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Summary

Jacques Derrida (1930-2004) was born in Algeria, and held positions at the École Normale Supériere (1964-1983) and the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (1983-2004) in France, and, among other visiting appointments, at Yale University (1975-1986) and the University of California at Irvine (1986-2004) in the United States. Derrida published on an enormous range of thinkers and topics across his career. After an initial focus on Husserl's phenomenology, in the 1960s he engaged work in the human sciences, avant-garde literature, and the history of philosophy to challenge fundamental philosophical conceptions of time, presence, language, identity, and difference. In the 1970s he deepened his engagement with psychoanalysis, literature, and aesthetics, and from the mid-1980s on focused more explicitly on ethical, political, and religious issues. There is an large quantity of Anglophone scholarship on Derrida's work, covering almost all aspects of his work, and from disciplinary perspectives that include but extend far beyond philosophy as it is institutionally defined.

Key works

Derrida's most influential work was published early in his career: Of Grammatology, Voice and Phenomenon, and Writing and Difference, all appearing in 1967, and 1972's Margins of Philosophy  and Dissemination. After this time Derrida continued to publish at a steady rate on an ever-expanding number of thinkers and themes, making it hard to single out texts as particularly prominent. But the most widely read of his later works include "Force of Law", The Gift of Death, and Specters of Marx.

Introductions Gasché's The Tain of the Mirror and Bennington's "Derridabase" provide comprehensive introductions to Derrida's work prior to 1990, and have been very influential in the secondary literature. For an accessible introduction to Derrida's later engagements with ethical, social and political issues, see his book length conversation with Elizabeth Roudinesco, For What Tomorrow.
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  1. The Routledge Handbook of Critical Pedagogies for Social Work.Christine Morley, Phillip Ablett, Carolyn Noble & Stephen Cowden - forthcoming - London, UK: Routledge.
    The Routledge Handbook of Critical Pedagogies for Social Work traverses new territory by providing a cutting-edge overview of the work of classic and contemporary theorists, in a way that expands their application and utility in social work education and practice; thus, providing a bridge between critical theory, philosophy, and social work. -/- Each chapter showcases the work of a specific critical educational, philosophical and/or social theorist including: Henry Giroux, Michel Foucault, Cornelius Castoriadis, Herbert Marcuse, Paulo Freire, bell hooks, Joan Tronto, (...)
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  2. Faith in/as the Unconditional: Kant, Husserl, and Derrida on Practical Reason.Dylan Shaul - 2019 - Derrida Today 12 (2):171-191.
    This article tracks Derrida's readings of Kant and Husserl as they explore the relation between, on the one hand, faith and knowledge, and on the other, theory and practice. Kant had to limit the scope of theoretical knowledge in order to make room for a practical faith in the rational ideas of the unconditioned, generated through the unconditionality of the moral law. Husserl deployed the figure of ‘the Idea in the Kantian sense’ at those crucial moments in the exposition of (...)
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  3. Deconstructing Affects and Affects of Deconstruction.Joseph Zappa - 2019 - Derrida Today 12 (2):192-210.
    Countering the common assumption in affect theory that deconstruction is incompatible with studies of affect, this essay theorises a deconstructive approach to reading for affect in texts and examines the role affect has always played in deconstructive reading. It reads Derrida alongside Deleuze who has been influential in affect theory in order to explicate what deconstruction adds to existing poststructural theories of affect: namely, how affect functions at the scene of reading, shaping the reading itself and coming into view through (...)
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  4. General Editor's Note.Nicole Anderson - 2019 - Derrida Today 12 (2):v-v.
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  5. Deconstructive Empiricism: Science and Metaphor in Derrida's Early Work.Jeremy Butman - 2019 - Derrida Today 12 (2):115-129.
