rupplcmcnr 18 (Bonn: Bouvicr, 1978), p. 174. 2. Gcarg Wilhclm Fricdrich Hcgel, The Difference between Fichtes m d Schellings System of Philosophy, trans. H. 5. Hams and W. I k f (Albany: State University of New York Press, 19771,p. 94. Further rcfcrences t this work will be cired parenthetically in the text. o 3. G r o g Wilhclm FEicdrich Hegel, ScmtceofLogic. trans. A. V. Miller (NewYork: Humaniticr Press, 1969), p. 611. 4. For the differcna i the use of +prcrrlolive in the early Schdling and n Hcgtl, scc Klaus Diking, Spekulaoon und Redexion; in Hegcl-Studmen (1969), 95-128. V. 5. See Wcmcr &&cr, %pckulation, in Hmrdhcb philosopbischcr cmrdbcgryfe, td. H. Krings ct al. (Munich: K k I Vcrlag, 1974), V, 1368. 6. Ibid., p. 1370. 7. Paul Rimcur, The R v k of Metaphor. mans. FL k r n y V o r n n b University of Toronto Pms, 1977), p, 300, 8. Hans-Gmtg Cahmcr, Truth and Mr (New Ymk: Seabury P w s , cM 197s). p. 423. 9. Hegel, Scimce of Logil, pp. 440441. 10. Ceorg Wlilhelm F S r i c h Hegcl, W d c in m m i g B a n d m (Frankfum Suhrkamp, 19701, XI, 271.

3t 4


11. Ccorg Wilhclm Friedrich Hegel, Phmommofogy of Spirit, trans. Oxford Univcrsiry Press, 19791, p. 38. 1 , The categorial distinction between subject and prcdicatc an which 2 habinral (material or formal) rhoughr is b a d prcsuppmes. as J o d Simon har demonstrated, an implicitly static rvnception o language SeeJosef Simon, f The Carcgorics i n the Habitual and in the Speculative Proposition! Obxwations on Hcgcls Concept o Soena, trans. C. Heilbrunn, Coneemf pomry G m m Philosophy, 4. E Christensen cr al. (University Park: D. . PcnnDylvania State Univursiry P m s . 19831, II. 122-1U. 13. Conrp, Wlhclm Friedrich Hcgcl, Faith m d Knowledge. rrans. W. Cctf and H. S. Harris (Albany: State University of N m York Prcss, 19771, p. 8. 0 14. Jcan Beaufret. Hcgcl ct F proposition spPculativr, in Dialogue a uvec Heideggcr (Paris: Minuit, 1973), 11. 115. 15. Werncr Mam. Absolute Reflexion urrd Spruche (Frankfurt: Klortcrmann, 1967). p. 16. 16, Wcgcl. Phenomenology of Spirit. pp. 38-39. 17. Martin Heidcggcr, Seminar on Hcgcls DiffmrachrifL The Southwestern lournal of Philosophy. 11, no. 3 (ISSO).3R. 18. This solution of the reflective differences on the level of judgment p d n , in Scimce of Logic. t L birth of thc Conupt, which alone i s thc true synthesis of these nllcctive difficulties insofar as. i n ir. syllngism and

V. Millcr (Oxford:

self-consciousness bxome tdcnrical.

19. Hegel. Phhmmrrenohfl ufspiril, pp. 39-40. 20. M a n , Abrvluie Reflexion. p. 22. 21. Sce ibid., pp. 3 1-32, and Gadnrner. Twth snd Method. p. 423. 22. Rimcur, The Rub of Mcrophar, p. 304. 23. Jean Hyppolire, Logique el existence (Paris: PTCFSCI Univcrsitaircs dc France. 19S~3),pp. 9 4 4 5 . 24. Ibid., p. 9.5.
4. Identity, Totality, and Mystic Rapture

m d SchelfmgS Systcm

1. Cmrg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, The D i f f m c e h e h e n Fichles of Philosophy, trans. H.S. Harris and W. Cerf (Albany: State Univerriry of New York Press, 1977). pp. 181. 162. Further refetrnces t this work will be cired parenthetically in the text o 2. Ccorg Wilhclm Friedrich Hegcl, Faith utrd Knowkdge, trans. W. terf and H. S. Harris (Albany: Statc University of New York Pms, 19771, p. 132. 3. Gmrg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Science nfLogic, trans. A. V. Miller (New York: Hummitics Press, 1969), p. 414. 4. Before disringuishing this concept o totality from its Rornanricmunf terpart, Icr us linger one momcnr tanger on how i t muln from a dialectical


ovcrcomingof thcaporiasofscflccrion. 1have argucdlhatHcgclsspcculativc critique of the metaphysics of reflection brings to tht fort the idea of totality as the ground presupposed by all retlcctive separation. But in order t~ grasp what disringuishtx Hcgcle concept of tutdity, and thus his critique of the philosophy of teflection, f m that o Fkhtc, Jacobi, Schelling+ and FrEcdrich mm f Schlqel, one must undersrrnd ihc way in which rhc progressive evolution or %If-consuucriono the Absolute or all-encompassing torality takes place. f As we have yen, the totaliry is moted in a sysrematic mediation of t h e opposed plcs created by the separating action of understanding. T h i s m e diation can best be graspcd in Hzyls discussion o the nflmive detctrnif nations. For Kant, the reflective dctcrminadons are the most universal laws normatime of rhinking. They are h e categories o understanding by which f an e t t perceived as singular be nmssarily r e l a d to another such entiry. niy The reflective determinations fix the diffcrenr ways in which understanding links one entity ro another. Yct for Kant, particularly in Critique ofludg. mort-and for f i c h e as wcll-the reflective determinations are determinations of undmtandiig and farm n@d antinomies As Fichtes system dearly dcmonrtratcs, tcflectivc dcrcrminations remain ruspendcd in antinomid synthcxs, which arc not truly dialectical because rhcy opm up to an infinite or rathcr endlcss p m of mcdiation. I\s Genrg Lukia has obsccrved, one of Hegels most important methodologicaldiscoveris is that thcv reflective determinations are not static but are dynamically linked to the passage from undcrsranding r Reason. Hcgel rccogniaed thar rhey arc essential to the o overcoming of the difference, which is abyssal to underscanding, between appearance and essence, the singular and t h e universal. See Ceorg Lukdcs, Zur Onralogic &s Gesclkdufilichen Stins (Neuwicd: Luchtcrhand, 1971),

p. 84. Although thc m f l m i v e dctermina&n. appear to b esmriuf dcnmma. dons (Wesmbeiren)compared to thc singular entities o permption, and thus f 5ccm resistant to any possible invcrsion into their apposite, H g l demonee straw, in the water Logic in particular, &at the rcfleciive determinations arc not cLwnccs entirely indifferent to and indepndcnt from onc anothcr but are. on the contrary, entirely dominated by Pasidnew, that is, by their relation to Other. Bur if the categories verningly wlf-sufficientand isolatcd nature hinges on their relation m othet categories, tbey can IY) longer be rigidly o p p o d to what they m e to explain: the obiccts of perception. Nor can rhey any longer be juxtaposed t each other. Thus the categorim, or o d e c r i v e determinations, appear as par4 of a whole, of the Absolute, or more prcciscly, they ere shown 10 acquire their conmnness only in tbc pasage they bring about from their abstract isolation as determinations of understanding to determinations of the thinking of the Absolatc. Hcgel emphasizes their rtlarivc ncccpoity, i f not indispensability, with rcspect to the passage from philosophical d m i o n t sprmlrtion. Tbihir passage appcan o m be the rcpulr of a n inner dialectic o the reflective determinations rooted f

3 26


in their which the negarivity r 4 t j n g from their relation ro one another causts them to evolve progrssively into the developed totality o hought, which they could not but presuppose as their. and their objects, f common gmund. It is thus imporrant t realize thar for Hcyl, the absolutc mtaliry i s not o a vagw idea but a gmund rhat truly assumes its p u n d i n g furdon when cxpoundcd in all in logical ramifications.

