David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Topoi 5 (2):163-175 (1986)
Derrida's Husserl thinks of meaning as self-presence and of self-presence as transparent and complete presence of meaning to the mind. Expression and thought are but particular modes or media of the more englobing relation of a self-acquainted life. Reflection is the highest form and telos of the other forms of presence. In contrast, the — by no means complete — Husserl who has begun to appear in my interpretation does not unconditionally subscribe to the value of presence. Not only is an important part of intentional life directed towards objects which it does not possess in their plenitude — hence its emptiness —, this part of intentional life is also blind towards itself. Reflection tries to fill this gap by grasping what is not present to a life immersed in its world. But a retreat from life is the price of presence, a presence, in addition, whose power is essentially limited by the fluidity of its material and by the limits of its bearers. And yet Husserl maintains, passionately maintains, the claim and value of reflection and of a scientific attitude which Derrida rejects with equal passion. May they not have a positive function in a frame which is no longer that of presence metaphysics? As deconstruction has evolved its philosophy of anti-presence, it has brushed away the reflexive potential of Phenomenology and chosen to reject ‘its own origin”
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