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1. Jacques Derrida (Religion and
2. Who Was Jacques Derrida?: An Intellectual
3. Writing and Difference (Routledge
4. Aporias (Meridian: Crossing Aesthetics)
5. Jacques Derrida (Routledge Critical
6. Of Spirit: Heidegger and the Question
7. The Politics of Friendship (Radical
8. On Cosmopolitanism and Forgiveness
9. For Derrida
10. The Prayers and Tears of Jacques
11. Of Grammatology
12. Positions
13. Copy, Archive, Signature: A Conversation
14. Psyche: Inventions of the Other,
15. Taking Chances: Derrida, Psychoanalysis,
16. Spurs: Nietzsche's Styles/Eperons:
17. Derrida: A Guide for the Perplexed
18. The Work of Mourning
19. Apparitions--Of Derrida's Other
20. Philosophy in a Time of Terror:

1. Jacques Derrida (Religion and Postmodernism Series)
by Geoffrey Bennington, Jacques Derrida
Paperback: 432 Pages (1999-06-15)
list price: US$31.00 -- used & new: US$23.90
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Asin: 0226042626
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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This extraordinary book offers a clear and compelling biography of Jacques Derrida along with one of Derrida's strangest and most unexpected texts. Geoffrey Bennington's account of Derrida leads the reader through the philosopher's familiar yet widely misunderstood work on language and writing to the less familiar themes of signature, sexual difference, law, and affirmation. In an unusual and unprecedented "dialogue," Derrida responds to Bennington's text by interweaving Bennington's text with surprising and disruptive "periphrases." Truly original, this dual and dueling text opens new dimensions in Derrida's thought and work.

"Bennington is a shrewd and well-informed commentator whose book should do something to convince the skeptics . . . that Jacques Derrida's work merits serious attention."—Christopher Norris, New Statesman & Society

"Geoffrey Bennington and Jacques Derrida have presented a fascinating example of what might be called post-structuralist autobiography."—Laurie Volpe, French Review

"Bennington's account of what Derrida is up to is better in almost all respects—more intelligent, more plausible, more readable, and less pretentious—than any other I have read."—Richard Rorty, Contemporary Literature
... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars Fine Intro to Derrida
Bennington/Derrida's coauthored text is a creative (and often lucid) attempt to demonstrate deconstruction, as well as the life and work of the ever bewitching Derrida. Bennington's contribution is one of the finest attempts at an explanation of Derrida's work yet available. He attempts to systematize deconstruction through a rigorous reading of Derrida's moves and positions from the early work found in 'Writing and Difference,' to the later texts regarding politics and religion. Derrida contributes his 'Circumfession,' a free-wheeling text devoted to the idea of the confession found in St. Augustine (and of course Rousseau), while at the same time providing an opportunity for Derrida to reflect on memories from his life. The circumfession is also a demonstration that deconstruction cannot be systematized, as Bennington's commentary fails to truly 'pin down' the life of Derrida as made evident in this curious little text. Admittedly, I found most of 'Circumfession' hard-going and uninteresting. Perhaps there is simply too much about Derrida's penis. Nevertheless, this book is one of the finest of critical commentaries available.

5-0 out of 5 stars Perfect for basic and advance understanding of Derrida
It is a extraordinary book. It Gives you a perfect way to introduce you to Derrida's project (if it is possible to say a "project") of deconstruction and if you have already read something of Derrida it gives you a way of get deeper in Derrida's way of thinking.

Goffrey Bennington worked close to Derrida in order to achieve this book in a very faithful way to Derrida's thought. Derrida himself write the supplement (If you allow me the irony)of this book, it is very interesting see how Derrida think about himself.

5-0 out of 5 stars Essential
It is clear that Bennington "gets" Derrida in this work.Bennington is easily one of the (maybe) 2 or 3 persons alive that are even nearly qualified to "finish Derrida's sentence."Everything I read of his is almost as if Derrida, himself, were writing.

Though an excellent look at exactly what Derrida is up to in his early days from Grammatology to Glas, this is not for the beginner."Deconstruction in a Nutshell" by John Caputo and "How to Read Derrida" by Penelope Deutscher are better for introductory purposes.

This work was indispensable for me, as I was introduced to Derrida through his later works and had very little idea how his whole project began in the 60s, 70s, and 80s.

If you are fairly experienced in theory, I would recommend laboring through this work, then re-reading it a couple years later after further work with Derrida, Heidegger, etc.It will clear up a lot of question marks while opening up new, more exciting ones.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent, mind-bending primer
I'll admit that it's hard enough to read Derrida, and I won't suggest that this is easier - in fact, reading this as a straightforward work front-to-back will probably lead to more confusion. But I definitely appreciate Derrida's paratextual manipulations and evasions of Bennington, who tries as hard as he can to pin down Derrida's thought at the same time. Bennington's topical arrangement is a great entre into the various subjects Derrida takes up in his philosophy, as long as you don't take it too dogmatically... and Derrida constantly comments in his running footnote to make sure that you don't. ... Read more

2. Who Was Jacques Derrida?: An Intellectual Biography
by David Mikics
Paperback: 296 Pages (2010-10-26)
list price: US$22.00 -- used & new: US$15.84
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Asin: 030016811X
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Who Was Jacques Derrida? is the first intellectual biography of Derrida, the first full-scale appraisal of his career, his influence, and his philosophical roots.  It is also the first attempt to define his crucial importance as the ambassador of "theory," the phenomenon that has had a profound influence on academic life in the humanities. Mikics lucidly and sensitively describes for the general reader Derrida's deep connection to his Jewish roots. He succinctly defines his vision of philosophy as a discipline that resists psychology. While pointing out the flaws of that vision and Derrida’s betrayal of his most adamantly expounded beliefs, Mikics ultimately concludes that “Derrida was neither so brilliantly right nor so badly wrong as his enthusiasts and critics, respectively, claimed." 

... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars Gone, But Not Forgotten!
This is a delightful little study of (some) of the life and (some) of the works of the late Jaques Derrida.Professor Mikics provides us with an especially lively and informative discussion of Derrida's stunning early collection WRITING AND DIFFERENCE (especially when compared to Sarah Wood's recent, rather lame, book about this same text).OF GRAMMATOLOGY is also explained to the reader in a succinct, level-headed manner and, thankfully, Prof. Mikics avoids the common mistake of treating this book as THE definitive statement of Derrida's views.Alas,the jaw-dropping brillance of Derrida's MARGINS OF PHILOSOPHY gets short shrift (only two of its eleven essays are examined: "The Ends of Man" and "Signature Event Context").Mikics almost makes up for this though by providing an especially good take on "Plato's Pharmacy" from DISSEMINATION.

I found the exploration of such later texts as SPECTERS OF MARX to be less impressive, but I suspect this is not the author's fault but my own (I just don't find anything Derrida wrote after about 1975 to be of any philosophical interest).I'll close by quickly noting two reservations I have about this useful little book: 1) the enormous influence of Heidegger's philosophy on Derrida is a topic consistently evaded, and 2) Prof. Mikics is obsessed with Derrida's "jewishness" (which may explain why almost twenty pages are devoted to Paul de Man affair and Derrida's silly attempts to defend his dead friend's reputation).

3-0 out of 5 stars Valiant, but ultimately unpersuasive
This book attempts to chart a middle course between slavish idolatry and dismissal.In that aim it succeeds.However, it does not deal adquequately with some of the key issues that confront skeptics of the French magus.First, Derrida is a lazy, sloppy reader.This defect is particularly evident when it comes to reading his cherished German texts.As one who has grappled with German prose for some 50 years I recognize the problem, but one must avoid overconfidence. However, Mikics seems to excuse Derrida's misunderstandings by applying a principle he ascribes to the late Paul de Man, namely that all reading involves some misreading.So one might as well go whole hog: misinterpret as much as you like, as long as the results are "creative."

Then there is the incredible grandiosity of Derrida's project.Following the unfortunate examples of Nietzsche and Heidegger, he feels authorized to conclude that all Western philosophy has been wrong--until our guru came along.

Mikics lays particular stress on the intervention of Emmanuel Levinas in Derrida's later thought.As far as I can tell, Levinas is even more confused than his disciple.Obscurus per obscurius.

Then there is Mikicz' claim that Derridian "Theory" is now victorious in the universities.As one who taught there for some forty years, I am pleased to say that news of this victory is premature.A formidable, and well-justified backlash against the cult of Theory has been building for many years.

The book is gracefully written and relatively brief.It may be recommended as a good statement of the case for the defense.But is Derrida really defensible?

5-0 out of 5 stars smart useful book
This is a well written, illuminating work on a (in)famous thinker, who has polarized philosophy and the humanities. I'd add that he's polarized English depts too, except Mikics tells us the battle -- or this skirmish of the culture wars -- is over and theory, which certainly includes Derrida, has won. (Okay, if he says so. He's the English professor. I have family members in academe but what do they know!) Mikics knows his stuff, indeed he knew Derrida, and writes both sympathetically and critically.

In terms of the sympathy, he praises Derrida for his carefulness and playfulness as a writer; for his early and firm rejection of the ridiculously pro-Soviet and blinkered French Communist Party when it would have helped his career to join as so many French thinkers have done; for his interest in the details of the work of (some) philosophers; and for his interest in his students, particularly the maverick ones (and, commendably, much less so the sycophants and hangers-on, who want a master and will invariably find one).

However, he is critical of Derrida for reading the history of philosophy highly selectively; for being single minded rather than open minded; for ultimately being just another mono-themed skeptic; for being a linguistic dogmatist; and -- most damningly and convincingly -- turning to ethics, albeit Levinas' strange, attenuated, quasi-theological, "absolutist" ethics, only when it was politically and personally expedient for him to do so (when his star waned relative to his disliked rival and one-time teacher, Foucault). I would add that Derrida should indeed be so criticized. Only a besotted devotee -- and Derrida had a goodly number of those -- could fail to see how shabbily he treats some philosophers, reading them "against themselves" for self-serving reasons (Austin comes to mind; and so does Husserl, who has the distinction of being treated poorly by two of the Big Names of the 20th century, Derrida and Heidegger), in ways that would be highly offensive to Derrida were the same "courtesy" extended to him. Also, Derrida ignores important luminaries like Frege and Wittgenstein, focussing, one could say, on easier targets. Finally, Mikics makes a compelling case for Derrida as a kind of quasi-autistic figure (my phrase), not particularly interested in human beings, qua the curious, complicated, psychologically idiosyncratic individuals they (we) are. (Are the likes of Aristotle and Hume, say, both known for their careful and interesting treatment ofcharacter, ethics, and especially psychology, largely ignored by Derrida for this reason?) The quasi-autism claim (again, my expression, not Mikics') isn't particularly surprising, as Derrida's readings are ultimately pretty predictable, and come to the same conclusion: he finds that texts mostly unravel in the same way. The man simply saw "texts" everywhere he looked, proclaiming us embedded in them "all the way down"; linguistics completely obscured psychology, and hence obscured ethics, too, for most of his career. All in all, this is a good, smart book, certainly not hagiographical, but perhaps for that reason able to be shrewd and insightful.

1-0 out of 5 stars This one's no help.
This is a boringly schematic attempt at reading an incredibly subtle thinker. If you don't know Derrida, you will not find him in these pages. If you do know Derrida, you won't be interested in this book. Boo Yale for putting this out as useful scholarship.

1-0 out of 5 stars Why is Yale UP publishing such dumb books? Derrida R.I.P.
Only a morn could write the sentence quoted from the book:

"Derrida was neither so brilliantly right nor so badly wrong as his enthusiasts and critics, respectively, claimed."

The writer sounds like a centrist pundit or a sports referee.Derrida gets a 9.1 in olympic philosophy exercises.Truth is, for the author, apparently always about balancing out accounts.Truth never hangs in the balance.

The other dumb book Yale just published last month is on Heidegger as Nazi--TOTAL ABJECTION!!!!We don't have to read his works because he was a Nazi!And the author can prove it by citing "excerpts" from published lectures from 1933-35. ... Read more

3. Writing and Difference (Routledge Classics)
by Jacques Derrida
Hardcover: 368 Pages (2001-05-18)
list price: US$120.00 -- used & new: US$101.59
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Asin: 0415255376
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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In the 1960s a radical concept emerged from the great French thinker Jacques Derrida. Read the book that changed the way we think; read Writing and Difference, the classic introduction. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars As depicted
The book I ordered arrived well before the expected delivery date and was in the condition promised.

