Judith Wolfe
University of St. Andrews
This paper analyses the opposing accounts of ‘the ordinary’ given by Jacques Derrida and Stanley Cavell, beginning with their competing interpretations of J. L. Austin¹s thought on ordinary language. These accounts are presented as mutually critiquing: Derrida¹s deconstructive method poses an effective challenge to Cavell¹s claim that the ordinary is irreducible by further philosophical analysis, while, conversely, Cavell¹s valorisation of the human draws attention to a residual humanity in Derrida¹s text which Derrida cannot account for. The two philosophers’ approaches are, in fact, predicated on each other like the famous Gestalt-image of a vase and two faces: they cannot come into focus at the same time, but one cannot appear without the other to furnish its background.
Keywords Jacques Derrida  Stanley Cavell  the ordinary
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Philosophical Papers.J. L. Austin - 1961 - Oxford University Press.
Margins of Philosophy.Jacques Derrida - 1982 - University of Chicago Press.
Limited Inc.Jacques Derrida - 1988 - Northwestern University Press.

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