S. Post-Hegelia* Criticism of Reflexivity

1. I shall not mamime hem the ways in which speculative mflcction coincides wirh or differs from the Romantic nurion of reflcxiviry, bur shall criticized the Romantie lor their religious mmtion only that Hcgcl ~ v c r c l y

mysticism and for prolonging the Kantian dichotomia rather than corning gxips with them. I inrcnd rocximine this particular problem in P different study. 2. Gmrg Wilhclm Friedrich He@, Pbmattmology of Spin?, trans. A. V. Miller (Oxford: Orfard Univmiry b s , 1979). p. 12. 3. H a n s k r g Gadamer, Truth und Method [NewYork: Scabury Prm, 19751, p. 308. 4. Dieter Henrich, Hcgcls hgit d t r Reflexion: Ncuc Fassung, in HrgcCSnrdicn. Supplement 18 (Bonn: Bouvicr. 19781, p. 305. 5. For a more detailed dtfinition of the procedure o manrttuction, f see Dieter Henrich, Idmirut wnd Obiekfivilur (Heidclbcrg: Carl Winter,

1976), p. 10. 6. The w d rophroqme is untranalatabk in English. It refers, however. t somerhing at the intersectinn of self-knowlcdgcand temperance, with mno France understood to consist i n an easy and natural self-remint grounded not in graceless and difficult self-discipline, but in thc pleasure of knowing oneself to bc tempcrate. 7 Plara, Collected Dialogues, ed. L Hamilton and H. Cairn3 (Prinmon: . Princeton University IM. 19691, p. 113, see 167c-c. 8. Hans-Gcorg Cadamer. Vorgcstalan dcr Reflexion, in Snbjektiviriit u d Memupbysik: Festschriff f i r Wol/gung Crumer, cd. D. Henrich and H. Wagner (Frankfurt: Klosrrrrnann, 19691, pp. 138ff. See PISO Hcrbert Schnadelbach. Rcflcxion und Diskkurr (Frankfurt: Suhrkarnp. 14771,p. 101.

9. Chnracrcrized by the property of self-movcmcnt, the platonic soul, not suphrosyne. suggests an antcccdenr TO absolute retlcction. Absolute reflcnion is defined as selt-muvrrnenr of the Concept o r Notion, as a movcment rhat i n the very act of in forward drivc Nrns amund and upon , i d 1within

ID. S e x m Empiricur, Against the Logicims, trans. R. C. Bury (Cambridge, M s , Harvird University Pms, 19571, pp. 163-164. as: 11. Dieter Hcnneh, Rchtes On(tinal Insight, trans. D. R. Lachm-




man. in Contonporary Cmnrm Rbilorophy. ed. D E Chrimsm ct el. . (Univmity Park: PcnnsylmniaState Univmity Pres, 1982). I, 20. 12. [bid.. p. 21. 13, Ibid., p. 22;see dso Dimr Henrich, rWbstbcwusstscin: Kririschc Einldtung in cine Tha~rie, in Hmetrrurik m d Diafebtik, cd. R Eubner et al., (Tiibingcn: Mofir, 19711, I, 265-266. 14. Henrich. Fichas Original Inright, p. 21. 15. Henrid, %lbsrbmusaracin, p. 267. 16. Henrich, Fichres Ori-1 I n s i i t ; p. 22. 1 . Henrid, %Ibntbwosocin: 7 p. 280. 18. Henrid ~ c m t link his theory of a stlflm mKiousncss t Slur s o o srls themy o mnrciousncsli in Logicdl Inwsrigorionr (especially in it6 first f version).HusscrI had tried to establish by this theory 4 i he l m abanAh a dontd) that IO assume a subject or f as a constitutive principle or as d an irreducible rnanmr of eansdaumas ir only Mp i t a ratio nmard, which explains nothing. S Konrad Cramcr, Erlebnis: T h e n zu Hegels Thmrie u dcs Selbsthewussstins mit Rijcksicht auf die Aprien cines Grundbegriffs Nachhegdschtr Philosophic, in Hegel-Studinr, Supplemcnr 11, cd. H A . Gndnmcr ( o Bouvicr, 1974), p. 547. Bw 19. Ulrich Pothast, Ubbn einige hagm dm Selbs?be&urrg (Ftanklort on the Main: Klmrermmn, 19711, pp. 76-77. 20. bid., pp. 104-105, 21. Walter Schulz, Das Problem dw Absolvinr Retlrrion (Frnnkfurt Klcstcnnann, 19631, p. 17. 22 Ibid., pp. 16-17. 23. Ibid., p 31. . 24. GeorgWilhelrnFdcdrich Hqel,S&eofh.#c, rranr.AV. Miller fNcw Yotk: Humnnidp b 19691, p. 405. , 25. Cramer, Edtbnis p. 594. 16. Ibid, p. 603. 27. Emst Tugendbat, Selbstbeunrpstwin ruedSclbst6estimmrmg (frankfait: Suhtkamp, 1979), pp. 33-34. 28. hid, p. 57. 29. Schrddclbach. Re@~ion wd Diskurn, p. 136. 30. Ibid., p. 4 .

6. Beyond Refkction

1. Arirmtk, Metuphysk, mns. R. Hope (Ann Arbor: Univenicy of Michigan k, 197s). 1041a15. 2. Friedrich N d c , On #he C*lwbgyof Morals and E c e Homo, d W,Kaufmaon (New York: Vintage, 1969). p. 15.
3. Ibid.. p. 2S4.