4-0 out of 5 stars Difficult to read but thought provoking
I enjoyed this book even though it is a difficult read which requires in-depth understanding of the works that Darrida was reacting to.This book is an interesting one and offers a number of thoughts regarding "post-structuralism" and the limits of structuralism in a number of contexts.

The first essay, "Force and Signification" offered a great deal of insight into the problems of using structuralism as a methodology in literary criticism.In this essay, Darrida criticizes the typical structuralist approaches to this field.These criticisms are hard to impeach:structuralism at its best cannot hope to provide more than context for a literary work as it cannot address the agency of a speaker.(I think structuralism can provide some insight into this topic but it cannot be a primary method.)

Many of the other essays make little sense unless the reader has already read the works being analysed.However essay 10 (Structure, Sign, and Play) is quite readable and presents an attractive premise to the reader, though a premise I ultimately reject, that structuralism is problematic in the human sciences.Here Darrida focuses quite a bit on the fact that Levy-Strauss found himself defending methodological assertions (such as the binary opposition of nature and culture) whose truth value he denied.I see this criticism as missing an important point:that modules (including the linguistic models we call language) are all fundamentally simplifying devices, and that it is impossible to model something (and hence to think about or communicate a thought about something) without simplifying it in ways which will not always retain perfect consistency.A false assumption may therefore retain methodological use even if it is deemed false.Structuralism in this context works because it mirrors the way human beings model our surroundings and our culture through language.Inconsistencies are a part of language, and these inconsistencies are not necessarily comparable across related cultures unless they can be shown to be structurally comparable.Darrida's solution to the problem (deconstructionism), while it works much better than structuralist approaches to individual communications and literary criticism offers very little to this area (and in fact to the area of language itself).

Perhaps this essay will ring more true to me after a time, the way Nietzsche's "Beyond Good and Evil" did.Howewever at this point, it seems that this work at best introduces a number of cautions rather than condemnations, and looks at limits to tools rather than replacements.

4-0 out of 5 stars Cryptic and Wonderful
With this collection of subversive essays, Jacques Derrida exploded onto the scene of post-modern philosophy in Europe and the US though he didn't have a doctorate or teaching position at the time. In it, he demonstrates for the first time his conception of `deconstruction,' an apparently inexplicable concept which enables the analysis of `inter-textuality' and `binary-oppositions,' to be revealed. `Writing and Difference,' is of course a difficult text, and analytic philosophers don't even bother with it, though that may be their greatest mistake, for Derrida attempts (and not without success) to demonstrate that the notion of purely objective, enlightened truth seeking is an impossibility. That the essence of thought always operates within a given schema, a given facticity. "Differance," the famous phrase of Derrida, indicates that writing is necessarily primary to speech, we can see the `differ a nce' in text, not phonetically.

The first essay in this collection `Force and Signification,' attempts to apply a philosophical rigour to the analysis of literature, wherein Derrida explains Flaubert, Mallarme, and a number of others. `Cogito and the History of Madness' is an extremely famous essay about Foucault which triggered a feud between the two intellectuals that would never fully be mended. In it, Derrida argues that Foucault's book does not address the Cartesian notion of the Cogito adequately in the History of Madness, and that Foucault ultimately relies on the same principles of the enlightenment while attempting to expose the dynamics of its power simultaneously. The essay (along with violence and Metaphysics) is a perfect example of Derrida's capacity to deconstruct. However, he moves very quickly and without and assistance to the reader. If you have not read the author Derrida is deconstructing he will simply leave you in the dust.

The latter essays in the book deal primarily with Artaud, Freud, Bataille, Hegel, Heidegger, Levi-Strauss, and metaphysics and language generally. The essay on Levi-Strauss (Structure, Sign, and Play) is a particularly damning lecture delivered at Johns Hopkins University and left irreparable damages to the structuralist movement at the time. `Writing and Difference' is an important collection of critical texts for 20th century philosophy, and it should remain an important work for many ages to come.

4-0 out of 5 stars Reading Derrida....
Begin with essay #10.It's short, it's famous (it launched deconstruction in America), and it's fairly lucid.Then turn to essay #1 for another stunning discussion of the limits of structuralism.

Essay #5 is devoted to structuralism's rival, phenomenology.Just as essay #10 suggested that structuralism can't conceive of a structure with a fluid center, and essay #1 suggested that structuralism tends to impoverish literary texts because it can't account for certain textual energies, this essay insists that Husserl's phenomenology cannot do justice to origins, cannot think genesis.Unhappily, this is a dense and difficult piece of writing.

Next take up essay #9.Derrida is interested here with Hegel's attempt to repress the free play of signification via conceiving philosophy as a totality.Derrida also discusses Bataille's attempt to think the unthought of the Hegelian system, to ascertain what, if anything, can elude such philosophical closure.This is a great essay, but familiarity with Hegel's Master/Slave dialectic is a prerequisite.

If you have read Foucault's MADNESS AND CIVILIZATION, you'll want to read essay #2.Here Derrida attempts to call into question that book's major thesis by arguing that Foucault misreads Descartes.This essay is nicely structured but, for this reviewer at least, not terribly convincing.I also feel that essay #7, on Freud, is not a success.It is so difficult, so tedious, that most readers will cease to care about Derrida's point long before he gets around to making it.

Happily, there are two essays (#6 and #8) dealing with the writings of that fascinating artist/lunatic Antonin Artaud.They are both pretty dazzling, but I suggest taking on #8 first.There are also two rather short, amusing pieces on the Jewish thinker Edmond Jabes (essays #3 and #11).He appears to be something of a kindred spirit to Derrida.

Finish up with essay #4, the longest and most ambitious in this collection.Echoing themes from essay #9, here Derrida takes on the early writings of Emmanuel Levinas and his claim to have stepped outside of metaphysics.It's a demanding, but fascinating piece of writing.

5-0 out of 5 stars Derrida all over the place
In the beginning of Jacques Lacan's work "the ethics of psychoanalysis", Lacan speaks of honey that has no natural divisions and is instantly all over the place.Enter Derrida. This was only the second work I had read by Derrida at the time a few years ago and it astounded me.The breadth of commentary, play, and insight in these essays is radical - moving from freud, to foucault, to levi-strauss, to Artaud, to an amasing and important work on Levinas, to writings of his own, and more.This work (is it one or many?) is perhaps Derrida at his most poetical and yet at his most clear.In other works, his knack of writing seeming hieroglyphics makes his ideas extremely difficult to decipher.In this work, however, his play actually opens itself up to what he's doing.Not only that but where his poetics become more analytic, his language is fairly clear and understandable, given a background on the subject (freud, levinas, etc.).In multiple readings through the years this work has proved more and more fruitful and is still one of my favorite works by him (besides possibly the clear and consice Speech Event Context in "Limited Inc.", "Spurs", and "Gift of Death").This is Derrida's insights all over the place - thank God. ... Read more

4. Aporias (Meridian: Crossing Aesthetics)
by Jacques Derrida
Paperback: 104 Pages (1993-12-01)
list price: US$20.95 -- used & new: US$13.84
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Asin: 0804722528
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Derrida’s new book bears a special significance because it focuses on an issue that has informed the whole of his work up to the present.One of the aporetic experiences touched upon is that “my death” can never be subject to an experience that would be properly mine,

that I can have

and account

for, yet that there is, at the same time, nothing closer to me and more properly mine

than “my death.”

... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Death as aporia, as wonderment
Is "death" a limit? For Derrida "death" is that which `involves a certain step / not ... pace' (il y va d'un certain pas) (p. 6). It is not a telos or a terma, a limit beyond which there is none, but rather a `step', a peras, a passage one traverses by penetrating. At the same time, it is the moment of a `not', of an impossibility. What is more, it is certain that one reaches this step as impossibility, as non-path at a certain pace.

And in bringing forth Heidegger and the Aristotelian notion of aporia in the sense of being stuck in-between, Derrida is wondering whether "death" can be conceptualized in non-vulgar terms without being stuck in an impasse.

To achieve this, he remarks that aporia is the border as limit, as oros, and at the same time as tracing, as gramme. Hence an `aporetology' (p. 15) as has been his key concern in numerous instances, when, what is at stake, is not the crossing of the border, but rather, the double concept of the border from which aporia comes to be determined. Thus the word "death" whose concept is `unassignable or unassigning' (p. 22). And to expand on this, Derrida explores two issues.

First the idea of aporia as the impossible (in § 1: Finis) along with Heidegger's definition of "death" as `the possibility of the pure and simple impossibility for Dasein' (p. 23). In using the Heideggerian distinction between "properly dying" (tod - eigentlich sterben) and "perishing" (verenden), Derrida emphasizes that the problem of "death" concerns Dasein or the mortal, `not man (sic), the human subject, but it is that in terms of which the humanity of man must be rethought' (p. 35). A possible answer lies in "demise" (ableben) in the sense of walking away from life, thus placing an emphasis on the "arrivant" with no name or identity i.e. Dasein proper - death proper. Such delimitations institute a three-pronged inquiry for Derrida in one single braid: the problematic closure (conceptualisation of limit), anthropological border (discourse on limit), and conceptual demarcation (logical redefinition).

Second the idea of aporia as the crossing of borders (in §2: Awaiting (at) the Arrival). To this purpose, to wonder what there is after death makes methodological sense if the ontological essence of death has been elaborated and existential analysis of death has been carried out. More importantly such decisions occur here, over this side (i.e. not after death): they concern Dasein in its essence of `the being-possible' (p. 63). With an emphasis on the possible, Derrida remarks that `death is the most proper possibility of this possibility' (i.e. being-possibility of Dasein): with death Dasein awaits itself, standing before the impending anachronism (contretemps) of death.

To conclude I want to go to the beginning where Derrida dedicates this text to Koitchi Toyosaki, apparently for two reasons: Toyosaki's death and his father's (p. x). It seems to me that in citing `Toyosaki' and given that `names matter' (p. 21), Derrida is echoing what Toyosaki says. Namely, `citing is a manner of translating since it is obliged to leave its milieu of origin to find another where it takes more or less a new meaning et more importantly that it enters with the words that surround it in a relation of reciprocal translation' (Les fins de l'homme p.246). Citing then is about crossing a limit between that which is original and another, this side and the other. And if death for Derrida is this limit, it is an aporia - that which prompts anyone to wonder, to interrogate ... death as a figure of difference.

A book you must have read - but keep Heidegger close by!

5-0 out of 5 stars The Buddhist Connection
birth == death. Heidegger is wading into eastern philosophical waters here. The impossibility of Being through the possibility of death of Being or as Being.

5-0 out of 5 stars disagree again
Dasein is not being towards death if death is non-relational and unrepresentable, and about those two points we seem to agree. Rather, dasein is death, it is not related to death. How else can one understandthe equivalence birth=death? If that is the case, then the problem of theas such is not a problem, because dasein is not related to death, it isrelated to the nothing, and the nothing as such, the nihil absolutum, whichopens up another big can of worms.Derrida does so much dancing around thathe avoids the real problem.

4-0 out of 5 stars It's not that simple.
The question of Dasein, for Heidegger always, questioning is a "way"... Heidegger does pronounce Dasein as being-towards-death, but Derrida's tiff is not with Dasein's non-relational to death; in fact herecognizes as such (not 'as such')-- the negativity of Dasein, its dying-or being-towards-death is always already before and beyond that which canbe represented. So Derrida is revealing a problem with Heidegger's speakingof Dasein at all in this context (he is not objecting to 'as such' on thebasis that Dasein is towards an end, rather the possibility -which is then,right then, an impossibility- that Heidegger can ever say 'as such' aboutthat which can never be represented.

