Negotiating the Non-negotiable: Rawls, Derrida and the Intertwining of Political Calculation and Ultra-politics
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Theory and Event 9 (3):15 (2006)
I examine the relationship that obtains between the work of Derrida and Rawls, not least because of the conviction that Derrida (and post-structuralism more generally) offers certain invaluable things to political thought that analytic political philosophy would do well to take account of, particularly as concerns the relation between time and politics. In Derrida’s case, his emphasis on the radical difference of the future, the ‘to come’, serves as a guardrail against political absolutisms of all sorts. On his view, when the future is thought of as known or susceptible of teleological prediction, this tends to lead to what might be rhetorically called outbreaks of either Fascism or Communism (albeit initially non-organised, non-systematised, and without direct state complicity) in which that future state of affairs can justify the violent means needed to get there. Derrida’s many and varied arguments about the way in which the future disrupts the present, and has its impact upon the present, without itself being capable of coming to any kind of definitive presence, precludes this move. His quasi-transcendental emphasis on the importance of time and futurity to any understanding of the political is also useful when employed as a critical tool to examine analytic political philosophy: it highlights that this tradition is often either atemporal in its calculations, or relies upon references to intuition (and ‘commonsense’) in more or less obvious ways, both tendencies which deserve be subjected to critical scrutiny for their tacit alignment with a conservatism that wants to preserve the status quo. But the argument that I propose is not simply that figures like Derrida are able to show us the presuppositions and problems with analytic political philosophy and with Rawls’ work in particular. On the contrary, although philosophers like Derrida and Deleuze acknowledge the necessity of political calculation, it is also the case that it is vastly under-thematised in their work. Utilitarianism and liberalism offer two sustained and important attempts at providing such a calculation and it seems to me that a rapprochement of these traditions is required, fleshing out the kinds of political calculations that might better respect the significant moral insight at work in post-structuralism. In order to point to the need for such a political philosophy, this essay highlights some problems with Rawls and Derrida’s two competing ways of treating the political, juxtaposing Rawls’ insistence upon the calculable and narrower understanding of the political against (or, more aptly, in apposition with) the Derridean focus upon the incalculable.
|Keywords||political philosophy Rawls Derrida reason reflective equilibrium|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Georges de Schrijver (2010). The Political Ethics of Jean-François Lyotard and Jacques Derrida. Peeters.
Matthew R. Calarco (2000). Derrida on Identity and Difference: A Radical Democratic Reading of the Other Heading. Critical Horizons 1 (1):51-69.
Jack Reynolds (2004). Derrida and Deleuze on Time and the Future. Borderlands 3 (1):15.
Alan Carter (2006). The Evolution of Rawls's Justification of Political Compliance: Part 1 of the Problem of Political Compliance in Rawls's Theories of Justice. Journal of Moral Philosophy 3 (1):7-21.
Saul Newman (2001). Derrida's Deconstruction of Authority. Philosophy and Social Criticism 27 (3):1-20.
Andrew Johnson, Viral Politics: Jacques Derrida's Account of the Auto-Immune Logic of Carl Schmitt's Political Philosophy.
Jack Reynolds (2012). Chronopathologies: The Politics of Time in Deleuze, Derrida, Analytic Philosophy and Phenomenology. Lexington Books, Rowman and Littlefield.
Martin McQuillan (ed.) (2007). The Politics of Deconstruction: Jacques Derrida and the Other of Philosophy. Pluto Press.
Added to index2009-03-16
Total downloads73 ( #20,391 of 1,099,536 )
Recent downloads (6 months)53 ( #1,512 of 1,099,536 )
How can I increase my downloads?