A philosopher who cuts the ground from the under of philosophy's feet
Nasrin Pourhamrang


The poet-mannered philosopher who has provoked both the extremist hostility and the vigorous bias to an almost identical degree is an Algerian-French who was born in 1930, Algeria. He is ranked as a scholar of linguistic philosophy, metaphysics, aesthetics, phenomenology and post-structuralism. Studied in Ecol Normal Superior and Harvard, Jacques Derrida was influenced by Sartre, Husserl and Heidegger and Saussure in linguistics, as well. His main enthusiasm, for which many British figures of philosophy deny him as a photosphere, is deconstructionism.

Derrida who was chiefly influential among the literary critics and cultural theorists rather than the philosophy pundits and rhetoricians is considered to be the founder and representative of "deconstructionism" theory, an analyze-based method of evaluating the texts and structures in order to demonstrate the volatility and instability of the concept.

Derrida stages an unconditional insurgency against the theory of traditional philosophy. If the pervasive concern of philosophy is to land up the truth, the cognition of Derrida undermines this concern and discounts it. In his view, there is no absolute truth; "logic" and "mind" as what are deemed the instruments of recognizing the reality and truth in philosophy are parts of linguistic play, not a segregated realm or against it.

The foundation of western traditional philosophy is based on the dualities which have long been the criteria and scale of judgments and recognitions descending from Socrates and Plato hitherto.

Derrida and his cohorts denounce such binary oppositions such as object and subject, in and out, body and soul, male and female, culture and nature, minus and logos and rhetoric and logic and destabilize the bases of western philosophical traditions' creeds.

Derrida points a finger at these dualities and deprecates them to conclude that they have no privilege on each other; that not only could the logic surmount the eloquence and rhetoric, but also the rational reasoning and logic shape a substantive part of eloquent rhetoric.

When you count what is called "rationale" and "logic" as a part of eloquence techniques, then you cannot call for the availability of cognition and the issuance of an integrated, categorical conclusion; then the access of philosophy to premises would be nothing but an illusion and coming up with an ultimate understanding would be a dream which one had better to brace for its confusion instead of a hope for its exegesis or fulfillment.

In his book "positions" Derrida propounds: "In the traditional philosophical confrontations, we do not face the peaceful co-existence of confronting words but with an indignant hierarchy through which either of the two words dominates the other from an ethical or logical aspect and stands in a superior position. Deconstructing these confronting concepts is mainly the overthrowing of the hierarchy than anything else."

The consequence of such a theory is that one can inspect the philosophical works like the literary compositions and publicize the fundamental contraventions philosophy. Searching through the messages and categorical premises of the philosophical texts is something futile for the reason that what these texts consider as "frankness" is nothing but the rhetorical eloquence.

Jonathan Collar, one of the cohorts and describers of Derrida's viewpoints elucidates accordingly: "The deconstructing of a dialogue means to indicate that how that specific dialogue destroys the philosophical context or its fundamental confrontations. For such a purpose, deconstruction should recognize that rhetorical features which are liable to purvey the key concepts, preliminaries or the rational foundations of that dialogue."

They examine each dialogue from the viewpoint of a poetic language. In such a situation, science, philosophy and literature integrate collectively and become examined based upon a unique and single pattern.

However, the critics believe that Derrida's deconstructionism both damages the philosophy and literary review and causes them dysfunction, as well. Either they call it ineffective in the arena of politics and ethics. Meanwhile Derrida believed himself: "Justice, if such thing exists externally, is beyond the official systems and is not prone to be deconstructed, just alike the deconstructionism which is not deconstructable itself; deconstructionism is the very justice."

Derrida wants to hand down whatever constructed to the process of deconstructionism, destabilize it and revolutionize its meaning. The prevalent apprehension of his mind is the matter of metaphysics and fighting with essentialism. He intends to transform the customary and conventional interpretations of mind, objectivity, concept, meaning etc yet does not seek a new series of constructions. Not only is he inattentive toward the construction, but also is usually being accused of prolixity and loquacity; that his conceptions are rather the manipulation of words instead of philosophical reasoning.

As it was stressed at the beginning, his influence over the critics of literary schools is more excessive and significant than those impacts which he has made upon the philosophers. Some decent examples are his impressions on the critics of Yale, Harold Bloom, Paul De Man, Hillis Miller and Geoffrey Hartman schools in the US where most of his academic prosperity either toke place.