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Margins of Philosophy Paperback – February 15, 1984

ISBN-13: 978-0226143262 ISBN-10: 0226143260 Edition: Reprint

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 330 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; Reprint edition (February 15, 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226143260
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226143262
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #124,401 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, French (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Jacques Derrida (1930–2004) was director of studies at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris, and professor of humanities at the University of California, Irvine. He is the author of many books published by the University of Chicago Press.

More About the Author

Jacques Derrida (1930-2004), was born in Algeria, has been called the most famous philosopher of our time. He was the author of a number of books, including Writing and Difference, which came to be seen as defining texts of postmodernist thought.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Bricker on January 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
Begin with "Tympan", it's designed to serve as an introduction to the ten essays which follow and, despite a lot of word play, Derrida does mention most of the themes informing this collection (philosophy's attempt to master its domain, Hegel as the philosopher of limits, the threat metaphor poses to philosophical discourse, etc).
Read "Differance" next (it's probably the single most famous thing Derrida has ever written). After declaring the thought of difference to be crucial to our intellectual epoch (he mentions Saussure, Nietzsche, and Freud before taking up Heidegger's notion of ontological difference) Derrida proposes the nonword/nonconcept of "differance" to go them all one better. This is a dazzling essay, but if it leaves you more exhausted than exhilarated, then Derrida just isn't for you.
Essay #2 is a dense and convoluted discussion of the metaphysics of presence in Aristotle and Hegel. Skip this.
Essay #3 is a surprisingly interesting investigation of Hegel's semiology (of all things). Derrida demonstrates that Hegel's disdain for non-phonetic scripts (say, hieroglyphics) is not just a quirk, but is crucial to Hegel's entire philosophical project.
"The Ends Of Man" is a classic example of 1960's French anti-humanism. It's essentially an attempt to rescue Hegel, Husserl, and Heidegger from their existentialist interpreters. Another very famous piece (and rightfully so).
Essay #5 is a sort of Cliffs Notes version of OF GRAMMATOLOGY; it deals with the denigration of writing in the thought of Saussure and Rousseau. Very readable.
Essay #6 is all about Husserl's theory of signs and I found it incomprehensible.
Essay #7 concerns itself with to what extent the grammar and syntax of a particular language influences what can be thought in that language.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 27, 1997
Format: Paperback
Derrida is not always an easy read, and it's sometimes difficult to suggest a beginning point. This collection of essays from 1972 is as good a starting point as any. Derrida espresses distrust of concepts such as authorial intention and metaphors. Contains the essays "Differance", Signature Event Context", "White Mythology", and others
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 18, 2003
Format: Paperback
In the 1980s, White Mythology was required reading for Yale lit-crit majors. It is an incredible tour de force so rich that its overwhelming in the initial read. How was it possible to write this (and how was it possible to translate?) The inescapability of metaphor, metaphor not just in, but constituting the text of philosophy, the false privileging of metaphysics over rhetoric are made stunningly evident -- if not plain -- here.
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10 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Zentao on November 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
Derrida, Foucalt and Lyotard have come to be some of the best-known examples of post-modern thought. Of the three, I find Derrida to have the most "logical depth" to borrow a term from information theory; that could be due to some of his ideas in conjunction with the way in which he presents them.
In Margins the reader is treated immediately to an intersting idea of Derrida's - that the most important part of philosophy occurs in the "margins" of work. That is, it is the contextualization of ideas that is fundamentally important, not necessarily what is in them. This echoes what Bateson wrote quite a while ago in "Steps to an Ecology of the Mind", a much more accessible work; Lyotard also develops the idea of contextualization within "Postmodern Fables" through much more literary methods. Derrida's development of the differance and his views on Hegel are visionary and I enjoyed reading those sections in Margins; the rest I very difficult to digest even after several readings.
Derrida's ideas of context within infinite regress of contexts put him in an interesting philosophical position since the paradox cannot be resolved. That is, by demonstrating the subjectivity of any literary (and what is the limit of the term literary - isn't everything literary?) work he basically undermines most of Western philosophy. Hegel was close but not quite willing to go far enough as Derrida demonstrates.
In my opinion the more casual reader will be better off with the readily-available "Derrida for Beginners" type of books rather than trying to tackle this one. If this is part of a course then I suggest reading it while armed with some other overviews for reference.
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