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