By John D. Caputo
Responding to questions placed to him at a Roundtable held at Villanova college in 1994, Jacques Derrida leads the reader via an illuminating dialogue of the important subject matters of deconstruction. conversing in English and extemporaneously, Derrida takes up with strange readability and nice eloquence such themes because the job of philosophy, the Greeks, justice, accountability, the reward, the group, the excellence among the messianic and the concrete messianisms, and his interpretation of James Joyce. Derrida convincingly refutes the costs of relativism and nihilism which are frequently leveled at deconstruction by way of its critics and units forth the profoundly affirmative and ethico-political thrust of his paintings. The Roundtableis marked through the bizarre readability of Derrida's presentation and by means of the deep appreciate for the nice works of the philosophical and literary culture with which he characterizes his philosophical paintings. The Roundtable is annotated through John D. Caputo, the David R. cook dinner Professor of Philosophy at Villanova college, who has provided go references to Derrida's writings the place the reader could locate extra dialogue on those themes. Professor Caputo has additionally provided a observation which elaborates the critical concerns raised within the Roundtable. In all, this quantity represents some of the most lucid, compact and trustworthy introductions to Derrida and deconstruction to be had in any language. a terrific quantity for college kids imminent Derrida for the 1st time, Deconstruction in a Nutshell will end up instructive and illuminating to boot for these already accustomed to Derrida's paintings.
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Additional info for Deconstruction in a Nutshell: A Conversation with Jacques Derrida (Perspectives in Continental Philosophy)
Justice and gift should go beyond calculation. This does not mean that we should not calculate. We have to calculate as rigorously as possible. But there is a point or limit beyond which calculation must fail, and we must recognize that. What I tried to think or suggest is a concept of the political and of democracy that would be compatible with, that could be articulated with, these impossible notions of the gift and justice. A democracy or a politics that we simply calculate, without justice and the gift, would be a terrible thing, and this is often the case.
Derrida was trying to persuade us that deconstruction is on our side, that it means to be good news, and that it does not leave behind a path of destruction and smoldering embers. Of course, he was not saying, God forbid, that deconstruction is--and he is also accused of this--a form of conservativism. " The very idea that the tradition is one--"the one history itself . . the one tradition"--is what needs to be "contested at its root," he says (Sauf 85/ON 71). A tradition is not a hammer with which to slam dissent and knock dissenters senseless, but a responsibility to read, to interpret, to sift and select responsibly among many competing strands of tradition and interpretations of tradition.
Indeed, and here comes another nutshell, one might go so far as to say deconstruction is respect, respect for the other, a respectful, responsible affirmation of the other, a way if not to efface at least to delimit the narcissism of the self (which is, quite literally, a tautology) and to make some space to let the other be. That is a good way to start out thinking about institutions, traditions, communities, justice, and religion. APOLOGIA: AN EXCUSE FOR VIOLENCE I should say a word or two about the present format, about the multiple violence of forcing Derrida to speak in English (when he complains that the whole world is gradually being forced to speak English), to -44- make himself understood by a mixed audience composed of people from across all the colleges and departments in the University, but, above all, to give relatively compacted answers within the confines of about an hour and a half.