    The work of Jacques Derrida is often characterized as anti-scientific, and his philosophy of language taken to mean we are sealed off from empirical reality, confined to our metaphysical prison. This position is reinforced by the fact that his forerunners, Heidegger and Nietzsche, did diminish the importance of the sciences, and argued that we are enclosed within the limits of language. Today, philosophy continues to deconstruct the nature/culture distinction, and challenge the meaning of materialism, but in recent decades has realized (...)
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  6. The Arguments of Radical Atheism – Some Critical Reflections.Guy Elgat - 2019 - Derrida Today 12 (2):130-151.
    The paper provides a critical review of Martin Hägglund's influential Radical Atheism. The paper focuses on what Hägglund calls ‘radical atheism’: the view that according to Derrida ‘the best is the worst’. First, the paper critically examines Hägglund's reconstruction of Derrida's argument for the structure of the trace or ‘the spacing of time’. This analysis clarifies one of the central premises in Hägglund's argument for radical atheism: the ‘contamination’ claim, according to which anything temporal is open as such to the (...)
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  7. ‘I've Never Met A Me’: Identity and Philosophy in D'Ailleurs, Derrida.Marguerite La Caze - 2019 - Derrida Today 12 (2):152-170.
    The tension between the absence of identity and the feeling of presence theorised in Jacques Derrida's philosophy is revealed in D'ailleurs Derrida, a film by Safaa Fathy. Fathy's film has had limited scholarly attention, yet it makes a distinctive contribution both to understanding and questioning Derridean thought. I argue that the not-meness of identity is revealed by Fathy through the theme of ‘elsewhere’ in the film and yet it allows the audience to experience the tone and cadence of Derrida's speaking (...)
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  8. Charles Barbour, Derrida's Secret: Perjury, Testimony, Oath.Ellie Anderson - 2019 - Derrida Today 12 (2):211-217.
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  9. Jacques de Ville, Constitutional Theory: Schmitt After Derrida.Will Kujala - 2019 - Derrida Today 12 (2):217-224.
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  10. Jacques Derrida.Christopher Watkin - 2017 - Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R.
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  11. On the Spectral Ideology of Cultural Globalization as Social Hauntology.George Rossolatos - 2018 - International Journal of Marketing Semiotics 6 (1):1-21.
    Globalization allegedly constitutes one of the most used and abused concepts in the contemporary academic and lay lexicons alike. This paper pursues a deconstructive avenue for canvassing the semiotic economy of cultural globalization. The variegated ways whereby ideology has been framed in different semiotic perspectives (Peircean, structuralist, post-structuralist, neo-Marxist) are laid out. By engaging with the post-structuralist semiotic terrain, cultural globalization is identified with a transition from Baudrillard’s Political Economy of Signs towards a spectral ideology where signs give way to (...)
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  12. The New Novelty: Corralation as Quarantine in Speculative Realism and New Materialism.Jonathan Basile - 2018 - Derrida Today 11 (2):211-229.
    The foundational gesture of New Materialism and Speculative Realism dismisses vast swaths of past philosophy and theory in order to signify their own avant-garde status. The violence of this gesture, which tries to corral difference within past texts in order to feign its own purity, can be considered as a theoretical quarantine. Examples of medical and spiritual quarantine, the 2014 ebola epidemic and Jesus’ temptation, are analyzed to show that the figure is inherently compromised – the harder one fights to (...)
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  13. Étienne Balibar, Equaliberty: Political Essays, Translated by James IngramÉtienne Balibar, Violence and Civility: On the Limits of Political Philosophy, Translated by G.M. Goshgarian.Thomas Clément Mercier - 2018 - Derrida Today 11 (2):230-237.
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  14. Jacques Derrida, Heidegger: The Question of Being & History, Edited by Thomas Dutoit, with Marguerite Derrida, Translated by Geoffrey Bennington.Andrew Dunstall - 2018 - Derrida Today 11 (2):237-245.
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  15. General Editor's Note.Nicole Anderson - 2018 - Derrida Today 11 (2):v-v.
