Derrida and the promise of community

Philosophy and Social Criticism 27 (6):43-53 (2001)
This paper offers a critique of Derrida's deconstruction of the promise on the grounds that it does not adequately account for the ethical constitution of the promise in the pragmatic context of face-to-face dialogue. Instead, Derrida focuses on the way in which the promise opens the horizon of interpretation or readability for an indefinite community of readers. Derrida's view is explicated at length, drawing on Limited Inc, Le monolinguisme de l'autre: ou, la prosthèse d'origine, and 'Avances', the Preface to Serge Margel's Le tombeau du dieu artisan. Paul Ricoeur's interpretation of the promise as an attestation of my availability to the other person is presented as a more justifiable grounding of ethics. Key Words: attestation • community • Derrida • ethics • pragmatics • promise • Ricoeur.
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DOI 10.1177/019145370102700603
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