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Deconstructing Deconstructionism. Thoughts of Jacques Derrida. Question: What do you get when you cross Jacques Derrida with a member of the Mafia? Answer: Someone making you an offer you can't understand, or refuse! Pimm 1991. Who is Jacques Derrida?

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Deconstructing deconstructionism

Deconstructing Deconstructionism

Thoughts of Jacques Derrida



  • Who is Jacques Derrida? with a member of the Mafia?

    • French Philosopher of the 20th Century

    • Born July 15, 1930, El Biar, Algeria

    • Died October 8, 2004, Paris, France


What is deconstruction
What is Deconstruction? with a member of the Mafia?

  • A word coined by Derrida

    • Refers to critical examination of fundamentals of distinctions or oppositions in Western Philosophy

    • Oppositions characteristically “binary”

      • One member of the pair is primary or fundamental

      • Other member is secondary or derivative


What is truth
What is Truth? with a member of the Mafia?

  • It depends on where you seek it


According to jacques
According to Jacques…. with a member of the Mafia?

  • “Truth is supposed to be plain, totally transparent, common, and obvious to everyone – a clear-cut and unarguable claim to knowledge made with no possibility of opposition or exemption to the moral rule of law.”



  • Which is more authentic – speech or writing? neither member of a pair is superior to the other, since each depends on the other for its validity.

    • Ideas in speech are “immediate” and “present”

    • Ideas in writing are “remote” and “absent”



What is differance
What is Differance? of writing, such as the possibility of being misunderstood.

  • Another Derridean word

    • Means a “difference”

      • Distinct, discernable

    • Means “act of deferring”

      • Present while being omitted



  • What was that he said about truth? words for their meaning, the meaning of a word is never really present – it is deferred

    • “Truth is supposed to be plain, totally transparent, common, and obvious to everyone..”



Now that you are thoroughly confused
Now that you are thoroughly confused….. mean, neither more nor less…”

  • Your mission is to investigate the impact of Derrida on late Twentieth Century thought as well as the impact of the Twentieth Century on Derrida’s thought.




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