- Series: Live Theory
- Paperback: 176 pages
- Publisher: Continuum; Annotated edition edition (November 1, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0826462812
- ISBN-13: 978-0826462817
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,343,150 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Jacques Derrida: Live Theory Annotated edition Edition
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Article by the author referencing the book throughout – ChristianityToday.com, October 18, 2004 (Christianity Today)
'Over the coming decades [Derrida's] work will be repeatedly examined to find what in it calls forth new futures for reading, writing and thinking. James K. A. Smith's lucid and comprehensive guide to Derrida places its readers in an enviable vantage point to see those diverse futures as they begin to arrive and change our lives.' Kevin Hart, Professor and Chair of English, University of Notre Dame
'James K.A. Smith has written a lively, sure-footed guide to key landmarks in the immense territory of Derrida' thought .... The task of reading Derrida has only just begun and Smith's book issues an open and congenial invitation to get on with it. 'Peggy Kamuf, Marion Frances Chevalier Professor of French and Comparative Literature, University of Southern California
'[will] excite and engage' (Arnab Chatterjee, Political Studies Review)
About the Author
James K. A. Smith is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Calvin College, Michigan.
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*Deconstruction is not a method (9ff). Each deconstructive event remains singular. It is not something we do. It happens in the middle voice. Ca se deconstruit. It happens within texts because of the texts.
*Smith suggests “alterity” is the lens through which we interpret Derrida (13). Deconstructionism is a response to the “other.” Sees “reference” as language’s relation to the “other” of language (14). Derrida suggests a fundamental link between alterity and Judaism (15).
Smith takes us on a journey from Plato to Judaism to Something New Today. Continuing our theme of "alterity," we see Word-Things as Phenomenology's Other.
** In the Beginning was the Word**
“The world of signs--whether graphemes and phonemes--is a world of sensuous phenomena that activate and depend on the body” (17). The West treated language as a means to larger metaphysical questions. Language was always considered ‘mundane.’ And so enters Husserl. Our Western preconceptions thought that Language was governed by temporality. It was Always associated with “passing away.” Therefore, philosophy sought to ground knowledge in something more stable than language--ideas.
Husserl then Advances Plato’s thought that ideas have a history. Knowledge grows into a projected horizon. Suggests that ideas receive objectivity through “language.” Derrida’s contention has been that language in general is affected by mediation. “What the logocentric condition took to be a contamination is its original condition” (43). What was thought to be confined to writing is in fact true of all language: mediation, signifiers, culture.
Arche-Writing is a synonym for differance
JD explains differance in terms of alterity. The primacy of mediation and spacing is to make room for what Derrida calls “il n’y a pas de hors-texte.” There is no aspect of our experience that escapes the play of signifiers. The subject is a function of language. He is a speaking-subject. “The subject’s self-consciousness is constituted by a relation to an outside, to a community of others which grants language. The subject is constituted by the Other” (45). Instead of a metaphysics of presence we have an ontology of quasi-trace
That is the first half of the book and the essence of JD's philosophy. In the second half Smith takes us on a tour of Derrida's teaching controversies, French politics, and other items. This book is highly recommended as a entry point for Derrida's thought.