5-0 out of 5 stars disagree
Derrida has Heidegger wrong. Supposedly Heidegger understands death as the possibility of impossibility as such, and hence Dasein is the sein-zum-TOd, or the being towards the possibility of impossibility as such. Derridadenies the as such and asks, how can dasein be towards such an 'as such'?Heidegger says no such thing however. Dasein is not sein zum Ende, ratherDasein, correctly understood, is Ende zu sein. It is not toward an end, itis an end. Notice the even humorous inversion of Aristotle. Death isnon-relational, it is unbezuglich. One cannot adopt a relation to deathbecause death is impossibility, and Dasein is possibility: Dasein is thepossibility of impossibility. Death is not ahead of Dasein, rather deathcan occur at any moment, hence death never "stands before"(bevorstehende), it is rather "unbezuglich," non-relational.Derrida fails to understand, once again, that he misunderstands Heideggerby trying to jump ahead of him. ... Read more

5. Jacques Derrida (Routledge Critical Thinkers)
by Nicholas Royle
Paperback: 208 Pages (2003-05-16)
list price: US$22.95 -- used & new: US$14.00
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Asin: 0415229316
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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In this entertaining and provocative introduction, Royle offers lucid explanations of various key ideas, including deconstruction, undecidability, iterability, differance, aporia, the pharmakon, the supplement, a new enlightenment, and the democracy to come. He also gives attention, however, to a range of less obvious key ideas, such as earthquakes, animals and animality, ghosts, monstrosity, the poematic, drugs, gifts, secrets, war, and mourning. Derrida is seen as an extraordinarily inventive thinker, as well as a brilliantly imaginative and often very funny writer. Other critical introductions tend to highlight the specifically philosophical nature and genealogy of his work. Royle's book proceeds in a new and different way, in particular by focusing on the crucial but strange place of literature in Derrida's writings. He thus provides an appreciation and understanding based on detailed reference to Derrida's texts, interwoven with close readings of such writers as Shakespeare, Coleridge, P.B. Shelley, Poe, Emily Brontë, Franz Kafka and Elizabeth Bowen. In doing so, he explores Derrida's consistent view that deconstruction is "a coming-to-terms with literature". He emphasizes the ways in which "literature", for Derrida, is indissociably bound up with other concerns, such as philosophy and psychoanalysis, politics and ethics, responsibility and justice, law and democracy. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Constructing Derrida
Nicholas Royle's text on Jacques Derrida is part of a recent series put out by the Routledge Press, designed under the general editorial direction of Robert Eaglestone (Royal Holloway, University of London), to explore the most recent and exciting ideas in intellectual development during the past century or so. To this end, figures such as Martin Heidegger, Sigmund Freud, Friedrich Nietzsche, Paul Ricoeur, and other influential thinkers in critical thought are highlighted in the series, planned to include at least 21 volumes in all.

Royle's text, following the pattern of the others, includes background information on Derrida and its significance, the key ideas and sources, and Derrida's continuing impact on other thinkers. As the series preface indicates, no critical thinker arises in a vacuum, so the context, influences and broader cultural environment are all important as a part of the study, something with which Derrida might agree.

Why is Derrida included in this series?It is hard to come up with a more wide-ranging and influential thinker in the twentieth century than Jacques Derrida.While starting out in the literary field as a primary focus, his thought and intellectual influence has extended far beyond to almost every academic field.Particularly in the areas of philosophy, politics, law, theology, sociology, psychology and science, Derrida's influence will continue to be significant for a number of reasons.

Royle's text is very interesting, as I knew it would be from the start, but one of the truly surprising aspects of this text was that it was fun to read.From the very first page, when I saw that the first comment on the text was from Derrida himself, I knew that inside there would be creativity and humour, pieces of interest and insight.Derrida's comment, with which I completely agree, is that this text is 'Excellent, strong, clear and original.'One might consider it ironic that in a text dealing essentially with an overview of another's thought, there would be little room for originality.However, this is to miss a great deal of what Derrida tries to say, and something that one gets out of this text.All things are new and renewed; eventhe re-hash of old thoughts becomes unique and original.

I did not know it at the time I began reading, but the book is designed so that each chapter can be a stand-alone essay, peripherally related to each other, but not dependent upon any particular order of reading.I say this because I started near the end of the book.There is a chapter entitled 'Poetry Break' - being an erstwhile poet of sorts, this was automatically of interest.But when I noticed that Royle had selected Coleridge's 'Kubla Kahn' as the example.This is one of my favourite poems, and the application of Derrida's principles opened up interesting insights.One key insight (if I am permitted to use that phrase, as Royle argues that the idea of key insights is a foreign concept for Derrida) has to do with the unreadability of the poem - how can we tell what it means?It goes beyond reason, certainly, and is hardly just a drug-induced reverie.It contains a gift and an element of poetry difficult to discern, an infinite and unknowable element that nonetheless speaks to us in unique ways.

Part of the problem of putting Derrida into a series like this is that the series requires the identification of key ideas.Royle states that there is few things less like Derrida's thought than to attempt to organise his ideas into a string of 'key ideas'.Here the humour is introduced again - one feature of the Routledge texts is to have key idea and explication boxes, separated out from the rest of the text.That doesn't happen much in this volume, as Royle tries to remain clear of putting 'Jacque in the Box'.The only such pull-text box asks the question, 'What is a box?' and proceeds to deconstruct and destroy the idea of using this as a working principle in the book.

Ah, there, I've said it.If there is a key idea to be identified in Derrida's work, it is Deconstruction.This is perhaps what Derrida is destined to be known for, the relentless pursuit of deconstructing everything in his path.Derrida himself doesn't care much for the word, but the underlying purpose is crucial.Deconstruction works from the principle that everything is divisible, and that there is value in shaking things up, a sort of seismic communication theory.This leads to the ideas of text, supplement, differance, and even monsters.

Monsters, you say?Surely a lot of modern and postmodern thought is monstrous, in a number of ways.Derrida would say yes!The monstrous is always around us - Shelley's Frankenstein is not simply a monster tale, but is also a moral and political lesson.We can apply the idea of the monstrous to the future - it is something unknown, and therefore frightening; monsters cease to be monsters once they are domesticated, once they are known.Derrida believes that much of religious faith is based upon the monstrous - Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac, Jesus on the cross, these are monstrous things, that once they become known and transformed in new ways, cease their monstrosity.Of course, some of the ways in which these have been domesticated becomes once again monstrous.

As do the other volumes in this series, Royle concludes with an annotated bibliography of works by Derrida, works on Derrida, interview transcripts (Royle mentions a number of times that Derrida is known for talking as much as writing), and a listing of the top teninitial suggestions for those who want an accessible introduction to Derrida's work.

Intriguing and unexpectedly humourous, this is one of the better books I've read in a very long time. ... Read more

6. Of Spirit: Heidegger and the Question
by Jacques Derrida
Paperback: 148 Pages (1991-04-09)
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"Will a more important book on Heidegger appear in our time?No, not unless Derrida continues to think and write in his spirit. . . . Let there be no mistake: this is not merely a brilliant book on Heidegger, it is thinking in the grand style."--David Farrell Krell, Research in Phenomenology ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars Lecture on Heidegger's Spirit
The question of Heidegger and politics has plagued (and will continue to plague) continental philosophy since Heidegger's induction into the Recktorship under the Nazi regime in the thirties.

Why did he? But, and perhaps more importantly, why does something like Nazism come up? What is it about the West that breeds this kind of pathological racism? And how could Heidegger, for all his time concerned with, and working on authenticity and inauthenticity get swept up in the most inauthentic political movement of the century?

For Derrida, this kind of fascistic-nationalistic racism is not a problem of facticity, it is a problem of Spirit (Geist). Heidegger avoids the question and problem of Spirit, and it is a failure of his fundamental ontology and onto-theology.

This is a fascinating lecture from the late Derrida, who investigates Heidegger in new and unfamiliar modes. He relates (what he and the majority of others perceives to be) Heidegger's avoiding (vermeiden), of the question of Spirit ( Hegelian Geist). Avoiding means the saying without saying, the writing without writing, using words, without using them.

"No one ever speaks of spirit in Heidegger" (pg.4), well now Derrida has provided us with the speaking.

"The question of spirit must be recognized in indifference" (pg. 19), and Derrida performs this with remarkable coolness, though not lucidity.

This lecture is about spirit, about politics, about Europe, and about language. All students of Heidegger should read it, as it is one of the best.

4-0 out of 5 stars Watch out for the whole world, not just for politics.
If you read this book, you might notice how one century tends to follow another, but certain problems could crop up, particularly in places which don't define the world quite like we do, philosophically or religiously.I expected to spend a full weekend trying to figure out what this book has to say, but it dropped right into my preconceptions.

Some questions are more unsettling than others, and the question of spirit in Heidegger is worse when Derrida makes it perfectly clear that Heidegger knew how to avoid the question in purely philosophical works, firstly in Sein und Zeit, but treated spirit like a bandwagen that "the leap" (p. 32) would land on for those "in the movement of an authentication or identification which wish themselves to be properly German" (p. 33) in his famous Rectorship Address six years later, in 1933.The key paragraph of that address pictures the Germans, for whom the "will to essence creates for our people its most intimate and extreme world of danger, in other words its true spiritual world."(p. 36)My confusion about this doesn't really start until page 41, where "Spirit is its double."The consideration moves to the Einfuhrung (1935) which "repeats the invocation of spirit launched in the Address.It even relaunches it, explains it, extends it, justifies it, specifies it, surrounds it with unprecedented precautions."(p. 41).What has become a concern for Heidegger is "The darkening of the world implies this destitution of spirit, its dissolution, consuming, its repression, and its misinterpretation.We are attempting at present to elucidate this destitution of spirit from just one perspective, and precisely that of the misinterpretation of spirit.We have said:Europe is caught in a vice between Russia and America, which metaphysically come down to the same thing in regard to their belonging to the world and their relation to spirit."(p. 59).The collapse of German idealism a century earlier was, to Heidegger, the problem of an age "which was not strong enough to remain equal to the grandeur, the breadth, and the original authenticity of this spiritual world, that is, to realize it truly."(p. 60).I dropped a lot of German words from the passages I quoted, and the bracketed "[to the character of their world, or rather to their character-of-world, Weltcharakter]", for the benefit of those who might have thought that he already said that.Plenty of attention is paid to language, but of all the foreign words which might mean spirit, I'm barely aware of how the Latin word spiritus might be sung in church with a different meaning than how German philosophers arrogate about geistliche or Geistigkeit.

Page 63 has a sentence on how the metaphysics of the latter word as well as the Christian value, "a word which will itself thus find itself doubled" form some "profound relationship with what is said twenty years earlier of the darkening of world and spirit."(p. 63).If you are following this, this might be the book for you, if you still want to know, "Heidegger names the demonic.Evidently not the Evil Genius of Descartes . . ."(p. 62).

5-0 out of 5 stars about of spirit, too
An open question in the (by now) standard readings of Heidegger is his relation to Geist - spirit. From prescribed avoidance to evangelical inclusion over twenty five years, what motivated this change in Heidegger's pronouncements on spirit?

By following the formations, transformations,presuppositions and destinations of this sea change, Derrida once moreopens the question of the question, that famous Heideggerian question orquestioning which originates human kind: "Human being is that beingwhich questions the being of its Being."

In reading any Derridaanalytique, one is made aware all over again of the many echos surroundingevery voice, every attempt to speak. This is particularly poignant withregard to Heidegger, and Derrida does not gloss over the German's naziismas much as trace the hubris of his fallen state.

Is there a conclusion?There is no conclusion. It's enough to keep talking...not to interrupt. ... Read more

7. The Politics of Friendship (Radical Thinkers)
by Jacques Derrida
Paperback: 312 Pages (2006-01-17)
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Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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The most influential of contemporary philosophers explores the idea of friendship and its political consequences.“O, my friends, there is no friend.” The most influential of contemporary philosophers explores the idea of friendship and its political consequences, past and future.

Until relatively recently, Jacques Derrida was seen by many as nothing more than the high priest of Deconstruction, by turns stimulating and fascinating, yet always somewhat disengaged from the central political questions of our time. Or so it seemed. Derrida's “political turn,” marked especially by the appearance of Specters of Marx, has surprised some and delighted others. In The Politics of Friendship Derrida renews and enriches this orientation through an examination of the political history of the idea of friendship pursued down the ages.

Derrida's thoughts are haunted throughout the book by the strange and provocative address attributed to Aristotle, “my friends, there is no friend” and its inversions by later philosophers such as Montaigne, Kant, Nietzsche, Schmitt and Blanchot. The exploration allows Derrida to recall and restage the ways in which all the oppositional couples of Western philosophy and political thought—friendship and enmity, private and public life — have become madly and dangerously unstable. At the same time he dissects genealogy itself, the familiar and male-centered notion of fraternity and the virile virtue whose authority has gone unquestioned in our culture of friendship and our models of democracy

The future of the political, for Derrida, becomes the future of friends, the invention of a radically new friendship, of a deeper and more inclusive democracy. This remarkable book, his most profoundly important for many years, offers a challenging and inspiring vision of that future. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars O Friends, There Are No Friends
This book has its origins in the seminar that Jacques Derrida gave during the academic year 1988-89, as part of his late attempt to grapple with issues of political philosophy that he also deals with in his Specters of Marx. The book itself is an extended replay of the first session of the seminar, in which the French philosopher (who died in 2004) gave an overview of the themes that he would cover at more length during the year, beginning with the apostrophe: "O my friends, there are no friends" that Montaigne attributes toAristotle.

