In his moving autobiographical account of his relationship to the French language, Monolingualism of the Other; or, the Prosthesis of Origin, 1 Jacques Derrida surprises us with a series of thought-provoking rhetorical turns as he reflects on the familiar power dynamics pertaining to colonialism. While acknowledging the politically hegemonic status occupied by the French language in Algeria, Derrida does not, as might be expected of someone who spent his childhood and adolescence in a colony, lay claim to a more originary language, one that typically was in use among the natives before the arrival of the colonizers. My monolingualism dwells, and I call it my dwelling; it feels like one to me, and I remain in it and inhabit it. It inhabits me. The monolingualism in which I draw my very breath is, for me, my element. Not a natural element, not the transparency of the ether, but an absolute habitat.
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In this adolescent period, Derrida found in the works of philosophers and writers such as Rousseau , Nietzsche , and Gide an instrument of revolt against family and society. At the same colloquium Derrida would meet Jacques Lacan and Paul de Man , the latter an important interlocutor in the years to come. Derrida appears in the film as himself and also contributed to the script. Derrida traveled widely and held a series of visiting and permanent positions.
He was elected as its first president. His papers were filed in the university archives. He sees these often unacknowledged assumptions as part of a "metaphysics of presence" to which philosophy has bound itself. Deconstruction is an attempt to expose and undermine such "metaphysics.
This approach to text is, in a broad sense, influenced by the semiology of Ferdinand de Saussure. In this form, which says exactly the same thing, the formula would doubtless have been less shocking. The conference at which this paper was delivered was concerned with structuralism , then at the peak of its influence in France, but only beginning to gain attention in the United States.
Derrida differed from other participants by his lack of explicit commitment to structuralism, having already been critical of the movement.
He praised the accomplishments of structuralism but also maintained reservations about its internal limitations;  this has led US academics to label his thought as a form of post-structuralism.
The conference was also where he met Paul de Man , who would be a close friend and source of great controversy, as well as where he first met the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan , with whose work Derrida enjoyed a mixed relationship. Phenomenology vs structuralism debate [ edit ] In the early s, Derrida began speaking and writing publicly, addressing the most topical debates at the time.
One of these was the new and increasingly fashionable movement of structuralism , which was being widely favoured as the successor to the phenomenology approach, the latter having been started by Husserl sixty years earlier.
This original complexity must not be understood as an original positing, but more like a default of origin, which Derrida refers to as iterability, inscription, or textuality. He achieved this by conducting thorough, careful, sensitive, and yet transformational readings of philosophical and literary texts, to determine what aspects of those texts run counter to their apparent systematicity structural unity or intended sense authorial genesis.
By demonstrating the aporias and ellipses of thought, Derrida hoped to show the infinitely subtle ways in which this originary complexity, which by definition cannot ever be completely known, works its structuring and destructuring effects.
Derrida attempts to approach the very heart of the Western intellectual tradition , characterizing this tradition as "a search for a transcendental being that serves as the origin or guarantor of meaning".
The attempt to "ground the meaning relations constitutive of the world in an instance that itself lies outside all relationality" was referred to by Heidegger as logocentrism , and Derrida argues that the philosophical enterprise is essentially logocentric,  and that this is a paradigm inherited from Judaism and Hellenism. Derrida received increasing attention in the United States after , where he was a regular visiting professor and lecturer at several major American universities.
Derrida asks, "What of this meantime? How to Concede, with Reasons? Texts cited as evidence of such a turn include Force of Law , as well as Specters of Marx and Politics of Friendship Others, however, including Derrida himself, have argued that much of the philosophical work done in his "political turn" can be dated to earlier essays.
Though this contributed to the works of many scholars, Derrida was seriously criticized for this. Derrida and Deconstruction influenced aesthetics, literary criticism, architecture, film theory , anthropology , sociology , historiography , law, psychoanalysis , theology , feminism , gay and lesbian studies and political theory.
Derrida used Bracha L. In he published The Other Heading, in which he discussed the concept of identity as in cultural identity , European identity , and national identity , in the name of which in Europe have been unleashed "the worst violences," "the crimes of xenophobia, racism, anti-Semitism, religious or nationalist fanaticism. You can help by converting this section , if appropriate.
Editing help is available. In , he was among the intellectuals, with Foucault and Althusser, who signed the petition against age of consent laws.
Its purpose was to aid dissident or persecuted Czech intellectuals. Derrida became vice-president. He was released or "expelled", as the Czechoslovakian government put it after the interventions of the Mitterrand government, and the assistance of Michel Foucault, returning to Paris on January 1, He met with Palestinian intellectuals during a visit to Jerusalem. He protested against the death penalty, dedicating his seminar in his last years to the production of a non- utilitarian argument for its abolition, and was active in the campaign to free Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Beyond these explicit political interventions, however, Derrida was engaged in rethinking politics and the political itself, within and beyond philosophy. Derrida insisted that a distinct political undertone had pervaded his texts from the very beginning of his career.
Nevertheless, the attempt to understand the political implications of notions of responsibility, reason of state , the other, decision, sovereignty , Europe, friendship, difference, faith, and so on, became much more marked from the early s on.
By , theorizing "democracy to come," and thinking the limitations of existing democracies, had become important concerns.
Derrida failed his first attempt at this exam, but passed it in his second try in The s is a decade of great achievement for this generation of French thinkers. In the early 60s, Derrida reads Heidegger and Levinas carefully. The recently published lecture course from —, Heidegger: The Question of Being and History, allows us to see how Derrida developed his questions to Heidegger. From then on up to the present, the word is bandied about, especially in the Anglophone world. It comes to be associated with a form of writing and thinking that is illogical and imprecise.
Confessions from an “Absolute Habitat”
Science Logic and Mathematics. Language is the other, taking our Proper name and replacing it with the the syllables and sounds others have created. There is no appropriation or reappropriation of language. Apr 07, Monolingualksm Meng rated it it was amazing. View all 4 comments. Built on the Johns Hopkins University Campus.