4. Wilhelm Dilthcy, Sckecred Writings. rrans. H P Rickman (Cam. . bridge: Cambridge Univerrirj Prm, 1976), p. 242. 5 Martin Hcidegger, Being and Time, mns. J. M a q u a m e and E Ro. . binmn (lnndon: SCM, 1962). p. 175. Furthcr rcferrncrs t~ this work will be c i t d parcnthctically in the text. 6. Martin Heidegger, The Bmic Problems of Phmonrmo~qy, trans. A. Hofstadter (Blmmingron: Indiana University Press, 1982).p. 175. Furrhcr rchrenccs to this work will be cited parmtbcticatly in the text. 7. Diercr Henrich, Hegels Logik dcr Reflexion: Neuc Fassung, in HcpI-Studicn. Supplement 18 (Bonn: Bouvicr. 1978). p. 307. 8 . Martin Heidegger, HegelsConceptofExperimce. trans. K R. Dove . (NewYork: Harpcr and Row, 1970), p. 147. 9. Werner Ftach. Negozion rrnd Andcrshcii: Ein Beifrag zwr Probknuriik der Ltzztinrplikution (Wunburg: Ernrt Rcinhadt Vcrlag, 1959), p. 45. Funher references to this work will h cird parcntherically in the rexr. 10. Such a distinction between two concepn of heterogeneity i s remin i w t o a similar distinction i n rhe work of Cwrges Baraille. See my a s a y f LAlmanach hetirologique. Nuom Corenle, 66 (19751, 3-60. I I. Plato, Tbe Collected Dialogues, ed. E. Hamilton and H.Cairns (Princeton: Princeton Universirj Prcss, 19801, pp. IOlStf. Rcfercnm t this o work will be tited partnthctiully In the texr. 15. Flach thorsccms tosharewith Platothe thcmcofcornplcmcntarity. Although Flachr complcmmrarity o rhe one and ihc Other seems to bc f quite different from Platos complcmcnra~ virtues, whose mrnplemcntarity is a function of their nryatively deretrninrd conrcnt within one whole, the question remains whether Flachs heterology is not already programmed by Plato. 13. In responx to an cssay by R I.Cumming, The Odd Coupk: ) Hcideggcrandkrrida, The Rsuiew ofMctapbysks. 34, no. S (1981). 487521, let us nore that instead of illustrating in an exemplary fashion a certain limitarion af Derridas reading of a famous Van Cogh painting I Restin tutions, i h VerifP en peinzwc. a6 Cumming suggests, Derridas ehnier n of the shoelam as a guiding thrcad, constantly untied and rcknottcd i n his snalynr, opens up rather than c l m his reading nor only ro a reinscriprion of Heideggers and Shapims interprmation within his uwn but in particular to the decisive question of symplokc. Instead of a limitztion, the choice of the laces proves ro be a 61 mnducteur toward a dcmnstmction of the traditional conccpr of symplokc and its rcarrangcmcnt. so as to makc it capabk o including that kind of heterogeneity that is disruptive of torality. f 14. Hegel, The Differenre between Fiches and Schelling> Syrte-m of Philosophy. trans. H. 5 . Harris and W.Cerf (Albany: State Universiry o f New Yurk Press, 1977), p. 15% 15. Aristoile. Mcluphysics. 1006b10.




7 Abbau, Dcsimktion, Qecasrruction .

1. I have written elsewhere of &e relation o l dmnstru&n to hypern$&on in Merleau-Pony. !%ceDcconrmction as criticism, in GIflb 6
(Baltimore: Johns Hopkins U n i m i r y Press, 1979). pp. 177-215. 2. Edmund Husscrl, Experience o n d j d g m c n t , trans. J. 5. Churchill and K. Amcriks (Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern Univeniry Press, 1973), pp. 47-48.

3. David Cam, PbctromL.ndugynndrhe Pmblm of H i m n y (Evamtm, Ill.! NorrhwcsternUnivmify Press, 19741, p. 231; see alsopp.200-231 and
pp. 261-265 for a more detailed dmloprncnr o the prcvious argument. f 4. For the manner in which this whole pmblem i s linked to the qumtion

o finirude in Knsxrls l a w work, xe 0, p. 105. f 5. Edmund Humrl, Idem. trans. By. R. Boyce Gibson (Ncw York: Humanities P , 1?69),p. 147. 6. Martin Heidcgser, The Basic h b l m s of Fhmommology, tans. A. Hobtadtcr (Blwmington: Indiana Univmiry Press, 19821, pp. 22-23. 7. Jbid., p. 21. 8. Martin H c i d w r , Scing und T k ,rani. J. Maquarrie and E Robinson (London: SCM. 1962). p. 63. 9. Ibid.. p. 44. 10. Mcidcggcr, Busic Problem ofPbcnornmofogy, p. 21. 11. Ibid., p. 22. 12. Ibid., pp. 21-23. 13. Emsr Cassircr and Manin Hrid-r, Dkbut mr Ie Kmtisnrc # lu phitowpbk (Duuos. Mum4 1929) et ~rrnii m de 1929-1931. 4 P. k . Auknque [Paris: kuchesnc, 19721, p. 24. 14. Manin Heidcggcr, On thc Way to bngwgc, tram. P. D Hcm . (New York: Harper and Row, 1971), p. 96. IS. Heideggm, Being a d Time, p, 44. 16. Martin Hrideggrr, On rhc k i n g and Conception of P h s i s in Arimdes Phy5ia B, I, m s T.J. Sheehan, Man und World, 9. no. 3 n.
(August 1976), 241. 17. Ibid., pp. 225-226. 18. %id., p. 226.

19. Manin H c i d e w , tdmtiry ard Diffmw, mns. J. Stambaugh (Ntw York: Harprr and Row, 19691, p. 52. 20. Ibid.. p. 49. 21. Mnrtin Heid-r, The Qw& of M g , mans. W. Kluback and J- T Wilde (NewYork: Twayne, 19$8), p, 103. . 22. Hcidcggr, ldmtify a d Difference, p. 64. 23. Martin Heidcbgcr, Besic Writimp, cd. D F Krcll (New York: . . Harpcr and Row, 19771, p. 236.



24. Mamn H i c g r The Qwrior Concerning Tecbnofogymrd Other cd g e , Essays. trans. W. Lovitt (NewYork: Harper and Row. 1977), p. 1 RD. 25. Ihid. 26. LOreille de lmtre: Texvs PI dibarr auec ]acques Derrida, cd. C.Lcvsquc and C. V. McDonaM {Montreal: Vlb Editcur, 19B2),pp. 116-

119. 27 Jacques Dcrrida. The Time of P Thesis: Puncrualions, in Philos. opby in Frmce Toduy, cd. A Montefiori (Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press, 1982). p, 44.

28. 1,OreiIlede Iaune. p. 118.

8. Deconstwctivc Methodology
1. Gmrg Wilhrlm Friedrich Hcgcl,

Fhe~~ornrn~!ogySpirit. trans. of


V. Miller (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1979). p. 29.

2 Ceorg Wilhrlm Friedrich Wegel, The Science of Logic, rrans. A. V. . Millrr (New York: Humanities Press, 1969), p. 826. 3. Jacqucr Dcrrida, hLangue er le dismurs dc la rnhhode, in Recherchts sur la phihophie cf le Iunguge. no. 3 (Crcnoblc: Univcrsiti dcs Sciences Socialer de Crcnoblc, 19831, pp. 44-48. 4. Sec also W D , p. 263,whrrc Dcrrida r e f m to Hegel as one wha is always right, as mon as one opens oncs mouth in order 10 amcutaremeaning 5 . See Vincent Dewombcs. Modem French Philosophy. trans. I.. ScottFox and j. M.Harding (Carnbridgr: Cambridge University Prrss, 1980). p.

6. See a k a Jacques Dcrrida, Economimesi~ rrans. R. Klcin. Diacritics, 11, no. 2 (Summer 1981), 22. 7. Paul Ricoeur. The Rule of Metaphor. trans. R. Czcrny Foronro: Univemity of Toronto Press. 19771. p. 287. 8 Louis blchusscr, For M m r , trans. B. Brcwster (London: NLB. 19771, . p. 1 . 94 9. 5cc Sigmund Freud, Tbhe lnrerprctution of Dreams, rrans. J. Strachcy (Ncw York: Avon Books, 1965), pp. 152-153, andJoResand Their Relation to the Unconscious, trans. J. Strachey (NewYork: Norton. 1963). pp. 62, 205. LO. See, for insrancc, Jacques Dcrrida, The Retrait of Mttaphor, . trans. F. Gasdner c t al., Enclitic. 2 no. 2 (Fall 1978). 19. 11. Ourwork, Prefacing is thc introduction to D i s s m k r i o n . Titre I prfciscr, Nuow cmmmte. 28 (19111). 7-32. 12. Friedrich Schlegefs Lucinde and the Frugments. trans. P. Firchow {Minncaplis: University of Minnesota P m , 1971), p. 247. 13. Derridas criticism of neurtaliry aims not only at a m a i n ncutrnlizing a s p a of Hqelian diafmics hut atso at Hurscrlr concept of ncurraliry-modificatiun. which is cnrircly different from that o negation: scc f

NOTES 10 PAGES 139-173.


