Jacques Derrida’s Understanding of Philosophy

Jacques Derrida’s Understanding of Philosophy

June 27, 2021 Off By Felso

Algerian-born French philosopher, who opened the doors of a brand new way of thinking with the “deconstructive” reading method he developed and had a very important place in the establishment of the post-structuralist philosophy framework.

The dominant thought that manifests itself in almost all of Derrida’s texts is the questioning of the tradition of Western philosophy from a deconstructive point of view. In this sense, Derrida’s first job was to deconstruct the assumption of metaphysics of invention, which he thought had engulfed Western philosophy to its core. is found to be predominant.

Claiming that the distinction between speech and writing can only be made through the violent exclusion of the other, Derrida aims to develop a brand new understanding of language that will not allow violence to be applied to the other. The most distinctive feature of this new language is that it advocates a different understanding of ethical and political responsibility, depending on the fact that the distinction cannot be reduced to identity. In order to fully grasp the philosophical problems addressed in Derrida’s writings, it is necessary to first become acquainted with the thoughts of Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Husserl, Heidegger, Levinas, Sausssure and many more.

The absence of such an acquaintance leaves the readers trying to understand Derrida in a very difficult situation as they cannot follow the movements of philosophy in Derrida’s texts. According to Derrida, deconstruction is not a reading technique, but rather a way of approaching the “wholly other”, thus revealing an impossible experience from the outset. Derrida’s intellectual position as a whole can, in this sense, be placed within the framework of philosophy, subject to highly productive post-Hegelian expansions, in which philosophical thinking is aimed at liberating regularly recurring dogmatic assumptions through the critique of metaphysical language. Of course, the quest to avoid metaphysical dogmatism is nothing new, as it can be traced back to Kant’s critical philosophy and English Empiricism, and in certain respects even to Descartes. But criticizing metaphysical dogmatism and criticizing metaphysical language are not the same thing. With the philosophical period after Hegel, questioning language has become a constantly emphasized theme for Western philosophers. When the question is put in this way, although Derrida may seem to be placed in a close place with pragmatic and logical positivist thought movements at first glance, the fact that the framework in which Derrida’s philosophical interests developed is Continental oriented will not allow such an attempt. In his early writings, Derrida is deeply committed to the Husserlian phenomenology curriculum, which is an effort to make sense in itself.

On the other hand, he criticizes that the phenomenological method cannot escape from the assumption that the truth is evaluated as the discovery of truth in the final analysis, that is, from the familiar traditional metaphysics, citing that Husserl has revived the monophonic ideal of language. To a certain extent, Heidegger also criticized Husserl on more or less the same grounds. Although Derrida approves his criticisms of Husserl and the arguments he put forward accordingly, in many respects, he does not agree with some of Heidegger’s conclusions. As a matter of fact, he raises a number of crucial questions against Heidegger’s attempt to define the task of thinking at a time when philosophy is coming to an end, to which he frequently returns in his writings. In writings corresponding to his later period, Heidegger argues that language is not a human thing, but rather a human thing belonging to language; In this sense, it is not human language but language human speaking. In other words, according to Heidegger, contrary to what is traditionally defended, language determines thought rather than thought determining language. In the light of these remarks by Heidegger, Derrida seems to have found some ground on which to illuminate the task of deconstruction. As a matter of fact, the term “deconstruction” used by Derrida is a direct translation into French of the German term destruktion used by Heidegger in Being and Time (1927).

According to Heidegger’s basic thesis, the task of correctly thinking of time as the “Victory of Being” is only possible with the destruction of the history of metaphysical concepts, especially the representations of time in Aristotle, Descartes, and Kant. On the other hand, Heidegger never understands destruction as “to remove without a trace”. Indeed, the history of metaphysics consists of a structure settling so firmly that it cannot be moved (later, gestell, or “roof”, as Heidegger calls it). In this sense, destruktion is rather the loosening and weakening of all kinds of structures that settle in thought in the Heideggerian sense. D