Derrida on the death penalty

Southern Journal of Philosophy 50 (s1):56-73 (2012)
Responding to Derrida's Death Penalty Seminar of 1999–2000 and its interpretation by Michael Naas, in this paper I argue that Derrida's deconstruction of the theologico-political concept of the sovereign right over life and death in view of abolishing capital punishment should be understood in terms of the unconditional renunciation of sovereignty that dominates Derrida's later political writings, Rogues (2005) in particular. My reading takes seriously what I call the functional need for a “theological” moment in sovereignty beyond a merely historicist or genealogical interpretation of the European monotheistic heritage. Further, I ask how Derrida can follow through on his goal of developing the allegedly first principled philosophical stance against capital punishment. To this end, I assemble some ingredients of this complex but “unconditional” abolitionism, one that doubts our comprehension of and active relation to death to the point of questioning the commonsense distinctions among murder, suicide, and legal putting to death. I conclude that, for Derrida, letting another die of hunger or AIDS may be understood as a form of a death sentence, so that a deconstructive abolitionism leaves no room for the development of a good conscience
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/j.2041-6962.2012.00121.x
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 27,651
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Nicomachean Ethics. Aristotle - 1999 - Courier Dover Publications.
The Gift of Death.Jacques Derrida - 2008 - University of Chicago Press.
Rogues: Two Essays on Reason.Jacques Derrida - 2005 - Stanford University Press.

View all 19 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Derrida: Opposing Death Penalties.Marguerite la Caze - 2009 - Derrida Today 2 (2):186-199.
See Topsy “Ride the Lightning”: The Scopic Machinery of Death.Kelly Oliver - 2012 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 50 (s1):74-94.
Rigor; or, Stupid Uselessness.Geoffrey Bennington - 2012 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 50 (s1):20-38.
Protocol: Death Penalty Addiction.Peggy Kamuf - 2012 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 50 (s1):5-19.
The Death Penalty, in Other Words, Philosophy.Kas Saghafi - 2012 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 50 (s1):136-142.
Angling for a Stranglehold on the Death Penalty.Olivia Custer - 2012 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 50 (s1):160-173.
Derrida and the Question of Presence.Françoise Dastur - 2006 - Research in Phenomenology 36 (1):45-62.
The Elephant and the Scaffold: Response to Kelly Oliver.Elissa Marder - 2012 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 50 (s1):95-106.
Returning (to) the Gift of Death: Violence and History in Derrida and Levinas.Jeffrey Hanson - 2010 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 67 (1):1 - 15.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

18 ( #270,544 of 2,169,384 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #345,461 of 2,169,384 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums