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Department of Philosophy. This essay aims to discuss some elements of the philosophical and political thought of the author, noting especially its relations with the concepts of identity and territorialization. Finally, the essay discusses the task of deconstruction and its relation to the ethics and politics of friendship.
The book by Jacques Derrida, Monolingualism of the Other, Or, The Prosthesis of Origin , evokes the France defeated by Hitler's forces and by the Nazi army from , as well as the racist policy adopted by the Vichy government.
With the Nuremberg laws of , Jews and Gypsies lost their German nationality, the same occurring in France. Contrary to the current idea of the mother tongue being property derived from the ontological depositary, the author reflects on the nature of heritage bond and on the rhetoric of belonging. In occupied France, deprived of citizenship, the French Jews speak a language that becomes the language of the Other, producing a specific distance, a distance not of that which is further away, but of that which is closest.
Exile, isolation and loneliness reveal what sedentary comfort and adequacy to the self hide. This sudden loss of citizenship and of language deconstructs the identity, affective or territorial illusion:. Imagine, think of someone who cultivated French. And that French would cultivate back. And that, a French citizen on top of that, this fellow would be, so to speak, of French culture.
Well, one day, this fellow of French culture would tell you, in good French: "I only have one language and it is not mine" Derrida, , p. Between and the Jewish community of Algeria was deprived of citizenship and nationality "without being able to recover any other. Such is a community - who spoke only "colonized" French, maintaining almost no ties with Jewish tradition and with local languages, such as Arabic and Kabyle - in disintegration. Exiled in their own land, living an exodus in immobility, those being chased see themselves excluded from the legal field, reduced to homo sacer and to "bare life".
Orality - speech and voice - are considered the "real rationality", being writing a secondary extension or supplement to voice, an auxiliary inessential technology with respect to reason: Saussure says that "the philological criticism is still deficient in one aspect - it slavishly follows written language and neglects living language. The reciprocal effect of writing over speech is wrong, such misconceptions are really pathological " Saussure, cited by Derrida, , p.
For Saussure, writing is "non-related For Derrida, the very possibility of supplementation of oral language exposes an essential lack in the very heart of this self-sufficient and "autonomous" linguistic system.
Because for Derrida there is no pure source, to the question "when does writing begin", the author answers "always already".
Postulating an origin of writing is not considering that writing is the structure of all complex systems on all their levels. Writing occupies a broader field than structuralism does, for it is its own condition of possibility of empirical writing and of language in general 1 Derrida, , p.
Thus, every mother tongue is not "natural", but a search for the self and a task of thought, a being alone with the self and a reach for the other with the difficulties that this entails. Derrida revisits Joyce's Ulysses, reviewing the question: "Are we Greek? Deconstruction is not the transition of stability - guaranteed by the idea of center - to "liquid modernity", but the seizure of flexibility and decentering. Derrida, , p. In Moses and Monotheism , Freud develops the conceiving of an Egyptian Moses, both by nationality and by culture, and that -- having adopted the monotheistic religion of Akhenaton and Athon and being this faith unpopular in Egypt -- looking to spread his beliefs among the Jews, introduced among them the Egyptian custom of circumcision.
In this sense, for Freud, one cannot be a Jew without somehow embodying Egypt or a "specter of Egypt". Jews would be neo-Egyptians who performed Egyptianism through Jewish means. This Entstellung deformation, displacement and disfigurement protects the Egyptian leaving him incognito and, once the goal is achieved, the head of Judaism could no longer tell himself whether he was Egyptian or Jewish.
Difference and differentiation, present in differing, in postponing, evolve over time. In it, Derrida refers to the meanings of the word fichu that as a noun, means the female scarf that covers the head, a shawl. As an adjective, " fichu " means "getting your fingers burnt", hitting a dead end, and as a verb, " se ficher " means "to mock someone", or even the eschatological sense of sexual background.
Moreover, Fichus itself is a Derridian narrative displaced from a dream of Walter Benjamin in when he was on the run from Nazism and exiled in Paris. Derrida develops a second Traumdeutung of Benjamin's dream, which will be interpreted by Derrida who did not dream it. Not being the dreamer, this other that did not dream this dream and that reports it does so in a conceptual threshold beyond the conventions of the genre "interpretation of dreams":.
At this moment, speaking to you, standing up, eyes open, starting to thank you from the bottom of my heart, with the ghostly or unheimlich , uncanny gestures of a sleepwalker or even a bandit come to get his hands on a prize that wasn't meant for him, it's all as if I were dreaming. Admitting it, even: in truth, I am telling you that in gratefully greeting you, I think I'm dreaming. Derrida, a , p.
