Two versions of continental holism: Derrida and structuralism

Philosophy and Social Criticism 26 (4):1-22 (2000)
The difficulty to pin down the philosophical content of structuralism depends on the fact that it operates on an implicit metaphysics; such a metaphysics can be best unfolded by examining Jacques Derrida’s deconstructionist critique of it. The essay argues that both structuralism and Derrida’s critique rely on holistic premises. From an initial externalist definition of structure, structuralism’s metaphysics emerges as a kind of ‘immanent’ holism, similar to the one pursued, in the contemporary analytic panorama, by Donald Davidson. By contrast, Derrida’s deconstructionist critique appears engaged in a ‘quasi-transcendental’ version of holism, which the author analyzes in connection with Martin Heidegger’s notion of Verwindung, or twisted overcoming
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DOI 10.1177/019145370002600401
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