Eibund Husscd, I&, mans. W.R. Boycc Gibson (New York Humanities

Refs 1969). pp. 306H. For reasons ofbrevity, however, 1 shetl not bnhcr
invatigarc &is linc o thought. f 14. It is intemting to note in passing that this Romantic conccpnon af pnetry and literary criticism w a s the first to c a m the epithet nihiliaic,

which now saves trpditionalist criria to d s i g a n deconnruaive criticism.

15. Inasmuch as one of them [Fichtc refers hcrc TOopposite perccpa] is further dctcnnined, the other is likewise, simply because they stand in a relation o interdmnnination. But for rhc 5ame reason. ont of the two must f bc detcmincd 6y its& and not by the other, since otherwise there i no cxir s fmrn the circle of interclctermination. Johann.Gottlieb Fichtc, The srience af Knowledge, trans. P. Heath and J. Lachs (Cambridge: Cambridge University Pms, 1982). p. 210. 16. Hegel, Scima of hpk, p. 433, Further rcfercnccr to this work will be a parmthctimlly in the text. d 17. Immanuel Kant, Critique of P m Rwcorr. trans. N K. Smith (New . York: MaMilEan, 196R), p. 9. 18. In this context, Dmidas inin autobiography must be partly explained by his ongoing &bate with thtdassical problem o philosophical f accounting. Indced, one of the b a r n o autohiapphy i s h e clrssical tom f of rhe mcomiunr,. by which the autobiographical and biographical =If-conxiousecss of an individual is shaped in the pubtic square. See, for instance, M.M.Bakhtin. The Didogic Imuginutiom, trans. C. Emerson and M. Holquist (Austin: University ofTexas Press, 19811, pp. 130-135. 19. As a point of inmest it should be mentioned that the pmbFem o f the infrastructure implicitly informs Demdas intmducrion t Husscrls Oro i g h of Geometry. It is important m note that what this intmductiona m p is nothing 1 than to show the possibility o history. Indeed, it is in t h i s f context that the idea of infrastructure is fitst put r work. o LO. Jacqu- Dcmda, The Time o a Thcsis: Punctuations, in Philosf ophy in Frmw To&, ed. A. Monafiori (Cambridgc: Cambridge University Prrpr, 1981). p. 45. 21. Martin Heidtggcr, Po, hngmge, Thowghi, mans. A. Hofstadter (New York: H a m and Row, 19711, p. 24. 12. Sac also Dcrtida, Emnomintsis, p. 4, for a dimmion of h e relation of restricted and gcncrrl economy. Dmida wrim, Their rclation must be one neither ofidentity nor of contradiction but must be orher. 23. Plato, Timaeus 52b-c, in The Collcaed Oielogues. trans. E Ham. ilton and H.C a i r n s (Princeton! Princeton University Pms, 19B01, p. 1179. 24. Dmida, Emnomimcsis, pp. 22-24. 25. M a m n HcidcgSa, Nie&. I. Thr Will i , P o w us Art, trans. o D.F Krcll (New YO&: Harper and Row% 1979), p. 209. . 26. For further discussion o the two rrcps o dccanmuetion, see my f f essay Drmnstnrction as Crincism, Glyph 6 (Baltimom Johns Hopkins


NOTE5 TO PACE5 175-201

University Prcus, 19791, pp. 177-21s. Considering rhat the t e r m that is privileged by the mcrsal of hicrarchicaf bipolar mnmptual appositions is only the first step of dcmnstruction, a step by which the phantoms o the f beyond of philosophy becomesingled out, i t is improper to believe that this reversal would imply a valorization of t h e phantoms. How indeed muld an image or concept rhar SETVCS to hold rhc Oihcr of philosophy in check be valorized? Writin& for instance, is nothing bur a ncgarive way in which philosophy has deak wirh rhc beyond of irs own dixnurw. For this reason. ir is absurd 10 accuse Dcrrida of a s n of graphoccntrism wirhour cvcn o remarking that such a notion is a mntradiaion in terms. T h e xwod step of deconstruction, in which the negative image is bestowed wmrh traits repressed within the metaphysical determination o the cuncepr of wriring-mits rhat f bccome libcratcd to their h l force of generality-radically d i s p l a a the u negative imagr 01 the beyond of philosophy that is writing. The infrastructure called archc-wriring i s an outside of thc discourse of philosophy and no longer ha5 anything in common with i t s negative image, except for the name. The accusation ~Cgraphocfnrrismis thus emonenus for t h e two rcasons a t leasr.

27. Hcgcl, Pbenomcnology of Spirit, p, 40,

9. A System beyond Behg

1. P l a n The Collected Dialopes, 4 L Hnmilton and H. C a i r n s . (bnccton: Princeton University Press, 1980), p. 744. L Manin Hcidcggcr, The Essence of Reacon, trans. T Malick (Ev. anston, 111.: Northwestern University Prcrs, 1969). p 9311. . 3. Yet a5 Dieter Hcnrich has remark&, ir was Ficbte who first u+ed this concept. in rhe coniexr of an elucidationof the suucmte o rhc self (Ich). f Scc Dieter Hcnrich. Fichtcs Original [nsight, trans. D R. Lachtermsn, . Conremporury Getmon P h i h o p b y (University Park: PennsylvaniaState University Prcss, 19821, I 30. , 4. Martin Hcidegger, Being ond Time. trans. J. Macquanie and E. RQ binson (London: SCM. 1962), p. 170. S. Mamn Heideggcr. h g i k : Die Frage nach der Wahrhei!. Gesamtousgobe, XXI (Frankfam Klmtermanu. 1976), p. 226. 6. Werner Flach, Negution und Andersheit: Ein Beitrag zur Prubiemdrik drr Lanimplikarion (Munich: Ernst Reinhardt Verlag, 1959), p. 18. 7. Ihid,, p. 44. 8. Rodolphe Gaschi, Nontotalization without Spuriousnew H g l ee and Dcrrida on thc Infinite? Tbr~oournul oftbe British SoEiay for PhmometralagV (Fall 1986). 9. Edmund Husscrl, Logicaf Inwsrigutions, trans. J.N. Findlay (New Ynrk: Humanities Press, 1970). I,274. 10. Ccurg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. En?rkfopadicd~PhilosOpbisEhen



Wksmchf&n, 11, Wcrhe m erumrztg 6&& (Frankfort: Suhrkamp, 19701,

1% 3 f . 5f
11. Martin Heidcggcr, O n Time m d B e , cran5. J. Stambough (New York: ltarpcr and Row, 19773, p. 16. 12. For the similarity bawccn the supplcment and tht p h a m l o n . see 0, p. 109; brtwm the supplement and the pnmgorr, SEC VP, pp. 65, 69,