Sleepwalking trance of insomniacs, these "seconds states" of consciousness have the mark of a passive activity, like the photographs of the ruins of Athens, in which the photographer photographs himself photographing, amid "the day and night of the unconscious", the archaeology and psychoanalysis that bring to mind " Disturbance of Memory on the Acropolis " by Freud. He wondered what the photographer was thinking in. Was he already haunted by the stratified ruin of all the Athenian memories he would have wanted to take in view, to shoot, this day, today, under this sun, but for every day and forever?
To consider this state and develop his analyses, Derrida "refigures" words, displaces a noun or an adjective into a verb, but a verb in its simultaneously active and passive forms: "I sleepwalk," says Derrida. With this, the philosopher not only infringes the state of sleep and the state of wake, destabilizing them, as he also spectralizes - decomposing and phantomalizing them - states of consciousness, dreaming with eyes open and sleeping while standing up.
If Fichus is a dream that Derrida inherited from another, the question is knowing whether who dreams the dream is the one who dreams it or the one who questions it. An issue that deviates to another, of the difference between dream and reality. In the words of the philosopher: "can the dreamer talk about his dream without waking?
In philosophy, the "rational imperative of the wake", of the "ruler of myself", because "what is philosophy for the philosopher? Wake and awakening" Derrida, a , p.
But "the answer of the filmmaker, of the playwright, of the writer, of the musician, of the painter and even of the psychoanalyst" p. Hesitating between 'no' and 'yes, sometimes, maybe', both [are welcomed]. Benjamin's dream questioned by Derrida is the hermeneutics of a dream which belongs to another, like the language that is not his.
And between dreams and dreamers, as happens between languages, alliances, passwords, passages and "traces" are established. This non-coincidence of something with itself does not mean that it is out of itself, because it is "a negativity without denial", inscriptions without thickness, expressions of a "between-two", appearance and disappearance in an uncertain interval between the absence of a presence and the presence of an absence.
That is why Derrida indicates the "ghosts", specters of deconstruction, of " hantologie ". Because flesh and phenomenality are what give the spirit its spectral appearance, that however disappears in its appearance, in the coming of the ghost or return of the specter. There is something disappeared in disappearance itself, as reappearance of the disappeared.
The spirit, the specter, are not the same thing It is something that is not known, precisely, and it is not known whether, for a fact, that is, if this has a name and corresponds to an essence. It is not known: not by ignorance, but because this non-object, this present not present, this being-there of what is missing or disappeared does not depend on knowing no longer.
When Derrida claims to have a single language and that it is not his, but of an Other, he follows up, displacing it, the interpretation of Freud on the issue of identity and origin. In this reconfiguration of the tongue there is a "disturbing" feeling, a situation similar to the pariah's, in the paradox of impossible inclusion and of impossible exclusion.
Derrida elaborates the condition of those of who live on the margins, without reference to a political community. After the First World War, the fall of the Russian Empire, of the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires, as well as the political reordering of Eastern Europe, the racial laws under Nazism and the Spanish civil war, a refugee population spread over Europe as a continuous mass phenomenon. The stateless person and the refugee, although they bear differences concerning legal and symbolic belongings, refer, in industrialized States, to "non-stable residents" and non-citizens, who cannot be naturalized nor repatriated.
In this sense, the Derridian deconstruction of the dream and of the fichu detects their heterogeneity, manifesting the fragility and vulnerability of Benjamin and of Adorno amidst the rise of Nazism and, simultaneously, of the animal, in what it leads back to the animality of man, that exposes him to the condition of "sacrificial victim". The "interpretation of dreams" of Derrida goes "Beyond beyond the pleasure principle", it is another way to relate to cruelty, to State Sovereignty and to death, which has hermeneutics that surpasses the "death drive":.
I will assert that there is - or should be - a reference to the unconditional, an unconditional without sovereignty and thus without cruelty [as an originary statement] from which and, therefore, beyond which death and power drives, cruelty and sovereignty are determined as 'beyond' principles. This originary statement from beyond beyond is made from numerous figures of the unconditional impossible: hospitality, gift, forgiveness.
Derridian deconstruction searches for what in marginality is marginal and what is not, evoking the aporia of proximity in distance and of distance in proximity. And Derrida does so through the interposed character of Spinoza and Flaubert. Quelle science et quel esprit!
If Flaubert is addressing the critical power of the Political-Theological Treatise - in which Spinoza discusses Moses and monotheism, the prophecy and the election of the people - he evokes Ethics and the "idea of idea" as well:.
It is exactly in the same way that thoughts and ideas of things order and concatenate themselves in the mind, that also order and concatenate themselves the affections of the body, that is, the images of things in the body As the mind understands things as necessary, it has more power over their affections, that is, suffers less because of them.
Spinoza, , pp. By making reason an affection, by breaking with the idea of perfect and imperfect and with the hierarchy that they imply, by reflecting on the power of being, acting and thinking that is in passion and in action, Spinoza differs himself from the metaphysical logos. Without many references to Spinoza, Derrida is also "impregnated" with his presence, as is Flaubert: "Although Flaubert, admirer of Spinoza, does not refer to Spinoza's idea as such", the silence itself makes one think that the affirmative force of this idea got confused, somehow, "with the act of its writing, with literature, with his own work" Derrida, , pp.
