The Moral Law: Derrida reading Kant

Derrida Today 12 (1):1-19 (2019)
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Abstract

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 (solely) to the superego, and suggests that what appears to Kant as the moral law and to Freud as the demands of the superego, already involve a limitation of a much more radical demand on the self: that of absolute sacrifice, and which one can understand with reference to Freud's death drive. This demand can be referred to as the law of law, that is, the law which makes of the moral law a law. Within this broader framework, the essay explores in detail Derrida's reading of Kant's notion of respect that is owed to the moral law, the notion of duty, and the formulation of the categorical imperative by Kant in terms of an ‘as if’.

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Citations of this work

Kant-Bibliographie 2019.Margit Ruffing - 2021 - Kant Studien 112 (4):623-660.

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References found in this work

Of Hospitality.Jacques Derrida - 2000 - Stanford University Press.
On the Soul. Aristotle - 2004 - In Jonathan Barnes (ed.), The Complete Works of Aristotle: The Revised Oxford Translation. Princeton University Press. pp. 641-692.
Heretical Essays in the Philosophy of History.Jan Patočka - 1996 - Open Court Publishing Company.

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