The Relevance of Fink’s Notion of Operative Concepts for Derrida’s Deconstruction

ABSTRACTIn the literature on Derrida’s philosophical formation, the name of Eugen Fink is usually forgotten. When it is recalled, it is most often because of his 1930s articles on phenomenology. In this paper, I claim on the contrary that Fink’s writings exerted a lasting influence on Derrida’s thought, well beyond his early phenomenological works. More specifically, I focus on a 1957 paper presented at a conference on Husserl’s thought where Fink formulates an important distinction between operative and thematic concepts. By adopting both historical and theoretical perspectives, I show how this couple of notions can help to understand Derrida’s singular way of reading philosophical texts. In particular, I present the Derridean concept of supplement as a reworking of Fink’s notion of operative concept. I conclude by suggesting that deconstruction can be understood in part as a radicalization of Fink’s theses.
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DOI 10.1080/00071773.2018.1501968
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Of Grammatology.Jacques Derrida - 1982 - Philosophy and Rhetoric 15 (1):66-70.
Edmund Husserl's Origin of Geometry: An Introduction.Jacques Derrida - 1980 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 40 (3):436-436.
Modern French Philosophy.Vincent Descombes, L. Scott-fox, J. M. Harding, Rüdiger Bubner & Eric Matthews - 1984 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 15 (3):173-179.

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