Psychoanalysis

Derrida: Deconstruction from Phenomenology to Ethics by Christina Howells

By Christina Howells

This ebook is an strangely readable and lucid account of the improvement of Derrida's paintings, from his early writings on phenomenology and structuralism to his latest interventions in debates on psychoanalysis, ethics and politics.

Christina Howells offers a transparent rationalization of a number of the keyword phrases of deconstruction - together with differance, hint, complement and logocentrism - and indicates how they functionality in Derrida's writing. She explores his critique of the inspiration of self-presence via his engagement with Husserl, and his critique of humanist conceptions of the topic via an account of his ambivalent and evolving courting to the philosophy of Sartre. The query of the connection among philosophy and literature is tested via an research of the texts of the Seventies, and specifically Glas, the place Derrida confronts Hegel's totalizing dialectics with the fragmentary and iconoclastic writings of Jean Genet.

The writer addresses without delay the vexed questions of the intense trouble of Derrida's personal writing and of the passionate hostility it arouses in philosophers as diversified as Searle and Habermas. She argues that deconstruction is a crucial stimulus to vigilance in either the moral and political spheres, contributing considerably to discuss on matters resembling democracy, the legacy of Marxism, accountability, and the connection among legislations and justice.

Comprehensive, cogently argued and recent, this publication should be a useful textual content for college students and students alike.

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Additional resources for Derrida: Deconstruction from Phenomenology to Ethics

Sample text

And the ultimate form of ideality is that of self-presence. Presence has always been the form in which the infinite diversity of contents is produced. The opposition between form and content, which Derrida sees as inaugurating metaphysics, finds its radical justification in the concrete ideality of the ‘living present’ (VP, 5). Phenomenology 19 Derrida proposes to destroy the self-sufficiency of this phenomenological notion through his analyses of temporality and intersubjectivity, and to demonstrate that the fissures that prevent pure presence in both cases are implicit in the phenomenological description itself (VP, 5).

We will not explore Sartre’s discussion of the en-soi in this context, but focus rather on the nature of the pour-soi. Sartre’s analysis of the self-presence of the for-itself anticipates by over twenty years Derrida’s own analysis in La Voix et le phénomène. The first chapter of part II of L’Être et le Néant cites Husserl as evidence that even the most determined philosopher of presence cannot escape entirely the reflexivity implicit in all consciousness. And, again like Derrida, Sartre discusses the nature of temporality, rejecting the Aristotelian notion of time as a series of instants, and arguing that it is a misunderstanding of the nature of the pour-soi which lies at the heart of the ‘common-sense’ view of time: ‘The present moment emanates from a realizing and reifying conception of the for-itself’ (EN, 168).

It is from this binary and dialectical conceptual schema that Derrida hopes literary criticism will eventually free itself by loosening its dependence on philosophy, and preferring the language of difference to that of opposition and contradiction. Apart from the final brief discussion of Jabès in ‘Ellipse’, L’Écriture et la différence both starts and ends with essays on structuralism. The concluding piece, ‘La Structure, le signe et le jeu dans le discours des sciences humaines’, was first delivered as a conference paper at Johns Hopkins University in 1966, three years after the publication of ‘Force et signification’.

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