I was fortunate enough to attend that lecture and some of those that followed. The desire to retrieve that experience from the past and to compare the understanding of the written text with the impression left by the oral intervention certainly drove me to read this volume, with the English language providing an additional distance that I somehow find necessary to break with the immediacy of my native French.

The stage was set twenty years ago at the salle Dussane of the Ecole Normale Superieure, before an audience composed of fellow academics, faithful followers and curious onlookers, drawn together by the intellectual aura of the French philosopher who was at the peak of his public career. The atmosphere was quite different from the scenes of mass hysteria that are said to have accompanied the seminar of Jacques Lacan in that very same conference room some twenty years before, with swooning ladies fainting over the words of the Maitre and fanatical psychoanalysts arguing furiously over Freud's legacy. The cosmopolitan nature of the audience, composed mainly of foreigners, bore witness to the international following that Derrida's brand of philosophy already attracted, as well as to the conservatism of French philosophy students, who tended to shun this lecture in favor of more academically correct seminars.

Reading Derrida or other French authors like Bataille, Foucault, Barthes or Bourdieu is sometimes considered as a kind of rite of passage into the world of rebellious intellect. Such motivation was not absent from my decision to attend that seminar, which had no connexion whatsoever with my university major in economics. But if I or others were in for the show, for a kind of post-modern happening, then the lecture was certainly a deception. As a philosopher molded in the classical tradition, deeply familiar with the canon of great authors that he quoted in their original language (be it Greek, Latin, German or English), Derrida expected the same kind of familiarity, and the same language skills, from his listeners.

I remember my sense of frustration and awe as I realized that my philosophical background, limited to a course in classical philosophy during high school and preparatory class as well as personal readings of contemporary French authors, hadn't prepared me at all to dealing with the many quotes, allusive references and close readings of topical excerpts that were thrown at us during that first session. I came home with a long reading list of quoted authors, some of whom I later skipped entirely like Aristotle, others which I discovered during that academic year and with whom I am still familiar, like Carl Schmitt.

Friendship has been celebrated by many classical authors, starting with Plato, Aristotle and Cicero, very often as an act of mourning over the disappearance of a beloved one or as a celebration of a great couple of friends, always men, who provide the model of ideal friendship:Orestes and Pylades, Theseus and Pirithous, Damon and Pythias, Laelius and Scipio, Montaigne and La Boetie, etc.

But the apostrophe attributed to Aristotle, articulating a performative contradiction, also opens friendship to its own deconstruction: if there are no friends, how can one address friends? And how to draw the line between the friend and the enemy, a basic opposition to which Carl Schmitt attributes a central role in the definition of politics? Even the origin of the quote is obscure, as its attribution to Aristotle by Diogenes Laertius and subsequent authors is purely based on hearsay and its aporetic nature contradicts the clarity of the Greek philosopher's prose. The destiny of this ambiguous quote provides a common thread to the book and indeed to a significant part of Western philosophy, as it runs through the work of authors as different as Montaigne, Florian, Kant, Nietzsche, Blanchot and Deguy. A large part of Derrida's book is devoted to the commentary of Nietzsche's even more paradoxical statement, in Human All Too Human, that subverts the quotation by reversing it:

'Friends, there are no friends!' thus said the dying sage;
'Foes, there are no foes!' say I, the living fool.

Here the friend is converted into the enemy, the sage passes himself off as a fool, and one is not sure whether to rejoice or to mourn the disappearance of the enemy which, if one follows Carl Schmitt, puts into question the very existence of the political.

The question of counting or enumerating people--how many friends are there, how many are listening to the apostrophe that there are no friends--is also one of the lecture's recurring theme, which ironically points toward the obligation made to the teacher to register the attendance and count the number of students in the classroom (an obligation that Derrida conspicuously avoided) as well as to the ideal number of citizens that a functioning democracy cannot exceed (which, according to Aristotle, was less than 10 000).As Derrida points out, there is no democracy without respect for irreducible singularity, which by definition one cannot count, but there is no democracy without the calculation of majorities and the addition of equal, identifiable citizens. This paradox suggests the possibility of a "community without community" which, according to Derrida, would characterize the "democracy to come".

The key to this insistence on number is only given at the end of the book, when Derrida shows that, according to the way the omega is accentuated in the original Greek quote, the paradoxical interjection: "O friends, no friends" can also be translated, more prosaically, as "Many friends, no friends", or "he who has many friends can have no true friends." This philological coup de theatre does not eliminate the fecundity of the original quote, which functions as a textualmachine producing its own discourse as if granted with a life of its own.

4-0 out of 5 stars Too true to be ignored.
Some things that I have previously written about fools were undoubtedly reinforced by my earlier attempt to gain something from this book.Now that I have returned to this book with all the seriousness that creative intellectual labor demands when it is not in a good mood, my concern is with a portion of Chapter 4, "The Phantom Friend Returning (in the name of `Democracy')" stated most concisely on pages 81-82, "with neither consciousness nor memory of its compulsive droning" being applied to "what has become the real structure of the political ~ . . . the marks and the discourse that give it form ~ to allow us to speak of them in such a way today, seriously and solemnly?"Whatever is being discussed here is leading to a German thinker on page 83:"This tradition takes on systematic form in the work of Carl Schmitt."The flip side of things is actually the case."As soon as war is possible, it is taking place, . . . in a society of combat, in a community presently at war, since it can present itself to itself, as such, only in reference to this possible war."(p. 86)"The concept of the enemy is . . . the very concept of the political."(p. 86)

Perhaps this is only serious in a sense in which psychosis might be considered serious, or a political professional might be considered engaged in something like the practice of law, or a majority of the Supreme Court might think that people shouldn't count... because their wishes and desires will prevent them from maintaining any hard and fast rules about how they are counting.This is about the same as the democratic principles for friendship which are the topic of this book.Comedians might have predicted that if a presidency were to go, either to a guy that they thought was too smart, or to the dumb guy, the law ought to prefer the dumb guy anyway, because the law is like comedy, playing to the same audience.It might not always be right, but the audience always gets the jokes about the dumb guy.Derrida is not providing an index or bibliography with this work, just notes at the end of the chapters, so it wasn't easy for me to find comic elements of this book to pursue.I think he is fond of more troubling aspects of reality, like TRAGIC WAYS OF KILLING A WOMAN by Nicole Loraux and the usual Greek philosophers.As far as my concerns about the war on drugs, he provides some reasons for thinking that with the powers of high altitude herbicide spraying available today, we are capable of destroying much more of Columbia for each opium user here at home than back when Nietzsche was taking opium.When Derrida wrote this book, he might not have been thinking that the United States would be doing that by now, but it must be true.

4-0 out of 5 stars What are friends for?
Derrida's latest book continues what has been pecieved as an 'ethical turn' in deconstruction, intiated with 1994's "Spectres of Marx," and the subesquent rich contribution of 'deconstructionists' to politicaland moral thinking. However, Derrida himself contends that his entireproject would have been unthinkable without some form of Marxism, and Ishare emphatically the view of Critchley, Laclau et al that questions ofethics and politics lie at the heart of the deconstructive enterprise. Itis such a reading that gives this latest text a crucial location in themost contempoarary of politics. And those who contend that Derrida's (andthe continental tradtion's legacy in general) has nothing 'practical,''useful' to say about the conduct of states and peoples in something calledthe 'real world,' need only refer to the Middle East situation, and theendlessly shifting notions of 'friends' and 'enemies' in that region tobegin to grasp the paradoxical importance of Aristotle's strange address,inverted by Nietzsche, "O my friends, there are no friends,"around which Derrida constructs his arguments. Where do the boundairiesof friendship lie - is not our closest friend also, as Nietzsche suggestedlong ago, also our greatest enemy? Throughout the years of the Cold War,such questions may have seemed irrelevant, facticious. For those of us inthe West, it was US and them, the USSR, the Warsaw Pact. Complicated thoughthe transactions may have been, it was between two concretely opposed andfinished blocs. Today the questions are rarley so simple - is the US afriend, to those in Britain? But which US - for it is surely now not anhomogenous entity if it ever was. And which Russia do we hold dear? Thecollsape of stable relasionships between states of the world precipates acollaspe of recognition and identification within these states, via whichwe exist as political beings. Derrida's book is not the truth of friends,but in myraid different ways explores the legacy in various philosophicaltraditions of the dicotomy friend / enemey, and opens new and vitalinterpretations of our contempoarary state. ... Read more

8. On Cosmopolitanism and Forgiveness (Thinking in Action)
by Jacques Derrida
Paperback: 94 Pages (2001-06-26)
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Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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On Cosmopolitanism and Forgiveness is a fascinating and telling work by one of the world's leading thinkers. In an accessible but provocative manner, Jacques Derrida unravels and confronts two pressing problems: the explosive tensions between refugee and asylum rights and the ethic of hospitality; and the dilemma of reconciliation and amnesty where the bloody traumas of history demand forgiveness.

Throughout the book, Derrida makes use of compelling examples to argue that true forgiveness consists in forgiving the unforgiveable. These include the emotive issue of "open cities" where migrants may seek sanctuary from persecution and exile, the widely publicised Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, and ethnic strife in France and Algeria. Derrida asks whether, in the face of these problems, it is still possible to uphold international hospitality and justice. Should cosmopolitanism be grounded publicly or privately? Should we look to the city rather than the state for protection of basic freedoms?

On Cosmopolitanism and Forgiveness is a bold and incisive example of how philosophy can help us understand contemporary issues. It is essential reading for anyone interested in what makes an ethical society. It also includes a short introduction by Simon Critchley and Richard Kearney, clearly setting out the arguments of the two essays that make up the book.Amazon.com Review
Reading Jacques Derrida requires an unusual blend of wit and patience. Ever the magician, Derrida dazzles again in his slim treatise On Cosmopolitanism and Forgiveness. Part of the Thinking in Action series, providing clear and accessible pieces from major thinkers, the book contains two surprisingly lucid essays from a writer notorious for producing difficult prose. Derrida is the consummate French philosopher, and hiswork has mainly been the province of grad students and the coffeehouse set, which is unfortunate because he has much more to offer. In this volume, he turns his attention to international human rights, asking penetrating questions about our capacity to forgive, heal, and reconcile in a world fraught with incalculable evil.

Derrida's most important contribution to modern philosophy is his infamous technique of textual interpretation, deconstruction. The technique doesn't come easily, but its critical perspective allows one to draw connections between seemingly unrelated ideas. And that's what Derrida does here, tracing lines between cities, asylum, and reconciliation. On Cosmopolitanism and Forgiveness is grounded in the immediacy of present-day happenings, taking up questions about human rights, amnesty, the Gulf War, and East Timor. Of course, readers will do well to have some background in philosophy, but the heart of the book is for all of us. --Eric de Place ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

1-0 out of 5 stars ummmm....
What???$75 (reduced price) for a paperback book?I don't care if it's written by Jesus H. C., that is too damn expensive.

4-0 out of 5 stars Impossible possible aporias
Derrida was fascinated by aporias:puzzlements, bewilderments, dilemmas.In the Anglo-American philosophical tradition, the urge is to unpack an aporia, to de-puzzle it, if you will.But so far as Derrida was concerned, the really interesting aporias are those that can neither be unpacked nor dismissed.He thought of them as "impossible possibles," in that the conditions for their being also entailed a negation or contradiction.Derrida speculated about several of these aporias.In these two essays, he's primarily concerned with hospitality and forgiveness.

Both hospitality and forgiveness are gifts, says Derrida, and in doing so he follows Judaic-Christian-Muslim normative traditions.But giving in the pure sense of the word means that the giving is anonymous--so anonymous that the recipient neither knows the benefactor nor even realizes that a gift has been given.Unconditional hospitality and forgiving, then, are possibilities whose very possibility seems to make them impossible:how, after all, can hospitality or forgiveness be said to be given if the recipient isn't aware of receiving?And yet this ideal, the impossible possible, ought to be kept as a standard.

Added to the paradoxical nature of giving is Derrida's claim that the only forgiving worthy of giving is for the unforgiveable.Otherwise, forgiving is always conditional--that is, we forgive on condition that the offense is forgiveable.Derrida's responding most directly to what he thinks is the philosopher Jankelevitch's claim that Nazi war criminals are unforgiveable.Actually, though, I think he misreads Jankelevitch.Jankelevitch argues that war crimes are unforgiveable if viewed from an historical/legal perspective.But when viewed from a pure perspective, they are forgiveable--precisely because they're unforgiveable.So Derrida, whether knowingly or not, is really knocking off Jankielevitch's thesis.