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  16. Il la Faut , Yes, Yes: Deconstruction's Critical Force.Stella Gaon - 2018 - Derrida Today 11 (2):196-210.
    Jacques Derrida regularly appeals to an affirmative gesture that is ‘prior’ to or more ‘originary’ than the form of the question, and this suggests one way to understand deconstruction's critical force. The ‘Yes, yes’, he says, situates a ‘vigil or beyond of the question’ with respect to an ‘irreducible responsibility’. Some Derrida scholars therefore construe the double affirmation as a source or ground of critique. In this paper, I refute this suggestion. While an originary ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘come’ does open (...)
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  17. Putting Truth to the Test of Forgiveness: Reading Jacques Derrida's Seminar, ‘Le Parjure Et le Pardon’ , Translated by Cosmin Toma.Ginette Michaud - 2018 - Derrida Today 11 (2):144-177.
    This paper has been translated from the French by Cosmin Toma. It focuses on Jacques Derrida's very last lecture, given in Rio de Janeiro, on the 16th of August 2004, which Derrida drew from his ‘Le parjure et le pardon’ seminar held at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales, in Paris, from 1997 to 1999. In reference to this final lecture in which Derrida deals with ‘forgiveness,’ ‘truth’, ‘reconciliation’, ‘testimony’ and ‘genre’, the paper also takes up the question (...)
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  18. Intimate Relations: Psychoanalysis Deconstruction / La Psychanalyse la Déconstruction.Elizabeth Rottenberg - 2018 - Derrida Today 11 (2):178-195.
    This essay will concentrate, somewhat voyeuristically, on a particular and very special textual encounter. For if there is one text in the psychoanalytic tradition that will have caused Derrida to spill more ink than any other – it's Freud's Beyond the Pleasure Principle. For ten years, from 1970–1980, Derrida returns not once but three times, on three separate occasions, in three different contexts, to Freud's text on repetition compulsion and the death drive, each time devoting more time and energy – (...)
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  19. Ellipsis of Grammatology: Derrida's Beautiful Passages.Alexander García Düttmann - 2018 - Derrida Today 11 (2):134-143.
    Beautiful passages are passages of ‘pure presence’ inasmuch as they cannot be separated from an absence, from an absence that cannot be revoked by restoring a ‘pure presence’. Beautiful passages are passages that move and inspire because they do not withhold anything, though their gift and their surrender lies in an ellipsis that is essential to ‘pure presence’ and that cannot be sidestepped, as if a remainder, a reserve, or a surplus inhered in them. It is impossible to get a (...)
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  20. The Rhyme That Remains: Populist Poetics.Virgil W. Brower - 2012 - Everyday Genius 6 (21):61-81.
  21. The "Analytic"/"Continental" Divide and the Question of Philosophy's Relation to Literature.Andreas Vrahimis - 2019 - Philosophy and Literature 43 (1):253-269.
    The history of the writing of philosophy could be seen as divided between two tendencies. One tendency involves a constant reconfiguration of the literary and stylistic elements involved in the way philosophy is written. Examples include most texts in the philosophical canon, from Plato's dialogues, or Aristotle's lecture notes, to Marcus Aurelius's diary, Augustine's confessions, the pseudepigrapha of the Areopagite, Anselm's prayer, Montaigne's essays, Descartes's meditations, Kierkegaard's play with pseudonymy, or Wittgenstein's "remarks."1 In such texts, we find a self-reflective attitude (...)
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  22. Two Relations Between Thinking and Truth (Conference Paper).James Brusseau - manuscript
    The relation between thinking and truth in philosophy is explored in terms of this question: which one serves the other? The essay argues that a conception of philosophy as truth serving thought can be perceived in the work of French Nietzschean philosophers.
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  23. Hope in a Secular Age: Deconstruction, Negative Theology, and the Future of Faith.David Newheiser - 2019 - Cambridge University Press.