74. 14. Dmida has anal+ this aspect o the rc-mark under the name f his article *The R m i t .af Meaphar, rrans. F. Casdner n al., hditk 2, no. 2 (Fall 19781, 5-33. 14. Ibid, p. 18. 15. Fdmund Husxrl, P&ronrmology md thc cririr of Philosvpby, m s Quende Luer (Near York: Harper and Row. 19651, pp. IObff. n. 16. JacquesD C d , Living On: Border Lines, in Deconstructionm d GiticLm. 4 H Bloom CI PI. .. (NewYork: Scabury, 19791, pp, 90-91. 17. Jacques Derrida, Emnomimesis, trans. R Ktcin, Diamtics, 11, no, 2, (Summer 19811,ZO. 1 8 , Ibid., p. 21. 19. Martin Heidcggcr, On the Way to h n ~ etrans. P. D H e m . . {Ncw~Yotk: Harper end Row, 1971), p. 192. 20. Kurt Gdel, On Farmuly Undecidable Proporitions of Principiu M & m t i c a m d R e l S y s k m s , rrans. 8. Mcltar (NewYork BaslcBooks. 1962). 21. k atso in this context the rclermce in Thc Double Session t c o the rhmrid figure of the syllepris ( D . p, 220). 22. cirard Grand, Traditionis Tfadirio (Paris: Caltimard, 19721, p. 71. 23. Edmund Husscrl, h&uJ Invcstigalions, 11 {l977),p. 527. Further refmncls m this work will be cited parenthetically in the text. 24. Edmund Husscrl, Idcas, trans, W R. Boyce Gibson (hkw York: . HumanitieE Press, 19691, p. 74. Further references to this work will be cited parenthetically in the tcxt.
retrait in

10. Literature in Purenrbescs

1. J a q m Darida, The Time of a f & h : Punctuations, in Philosopky in frnnre Tooday. ed. A. Monnfiori (Cambridge: Cambridge University

h 1982). pp. 36-37. , 2. Derrida Iinsoumir, Le N m l obseruutenr, September 9, 1983,

p .


3. Edmund H d , Ideas, transK. Gibson (New York: HurnmidcE 8. Pms, 1969),pp. 105-110. 4. Jacqu~lmda.LivingOn:BordcrLi~,rrar. J.Hulbcrr,in Dc.

constnrcrion and Criticism, 4 H.Bbom et a!. (New York: Seabury Prcsq . 19691, p. 1.39. 5. Martin Hcidcgser, On rhe Way to L u n p g e . trans. F D. Hem . m w York: Harper and Row, 1971), p. 192. e 6. Martin H c i d w , Potty, language. Thought. mas. A. Hofsadtcr {New York: Harper and Row, 19711, p. 36.

11. The Insmption of Universalify

1. Richard R o y , Consrqtmices o{Pmgmdm (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 19821, pp: 90-109. 2, Let us recall that cverything that I have developed so far about wriring is valid for literature as wll. Ijrcramre ma i s necessarily plural, and thus calls for the clear distinction of its different genre.. Instead o f dreaming o a romantic rnixturc of a l l gcnns-rhe dream of the literary f absolrm or rranscendennl pocrry-lircranrrc is a grafting according to well-defined l a m o what in C S X ~ C C remains distinct. See. for instance, D. f pp, 243 3nd 244. as wrll a$ The Law of the Genre, Glyph 7 (Baturnore: Johns Hopkinr Univer~iryPress, 1980), pp, 202-232. 3. Derrida. Living On: Border Linci, trans. J Hulbcrt, in Qecom. smrction and Criticism.ed. H.Bloom ct al. (Nov York: habury Prcss, 1979), p. 83. 4. E D. Hirsch, Jr., Derridas Axioms. London R m k w ~f Books, . July 21-Augusr 3. 1983. p. 17. 5. Dcrrida, Living On,* p. 84. 6. Paul Rimcur. Qutst-u qaun texte? i n HmrrenRIllh und Diakktik: Festschrift [Gr Hans-Ccorg Gadumer, F (Tirbingen: Mohr, 19711, I pp. 181-200. 7 Because of this impossibility o phmomenologizing the t x in gen. f et eral, the text cannot be sawed, as Ccoffrcy Hamnan claims it must be in his recent b w k Saving tbe Text (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Prcss, 19811. In the preface fa this study, Hartman explains: By calting this baok Suuing the tx 1 do not imply a religious effort in the ordinary sense: the et allusion is to the well-known concept of saving rht appearances (sozem z a pharnomenu), and my title suggests rhar we are still endcavoring t conven o thinking x thr fact that texts cxid (p. m).h e orpression %asave the a T phcnomcna mcins tm rcconcilc obscmed and ,admitted facts wirh some theory or doctrine with which they appear to disagree. But in the prcscnt contextit alsoimplirsthatHarm~n settingout, alrhough notin an ordinary is religious effun. tu save the text as an existing phenomenon against a philosophy such 3s Derridas in which the icxts phenomtoality is being put into qumtion. To Sgve the text is indeed an operation that rrstores the qualities of cssencc, presence, and, eo ipso. meaning to the tcxi. Yet in YI doing, i t renders null and void rhe explicatory p w e r of a notion such as the general




t t Instead of facing the problem that the di&rena between texts and s. m h r a l i t y rcprexnta, the operation o saving the tcxt reinstalls i d f in an f ~qucrtionad tcrmal ontology. 8 . Roland Barths, From Work to Tern, in Texwul S&utCp*5, cd. J. Hsrrri (Irhacr: Cornell University Pms, 19791, p. 75. 9. DoTida, Living On, p. 10% 10, J a q w Dcrrida, The Rehuh o Mcraphor, trans F Gasdnrr et f . at.. Enclitic, 2 no. 2 (1978), 1 . , 3 11. Martin Hcidcpper, My Way to Phcnonrmology in Otr Tinre and Being, tram. J. Srambaugh (New York: Harper, 1972), p. 74. 12. See L. B m o Punul, An,ilogicrrnd Crrchichtlichkit: PhihophiepschichtIi&km?is& Vmrch iibn ~ R S Grundproblm der Mewpbysik (F~iburg: Herder, 1969).For thclatcr Hcidcggcr and the problem o analogy, f sce pp. 455-531 ofhnrels study. 13. Sec Ekrhard jiingel, Zum UrrpMig cfm Andogie bei Punnenides lard Hcmklir (Berlin: Dc Cruyter, 1964). 14. Puntel, Andogie und CLwkicbrlichkrit, p. 16. 15. P i m Aubcnqut, L P m b l h d e Iitre cbcz Aristote, 2d cd. (Paris: P Wnivmitairrn de France, 19661, pp. 199-20s. 16. Paul Ricocur, The R d e of M1*rphor. trans. R. Czerny (Toronto: University of Toronto P 197773, pp. 259-280. , 17. Aristmlc, Metdpby5k5, trans. R. Hope (Ann Arbor: University of ,Michiganprc9, L 7 ) IQ03a3S34. 9S, 18. Franz Brmtano, On the Scueruf S m c s 0fSri.S in Arirtotte, trans. R George (Berkdcyu: University of Califomin Pmsa, 1979, pp. 58-66. . 19. Atistotle, Melqphyjiu, 1016b34. 20. Puntd, Atdogie md Gerchid*llhLcit, p, 56. 21. Manin Hcidcggcr, Bskg and Time. trans. J. Maquame and E . Robinson (London: SCM, 1962), p. 63. Furrhtr refmnocs m this work will bc a d parmrhctia!ly in h text. c 22. For more detail, see also Mamn Hcidcggr. h g i k : Die Fruge nuch d n Wahrhcit. Gewtmtausg&, XXI (Frankfurt: KImtcrmann, 19761, pp. 1s3ff. 23. Jacqcsucs Dcmda, Emnomimcais, trans. R Kltin, Diumtics, 11, no. 2 (Summer 1981), 13, 19. 24. Derrida, The R e m i t of Metaphor, p. 28. 2S. Hmri Birpult. Heider la p d e de la finitude, R f y ~ r Itrimutiunak de Philorophic, 62 (19601, 135-162.


