Derrida Today 2 (2):133-150 (2009)

In light of recent writing on politics and violence within contemporary continental philosophy, this text revisits Derrida's frequently articulated philosophical opposition to the death penalty. This essay expresses dismay at a certain theoretical discourse today that finds within itself the resources to mount a defence from within the humanities of political violence and by extension an overt justification of the death penalty. Slavoj Žižek's essay on Robespierre is unpicked as one such representative text. It is contrasted to Derrida's scrupulous reading of Kant as an advocate of the death penalty. This essay seeks to name and question a new Maoist, thanato-theological current in contemporary theoretical writing and should be considered as an opening salvo in a sustained future challenge to such thought
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DOI 10.3366/E1754850009000487
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