    This book argues that hope is the indispensable precondition of religious practice and secular politics. Against dogmatic complacency and despairing resignation, David Newheiser argues that hope sustains commitments that remain vulnerable to disappointment. Since the discipline of hope is shared by believers and unbelievers alike, its persistence indicates that faith has a future in a secular age. Drawing on premodern theology and postmodern theory, Newheiser shows that atheism and Christianity have more in common than they often acknowledge. Writing in a (...)
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  24. How Much Writing is Enough? (Conference Paper).James Brusseau - manuscript
    The difference between Derrida and Deleuze has been debated in terms of their understandings and uses of the historical distinction between Being and beings. Daniel W. Smith intersects with the question when discussing transcendence and immanence. Clair Colebrook intersects when discussing materialism. Paul Patton intersects when distinguishing the unconditioned and conditioned. This essay moves along with their ideas, and contributes to the discussion by re-inscribing the debate in terms of nouns and verbs. The conclusion suggests that the noun/verb prism yields (...)
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  25. LoveKnowledge. The Life of Philosophy From Socrates to Derrida.Roy Brand New York and Chichester, West Sussex: Columbia University Press, 2012; Xi + 144 Pp.; $24.50. [REVIEW]Diana Karbonowska - 2013 - Dialogue 52 (2):405-406.
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  26. Following the Animal-to-Come.Robert Briggs - 2019 - Derrida Today 12 (1):20-40.
    Jacques Derrida's The Animal That Therefore I Am presents a sustained reflection on a concept of ‘the animal’ that has underpinned the work of much of the philosophical tradition. Based on a series of lectures originally presented in 1997 Derrida's speculation on the question of the animal was thus written at a time when Derrida's thought was often turned to the motif of ‘to-come’ such that one may wonder at the apparent evasion, both in Derrida's text and in its subsequent (...)
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  27. The Moral Law: Derrida Reading Kant.Jacques de Ville - 2019 - Derrida Today 12 (1):1-19.
    This essay shows how Derrida, in a variety of texts, engages directly or indirectly with the Kantian moral law, which rests on the assumption of man's autonomy vis-à-vis his natural inclinations. In the background of this analysis is Derrida's engagement with Freud, the latter having argued that the Kantian moral law is located in, and can be equated with, the superego. Derrida challenges Freud's assignation of the moral law to the superego, and suggests that what appears to Kant as the (...)
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  28. Stupidity and the Threshold of Life, Language and Law in Derrida and Agamben.Duy Lap Nguyen - 2019 - Derrida Today 12 (1):41-58.
    This paper examines Jacques Derrida's deconstruction of Giorgio Agamben's account of the history of bio-politics in the Beast and the Sovereign. In this account, the ‘threshold of bio-political modernity’ is identified with the collapse of an allegedly immemorial distinction between life and the law. According to Derrida, however, this in-distinction between life and the law, which supposedly marks the historical emergence of the bio-political, is in fact an originary event. Agamben, therefore, announces a bio-political modernity that has always already existed. (...)
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  29. Drive to Drive: The Deconstruction of the Freudian Trieb.Mauro Senatore - 2019 - Derrida Today 12 (1):59-79.
    In the essay ‘To Speculate – On “Freud’”, which is published in The Postcards: From Socrates to Freud and Beyond and draws upon the last part of his unedited lecture course on La Vie la mort, Jacques Derrida engages a close reading of Sigmund Freud's Beyond the Pleasure Principle. This article focuses on the deconstruction of the Freudian concept of drive that Derrida unfolds across his reading. It traces the analysis of the movement of autotelicity that, according to Derrida, underpins (...)
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  30. General Editor's Note.Nicole Anderson - 2019 - Derrida Today 12 (1):v-v.
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  31. Clayton Crockett, Derrida After the End of Writing: Political Theology and New Materialism.Seth Daves - 2019 - Derrida Today 12 (1):99-106.
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  32. Jean-Luc Nancy, Ego Sum: Corpus, Anima, Fabula, Translated by Marie-Eve Morin.James Griffith - 2019 - Derrida Today 12 (1):106-112.
