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Jeff Collins

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Collins, Jeffrey Michael
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Lecturer in Art History at the University of Plymouth



I haven't had much success in reading Derrida himself, although I was more or less familiar with his ideas. This guide help clarify my thinking and left me more confident I understand his main concepts.
poirotketchup | Hi ha 6 ressenyes més | Mar 18, 2021 |
I have a copy of Jacques Derrida's Writing and Difference sitting on my bookshelf waiting for me to get to it. I also had this introductory text laying around. I am glad I went for the easy option first, as this text saved me from learning the hard way. I am not ready for Derrida - I have to start with Hegel and work my way through to Heidegger first.

I am not averse to reading introductory texts, but this one is a little different, in that it is more like a comic book. Or, indeed, it is very similar to the style Alain de Botton has adopted for The School of Life (but this book predates the YouTube series).

But the book is not too basic. Even after reading this introductory text, I am little the wiser.

I see Derrida's idea of "deconstruction" as an attempt to critique logo-centrism, where Western philosophy tends to privilege one thing over another in a binary either/or paradigm. For example, speech tends to be privileged over writing; philosophy over literature, men over women (traditionally), and so on.

Deconstruction is helpfully explained using the example of a zombie. Zombies are neither dead nor alive - their status is "undecidable" (see also the pharmakon (p. 73):
To embrace the curious logic of this writing, we have to be willing to sign up to it, to subscribe to it the task it takes on: the creation of destabilizing movements in metaphysical thinking.
Had I set out to read Writing and Difference, I would have been lost in Derrida's writing, which this text suggests can be "puzzling, infuriating, and exasperating", p. 73). It would be better to tackle his three major works on "structuralism and phenomenology" in order: Speech and Phenomena, Writing and Difference, then Of Grammatology.

However, the reading list at the end of the text sets out a reading plan to ease into Derrida's work gradually, beginning with Peggy Kamuf's Derrida Reader: Between the Lines. Sound advice.

It would seem that I must also go right back to Plato for a closer reading of his work so I can engage with Derrida's Plato's Pharmacy.

What all this means is that I am completely out of my depth! Whereas with Albert Camus and even Nietzsche I was able to struggle through, with Derrida I will have to tackle post-modernism (Derrida didn't necessarily think of his work as "post-modern"). I suppose it is time.

This text was a good place to start. I also found the School of Life's video (see the video "Jacques Derrida") useful. I must admit to being pleased to find an area of my knowledge that is so completely lacking as to require considerable thought - especially in approaching Derrida. At the same time, the task is quite daunting and it may have to wait until some time later next year if I am to do it any justice.
… (més)
madepercy | Hi ha 6 ressenyes més | Dec 26, 2018 |
Formerly "Derrida for Beginners"
LanternLibrary | Hi ha 6 ressenyes més | Nov 2, 2017 |
This is a really accessible introduction to Derrida and his Deconstructivist approach to philosophy, literature, art, and politics. Deconstruction is explained at a basic level here, with the amount of quirky illustration outweighing the text.
It would be necessary to read some of the original texts by Derrida to be able to fairly assess whether his ideas have the significance that some people claim for them in philosophy, though I got the impression that he has just put a name on something that has been going on in the side lines for years - challenging the underpinnings of Western thought. However he doesn't seek to do so on the same terms (using a thorough logical philosophical approach), so to some extent what he does falls outside of Philosophy. This is perhaps the reason why he has been better received in English departments compared to Philosophy departments.… (més)
P_S_Patrick | Hi ha 6 ressenyes més | Oct 23, 2015 |

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