Derrida philosophy of language essays - …

Jackie Derrida - he later adopted a more "correct" French version of his first name - was born in El-Biar, near Algiers, into an indigenous Jewish family. He attended local primary schools and, in 1941, entered the nearby lycée, already subject to anti-semitic Vichy laws. The following year, he was expelled as a Jew, and was not able to recommence regular schooling until 1944. Even then, he did not settle down; he dreamed of being a professional footballer and failed the baccalauréat in 1947. These were years of intense reading, however, including Rousseau, Nietzsche and Paul Valéry.

Jacques Derrida Essays - StudentShare

Derrida's starting point was his rejection of a common model of knowledge and language, according to which understanding something requires acquaintance with its meaning, ideally a kind of acquaintance in which this meaning is directly present to consciousness. For him, this model involved "the myth of presence", the supposition that we gain our best understanding of something when it - and it alone - is present to consciousness.


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Derrida, Jacques

The discovery, in 1987, of his friend de Man's collaborationist wartime journalism was a personal blow to Derrida. At the Alabama University conference at which the articles were made public, he gave an extraordinarily moving speech expressing the complex emotions provoked by the disclosure. Around the same time, more evidence about Heidegger's involvement with the Nazi party emerged, and Derrida was obliged to make it clear that, although he owed more to Heidegger than to any other philosopher, his adherence was far from uncritical.


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Jacques Derrida, the founder of deconstruction stated, “Deconstruction takes place, it is an event that does not await the deliberation, consciousness or organization of a subject, or even of modernity.

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These readings were not done in a spirit of one-upmanship or negative criticism; Derrida claimed to love everything he deconstructed. For him, it was a mark of the greatness of Plato, Rousseau, Hegel or the Jewish philosopher Emmanuel Levinas that their texts moved beyond what they straightforwardly asserted. This affirmative attitude became particularly visible when he was discussing literary works, where he often found vivid enactments of his arguments.

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Derrida moved easily among French, English and German writers, and his favourites included James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, Stéphane Mallarmé and Paul Celan. Although his name is often coupled with the term "postmodernism" (sometimes with a suggestion of moral relativism), his allegiance was much more to the strenuous aesthetic experiments of the modernist writers. For him, the fact that moral values cannot be expressed as simple rules of conduct increased, rather than decreased, the importance of our ethical responsibilities.