After Derrida before Husserl : the spacing between phenomenology and deconstruction

This Ph.D. thesis is, in large part, a deepening of my M. A. dissertation, entitled: "Différance Beyond Phenomenological Reduction (Epoché)?" - an edited version of which was published in The Warwick Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 2, Issue 2, 1989. The M. A. dissertation explores the development of the various phases of the movement of epoché in Edmund Husserl's phenomenology and its relevance for Jacques Derrida's project of deconstruction. The analyses not only attend to the need for an effective propaedeutic to an understanding of phenomenology as method, they also serve to demystify the logics of Derridean non-teleological strategy by explaining the sense of such a manoeuvre - as a kind of maieutic response to the Husserlian project - which operates within the horizon of a radical epoché. According to this orientation, Derrida's deconstruction of phenomenology is permitted to open itself up to a phenomenology of deconstruction. This doctoral thesis develops these analyses and utilizes a form of critique that points the way to the possibility of a phenomenological-deconstruction of the limits of Derrida's project of deconstruction through the themes of epoché, play, dialogue, spacing, and temporalization. In order to trace the resources from which he draws throughout the early development of deconstruction, this study confines itself to a discussion on the texts published between 1962 and 1968. This subjection of deconstruction to a historical de-sedimentation of its motivational, methodological, theoretical, and strategic moments, involves a certain kind of transformational return to the spacing between phenomenology and deconstruction that urgently puts into question the alleged supercession of phenomenology by deconstruction. The expression of such a 'beyond' is already deeply sedimented in contemporary deconstructive writing to the point at which it is now rarely even noticed, let alone thematized and brought into question. This conviction (regarding the transgression of phenomenology by deconstruction) traces itself out in the form of an attitude to reading which is, in fact and in principle, counter to D6rrida's own call for care. The meaning and limits of the very terms, transgression, beyond, supercession, etc., must be continually subjected to deconstruction. The notions of play, dissemination and supplementarity - with the concomitant sense of transformational repetition that defines them - do not function as a mere excuse for lack of scholarly rigour. Deconstruction is a movement of critical return, which must insert itself (with a sense of irony) within the margins and intersections of that which gives itself up to this practice of textual unbuilding. The strategy of play encourages the structural matrix of that with which it is engaged to turn in upon itself, exposing its limits and fissures in a kind of textual analogue to a psychoanalysis. To be sure, this does involve a certain kind of violence -a violation of the ( system's' own sense of propriety (what is proper [propre] and closest to itself) -but in no sense is this an anarchical celebration of pure destruction. We speak rather of irony, parody, satire, metaphor, double-reading and other tactical devices, which permit a reorganization of the deconstructed's (textual analysand's) self-relation and the possibility of playful speculation. Such play demands care and vigilance in regard to the appropriation of the logics of the system with which it is in a relation of negotiation. In order to play well, one must learn the game-rules
Keywords Phenomenology  Deconstruction  Existentialism  Epoché  Différance  Temporality  Edmund Husserl  Jacques Derrida  Continental Philosophy  Politics of Reading
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