    This is a review of Marie-Eve Morin's translation of Jean-Luc Nancy's "Ego Sum.".
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  33. ‘Where Men and Gods Command’: The Monument, the Crypt, and the Magic Word.Thomas Houlton - 2019 - Derrida Today 12 (1):80-98.
    This paper examines the relationships between monumental commemoration and memory, placing Rachel Whiteread's Memorial to the Austrian Jewish Victims of the Shoah as the physical manifestation of Derrida's archive as a place where memory, power, writing and representation intersect. I consider the context and characteristics of Whiteread's memorial alongside the concept of the crypt, formulated by Derrida in his ‘Fors’ to Nicolas Abraham and Maria Torok's The Wolf Man's Magic Word. I propose that the archive, formed as it as around (...)
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  34. “Religion” and Its Other.David Newheiser - 2018 - Philosophy Today 62 (4):1277-1282.
    Like Lambert, my instincts are informed by Derrida, but I think Derrida points toward an alternative approach. In my reading, although Derrida complicates the concept of religion in terms that intersect with recent scholarship in religious studies. Even though he is not “religious” in any obvious sense, Derrida draws on upon Jewish and Christian texts (among others) in developing his project. In this way, he suggests that the relation between these traditions and modernity is too complex to be captured by (...)
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  35. Heidegger and Derrida on Structure, Form and State.Joshua Soffer - manuscript
    Writers endorsing a general account of meaning as non-recuperable or non-coincidental from one instantiation to the next may nonetheless treat the heterogeneous contacts between instants of experience as transformations of fleeting forms, states, logics, structures, outlines, surfaces, presences, organizations, patterns, procedures, frames, standpoints. When thought as pattern, the structural- ranscendental moment of eventness upholds a certain logic of internal relation; the elements of the configuration mutually signify each other and the structure presents itself as a fleeting identity, a gathered field. (...)
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  36. Reading Derrida Against John Caputo.Joshua Soffer - manuscript
    If for Caputo the universality of desire as self-appropriation and the singularity of the gift as desire-beyond-desire depend on and interweave with each other, they nevertheless do so as the communication between discrete and separable moments, that of the `sensible, rational circle of time' and the `exceeding and surpassing of ourselves'. The subject for Caputo seems to function as the temporary self-identity of construct. It is the "desire for restitution, fulfillment, reappropriation, well being". This agent-subject "always intends to act for (...)
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  37. “The Lick of the Mother Tongue: Derrida, Augustine and Marx on the Touch of Language.”.Rachel Aumiller - 2019 - In Mirt Komel (ed.), The Language of Touch: Philosophical Examinations in Linguistics and Haptic Studies. New York, NY, USA: pp. 107-120.
    From Augustine’s (death) drive towards an imaginary time before speech to Marx’s drive toward an imaginary time after speech as we know it, we learn that we are always already within the bonds of the mother tongue. In the late twentieth-century, Derrida turns to both Augustine and Marx to repeat the fantasy of escaping the mother (tongue). Derrida responds to Marx’s analysis of our repeated failure to forget the mother tongue by turning to Augustine’s analysis of the mother’s touch: we (...)
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  38. Le Concept de "Hantises": De Derrida À Ricoeur.Joan Stavo-Debauge - 2012 - Études Ricoeuriennes / Ricoeur Studies 3 (2):128-148.
    This article considers Derrida’s and Ricœur’s take on the concept of haunting ( hantise ). Begining with Derrida’s use of the concept in Specters of Marx , the article then turns to Ricœur’s two rather distinct conceptions of the phenomenon of haunting ( hantise ) in Memory, History, Forgetting and in The Course of Recognition. After assessing the different uses of this concept in Ricœur’s work, the article frames a new understanding of this phenomenon, one that is suitable for the (...)
