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Jacques Derrida

Related: deconstruction - French philosophy

Many analytic philosophers have published outright the claim that Derrida, for example, is simply a charlatan. [Jan 2006]


Jacques Derrida (July 15, 1930 - October 8, 2004) was an Algerian-born French philosopher of Jewish descent, considered the first to develop "deconstruction". As Derrida explains in his "Letter to a Japanese Friend" the word "deconstruction" is his attempt both to translate and re-appropriate for his own ends the Heideggerian terms 'Destruktion' and 'Abbau' via a word from the French language, the varied senses of which seemed consistent with his requirements. Particularly through his long-time association with the literary critic Paul de Man, he had a significant effect on literary theory, (though the reception of deconstruction in literary criticism is not universally agreed to be consonant with Derrida's work). Deconstruction is related to vast tracts of the Western philosophical tradition. His work is most often associated with post-structuralism and postmodernism (though many believe the latter association to be mistaken, taking Jean-François Lyotard as the closest relation between deconstruction and postmodernism). Among his foremost influences are Sigmund Freud and Martin Heidegger. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacques_Derrida [Oct 2004]


Jacques Derrida is a philosopher concerned with the act of reading. He imagines the scholar as a kind of priest and sees criticism and analysis as religious ritual performed upon a text. This makes Derrida very popular among academics, who would otherwise feel completely irrelevant in our media apocalypse. Recently, even academics have described Derrida's thinking as out of date. Derrida's progeny however, such as the brilliant Avital Ronell, have made it their business to read technology and the meaning of techno-culture. The results are overwrought ... but amusing. --R.U. Sirius, 1994 Wired Magazine


  1. Philosophy in a Time of Terror: Dialogues With Jurgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida (2003) - Giovanna Borradori, Jurgen Habermas, Jacques Derrida [Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    The idea for Philosophy in a Time of Terror was born hours after the terrorist attacks on 9/11 and came to realization just weeks later when Giovanna Borradori sat down with Jurgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida, in separate interviews, in New York City. Habermas and Derrida evaluated the significance of the most destructive terrorist attack ever perpetrated. The resulting book is an unprecedented encounter between two of the most influential thinkers of our age: here for the first time Habermas and Derrida overcome their antagonism and agree to appear side by side in this book.

    In her introduction, Borradori contends that philosophy has an invaluable contribution to make to the understanding of terrorism. Just as the traumas produced by colonialism, totalitarianism, and the Holocaust wrote the history of the twentieth century, the history of the twenty-first century is already signed by global terrorism. Each dialogue, accompanied by a critical essay, recognizes the magnitude of this upcoming challenge. Characteristically, Habermas's dialogue is dense, compact, and elegantly traditional. Derrida's, on the other hand, takes the reader on a long, winding, and unpredictable road. Yet unexpected agreements emerge between them: both have a deep suspicion of the concept of "terrorism" and see the need for a transition from classical international law, premised on the model of nation-states, to a new cosmopolitan order based on continental alliances.

    As Derrida and Habermas disassemble and reassemble what we think we know about terrorism, they break from the familiar social and political rhetoric increasingly polarized between good and evil. In this process, we watch two of the greatest philosophical minds at work. --amazon.com

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