Download Derrida: Deconstruction from Phenomenology to Ethics by Christina Howells PDF

By Christina Howells

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

Christina Howells supplies a transparent clarification 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 dating 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 particularly Glas, the place Derrida confronts Hegel's totalizing dialectics with the fragmentary and iconoclastic writings of Jean Genet.

The writer addresses at once the vexed questions of the extraordinary hassle of Derrida's personal writing and of the passionate hostility it arouses in philosophers as different 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 concerns comparable to democracy, the legacy of Marxism, accountability, and the connection among legislations and justice.

Comprehensive, cogently argued and recent, this e-book can be a useful textual content for college students and students alike.

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Extra resources for Derrida: Deconstruction from Phenomenology to Ethics

Sample text

His aim is to avoid the stasis of formalist criticism, to recognize the totality of form and intention, of morphology and imagination, in a unifying critique. However, as he himself points out, his only means of working towards this totalizing understanding will frequently involve sequential analysis, the alternation between an account of form and an account of authorial imagination. It is this acceptance of the necessity of analysing form without content, even as a temporary phase in criticism, which will be the downfall of Rousset’s structuralism.

2 Derrida’s objection is not identical to Lévi-Strauss’s but has much in common with it. Biological and linguistic structuralists, he maintains, examine each totality as a complete entity. They never describe a particular configuration as somehow unsatisfactory or unfinished, or as an anticipation of a superior version. Biology, linguistics and anthropology all have an indefinite number of versions of the same phenomenon to draw on and compare. Literary critics can only do something similar by imposing a finalistic interpretation on an author’s production.

Like Derrida, Sartre’s first published work, La Transcendance de l’ego (1936), was also a critique of Husserl. In it Sartre argues against Husserl that the ego is transcendent not transcendental. A transcendental ego would be a personal core of consciousness, an original unitary subject, interior foundation for the self. It would, by the same token, be a ‘centre of opacity’ which would entail ‘the death of consciousness’ (TE, 23–5). For Sartre the ego or self is a synthetic and imaginary product of consciousness.

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