Version: v1, Published online: 1998
Retrieved January 20, 2019, from https://www.rep.routledge.com/articles/biographical/derrida-jacques-1930-2004/v-1
Jacques Derrida is a prolific French philosopher born in Algeria. His work can be understood in terms of his argument that it is necessary to interrogate the Western philosophical tradition from the standpoint of ‘deconstruction’. As an attempt to approach that which remains unthought in this tradition, deconstruction is concerned with the category of the ‘wholly other’.
Derrida has called into question the ‘metaphysics of presence’, a valuing of truth as self-identical immediacy which has been sustained by traditional attempts to demonstrate the ontological priority and superiority of speech over writing. Arguing that the distinction between speech and writing can be sustained only by way of a violent exclusion of otherness, Derrida has attempted to develop a radically different conception of language, one that would begin from the irreducibility of difference to identity and that would issue in a correspondingly different conception of ethical and political responsibility.
Cutrofello, Andrew. Derrida, Jacques (1930–2004), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-DE010-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis, https://www.rep.routledge.com/articles/biographical/derrida-jacques-1930-2004/v-1.
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