Althusscr. Louis. For Marx, trans. B. B w s i r r . London: NU$,1977. Aristotlc. Mcfuohysics, tram. R. Hope. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Pmss, 1975. Aubenquc, Pierre. Lc Probfhc dc / E m chez Arismre, I d 4 Paris: Pressrs . Univerfitairer de France. 1966. Bakhtin. M. M. The Diafogic Imagination. trans. C. Emenon and M. Wolquisr. Austin: University nf Tcxas Press. 1981. Banhrs, Roland. From Work to Text. In Terruuf Slrulegies, ed.J. Harari, pp. 73-81. Itbca: Cornell Univeniry Press, 1979. kaufrer, Jean. Hcgel cr la proposition speculative. In ,Didlogrre d y e c Heidegger. vol. 2, pp, 110-142. Park: Minuii. 1973. Bcckcr, Werner. Spckulation. In /.Imdbuc:h Philosophischer H. Krings er al., vol. 5,pp. 1368-1375. Munich: K 6 d . 1974. Biraulr, Hcori. Heidcggcr ef la pcnsic de la finitude, Revue ~ ~ n r c m a r i o ~ h de Philosophie. 62 11980). 135-161. %lumenbcrg,Hans. Lichr als Metapher der Wahrheit Studiunr COW&. 10. no. 7 (19 5 7 , 432-477, Brcntano, Fnnz. On ih~ScverulSms~sof Being in Aricmrl~. tram, R, Gcorgc. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1975. Carr, David. Wenomenofogy and the Problem of History. Evannon: Northwesrem Univerxiry Press, 1974. Cramer, Konrad. Erlcbnis: Thhrscn zu Hcgcls Thmric des Selbstbewusmeins mir Rucksicht auf dic Aporim e i n n Crundbtgrilfs Nachhegelscher Phi-

losophic. In Hegrl-Studim, supplemcnt l l , ed. H.-C. Gadarncr, pp. 537403. Bonn: Bouvier, 1974. Cumrning. R. D. Thc Odd Couple: Heideggcr and Derrida, The Review of Metaphysics, 34, no. 3 (1478). 487-521.

Dcrrida. Jacqucs. The Archeology of,rhe Frivolorrs, tranr. J. P. Leavy. Pinsburgh: Duquesnc, 1980.



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PcrrEda Iinsournis,

Lc Nouwl obsnwtmr (Sepnmhet 9,1983),

DirsmriAation, trans. 3.Johnson. Chicago: Wnivrrsiry of Chicago Prcss. 1981. Economimcsis, trans. R. Wein, Diucrilicr, 11, no. 2 (Summer
19Sl), 3-25. E d m d Husserls origin of Geom!ry: An I d w c t i o n . trans. J. P. Iravy. Stony Brook: Nicolas Ways, 1978. L Langue cf lc dirmurs & la mlrhode, Rccbcrcbcr s /a phia w hophie @Ile Imwge, 1983, no,3,35-51. The Law of Genre, trans. A. Roncll. In Glyph 7, pp. 202-229.
Baldmom Johns Hopkins Univmiy PKES,1980. Limircdlnc., trans.S.Wthcr. In Glyph 2 pp. 162-254. Balrimorc , Johns Hapkins University Press, 1977. Living On: Border Lines, mna J. Hulbert. In DeconslrirctEorr and Ctiticim, cd. W. Bloom eta].. pp. 75-176. New York: Snbury Rcss.

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1979. Ma@ns of,Phifosophy, trans. A. Bass. Chicago: Univmiry of Chicago Press, 1982. Of Crmm~tuhgy, mns. G C. Spivak. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins . Wniversity Press, 1976. LOreillc L ~ a n h r T m a d d& : a m Jaqnts Den&, cd, C. Uvesque and C. V. ,McDonald. Montreal: Vlb, 1982. -.Positions, trana.A.Bass. Chicago:Univenityof Chicago P s 1971. m, -.The Rehait of Metaphor, trans. F Casdncr ct al., Emciliik, 2, no, . 2 (Fall 1978), 5-33. S p e d und Phmt a . D. AIlium. Evansmn: Northwestern rm University k. 1973. . Spltrs: Niewcbes Styles. trans. B. Harlow. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979. T h Time of a T n Punmations. In Philosophy in Fmnce h k T d y ed. A. Monrefiori, pp. 34-50. Cambridge: CtmbridgeUnivctsiy od, Press, 1982. L1 V M t m pcintwr. Paris: fiarnmarion, 1978. Writkg a d Diflermw,trans. A. B a s . Chicago: University of Chicago Prcss, 1978. Dcsmmbes, Vinmt. M a d m French Philosophy, rrans. L SCOIT-FQX and . J. M.Harding. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1980. Dilthey. Whelm. Selected Writings.trans. H. P. Rickman. Cambridge: Cambridge University Prcsr. 1976. Dubarle, Dominipuc. La logjquc de ta d e x i o n ct la mnsition dr P logiquc a dc Ietre a mlle dc Icssencc. In Hegel-Stdim, supplement IS, Die Wissmschafi der t o g i k und die l o g i k der Repexion, ed. D. Henrich. pp. 173-202. Bonn: Bouvier, 1978.

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Diking, Klaus. Spekutarion und Reflexion. In Hegel-Srudim, vol. 5, pp. 95-128. Bonn: Bouvier, 1969. Fichcc, Johann Conlicb. The Scmce o/ Knowledge, tram. F Heath and . J. Lachs. Cambridge: Cambridge University Prcss, 1982. Werke. vol. 1, ed. 1. H. Fichrc. Berlin: de Cruyrcr, 1971. Flach, Werner, Ncguriun und Andersbeir: in Beirrag zur Pmblemarik der i~tdimpfihtion. Munich: Ernst Reinhardt. 1959. Flcischmann, Eugtne. Hegels Urngesiattung der Kaniischen Idgik(,.. In He&Studicn, v d . 3, pp. 181-207. Bonn: Bouvicr. 1956. La Sciorce unimselle QU b logique de Hegel. Paris: Plon. 1968. Freud, Sigmund. The lntcrpretarionotDreams, trans.J. Strachey. Ncw York: Avon Books, 1965. -.jmkes and Their Rdution $0 the Unconrcjous, mans. J. Strachcy. Nnw York: Norrtm, 1963. Gadamer, Hans-Georg. Trurh and Method. New York! Seabury Press, 1975, Vorgestalten der Reflexion. In SuSicktivir;t w d Meiaphysik: Festschrift fur Wolfgang Cramer. 4 D. Henrich and H. Wagner, pp. . 128-143. Frankfurt: Klorrcrrnann, 1966. Gasche, Rodalphe, LAlrnanach hctimlogique, Nuom Corrente, no. 66 (Milan, 1975), 3-60. Deconrtnmion as Criricisrn. In Glyph 6. pp. 177-215. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univmiry Press. 1979. M d t l , Kurr. On Formally Undecida&le Propositions of Principia Murbemariru and RelafedSysfms, trans. 3. Melner. New York: Basic Books,

