The events of morality and forgiveness: From Kant to Derrida

Research in Phenomenology 36 (1):255-273 (2006)
In this paper, I will perform a "step back" by showing how Derrida's analysis of forgiveness is rooted in Kantian moral philosophy and in Derrida's interpretation of Kierkegaard's concept of decision. This will require a discussion of the distinction that Kant draws in his Groundwork between price (the economic) and dignity (the incomparable), as well as a discussion of the underlying notion of singularity in Kant's text. In addition, Derrida universalizes Kierkegaard's concept of the agent so that, with this perspective in view, the interpretation of Kantian morality as something that must be described in a paradoxical way, becomes fully transparent. Whereas the interpretation of Kantian morality will provide us with a concept of morality that remains a "blind spot" for the agent, with the help of Derrida's Kierkegaard interpretation we can see that the concept of decision remains ultimately ambivalent. In conclusion, both (a) the deconstructed concept of morality and (b) the concept of decision will finally (c) let us understand Derrida's radical concept of forgiveness, which is both a non-economic act of morality in the sense explained and an unpredictable, uncontrollable decision and event.
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DOI 10.1163/156916406779165971
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