Sententiae viri ex temporibus duobus

Jacques Derrida Died on the 8th

Derrida was one of the lit-crit, Post-structuralist philosophy icons landmarks that defined English programs from the 80s to the present day.

Derrida was consistently interested in finding out where what we see of the world came from. What are the filters that pre-evaluate our data for us? There are a whole lot of ivory tower buzzwords associated with Jacques and his interest but I’ll not play party to toying up my own pedantic sycophantic philo/lit-crit snob reputation by using them here. [Wikipedia Entry]

Derrida, as he expresses in his biography/documentary, Derrida, became interested in how people see the world through filters as an French child growing up in Algeria. It was his countrymen’s brutal occupation and racism that pushed him to consider and re-consider how people think not at the psychological level or the neuroscientific level, but as manipulators of symbols of communication.

What is the power of a racial slur? What does this building say about our culture (an extension of Foucault), etc.

One of the great pleasures I had in my education was hearing Dr. Louis Mackey (star of several Richard Linklater films) lecture on the moral systems of the the deconstructionist school viz. Kirkergaard’s conception of morality (i.e. the battle between “the ethical” and “the aesthetic”).

{ Aside: Alasdair McIntyre of Notre Dame once said something I’ll never forget: The choice between the ethical and the asthetic is not the choice between good and evil, it is, rather, the choice as to whether or not to view the world in terms of good and evil }

The last thing is that he was a philosophical rascal! Too ofter the post-modern crown are people with edgy glasses and turtle necks (Outfits by Steve Jobs) and don’t seem to be able to laugh at their discipline. Ed Allaire once said about philosophy: “The car’s been broke for 3000 years and yet everyone keeps working on it!” Derrida never got so caught up. When people he was arguing with would start to take their position too seriously, he would enter jester mode and break up their puffed-up positions.

An example is, when in an argument with Searle about signification, Searle had done some copyright voodoo to prevent citation of a piece of text. Derrida then took the copyright notice itself, and applied his theory to it. He does this in the book Limited Inc.

He was a real fun read. Farewell!