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Grand, Gtrard. Trndirionis froditio. Fans: Gallimard, 1972. Grcixh. Jean. Hm&imtique er grmm,aZologie.Paris: Editions du CNRS, 1977. Hartman, Cmffrcy. Saving the Text. Balrimorc: Johm Hopkins University Prcss, 1911. Hrgel, Gcorg Wilhdrn Fricdrich. The D i f f m n wbetween FichrezondScbclli n g s System of Philosophy. tran5. W. G r f and H. S. Harris. ,Albany: Srare Univeniry of New York Press. 1977. Fairh and Knowledge. trans. W. Ccrf and H.5. Harris. Albany: Statc
Univeniv of New York P m s , 1977. Phenomenology of Spirit. trans. A. V. Miller. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1979. Science oflogic, tram. A. V. Miller. New Yotk: Hurnanirics. 1969. Wer4e in Zwmzig Bunden. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp. 1970. Heideggcr, Martin. The Basic Problems of Pk#omeno!ogybtran$. A. Hafstadrer. Bloomington: Indiana Univeaity Press, 1982. B a r k Wr;ti#gs, ed. D. F. Krcll. New York: Harper and Row, 1977. Being rnd Time. mns. J. Macquarric and 6. Robinson. London: SCM, 1962,




Th. Essence of Rmson,trans. T.Matick. Evamtun: N o r t h e r n University Press, 1969.


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and Row, 1970.

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Idnrtity and Diflmce. tram, J. Srumbaugh. New York: H a p and Row, 1969. Log&: Die h g e Mcb dn W & ~ J & Gcremtarrrgabr.vol. 21. Frankfort Klostcrmmu. 1976. Nieftsche. vol. 1. The Will Lo Power as Art, trans. D. F. M I . New York: H r e and Row, 1979. apr On the k i n g dGnetptiOn of P h y k in Arismdes Physics E I, , MM..J. Sheehan, Mrm Q& World, 9, no. 3 (August 1976), 219T 270. On the Way m ,g, -e trans. P D. Hem. Ncw Yark. Harper . andRow, 1971. On T h e rmd B#n& trans. J. Stambrugh. New York: Harper and Row, 1977. -.Poetry, L a m , Tho~ght, mm. A. Hobdtcr. Ncw York: Harper and Raw, 1971. ProrcBOrncM z w Cescbicbte des Zeitb&fis, Ccsdmtuusg#be, vol. 20. Frankfuun: KIogtmnann, 1979. The W m n Concmritrg Technology and Other h a y s , mnr. W,Lmitt. New York: Harper and R o w , 1977. -..The Questinn of Being. trans. W. Kluback and J. T Wilde. New . York: Twayne, 1958. , A Seminar on Hegets lhftmmcbriift, The SorrhwesremJotmul OfPbilosopky. 11. no. 3 (1980). 9-45. -,ad W i r e r , Emst. Dlbat h y b Kmkwte tt & philosophic {DUVDS, ~ March 1929). d d ~ v h ? tcxtesdr 1 9 2 9 4 9 3 1 , c d . P. Auknqut. Paris: s Beruchmc, 1972. Hmrich, Dictct. idmrMt und 0bjekrivir;it: E i m U t r t m c b m g iibrr Kants t r m i d a k DedyLtion. HciddCarl Winter, 1976. Fi&tcs Original Insight. trans. D R. Lachmm. In c o f f m . parmy Gctmnn P b h o p b y , v l 1 (1982), 4 D. E. Christmxm cr d., o. . pp. 15-53. Univmiry Park: Pmnsylvmis State University Press 1982. M& h g i k der Rebxion! Nmt Fassune In H r g e l - S t d m , Val. IS, pp. 203-324. k n n Bouvier, 1978. Wbarbmussmcin: Kririschc Enleirung in cim Thcoric. In H e r mmmtik rrnd DQlcktik, vol. I. 4 R. Bubncr ef a]., pp. 2S7-284. . Thbineen: Mohr. 1971. H& i E. Dcrrid;sAxiomg London Re&wofBookr uuly 21-August 3.1983). 17-18. Hala. &am Him. Die Sclbsiinrccprrmtion dn Seim. In Hege&hhch, YOL 2, pp. 61-124. Munich: D o b W , 1961.


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Hurwrl, Edmund. Erpenence rmd Judgement, trans. J. S . Churchmill and K. Amcriks. Evanstan: Idorthwntern University Press, t 973. . Idras, irans. W. R. Boym Gibson. New York: Hummirim, 1969. L o g i d lnvesrigofions, trans. J . N, Findlay, 2 vok. N m York: Humanities, 1977. Phenomenology End the Crisis of Philosophy, trans. Quatin Laucr. New York: Harpcr and Row, 1965. Hyppnlite. Jean. Figures de lo pens& phiiosaphique. 2 vols. Paris: Prcsscs Untversireircs dc Franm, 1971. Logiqne el existence. Paris: Prcsvs Univcrsiraircs dc Fnncc. 1953. Jiingcl, Eberhard. Z m Ursprung der Analagie h i Parmenides und Hnaktit. k l i n : Dc Gruyrer. 1964. Kant, Irnmanuel. Critiqsre of Judgmcn!. trans. J. H kmard. Ncw York: .

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Fertrchriftfir W&. Cudamer, vol. Z pp. 181-200. Tiibingcn: Mohr, 1Y71. Tbe Rule of Metaphormtrans. R. Czemy. Toronto: University of

Tomnro Press, 1977. Rittcr. Joachim, cd. Historisches Worrerhch dm PMosophie. vols. 1-6, Darmsradr: Wisrenschafilichc Buchgcwllrchafr, 1471-3984. Rorty, Richard. Consequences of Iragnralism. Minneapolis: Univmity o f Minnesota Press, 1982. Schelling Friedrich Wilhelm Jweph. System ~ f l i m r ~ r e n d mrdcuiism, mns. t~f P. Hcath. Charlo~tcsvillc:University Pms of Virginia, 1978. Schlegel, Friedrich. Lurinde and the Fopmenrs, trans. P. Firchow. Minneapolis: University o Minnesota Press, 1971. f SchnBdclbach, Hcrbcrt. Reflexion und Diskurs: Frugen einm Logik der Philosophie. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp. 1Y77.



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mmn, 1963. Scxms Empiriw. Aguht h c rogicimrS trans. R G Bury. Cambridge, Mass.: . Hanard University Press, 1957. Simon, Josef. The Cartgorics in the Habitual and in h c Spaculazivc Proposition: Ob~wationcon H-ls Concept o Science, trans. f G. Heilbrunn. In Cantempamy German Phifosophy, vol. 2 (1983), ed. D. E. c b r i s r c n w ~CI at., pp. 112-137. University Park: Pennsylvania

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Hicnrchv. Hwnrchv. 155.

m w 318


Hdgran. S h Z . 6 H ~ I n-, ti+ ~

Kant, Immanud, 14.15. 17. IS, 19.20, U. 23- SO. S1,5& 53. 56, 5 9 , 60,61-62, 68, 71, 73a80, a 3 , 1 1 i , i u , 130,14~, 151,158, 179, 200-101,229,275-276,3M, 316.
322n7.3Un13.521-326n4. SYnl

H d . Edm~nd 7% 5 14.19-20.70, 80, 82.flS.98. lO!J-llZ. 114,1111. 119, 120, 126, t50,158. 1111, 183, 194,197,200-201, L28-229. 233.244-250.255. ,284. 271,276. 284. 292=293,3UnIS, 33On13. 331nl9 Hpjdim, Jnn. Idtaliq. SBC Idcatintion Ikbutim, 184-185.192-193,

195.214-216. no.zu. 231-212. 271-172.274.Ulh

Idmri6pban. 211,Llh Identity. 54-51, q88,93,127. 173, 177. I87,21CZIS. 219,M,U?

fhniry, 37-39.44, 5#. 179-18(1.184, 21 I, g17A218,225& u33. 225

239.317 lnfnamrmrr 7+9S, 101,t42143. 144,

147-154 ~28.159.160,162.163, 16~-,18S,2CUl, z Z ? . l Z S . 237, 21-245.24&Ul?.69-1~, 276277.331n19; system 01. ln-17A.l80$ 181.183-115.186.194,221.237-

. .