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  39. Review Article: The Uses and Abuses of Metaphysical Language in Heidegger, Derrida, and Daoism.David Storey - 2011 - Comparative and Continental Philosophy 3 (1):113-124.
    In this essay, I analyze Steven Burik’s recent comparisons of Heidegger, Derrida, and Daoism to explore two problems in comparative thought. The first concerns metaphysics: Is metaphysics a bad thing—or even an avoidable thing? The second concerns language: Is there any danger in focusing on language—in losing the forest of philosophy for the trees of the language in which it is conducted? These questions orbit a more basic one: What is the goal of comparative philosophy? In part one, I sketch (...)
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  40. The Domestication of Derrida: Rorty, Pragmatism and Deconstruction, by Fabbri, Lorenzo.Shannon Mussett - 2010 - Comparative and Continental Philosophy 2 (2):311-312.
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  41. Dialogue and Deconstruction: The Gadamer-Derrida Encounter.Diane P. Michelfelder & Richard E. Palmer - 1989 - State University of New York Press.
    Text of and reflection on the 1981 encounter between Hans-Georg Gadamer and Jacques Derrida, which featured a dialogue between hermeneutics in Germany and post-structuralism in France. <br.
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  42. Metaphorics and Metaphysics: Derrida's Analysis of Aristotle.Irene E. Harvey - 1986 - Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 17 (3):308-330.
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  43. Heidegger and Derrida: Cold Hermeneutics.John D. Caputo - 1986 - Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 17 (3):252-274.
  44. Nontotalization Without Spuriousness: Hegel and Derrida on the Infinite.Rodolphe Gasché - 1986 - Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 17 (3):289-307.
  45. “Deconstruction” in the Framework of Traditional Methodical Hermeneutics.Thomas M. Seebohm - 1986 - Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 17 (3):275-288.
  46. Deweys Humanistische Dezentrierung des Subjekts.Jörg Volbers - 2014 - Allgemeine Zeitschrift für Philosophie 39 (3).
    In French post-structuralism, »decentering« signifies the criticism of any metaphysical »centre« which is supposed to reign the development and the logic of discourse, and hence of thinking. In particular, anthropology and the recourse to humanism were suspected to miss the plurality and the self-differing nature of discursive practices. This article presents Dewey’s philosophy as an alternative to this criticism. Dewey is comparably sceptical of any attempt to treat the human being as a metaphysical essence. Nevertheless, he develops an explicit humanism (...)
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  47. Saint-Je Derrida.Laurent Milesi - 2007 - Oxford Literary Review 29 (1-2):55-75.
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  48. Marc Redfield, Theory at Yale: The Strange Case of Deconstruction in America.Daniel Hoffman-Schwartz - 2018 - Derrida Today 11 (1):121-128.
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  49. Deconstruction and Translation Research.Yifeng Sun - 2018 - Derrida Today 11 (1):22-36.
    Deconstruction is decidedly unsettling in that it destabilizes the otherwise comfortably assumed understanding of the nature of translation. What is also controversial is that it may make translation impossible, considering that it explicitly acknowledges the impossibility of translation. Yet Derrida emphasizes the necessity of translation as well, thus foregrounding the need to negotiate with the non-negotiable, and for this reason, to translate the untranslatable. Deconstruction captures and elucidates the complexity of translation in relation to the variability and complexity of its (...)
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  50. Invisible Dao, Visible De, and Différance at Work in Dao De Jing.Jinghui Wang - 2018 - Derrida Today 11 (1):37-48.
    This paper, a cross-cultural exploration of the Chinese text Dao De Jing, retools Derrida's différance and his questions around the ‘relevant’ translation as a way to deepen an understanding of the heterogeneous and ambiguous aspects of ‘Dao ’, ‘De ’, ‘Qian ’ and Kun. While tracing the etymological roots and evolutions of these Chinese characters that are key to the spirit of Dao De Jing, this paper highlights its polysemic ambiguity and moral productivity, in particular, and shows, with Derrida, how (...)
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