Still, an excellent and accessible read which serves as a nice complement to the typical way in which analytic philosophers examine forgiveness.

5-0 out of 5 stars Clear and Engaging--on the impossibility of doing and saying ordinary things
This book by Derrida is wonderfully synthetic.In it, he engages with a large number of other philosophers, including Hannah Arendt, Emmanuel Levinas, and Immanuel Kant, and he also discusses at some length the Hebraic and Pauline scriptures.The book is also remarkably clear.

In my opinion, however, the clarity of this book makes it more difficult to read than some of his others, since its clarity might give the impression that a quick read would be sufficient.I think, instead, that one's guard should be up and that each word of Derrida's book should be read carefully, since many times the argument hinges on an 'if' or a 'perhaps.'However, having said that, I do believe that there is nothing in this book that an educated person (not just a philosopher) would not understand with a bit of work.

Let me back up a second again.Although Derrida writes (actually, speaks)here to be read, the things that Derrida discusses can be quite challenging.But they are challenging here not because he uses jargon but for the simple reason that one _does indeed_ understand what he means.It is not easy to be confronted by someone who says that the concepts one takes for granted are not stable.

In the first essay on Cosmopolitanism Derrida asks what it would mean to be hospitable to others and to create cities of refuge.Thinking of our own struggles in the US as we attempt to come to terms BOTH with the message on the Statue of Liberty that marks the beginning of New York City AND with current economic and political pressures that make any city living problematic, I find his essay exciting and troubling.As Derrida notes, the Torah in the book of _Numbers_ does seem to require a kind of hospitality in the very structure and experience of the city.But can we simply take over that requirement?If so, how?How can openness to others and to their plight be enacted without giving up the reliability and necessary limitations or boundaries of the city?How can openness not become overrun by those who seek it?

In the second essay, Derrida shows that forgiveness is only what it is if the person or event to be forgiven cannot actually be reached or touched by my effort to forgive.Very notably, his discussion of forgiveness here is the contrary to that of Arendt and others on the Holocaust.Forgiveness for Derrida must forgive the unforgivable (read the Holocaust) to be what it is.And yet Derrida acknowledges that unconditional forgiveness must still negotiate the very real, conditional demands of life together.This essay very much troubles me.How can I forgive the person who will later not be the same as the one who wronged me?How can I forgive the unforgivable and not perish as a victim of my own far-too-universal love?[I hear in Derrida's description of the problem of unconditional and conditional forgiveness an acknowledgment of Freud's _Civilization and Its Discontents_.]

For me, Derrida's second essay is more searing and interesting.Coming out of a Christian tradition, I find that Derrida's discussion of forgiveness opens new meaning in my re-reading of some of Jesus' final words: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.This 'not knowing' is precisely what prevents forgiveness from being powerful in a political sense.It is precisely what makes forgiveness impossible, since those who do not know what they do cannot really ask for forgiveness and cannot (it would _seem_) be changed by it.Does the impossibility of forgiveness make it unnecessary or futile?Derrida does not think so.But what then is its value if it is always prevented from reaching its object from before it begins?

As a final note, I think that Derrida's point throughout this book and throughout his corpus might be that none of us know what we are doing.We transgress, do violence, and rely on contradictions as if they were sure, foundational entities.What he wants us to do in this work is, to quote Arendt from _The Human Condition_ to think what we are doing.Or, to put it another way, to think what we _think_ we are doing and to see if in fact we are _really_ doing it at all.

5-0 out of 5 stars Le Grand Pardon
As Derrida points out, the two virtues of hospitality and forgiveness belong to the Abrahamic tradition common to Jews, Christians and Moslems. They were defined and codified at a time when nation-states didn't exist, and point toward forms of solidarity that are both archaic and highly modern, in the sense that they help us expand our legal and political horizon.

Granting hospitality or giving forgiveness are what linguists call speech acts, when enunciation creates its own performance and engages the speaker through the strength of the given word. One would need to establish fine-grained distinctions between the related notions of hospitality, asylum, refuge, sanctuary, safe haven, tolerance, openness, or within the even richer field of words connected to forgiveness: pardon, clemency, grace, acquittal, amnesty, reconciliation, excuse, exemption, prescription, repentance, apology, self-accusation, confession, etc. These are not only linguistic distinctions: differences in legal status and socio-economic conditions between asylum-seekers, refugees, immigrants, foreigners, deported, heimatlosen, stateless or displaced persons have very real consequences.

Derrida identifies a contradiction or a double imperative contained in these two notions, a tension that leads to unanswerable questions. Forgiveness presupposes a call for pardon, but usually the worst offenders don't ask for forgiveness and manifest no repentance: can one forgive the guilty as guilty? And if true forgiveness consists in forgiving the unforgivable, what does forgiveness forgive if the unforgivable is forgiven? Likewise, the concept of hospitality points toward a right of refuge that should be granted unconditionally to all foreigners; but all political organizations, be they the modern nation-states or the cities of refuge of the ancient Jews, impose limitations on the rights of residence.

Hospitality and forgiveness therefore exhibit a tension between the conditional and the unconditional, the calculus of politics and the imperative of ethics. One should not try to solve this contradiction or reconcile those two poles: inflections in politics and international law, such as the notion of crime against humanity or the French law that makes such crimes imprescriptible, usually stem from this tension between the two orders of injunctions.

Another point common to these two notions is that they belong to a 'politics of friendship', they create a personal bind between individuals or communities that can sometimes contradict the rules of citizenship and sovereignty imposed by the nation-state. Derrida's first lecture before the International Parliament of Writers occurred at a time when the tightening of laws against foreigners without rights of residence, the so-called 'sans papiers', generated mass protests in Paris. In a bold move, Derrida reconnects with the philosophical tradition that treats the city as the matrix of all political organizations and mulls over the ancient cities of refuge mentioned in the Laws of Moses. As he acknowledges, "if we look to the city, it is because we have given up hope that the state might create a new image to the city." Hospitality granted by individuals or communities such as churches sometimes go against the laws of the states, and can even be treated as 'acts of terrorism' or 'participation in a criminal conspiracy' in a post 9/11 world.

The second lecture, On Forgiveness, also underscores the tension between the individual and the state. Despite the political performance of the "theater of forgiveness" on which "the grand scene of repentance" is played over and again, Derrida insists that a public institution has neither the right nor the power to forgive. Pure forgiveness must engage two singularities, the victim and the perpetrator, without the intervention of a third party. It is therefore distinct from the "therapy of reconciliation" that nevertheless needs to be played so that wounds may be healed by the work of mourning.

To conclude, let me quote from the excellent preface that puts the two lectures in their intellectual context: "On Forgiveness and On Cosmopolitanism are proof, if proof were needed, that deconstruction is not some obscure textual operation initiated in a mandarin prose style, but is a concrete intervention in contexts that is governed by the undeconstructable concern for justice."

3-0 out of 5 stars Accessible introduction to a major thinker
This is a review of _On Cosmopolitanism and Forgiveness_ by Jacques Derrida (Routledge, 2001).

Jacques Derrida, who died in 2004, was one of the most influential intellectuals of the twentieth century.But if you peekinto his seminal work _Of Grammatology_ (1967), you'll see why he has a reputation for being quite hard to understand.What is nice about _On Cosmopolitanism and Forgiveness_ is that it gives you a general sense for what Derrida is all about, but in a style that you can actually follow.

This book consists of two brief essays by Derrida, on specific topics and in response to specific occasions. On Cosmopolitanism,which was an address to the International Parliament of Writers (1996), discusses the problem ofcities of refuge :cities which are specifically intended to be open to refugees from around the world.It seems that, on the one hand, there is a need for such cities, because there are many refugees from political oppression and natural disasters around the world.On the other hand, how can there becities of refugein a world in which nation-states are the basic political units?Derrida gives an overview of the issue, and briefly discusses the views of Hannah Arendt (see her _The Origins of Totalitarianism_) and Kant (see his _Perpetual Peace:A Philosophical Essay_).

On Forgiveness,which was originally a reply to a series of questions posted to Derrida by a French publication (1999), discusses the problem of forgiveness as it arises in response to outrages like aparthied and the Holocaust.For example, South Africa's famous Truth and Reconciliation Commission is sometimes conceptualized as promotingforgivenessfor the perpetrators of aparthied. But can anything as awful as institutionalized racism and torture be forgiven?And even if it can be forgiven, can a political body (as opposed to a victim) offer it?

Although Derrida is much-discussed, and has had an immense influence on literary criticism, he is also extremely controversial.When he was given an honorary degree by Cambridge, one member of the faculty objected that "Mr. Derrida is forced to write more and more obscurely in order to conceal the fact that he has nothing to say." I think that particular comment is too harsh.But it is certainly an open question, at this point, what Derrida's long-term historical legacy will be.So how insightful are the essays in this volume?

I foundOn Cosmopolitanisminteresting, but not particularly original or challenging.Derrida argues that there is a tension between a demand for unconditioned hospitality (shouldn't we be open to anyone who needs our help?) and a demand for conditioned hospitality (practically speaking, whom will we allow in, and under what conditions?).I foundOn Cosmopolitanismto be like a good (but not great) essay one might run across in a magazine like The Atlantic or The New York Review of Books. On Forgivenesswas a bit more engaging.Derrida's primary thesis is that one can only forgive the unforgivable.Here is how I, at least, understand this idea.Suppose you have wronged me in some minor way, and I really ought to forgive you.Since I OUGHT to forgive you, there is nothing really special or problematic required of me.Indeed, if I don't forgive you in this case, it seems that I have wronged you.What IS special is when a person has done something so wrong that they are not entitled to forgiveness, but their victims offer them forgiveness anyway.But how is it possible for the victims to forgive, when what the perpetrators have done does not entitle them to forgiveness?

It is characteristic of Derrida's work to identify what he sees as contradictions, but then to argue that they are ultimately inescapable, and that we must learn to operate within them.So the ideas that we can only forgive the unforgivable and that hospitality is both unconditional and conditioned are very characteristic of his work.Would we learn more if we tried to resolve these contradictions?Or would the effort to resolve them be oversimplifications?This is precisely the sort of issue that divides Derrida's critics.

This work does not explain or even mention the key notions for underlying Derrida's method ofdeconstruction,includinglogocentrismanddifference. But if you are looking for a brief, accessible introduction to Derrida's general approach, then I would recommend this book, especiallyOn Forgiveness. ... Read more

9. For Derrida
by J. Hillis Miller
Paperback: 384 Pages (2009-07-01)
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This book--the culmination of forty years of friendship between J. Hillis Miller and Jacques Derrida, during which Miller also closely followed all Derrida's writings and seminars--is "for Derrida" in two senses. It is "for him," dedicated to his memory. The chapters also speak, in acts of reading, as advocates for Derrida's work. They focus especially on Derrida's late work, including passages from the last, as yet unpublished, seminars. The chapters are "partial to Derrida," on his side, taking his part, gratefully submitting themselves to the demand made by Derrida's writings to be read--slowly, carefully, faithfully, with close attention to semantic detail.The chapters do not progress forward to tell a sequential story. They are, rather, a series of perspectives on the heterogeneity of Derrida's work, or forays into that heterogeneity.The chief goal has been, to borrow a phrase from Wallace Stevens, "plainly to propound" what Derrida says. The book aims, above all, to render Derrida's writings justice. It should be remembered, however, that, according to Derrida himself, every rendering of justice is also a transformative interpretation. A book like this one is not a substitute for reading Derrida for oneself. It is to be hoped that it will encourage readers to do just that. ... Read more

10. The Prayers and Tears of Jacques Derrida: Religion without Religion (Indiana Series in the Philosophy of Religion)
by John D. Caputo
Paperback: 416 Pages (1997-05-01)
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Asin: 0253211123
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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"Caputo's book is riveting.... A singular achievement of stylistic brio and impeccable scholarship, it breaks new ground in making a powerful case for treating Derrida as homo religiosis.... There can be no mistaking the importance of Caputo's work." -- Edith Wyschogrod

"No one interested in Derrida, in Caputo, or in the larger question of postmodernism and religion can afford to ignore this pathbreaking study. Taking full advantage of the most recent and least discussed writings of Derrida, it offers a careful and comprehensive account of the religious dimension of Derrida's thought." -- Merold Westphal

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3-0 out of 5 stars Vague....
I have only read the first 50 pages, but the narrative of this book lacks traction, spends more time reiterating its preferred motifs than substantively tackling the issues it raises. The presentation of Derrida's critique of Levinas is positively superficial and resorts, as if returning to the surface for lack of air, to reiterating the 'impossible' as advent, etc. These are wonderful themes but simply chanting them doesn't explicate or reveal the contrasting issues and styles between the greek, jewish and christian faiths and/or styles of thought. Faith stakes a claim, usually a very specific claim, and 'difference' as some kind of 'generality' that undoes the specificity of religious faith for the awaiting of some unknown form of it: this runs the risk of promoting blather, and Derrida may have more to contribute than Caputo is able to demonstrate.