Immriauliv.2if. 248.264.171,ZM Inmition, i d l m a l , 29-33.37.53. 58, 71, 72.82. U 7




Mcnphomlogy. 307-109.312 Mtthdd. 8 W & Middle. T*r Mcdium Mimtsis, LKL u14 Mimcrologtfm. 2.56-160.161.282
Nrpytion. 37.9D. 92.94.96,

Putkra. Yltich. 71-71.26 Pmmflcxivc. 82-85.I19.133.235 h u m i t i o n . 75. 76. 80. 86-88.94, 9L ull Pmwition. apculatiuc, 4 6 4 9 Puntd. L Bruno. 29&2!38
Pythagofunism. 297

~ ~ ~ ~ i v ss.W-9s.s7. 101-104. 57, i y . L2z, 204-205, 227-228. 234L! 28& !i Moplatonism. l6

Ncurraliwrmn, 137-142. 154,159, 171,

l. 02

Rappan. L6a=161 R e a m . 29.36.38-41.14, $3-54.57.

59,63, 7L 210 Rmnsrmmon. 6 5 . 3 2 6 J

173. 330" I3 Mirnrrhr. Fricdrich. RO, 81. 84, 12S, 135.

154, 171. 186,310.311 Notion. Sm C o n q t



Ockham, Wtlliwn ui. 177

Ongin, 131-132. 156, 157-161.lh2174, 180-182, 190, 206-207, lO9-2L 1. 226,277,314 Orhrr. & 63, 91-95.97.98. 100158-1% 173, 1 2 1 3 187-189.190-194.199, 8-8.

mi, 215,


a 150-25 I ui-u6

Othcmms, Q PI-95, 100-104, 124. B 232.277.2Wl. 189

om, Rudalf, ml
hfmnyrnic,- 1


Ptnncnidcr. 116
Phenr.mmolc@z.mmr. lirnia o ,f 8 S


21.1.2SO. 259-260. ZAS. 287,292.3l2 Phmorntnology. 7, 119-120, 120-151, 157, 162. in9, ZLB-L~O,245-246, 14% 2S5. Lkl-265.270 Phcnomnon. 219-210. ZB4-2R5, 281.

5 7, 56. 65-67, 86, 95-97.98,99,

122. 126. 134.142. 153, 162. 171, 175.177,21$+ 226-227. 129, 246. & Lr8, 289. %297,328n12


2 0 0 , 2 m 224. 244.260, 281,288.2Xk2.93

a 243-

Pluralism. Srr Pluralin

Rcnan, Emtsr, 312 Plurality, 7-8, & 160, 162, Rcpcnrine. W 2 1 2 - 2 1 6 . 1 ~ Z U 180, l ~ l - l 8 4 . ~ 2 ~ 2 7 R7 t m t ,~225. 260. 192. u ~ r , Positin& IS. 37>63 92. 158.264 .. R R l c d . 171-17133t-332n26 Poirioning. Src PositmB Richard. Jean-Pierre, zht

tNDEX RidKrr, Hcinrich. 91-9L U ? L ~l-r, Paul, 41,IS. 50-51. 128.283, 291.101-302, % 307, 31 6 3
Ranantidun. 18-59.60.61,

t4Z, 143-

S a m u r t ,


137,13~-142,lLZl, U 156-, 316nl.


R m . Richard. 174

180.181,102,l07 Submviry, 13-14. 10. 74. 80. 84, 85.110-11 1.15(I.l74, ,232,271 Ictblatian (Awfirbunb), 4 . s 103. 116, 19. 205,110, 135, % 1 % 279.306. U S


Saint Augmim. U S mJun-Paul. 283 a , Mapirn. Mryer, 328nl3 wlllcr. Msx. L? Schrllin& Ftidri& Wilhdm Joxph,1 3 &ZS. 29.30-33.40.54. S6.58.59, 324-326d khlcgd, Fracdrich, % 324-3264 Schnldelbach, Hrrben, 5 322d Schdarnciun. 297-2?8
Schulz, Wdicr. u=LI Scima. doublc, 172-173
S . f f d i o u m c a a , 14-16, IS. 19,28.30. 3 2 . 4S, 47, 51.68-,
~ 9 ~ n 6 v 143.162.rn l . klf-idsltity, 70,77, 192-193,203,213116 SCXNSEmpiricuh 62 Shaemakm, Sydrq, 6


93-9R 289-290.328nlJ 244=1111

Suntar, 126, I7.R. 159+ 162, 165, 242-245. 246.249-2Sn.265. 307. 3I 5 5ynmrris. sbsolua, 89-91.151-1S3.
183; ietrasrmrmrd, 100, 153-154. 2~U4,3lZLZZ7
S p c r n , 58-59.1S9.


183,193-194.% 124, 2+8,219-292. Src alro I n l r u m r + h spurn o f



rn 180.

% m o o d , William o, Iu f
Simon, joscf, 324nlL S i d m , 226127,243. I

7% %$. 8%

Skcptiuwn. 674% 70,71r

6546 Sophism, the. 6 S



Thou& 32.42.44-45,62,89,92-93, Sapphmye. &fJ, 326nn6,S 95.99- LUL Spa=, 1 112.193,1p&2L12 % Spaciag. 193. 1911-202.2OJ.lM, U J 234.242 Tinfoil. SeeTain S s a r i w . 40,42Toraliry. 22,32-34.36-4t. 44.45.50, 4?,49-53, 54, 5 9 , 6 4 65. 72. S?, 5-9@.26, $5,46-4 70.74,81, #I,87pa 101-m. 105, 74' UI?Va 95-97. IU-123. 124.127. 129, 232, 314-326d 145-146. IS3.174,179-18O,lSZ. 201,211.220-221. 23h-LU. 276I


Tncr. 129, 157, 186-189. 192, 193,

UndKidrbiliy. 7.95. 162. 177,

64.84. 114. t 6 l 1 B & a 172 274.276. 2W.302.316-

Vdcr(. Paul. 23 . 3
Van W. V i w n r . 321n13 Vurtlmn, Jukp, m


l a 16p=Izp

Tmndclmburg, Fricdrrfh A,. LPB Truth. 3 j 3 3 1W.ILI-lZZ,I43,

150. 174, 179. 2M.214-215,218, 223,214-227.167, & I Tugcndhrr, Ern% 76-77

Whitrhcad, A t M North. Z$=X Wiaprtcin. Ludwig 68 W"tinb 132.133, 157.166-167.171.

E& lirerary. a ?Z .3

175,177. 181, 193,271-278.27g.