Deconstructing deconstructionism
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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

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Deconstructing deconstructionism

Deconstructing Deconstructionism

Thoughts of Jacques Derrida


Deconstructing deconstructionism

  • 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


Deconstructing deconstructionism

  • Who is Jacques Derrida?

    • 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?

  • 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?

  • It depends on where you seek it


According to jacques

According to Jacques….

  • “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.”


Deconstructing deconstructionism

  • Derrida addresses the idea of opposites and proposes that neither member of a pair is superior to the other, since each depends on the other for its validity.


Deconstructing deconstructionism

  • Which is more authentic – speech or writing?

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

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


Deconstructing deconstructionism

  • But, speech is language only when it shares characteristics of writing, such as the possibility of being misunderstood.

  • This must be true since Derrida wrote about it.


What is differance

What is Differance?

  • Another Derridean word

    • Means a “difference”

      • Distinct, discernable

    • Means “act of deferring”

      • Present while being omitted


Deconstructing deconstructionism

  • But then again, since words depend on the meaning of other words for their meaning, the meaning of a word is never really present – it is deferred


Deconstructing deconstructionism

  • What was that he said about truth?

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


Deconstructing deconstructionism

  • When I choose a word, it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less…”

    • Humpty Dumpty to Alice in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass


Now that you are thoroughly confused

Now that you are thoroughly confused…..

  • 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.


Deconstructing deconstructionism

  • Is Derrida a product of his times or an architect of his times?

  • Are his ideas valid or is he enjoying an inside joke?

  • Can these ideas be applied to a high school classroom?


Deconstructing deconstructionism

  • Design a webquest for high school freshmen in which they seek the path to truth, as defined by Jacques Derrida

  • Include biographical information and links to his works, and those of the philosophers who most influenced him


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