With this, Derrida indicates his approach to the philosophy of Spinoza, the philosopher critic of the dualist and mimetic "logos", the "philosopher of life". Because Spinoza's concept of conatus is the effort of self-preservation and growth of vitality, he differs himself from Freud who dramatically opposes "death drive" to the conatus.
In Spinoza, it is the happiness that is born of joy and company, of friendship:. Since reason demands nothing against nature, it concedes that each man must love himself, and seek what is useful to him, and desire whatever leads him truly to a greater state of perfection; and that each man should endeavor to preserve his being so far as in him lies It is completely impossible that we do not need anything exterior to us in order to conserve our being, and that we live in a way that does not allow us any exchange with things that are outside of us Among them, none other can be considered better than those that are entirely in accordance with our nature From this it follows that the men who are governed by reason, that is, men seeking, under the guidance of reason, what is useful to them, want nothing for them that they do not also wish to others and are, therefore, fair, trustworthy and loyal.
If Spinoza criticizes the notion of "chosen people" and of "Jewish identity" which, as with every "election" and fixed identity, engender, in excluding the other, the exclusion of the self, Derrida reflects on the colony and the metropolis beyond the center-periphery, Jewish-Gentile, Algerian-French binomials. On proposition 17 of Book III of Ethics , Spinoza defines "fluctuation of soul" as the "structure of the Spirit born from two opposing affections", basis of the ambivalence of who finds himself torn between two contradictory poles, between a desire of belonging or belonging once more to the Jewish people as the chosen people and, on the other side, the reticence, the critical retreat with respect to the return to the Jewish community of Amsterdam, that is, to the institution of Rabbinic Judaism.
Abensour reflects on the condition of the Jew as "new Christian" and as "new Jew". To understand the Marrano, Abensour considers him as double in himself.
At first, the Marrano was the "new Christian" under the laws of forced conversion in the Catholic Spain of and, after the immigration to Holland, with the freedom of worship, he was able to regain his identity as a Jew and as a practitioner of the Mosaic law, becoming, thus, the Marranos, "new Jews". It is known through Weber that the Jewish people, to some extent, could be defined as "pariah people", a guest-community in a foreign land which it differentiates itself from formally, ritually and effectively.
Under the constraints of a forced conversion, the Marrano condition is to live in two simultaneous realities, in public life, externally, as new Christians, and in private life and in the Jewish community while continuing to reject the law of Christ. In this sense, there is in Marranos a "crypto-Judaism", early "deformed", "displaced", "disfigured", "reconfigured":. Another duality arose in their lives: of essence and of existence, of the reality of life and of what should be its deep meaning.
Thus, the Judaizing Marrano did not experience alienation of its Catholic surroundings only, but also an intimate kind of alienation, within his own being, which he could not expose to the light of day; so his life and essence remained perpetually opposed to one another.
Yovel, , p. The Marranos which became Jews once more did not recover a full identity which could exceed the internal division experienced by their ancestors. If the oscillation of the new Christian was between a public Christian existence and a Mosaic clandestine one, the one of the new Jew is another, because he fluctuates between his new state of belonging to the chosen people and an irrepressible critical distance in the face of a Judaism that now is no longer imaginary and phantomalized, but real.
Sobre la deconstrucción : introducción a De la gramatología de Derrida
Department of Philosophy. This essay aims to discuss some elements of the philosophical and political thought of the author, noting especially its relations with the concepts of identity and territorialization. Finally, the essay discusses the task of deconstruction and its relation to the ethics and politics of friendship. The book by Jacques Derrida, Monolingualism of the Other, Or, The Prosthesis of Origin , evokes the France defeated by Hitler's forces and by the Nazi army from , as well as the racist policy adopted by the Vichy government. With the Nuremberg laws of , Jews and Gypsies lost their German nationality, the same occurring in France. Contrary to the current idea of the mother tongue being property derived from the ontological depositary, the author reflects on the nature of heritage bond and on the rhetoric of belonging. In occupied France, deprived of citizenship, the French Jews speak a language that becomes the language of the Other, producing a specific distance, a distance not of that which is further away, but of that which is closest.
De la gramatologia - 5* Edicion
The book has been called a foundational text for deconstructive criticism. His submission was unsuccessful. Derrida argues that throughout the Western philosophical tradition, writing has been considered as merely a derivative form of speech, and thus as a "fall" from the "full presence" of speech. In the course of the work he deconstructs this position as it appears in the work of several writers, showing the myriad aporias and ellipses to which this leads them. Derrida does not claim to be giving a critique of the work of these thinkers, because he does not believe it possible to escape from operating with such oppositions.
De la gramatologia - 5* Edicion