5-0 out of 5 stars A faithful reading is a risky reading . . .
In this exposition of Derrida's recent writings, Caputo continues his work of making the trouble-making tools of deconstruction generally available. The clarity of his presentation is matched by his playfulness. Theme by theme, he teases out the revolutionary possibilities of Derrida's "religion," freeing words and phrases from jargon and obscurity. This book offers the gift of the relevance of Derrida for "faith." Caputo's own "Edifying Divertissments" are michieviously beautiful. ... Read more

11. Of Grammatology
by Jacques Derrida
Paperback: 456 Pages (1998-01-08)
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"One of the major works in the development of contemporary criticism and philosophy." -- J. Hillis Miller, Yale University

Jacques Derrida's revolutionary theories about deconstruction, phenomenology, psychoanalysis, and structuralism, first voiced in the 1960s, forever changed the face of European and American criticism. The ideas in De la grammatologie sparked lively debates in intellectual circles that included students of literature, philosophy, and the humanities, inspiring these students to ask questions of their disciplines that had previously been considered improper. Thirty years later, the immense influence of Derrida's work is still igniting controversy, thanks in part to Gayatri Spivak's translation, which captures the richness and complexity of the original. This corrected edition adds a new index of the critics and philosophers cited in the text and makes one of contemporary criticism's most indispensable works even more accessible and usable.

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Customer Reviews (28)

1-0 out of 5 stars Incomprehensible Gibberish
It's okay to not understand Derrida. He's not saying anything in particular. He writes to make himself look impressive and to stroke the egos of those who pretend to understand him, not to clarify or reveal. Alas, I cannot even review the meaning of the text, because if we are to believe Derrida, texts have no stable meaning. So what's the point? Read into it what you want to.

The original idea behind deconstruction is somewhat intriguing and dates back at least to Plato's Euthypro, where Socrates "deconstructs" in so many words the meaning of virtue. But he never denied that it could be defined: only that we too often use words arbitrarily and that we ought to watch out for that.

But while Socrates tried to elucidate, Derrida tries to obfuscate. Don't worry if you can't understand a word Derrida is saying: he's not saying anything. As a writer, I have learned that rule #1 of professionalism is that if your reader doesn't know what you're trying to say, it's always your fault. Derrida's intellectual clique won't approve of the rest of us calling out his sophistry, but that's what it is, kids: nonsense.

Highly recommended as a crash course in how not to write.

5-0 out of 5 stars Magnificent
Gayatri Chekravorty Spivak has done justice to this famous (some would say infamous) work of philosophy and literary theory. Derrida's Grammatology exploded like an intellectual bomb in American and European literary circles upon its publication, and it has remained the source of considerable debate and often vituperative outrage within the halls of academe. Derrida questions the Western privileging of speech over writing through a deconstruction of modern structuralism. A sustained and nuanced reading of Saussure, Levi-Strauss, and Rousseau reveals an ethnocentrism and logocentrism determined by a classical metaphysical understanding of being as presence. But Derrida proposes the centrality of the play of absence and presence as the horizon of significance and meaning, of 'Differance.' With a collapsing of the clean Saussurean distinctionbetween the signifier and the signified, Derrida presents the 'gramme,' the mark, as a productive force in signification. "A writing that breaks with the phone radically is perhaps the most rational and effective of scientific machines; it no longer responds to any desire or rather it signifies its death to desire. It was what already operated within speech as writing and machine. It is the represented in its pure state, without the represented, or without the order of the represendted naturally linked to it." 'Of Grammatology is a crucially significant development in 20th century thought. A knowledge of Heidegger, Freud, Nietzsche, Plato, Rousseau, Saussure, and Levi-Strauss is assumed.

5-0 out of 5 stars The problematization of writing
Derrida's thought is the primary reason why I inevitably feel an urge to put quotation marks around so many of the conceptual labels in my own writing; he initiates a needful misgiving: Do we really know what we are speaking about when we attempt to speak philosophically? Or is our language so subverted, displaced, and otherwise (blindly) ideological that a lot of the theoretical malarkey that academics put forth just seems to beg the age-old questions of knowledge, truth, meaning, etc.? But wait. We shouldn't lose sight of the fact that Derrida's writing shies away, almost essentially, from authoritative positioning in such matters because his own writing is subject to the same blind alleys and provisionalism that all writing is. In this respect, his writing is always, in a way, winking and playful, but admittedly in an rigorous and sometimes difficult way.

Is this book difficult? Yes, you bet it is! But I assure you that it's is as close to entry-level Derrida as any other book written by him. I first encountered the thinking of Derrida in a very watered-down gloss on his theory in postmodernist primer; this intrigued me to pursue him further, to read such things as Beginner's Guides and Short Introductions (which I definitely recommend to those who have either no prior experience with him or nogreat familiarity with the other thinkers he addresses in Of Grammatology--Saussure, Rousseau, etc.). Of course, you'll discover that these tidy little intros can be oversimplifying in places, but they at least get you to the general neighborhood before your set out on your own.

Derrida's writing, because of its inherent need for argumentative clarity and rigor, can at times be difficult to decipher; therefore, do not obsess over every sentence; the overall meaning of the argument is much more important and often becomes clearer if you just plow through difficult passages.

Every writing, especially philosophical writing, and even of course Derrida's, is by nature ideological; it works outward from a set of assumptions. There is no other alternative. We cannot start from scratch, from some dreamed-of ground zero where there is no preceding meaning and out of which we may deduce all the truths of the universe. Derrida's ideological vantage is then what appealed to me about him; perhaps never in black and white, but always and everywhere his thinking seems to question authoritative accounts, seeks to expand upon the marginalized element in any discourse, and foregrounds the difficulty in making large and almost mathematical pronouncements in philosophical and other supradisciplinary affairs. These are certain dispositions which align with my own particular perspective, and if they have some resonance with you, and if you come to Derrida having completed a little homework and bringing along a good dose of patience and effort, then you'll likely find this book rewarding as well.

A final note on the opposing opinion: Although there is no one camp of thinkers or philosophers which opposes Derrida's thought for one and only one reason, some of the most vocal of his detractors (and I will temporarily assume their voice here) regard him as a proponent of relativism or an attempted (but miserably failed) assassin of the western philosophical tradition. They are less skeptical of a fundamental faith in the general structures of meaning and in the rudimentary capabilities of the rational mind to attain to some variety of truth, however limited. Also, opponents often regard Derrida as a kind of interloper in the field of philosophy, that he should putter around with his obscurantist games in the narrow field of literary theory where he belongs. Therefore, if Plato, Descartes, and Locke seem like more feasible philosophical pursuits, Derrida probably (1) won't convert you and (2) won't be to your liking. He doesn't put forth a philosophical system, and neither does he assert an epistemological framework, so you won't find the kind of concrete, axiomatical philsophical claims common to pre-modern and early modern philosophy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Push through it
When I first tried to tackle this book I was a first year undergrad philosophy and logic student - I declared Derrida my arche-enemy.
Three years later I am devoted to Derrida.
I eventually managed to push down the frustration (and at times, the blind rage) I felt at reading his stuff and took my time to follow him where he wants to take us.
Derrida is important for thinking, whether or not you agree with what he is saying.
Derrida's greatest lesson is forcing us to look closer, he wants us to pay attention to what is really going on (or at least, to pay attention to other possibilities that may be at work)

2-0 out of 5 stars A Celebration of Incoherency
The importance of Derrida and his movement is monumental - not for the term "deconstructionism" (heard frequently without a clue to its true meaning) but for how he has influenced (Western) society. Derrida, like Marcuse, Chomsky, Foucault and others, has moved from his original study to a broader agenda and, like many intellectuals, considers his mastery of one subject transferrable to another.He managed to survive the embarrassing Paul de Man fiasco and has since wisely avoided mention of the "Hitler in all of us".He has remarked on the authoritarian anti-democratic nature of deconstructionism, treating the subject ironically.

This is, allegedly, a textbook of post-Modern thought on language but reads like a didactic, out-of-focus Proust. The writing isnebulous, self-referential, unreadable. He speaks in Orwellian terms equating opposite qualities and words. It is so ephemeral as to lack certitude and for this very reason many commentators fear definitive statements on the subject. Deconstructionism is, despite all the twaddle, inherently subjective. He muses on expression, anxiety, emotions, signs and existentialism, finding meaning and interpretation where there is none. His popularity rests entirely on academia and like-minded camp followers in the media. I mean, how many Iowans care about the "ultimate" meaning of allusions? The problem with the ouevre is thatwhen taken seriously, it literally make mountains of molehills.

Such as, well, equating fairy tales to S&M sagas, symphonies to invitations to rape, skyscrapers to phallic power trips, signs of "white" recycled paper as racism and stuttering as aggression. Allusions are, in Derrida-speak, fraught with deep meaning. To accomplish this one must divorce words from their sources and stated intent. The critic has been necessarily elevated above theauthor since only he can provide a "true"meaning. It is so outrageous that few outside of the Ivory Towers give it credence. That would be a mistake. Language is perhaps the most human of all abilities and its interpretation affects our personal and collective consciousness. His method has been called the "language of cultural Marxism" and is a necessary component of modern leftist ideology.At any time I expect Jacques Derrida to announce, like Alan Sokal, that it has all been a collosal joke on both the true believer and the reader. ... Read more

12. Positions
by Jacques Derrida
Paperback: 122 Pages (1982-11-15)
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Positions is a collection of three interviews with Jacques Derrida that illuminate and make more accessible the complex concepts and terms treated extensively in such works as Writing and Difference and Dissemination. Derrida takes positions on his detractors, his supporters, and the two major preoccupations of French intellectual life, Marxism and psychoanalysis.

The interviews included in this volume offer a multifaceted view of Derrida. "Implications: Interview with Henri Ronse" contains a succinct statement of principles. "Seminology and Grammatology: Interview with Julia Kristeva" provides important clarifications of the role played by linguistics in Derrida's work. "Positions: Interview with Jean-Louis Houdebine and Guy Scarpetta" is a wide-ranging discussion that touches on many of the polemics that Derrida's work as provoked.

Alan Bass, whose translation of Writing and Difference was highly praised for its clarity, accuracy, and readability, has provided extremely useful critical notes, full of vital information, including historical background.
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Customer Reviews (2)

3-0 out of 5 stars Decent Collection
Positions is a collection of three interviews with the late Jacques Derrida, given after the major works (Writing and Difference, Grammatology) had already been released. This volume is a very helpful introduction to the major concepts Derrida developed-you will come to be acquainted with differance, logocentrism, and the archi-trace. Although this is not the best explication of deconstruction (as it has often been described), there is no doubt that Derrida's casual remarks on his work are elucidative and still creative. The interview with Kristeva is particularly interesting.

