Derrida, Friendship, and the Transcendental Priority of the 'Untimely'

Philosophy and Social Criticism 6 (36):663-676 (2010)
This article examines Derrida’s insistence on the contretemps that breaks open time, paying particular attention to Politics of Friendship and the way in which this book envisages the ‘untimely’ as both interrupting, and making possible, friendship. Although I suggest that Derrida’s temporal deconstruction of the Aristotelian distinction between utility and ‘perfect’ friendships is convincing, I also argue that Derrida’s own account of friendship is itself touched by time, in the peculiar sense of ‘touched’ that connotes affected and wounded. Derrida’s work instantiates what Husserl might call a transcendental pathology, in that it intermittently instantiates an ethics of non-presentist time (the time which is also the transcendental condition for the event of friendship), and, by contrast, disparages the significance of what we might call an ethics of phronesis, a ‘lived’ friendship of ‘omni-temporal’ dispositions, and embodied and habitual patterns. I end this article by proposing a dialectic between the disjunctive and conjunctive aspects of time that does not accord any kind of a priori privilege to the one over the other
Keywords friendship  transcendental arguments  Derrida  Aristotle  habit
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