Fielding Derrida: Philosophy, Literary Criticism, History, and the Work of Deconstruction

Fielding Derrida: Philosophy, Literary Criticism, History, and the Work of Deconstruction

John D. Caputo series editor
Copyright Date: 2008
Published by: Fordham University Press
Pages: 300
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  • Book Info
    Fielding Derrida: Philosophy, Literary Criticism, History, and the Work of Deconstruction
    Book Description:

    How are we to interpret Jacques Derrida's writings now, after so much commentary has been devoted to his thought and his own astonishing productivity has come to an end? In this groundbreaking book, JoshuaKates extends his earlier contextualizing of Derrida's work in relation to Husserl by arguing that we must begin from a frame different from that provided by Derrida himself. His work must be inserted into alreadyexisting fields, thus fielding Derrida.By placing Derrida's texts in the context of broader fields (such as interpretations of modernity and analytic philosophy of language), Kates captures Derrida's stances with a new concreteness and an unprecedentedscope, forging links to vital debates across the humanities today.

    eISBN: 978-0-8232-4782-0
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  4. Introduction: Fielding Derrida
    (pp. 1-8)

    Jacques Derrida’s death, now several years past, brought to the surface a question that had already been stirring concerning the fate of his own work and of Derrida studies generally: will Derrida’s thought continue to be central to intellectual life across the globe in the absence of Derrida himself ? Will his works continue to be read and studied—and how will they be read and studied—when the unique personhood, the forceful individuality, of Jacques Derrida, so dear to so many, is no longer with us, and his incredible, ongoing productivity has come to an end?

    The fact that...

  5. Part I: Jacques Derrida’s Early Writings:: Alongside Skepticism, Phenomenology, Analytic Philosophy, and Literary Criticism
    • 1 Deconstruction as Skepticism
      (pp. 11-25)

      The Development of Derrida’s thought spans his earliest writings, fromThe Problem of Genesisand his “Introduction” to Husserl’sOrigin of Geometrythrough his trio of books published in 1967:L’écriture et la différence, De la grammatologie, andLa voix et le phénomène. In the course of composing these works, Derrida evolves from a daring commentator on Husserl to become one of the foremost thinkers of his age. This development has begun to receive more attention in the literature¹; its importance, however, remains obscure, especially to those in fields like literary criticism or history who mainly know Derrida as an...

    • 2 Derrida, Husserl, and the Commentators: A Developmental Approach
      (pp. 26-48)

      This chapter begins where the previous one left off, by attempting to establish what Derrida inherited from Husserl. Apart from the specific motivation brought forward in Chapter 1—the unstable character of the part played by skepticism in early deconstruction—the need to plumb Derrida’s engagement with Husserl seems self-evident. Derrida worked on no one else for nearly fifteen years, and Husserl’s thought was the milieu in which the project of deconstruction was forged. Indeed, throughout his career, when Derrida was pressed on concrete philosophical points—the status of concepts, of the sentence and its use, the relation of sense...

    • 3 A Transcendental Sense of Death? Derrida and the Philosophy of Language
      (pp. 49-74)

      One advantage of standing on the cusp of a new century is that the considerable intellectual achievements of the previous one can be approached in a new way. Today sufficient distance exists from the projects of the last century to render commentators less dependent on which side of various divides they happen to find themselves—analytic or Continental, formalist or historicist, Marxian or democratic, to name but a few. A far greater solidarity of concerns, methods, and questions has become apparent among what once were taken to be opposing movements, of a sort already customary when treating earlier eras. At...

    • 4 Literary Theory’s Languages: The Deconstruction of Sense vs. the Deconstruction of Reference
      (pp. 75-106)

      Near the conclusion of her influential essay on Henry James, “The Beast in the Closet,” Eve Sedgwick, the noted literary critic, speaks of meaning. Addressing the “totalizing insidiously symmetrical view that the ‘nothing’ that is Marcher’s [James’ protagonist’s] unspeakable fate is necessarily a mirror image of the ‘everything’ he could and should have had,” Sedgwick suggests that “a more frankly ‘full’meaningfor that unspeakable fate might come from the centuries-long historical chain of substantive uses … of negatives to void and at the same time to underline the possibility of same-sex genitality.”¹

      Confronted with such an assertion today, very...

  6. Part II: Jacques Derrida and the Problem of Philosophical and Political Modernity
    • 5 Jacob Klein and Jacques Derrida: The Problem of Modernity
      (pp. 109-123)

      To bring together the work of Jacob Klein and Jacques Derrida may well seem unexpected. Jacob Klein was a friend of both Leo Strauss and Alexander Kojévè, and his philosophical sympathies clearly lay more with the former. Klein published a pioneering work in the history of mathematics in the 1930s, which is still largely unheralded and, apart from two studies on Plato, he was not heard from much thereafter, mainly spending his remaining time, after his emigration to the United States at the beginning of the Second World War, guiding a small institution of higher learning in Maryland.¹ Jacques Derrida,...

    • 6 Jacob Klein and Jacques Derrida: Historicism and History in Two Interpretations of Husserl’s Late Writings
      (pp. 124-152)

      As I began to suggest in Chapter 5, modernity as a problem—a philosophical problem or a problem for thought—has still not been fully plumbed. This is so perhaps in an especially vexed fashion when it comes to the project of Jacob Klein. Klein, as earlier indicated, was at once a working historian and a proponent of a view of modern science that ultimately saw it as a product of a rupture or break—thus as embedded in history. In sum, Klein is a thinker of modernity.

      Yet historical work, this same conceptuality and method that Klein himself uses,...

    • 7 Derrida’s Contribution to Phenomenology: A Problem of No Species?
      (pp. 153-186)

      Edmund Husserl, in some tentative, exploratory pages, now an appendix toIdeasII, already looking toward the last phase of his work, avers that his own research furnishes the “absolute human science.”¹ And phenomenology indeed does aim at such a science. In the midst of a world and a nature undergoing radical revision at the hands of those beings we are accustomed to assign to the human species, Husserl’s work attempts to think some adequate, orienting version of the human as such, to lay bare an authoritative semantic core, a newly conceived meaning for this being (one also but a...

    • 8 Foretellese: Futures of Derrida and Marx
      (pp. 187-216)

      The near-term context of Jacques Derrida’s engagement with Marxism inSpecters of Marxis provided by Francis Fukuyama’sThe Ends of History. This strange, yet provocative book declares—in part on the basis of what was then called the collapse of the Soviet experiment—that the end of history in a Hegelian sense has arrived: that in principle the best form of human governance and the best life for human beings is now known. Fukuyama thus projects the present historical moment (at least in 1992 in a large portion of the West) out onto an eternal or supratemporal plane.¹ The...

  7. Notes
    (pp. 217-266)
  8. Index
    (pp. 267-280)
  9. Back Matter
    (pp. 281-284)