Thursday, November 15, 2012

Some More on Deconstruction

Jacques Derrida - what a philosopher should look like

Terry Eagleton has a review of Benoit Peeters's biography of French nihilist philosopher Jacques Derrida. Eagleton gives a nice little paragraph explanation of "deconstruction" (which does NOT mean "destruction," or "tearing down"). Deconstruction is about absence. Negativity. The other.

"Deconstruction holds that nothing is ever entirely itself. There is a certain otherness lurking within every assured identity. It seizes on the out-of-place element in a system, and uses it to show how the system is never quite as stable as it imagines. There is something within any structure that is part of it but also escapes its logic."

Deconstruction is an analytical hermeneutical tool to get at the meaning of a text, via negativa. A recent example of Derridaean deconstructive analysis in action is James Perkinson's excellent White Theology: Outing Supremacy in Modernity.