Difference and Deference in the Tenor of Learning

Studies in Philosophy and Education 22 (3/4):281-293 (2003)

The critical resources furnished bydeconstruction have more than occasionally beenturned with negative effect on traditional andmore recent conceptions of liberal learning,including the reaffirmation of the humanitiesassociated with philosophical hermeneutics. Thefirst two sections of the paper review thecontrasting and mutually opposed stancestowards learning represented by earlyformulations of deconstruction and ofhermeneutics. An exploration is thenundertaken in the later sections ofdevelopments that have taken place in bothdeconstruction and hermeneutics since theDerrida-Gadamer encounter in Paris in 1981.While not in any sense assimilatinghermeneutics to deconstruction or vice versa,this exploration identifies significant shiftsin later formulations of both which provide amore inclusive context for understandinglearning as a human undertaking, including theidentification of tensions that are morepromising than negative
Keywords deconstruction  deference  Derrida  difference  Gadamer  hermeneutics
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DOI 10.1023/A:1022817220652
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