4-0 out of 5 stars he is a monolith, but also a man
positions is a collection of three interviews with derrida, all of which offer a pretty good introduction to his line of thought. this book is a lot better starting point than say, 'of grammatology', its really a lot less intimidating.this is of course because derrida is speaking verbally, 'improvising', and there isnt as much seemingly paradoxical word play. from 'positions' you can get a pretty good idea about what differance, logocentrism, and grammatology are all about. ignore all the criticism of derrida as a reductionist/nihilist who wants to demolish philosophy, he is a brilliant, poetic, innovative man. ... Read more

13. Copy, Archive, Signature: A Conversation on Photography
by Jacques Derrida
Paperback: 112 Pages (2010-07-13)
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This book makes available for the first time in English—and for the first time in its entirety in any language—an important yet little-known interview on the topic of photography that Jacques Derrida granted in 1992 to the German theorist of photography Hubertus von Amelunxen and the German literary and media theorist Michael Wetzel. Their conversation addresses, among other things, questions of presence and its manufacture, the technicity of presentation, the volatility of the authorial subject, and the concept of memory. Derrida offers a penetrating intervention with regard to the distinctive nature of photography vis-à-vis related technologies such as cinema, television, and video. Questioning the all-too-facile divides between so-called old and new media, original and reproduction, analog and digital modes of recording and presenting, he provides stimulating insights into the ways in which we think and speak about the photographic image today. Along the way, the discussion fruitfully interrogates the question of photography in relation to such key concepts as copy, archive, and signature. Gerhard Richter introduces the volume with a critical meditation on the relationship between deconstruction and photography by way of the concepts of translation and invention. Copy, Archive, Signature will be of compelling interest to readers in the fields of contemporary European critical thought, photography, aesthetic theory, media studies, and French Studies, as well as those following the singular intellectual trajectory of one the most influential thinkers of our time.
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4-0 out of 5 stars Sparks but not yet fire
This book is a translation of a conversation between Derrida and two German theorists that transpired in 1992. The interchange itself is about 14000 words, very short. The book also contains a brief introduction and some notes with interesting bibliographic references. Derrida's questioners are smart and interesting, but this is fairly staccato, incomplete, and interrupted exchange. Still, the book makes a little clearer some of the muddled relations of deconstruction and photography found in "Right of inspection" (1989) and scattered in his writing. I wish we had more and better on this topic. I think you must be interested a great deal in this application of deconstruction to be willing to buy such an incomplete and slim volume. Still, as my title suggests, there are moments of great excitement here even if this work does not bring its various promises to fruition. ... Read more

14. Psyche: Inventions of the Other, Volume I (Meridian: Crossing Aesthetics)
by Jacques Derrida
Paperback: 460 Pages (2007-08-01)
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Psyche: Inventions of the Other is the first publication in English of the twenty-eight essay collection Jacques Derrida published in two volumes in 1998 and 2003.In Volume I, Derrida advances his reflection on many topics: psychoanalysis, theater, translation, literature, representation, racism, and nuclear war, among others. The essays in this volume also carry on Derrida’s engagement with a number of key thinkers and writers: Barthes, Benjamin, de Man, Flaubert, Freud, Heidegger, Lacoue-Labarthe, Levinas, and Ponge.Included in this volume are new or revised translations of seminal essays (for example, "Psyche: Invention of the Other," "The Retrait of Metaphor," "At This Very Moment in This Work Here I Am," "Tours de Babel” and “Racism’s Last Word”), as well as three essays that appear here in English for the first time.

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5-0 out of 5 stars A highly analytical and thoughtful compendium of meticulous reasoning
Psyche: Inventions of the Other Volume 1 is the first English-language publication of the essay collection that Professor of Humanities Jacques Derrida (1930-2004) originally published in two volumes in 1998 and 2003. The assembly of essays present Derrida's thinking on a wide assortment of topics including psychoanalysis, theater, translation, literature, representation, racism, and nuclear war. Also present are Derrida's engagement with the ideas of well-known thinkers and writers such as Barthes, Benjamin, de Man, Flaubert, Freud, Heidegger, Lacoue-Labarthe, Levinas, and Ponge. "Deliberate self-limitation gives psychoanalysis its only chance as a science. It isolates a context into which external randomness no longer penetrates. Biogenetics is not devoid of randomness and neither is the psyche, but the orders or the random sequences must not communicate or cross over within the same set, at least if one wants to distinguish between orders of calculable necessity. There must be no bastardizing or hybridization, no accidental grafts between these two generalities, genres, or genealogies. But one might ask the author of 'Leonardo,' how is one to eliminate the dice throws of bastardy? Is not the concept of sublimation, like that of the drive, precisely the concept of bastardy?" A highly analytical and thoughtful compendium of meticulous reasoning, and a welcome addition to philosophy shelves and college libraries. ... Read more

15. Taking Chances: Derrida, Psychoanalysis, and Literature (Psychiatry and the Humanities) (Vol 7)
by Joseph H. Smith MD, William Kerrigan
Paperback: 216 Pages (1988-08-01)
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A challenging and multisided meditation on the importance of Derrida to current developments in psychoanalysis and psychoanalytical interpretations of literature. ... Read more

16. Spurs: Nietzsche's Styles/Eperons: Les Styles de Nietzsche
by Jacques Derrida
Paperback: 172 Pages (1981-02-15)
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Nietzsche has recently enjoyed much scrutiny from the nouveaux critiques. Jacques Derrida, the leader of that movement, here combines in his strikingly original and incisive fashion questions of sexuality, politics, writing, judgment, procreation, death, and even the weather into a far-reaching analysis of the challenges bequeathed to the modern world by Nietzsche.

Spurs, then, is aptly titled, for Derrida's "deconstructions" of Nietzsche's meanings will surely act as spurs to further thought and controversy. This dual-language edition offers the English-speaking reader who has some knowledge of French an opportunity to examine the stylistic virtuosity of Derrida's writing—of particular significance for his analysis of "the question of style."
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Customer Reviews (6)

3-0 out of 5 stars Difficult, but interesting
This slim text on Nietzsche and Heidegger caused a storm in European Nietzsche circles when it was first released in 1978, and it is often cited today as evidence of Derrida's apparent command of Nietzsche's philosophy. In the text, Derrida primarily deals with the issue of women in Nietzsche, and brings his misogyny back to the problem of truth itself. This is a very rich and dense text, with issues as broad as Mauss' 'The Gift,' madness, and a very tight hermeneutic reading of Heidegger's Nietzsche work. Nevertheless, I am still left wondering what all the excitement is really about.

4-0 out of 5 stars Only after Heidegger
One might wonder why Derrida focuses on Nietzsche's statements concerning women in this work. That focus only makes sense in light of Heidegger's reading of Nietzsche.
Derrida finds that even Heidegger's supposed totalizing reading of Nietzsche elides the word woman. What is at stake in this elision? That is the point of this work.
Precisely because that elision exists there can be no final philosophy. Philosophy is forever contingent. If you read this book for nothing else, it should be for the final 15 pages where Derrida discuses Nietzsche's umbrella, and the ridiculous loops hermeneuticians go through to understand this enigmatic philosopher.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Reckless Endangerment of What Everybody Knows
My approach to the fame which Derrida enjoys is his daring in playing with the danger of disrupting what people think that they know.In his discussion of the final topic in this book, a note which Nietzsche wrotethat said, "I have forgotten my umbrella," he openly expresseshis philosophical doubt about its significance with what must be consideredhis standard stance, "The meaning and the signature that appropriatesit remain in principle inaccessible."(p. 125)Offering aninterpretation is like guessing what Nietzsche's umbrella might have beenmetaphorically, as one might consider the significance of religion, socialthought, conscience, or morality as it relates to a person's place in theworld.The interest in Derrida's examination of Nietzsche's style,"Hence the heterogeneity of the text," (p. 95) seems to begreatest in the consideration of alternative positions which Nietzscheoffers regarding women, truth, etc."It is not that it is necessaryto choose sides with the heterogeneous or the parody (which would onlyreduce them once again).Nor, given that the master sense, the soleinviolate sense, is irretrievable, does it necessarily follow thatNietzsche's mastery is infinite, his power impregnable, or his manipulationof the snare impeccable."(p. 99)This stuff is only obvious tothose whose ludicrous embrace of comic material does not exceed their graspof what a comic society consists of, the fools that mortals be.Don't getback to me on this: ask anybody.

5-0 out of 5 stars Terse Verse
In having forgotten what I've read and read what I've forgotten, I am pleasantly bemused.Where to begin where this is no beginning but <> and no end but <> (and as I writethese words of Derrida the endless possibilties of ideas spur forth, fromnothing, from being, from woman essence, the essence of woman - and inthese phrases the kernel of a metaphysical enquiry).Perhaps at a distancefrom the text, can any thoughts be produced. this was some of the mostpleasant reading I've done in a while.I don't know how much I<> and <>, but it was fun.Ithink, though, reading Derrida is like reading poetry.So much is packedinto a dense space and such play of words, philosophies and language are atwork that at point I can only enjoy the literary quality of his writing.

5-0 out of 5 stars Spurs:Nietzsche's Style
What is 'Truth' anyhow?In Spurs, this question is rigorously explored using Nietzsche's aphoristic writing style as an example of honesty in literature/philosophy.The reader weaves through the maze that is Spurs,searching for answers ('Truth') but only finding style and utterly visualmetaphors created by Nietzsche and polished by Derrida.Is 'Truth' a"veiled woman" or is it "Nietzsche's umbrella"?Bringyour interpretive seeds and sow them in the weave of Spurs--perhaps you'llfind an answer that will suit your, well....ahh....nevermind... ... Read more

17. Derrida: A Guide for the Perplexed (Guides for the Perplexed)
by Julian Wolfreys
Paperback: 192 Pages (2007-07-24)
list price: US$21.95 -- used & new: US$7.21
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Asin: 0826486010
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Continuum's "Guides for the Perplexed" are clear, concise and accessible introductions to thinkers, writers and subjects that students and readers can find especially challenging. Concentrating specifically on what it is that makes the subject difficult to grasp, these books explain and explore key themes and ideas, guiding the reader towards a thorough understanding of demanding material. Jacques Derrida is one of the most important thinkers of the twentieth century. His writings, his lectures and his involvement in a number of political causes have transformed the way in which literature and cultural studies is taught yet his work has often met with incomprehension, hostility and fear. This guide provides students with a clear, unintimidating introduction to Derrida, the key concepts and ideas associated with his work and the major subjects he addresses. Without assuming any prior knowledge of Derrida's work or literary theory more widely, the guide introduces Derrida's ideas, work, reception and his wider philosophical and critical influence.Throughout, Wolfreys refers to literature and film examples, grounding discussion of theoretical concepts in close reading of specific texts. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

1-0 out of 5 stars Obscure
I havent read Derrida before and this series of books gave me a good understanding about Kierkgraad , so i bought this one on Derrida. I am utterly disappointed with the book, the series publisher must may attention that who ever writes in this series must be able to communicate complex ideas in simple way and not in more complicated way. I do not buy the idea thatDerrida s concept are so obscure that they cannot be explained in simple terms. I have come across such situations before with other thinkers and always managedto find resources where someone really understood the concept/ideasand was able to explain it clearly .

5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely amazing
Having studied Derrida for a while, I have to say that this book is tied for my "BEST INTRODUCTION to DERRIDA." The other text is Penelope Deutscher's "How to Read Derrida." If you are just attempting to get into the rich and complicated thoughts of Jacques Derrida and his poststructural ideas, I highly recommend this amazing text.
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18. The Work of Mourning
by Jacques Derrida
Paperback: 272 Pages (2003-09-15)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$9.48
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Asin: 0226142817
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Jacques Derrida is, in the words of the New York Times, "perhaps the world's most famous philosopher—if not the only famous philosopher." He often provokes controversy as soon as his name is mentioned. But he also inspires the respect that comes from an illustrious career, and, among many who were his colleagues and peers, he inspired friendship. The Work of Mourning is a collection that honors those friendships in the wake of passing.

Gathered here are texts—letters of condolence, memorial essays, eulogies, funeral orations—written after the deaths of well-known figures: Roland Barthes, Paul de Man, Michel Foucault, Louis Althusser, Edmond Jabès, Louis Marin, Sarah Kofman, Gilles Deleuze, Emmanuel Levinas, Jean-François Lyotard, Max Loreau, Jean-Marie Benoist, Joseph Riddel, and Michel Servière.

With his words, Derrida bears witness to the singularity of a friendship and to the absolute uniqueness of each relationship. In each case, he is acutely aware of the questions of tact, taste, and ethical responsibility involved in speaking of the dead—the risks of using the occasion for one's own purposes, political calculation, personal vendetta, and the expiation of guilt. More than a collection of memorial addresses, this volume sheds light not only on Derrida's relation to some of the most prominent French thinkers of the past quarter century but also on some of the most important themes of Derrida's entire oeuvre-mourning, the "gift of death," time, memory, and friendship itself.

"In his rapt attention to his subjects' work and their influence upon him, the book also offers a hesitant and tangential retelling of Derrida's own life in French philosophical history. There are illuminating and playful anecdotes—how Lyotard led Derrida to begin using a word-processor; how Paul de Man talked knowledgeably of jazz with Derrida's son. Anyone who still thinks that Derrida is a facetious punster will find such resentful prejudice unable to survive a reading of this beautiful work."—Steven Poole, Guardian

"Strikingly simpa meditations on friendship, on shared vocations and avocations and on philosophy and history."—Publishers Weekly
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Customer Reviews (2)

3-0 out of 5 stars Paying his respect
This volume is a compendium of obituaries by Jacques Derrida on several key figures of continental philosophy who have since passed in recent years. The book, gathered as a whole, essentially marks the end of an important era in the history of Western philosophy, it was the era of existentialism, phenomenology, structuralism, post-structuralism, Marxist theory, and deconstruction.

Derrida writes elegant and respectful essays about literary theorist Roland Barthes, Paul DeMan, philosopher Michel Foucault, Max Loreau, Jean-Marie Benoist, Marxist theorist Louis Althusser, Edmond Jabes, Joseph Riddel, Michel Serviere, Louis Marin, feminist Sarah Kofman, Gilles Deleuze, Emmanuel Levinas, and Jean-Francois Lyotard.

Although this text is far from a major work of philosophy on behalf of Derrida, I am positive it will be an important resource for future students, and an elegant work of preservation for a by-gone era.

5-0 out of 5 stars Funereal Rites
I haven't read this book, but have read most of the obits. The introduction I read in the excerpt here was strong, and if the rest of the material is anything like what I have already encountered (espec. Levinas and Deleuze), it is a remarkable book. Derrida writes beautifully and compassionately when writing of the beloved Other; his infamous turgidity is infrequent in these pieces. Well worthwhile. ... Read more

19. Apparitions--Of Derrida's Other (Perspectives in Continental Philosophy)
by Kas Saghafi
Paperback: 200 Pages (2010-03-01)
list price: US$24.00 -- used & new: US$17.28
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Asin: 0823231631
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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The chapters of this book revolve around the notion of the other in Jacques Derrida's work. How does Derrida write of and on the other? Arguing that Derrida offers the most attentive and responsible thinking about "the undeniable experience of the alterity of the other," Apparitions--of Derrida's Other examines exemplary instances of the relation to the other--the relation of Moses to God, Derrida's friendship with Jean-Luc Nancy, Derrida's relation to a recently departed actress caught on video, among others--to demonstrate how Derrida forces us to reconceive who or what the other may be. For Derrida, the singularity of the other, always written in the lower case, includes not only the formal or logical sense of alterity, the otherness of the human other, but also the otherness of the nonliving, the no longer living, or the not yet alive. The book explores welcoming and hospitality, salutation and greeting, "approaching," and mourning as constitutive facets of the relation to these others. Addressing Derrida's readings of Husserl, Levinas, Barthes, Blanchot, and Nancy, among other thinkers, and ranging across a number of disciplines, including art, literature, philosophy, and religion, this book explores the apparitions of the other by attending to the mode of appearing or coming on the scene, the phenomenality and visibility of the other. Analyzing some of Derrida's essays on the visual arts, the book also demonstrates that video and photography display an intimate relation to "spectrality," as well as a structural relation to the absolute singularity of the other. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent analysis for advanced philosophy shelves
Kas Saghafi (Assistant Professor of Philosophy, University of Memphis) presents Apparitions - of Derrida's Other, a thoughtful and scholarly assessment of Derrida's readings of Husserl, Levinas, Barthes, Blanchot, and Nancy, with particular emphasis on the theme of the relationship between the self and the other. Paying acute attention to the linguistic nuances of translation, Apparitions - of Derrida's Other assesses its central focus point by meticulous point. Apparitions - of Derrida's Other is an excellent analysis for advanced philosophy shelves, or any collection involving Derrida's works an ideas. "No monstrous figure can remain without shape for long, however, for there is a need to give it a form, to cloak it, cover it over, as all thinking of form has to do with wearing or donning an outer garment or veiling a naked core. Yet the nudity of the monstrous, a bareness more nude than nude, is the very undoing of interruption of form as we know it."
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20. Philosophy in a Time of Terror: Dialogues with Jurgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida
by Giovanna Borradori
Paperback: 224 Pages (2004-09-01)
list price: US$17.00 -- used & new: US$12.80
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Asin: 0226066665
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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The idea for Philosophy in a Time of Terror was born hours after the attacks on 9/11 and was realized just weeks later when Giovanna Borradori sat down with Jürgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida in New York City, in separate interviews, to evaluate the significance of the most destructive terrorist act ever perpetrated. This book marks an unprecedented encounter between two of the most influential thinkers of our age as here, for the first time, Habermas and Derrida overcome their mutual antagonism and agree to appear side by side. As the two philosophers disassemble and reassemble what we think we know about terrorism, they break from the familiar social and political rhetoric increasingly polarized between good and evil. In this process, we watch two of the greatest intellects of the century at work.
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Customer Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars Good book
And the only blathering on that I see in evidence is what commentary the book has spawned, both here and elsewhere.

4-0 out of 5 stars Postmodern situations, postmodern ideas
As Borradori states in his introduction, 'Both [Habermas and Derrida] hold that terrorism is an elusive concept that exposes the global political arena to imminent dangers as well as future challenges.'I think that this sums up what many people feel about the war on terrorism - unlike conflicts such as World War I and World War II, or even the more vaguely defined Cold War or Vietnam war, this is a war where there the front-line can be anywhere and nowhere, where the enemies can be anyone and no one, and where the tactics, strategies, motives and hoped-for achievables are so far removed from what traditional political and military methodology deals with that it requires a paradigm shift in our thinking.'While the Cold War was characterized by the possibility of balance between two superpowers, it is impossible to build a balance with terrorism because the threat does not come from a state but from incalculable forces and incalculable responsibilities.'

As is typical of Derrida, he sees the relationship between terrorism and communication to be paramount.(I was first exposed to Derrida in theology classes, dealing with the postmodern predicament of looking for meaning in language and behind language in ways that make sense).It is perhaps ironic that the term that springs to mind most when contemplating Derrida is 'deconstruction', which is, in often a dramatically literal sense, what terrorism also hopes to achieve.'The intellectual grounding of Derrida's deconstruction owes much to the nineteenth- and twentieth-century lineage constituted by Nietzsche, Heidegger and Freud.For Derrida, many of the principles to which the Western tradition has attributed universal validity do not capture what we all share or even hope for.'This becomes all the more problematic when dealing with those outside the Western tradition, such as occurred in Vietnam, Korea, and now in the war on terror.

For Derrida, communication is not simply political.'Derrida engaged the themes of terror as a psychological and metaphysical state as well as terrorism as a political category.'This draws upon philosophical ideas that can reinterpret the events in various ways, as plays out in various media outlets even to this day.But the events of 9/11 for Derrida are not surprising.'Was 9/11 truly unpredictable?Not for Derrida.... The kind of attack that the terrorists launched in 2001 had already been prefigured in detail by the technocinematic culture of our days.'

Habermas also sees communication as a critical element.One issue for Habermas is the speed of modern mass communication - it 'works in the interest of those who select and distribute the information rather than those who receive it.Habermas suggests that the pressure of thinking and evaluating data quickly has a political import, because it facilitates an experience of politics based on the persona of the actors rather than the ideas that each of them defends.' Habermas' theory of communicative action, including its idea of violence as distorted communication, shows the importance of perception, understanding, critical analysis and response.

'Habermas understands modernity to be a change in belief attitude rather than a coherent body of beliefs.A belief attitude indicates the way in which we believe rather than what we believe in.Thus, fundamentalism has less to do with any specific text or religious dogma and more to do with the modality of belief.'This fits in many ways when one commentator I read recently who discussed the overall state of Muslim theology, expressing the understanding that the Muslims have never gone through a period of Reformation as Christendom did, nor have Muslims come to embrace the idea of a society and nation-state separate from religious.Indeed, we can hear echoes of this latter idea in political speech in America, often from groups that can be described as (and often embrace the term) fundamentalist.This will continue to be an issue in the war on terror.

Another issue for Habermas will be the issue of nation-state vs. international organisation power.'Habermas is convinced that what separates the present moment from a full transition to cosmopolitanism is not only a theoretical matter but a practical one, too, for the decisions of the international community need to be respected. ... Unfortunately, the power differential between national and international authorities threatens to weaken the legitimacy of any military intervention and to retool police action as war.'This has been true not just in the twentieth century, but previously as well.The Congress of Vienna, the League of Nations, and the United Nations have all failed to have power to counter the superpowers of their times; alliances such as NATO and the Warsaw Pact relied heavily on one particular partner.

For both Derrida and Habermas, the war on terror is not as simple as Arab vs. West, Muslim against Christian/post-Christian society, or particular nations against one another.Perhaps had this been written after the recent situation with the Dubai acquisition of American ports being stopped, they would have pointed out that once again, our definitions and communicative premises fail - how does one balance the idea that foreign ownership of ports is unwise with the fact that few are concerned when British, Canadian, Australian or Norwegian firms do the same?There is a lack of definition about it all, even when all the words we use, to bring about clarity.The war on terror might be the quintessential post-modern situation.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great, thought-provoking
It's a privilege to hear what these two minds have to say about our times, especially because their styles of thinking and the way they articulate today's problems are so divergent.

4-0 out of 5 stars A most noble endeavour
Although the section dedicated to Habermas is brief and Derrida is allowed to make a more dynamic impact, Borradori knows very well what she is doing, and ensures that the end relult is that they both complement each other. These two thinkers might occupy opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to a whole host of issues, but "Philosophy in a Time of Terror" is not about who is right and who is wrong or about the reader choosing his/her favourite.
Habermas lays much of the groundwork, reminding us of the relevance of the Enlightenment, championing notions of the public sphere and communicative action. Reason, rationality and discourse have been, and always will be, essential components of any society wishing to realise the Enlightenment ideal. Just as philosophy was vital at the time of the Enlightenment, so too is it needed today in helping us come to terms with terrorism and in conceptualising a future which re-addresses the notion of citizenship, bestowing upon it a global and cosmopolitan character.
Derrida gets to work on much of what Habermas proposes, questioning received wisdom and conceptual systems through his own deconstructive methods. Focusing on 9/11 as an "event" and putting his own spin on globalization, we are invited to temporarily suspend belief and look at things from a more unfamiliar angle. Yes, some of Derrida's points are questionable, overblown and occasionally ridiculous, but his concerns have much in common with those of Habermas: how to realise a world society where primacy is given to international law and the religious undercurrents of political rhetoric are abandoned once and for all,dangerous as they all too often are.

This book is a reminder to us all of the role played by philosophy in shaping our present and a call for a return to philosophical reflection in order to forge a sustainable future for everybody. It's a start, and credit is due to Habermas, Derrida and of course Borradori for their collaboration. The world may well be awash with pragmatism (much of it needed admittedly) but there has to be a degree of reflexivity if we are going to avoid a groundhog day scenario. I mean, we're all idealists at heart, aren't we?

3-0 out of 5 stars A Philosophy left on the table....
The main issues I have with this book are:
1. the dialogue with Habermas is way too short. I don't know if he was on a time line, but, it is just as he is gathering a full head of steam that everything ends, and what he has to say and to subject to thoughtful consideration is profoundly worth mulling over deeply. I kept wishing Borradori would continue to probe further with Habermas. He is the foremost thinker in Germany since Heidegger and is as creatively determined to tackle this issue of terrorism as anyone could aspire to. He goes after the issues with a passion and a commitment. Perhaps there will be more from him in his own write in the future.
2. Derrida likes to hear himself talk and see himself write. The foremost exponent of Thesaurus Philosophy, Derrida does not so much hermeneutically deconstruct as blather on, much like a Michael Palin riff in Monty Python. Read the opening pages of the dialogue with Derrida, and then go watch Palin in THE CONCERT FOR GEORGE HARRISON, and I dare you to deconstruct the difference. I keep expecting Derrida to launch into the Lumberjack Song. He gets to the meat of the issue but then becomes obsessed with his own vocabulary, like the boring uncle at family gatherings. You would think there would be more drive from somone who experienced the sort of childhood and coming of age that he did, but, like so many other French thinkers, he seems to fall in love with the way words roll off.
3. Borradori comes up short with Habrmas and doesn't cut off or focus Derrida enough. Too much of her post dialogue analyses is reiiterative.
That's a pity on many fronts, because there is a significant trail to be traced from Kant through Hegel and into the Twentieth Century about the nature of peace, government and the fact that as Kant observed this is a bloody small planet and we need to figure out how we are all going to live on it without resorting to the criminality of these past centuries. Habermas is clearly focused on such questions. Derrida can clearly see the need to come to terms with them. A more disciplined interviewer might have made this the tome it could have been. God knows we need it. ... Read more

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