Friday, March 12, 2010

Why don't philosophers take Derrida seriously? (And I don't mean philosophers like Leiter... I mean REAL philosophers.) Who is someone who actually takes Derrida seriously that I should read?

Haha, just kidding. Except I'm not.
I can't remember who I was talking about this with --- or wait, I met have been reading it on a blog --- but I genuinely think that part of the problem was that Derrida was so fucking smart and funny.
People think he wasn't serious about traditional interpretations but as one of my teachers (who knew him very well put it) --- "He wants to make philosopher student in France pass a multiple choice test" (this should be said in a high pitched squeal --- a voice known as Air Raid [Professor X])

And in the schools of fashion Derrida is becoming slightly unfashionable these days, so since everything is about fashion you shouldn't read him.

But seriously, I think the reason for the claims that he's played (even by many who respect him) or that he's a phony (those that don't understand him) is because he is often understood in engaging in some repeatable deconstructive gesture.

This simply isn't the most interesting way to read Derrida.

I'm going to get shit for this, but I'm going to say that you (anonymous person) should start with the early stuff. Go back and read the Husserl stuff and then read Of Grammatology. Don't read the early stuff that commentators wrote about Of Grammatology though. Pretend that Of Grammatology is an ontology of science. I am being very serious.

Then read Sovereignities in Question which takes up many of the post-ethical turn themes and ask how it fits in with the early stuff.

My favorite writers on Derrida are his French contemporary's (who are my favorite Heideggerians, too: Lacoue-Labarthe, Nancy, Dastur, Cixous, Lyotard). There's a great interview b/w Nancy and Derrida translated as "Eating Well" I believe that explains Derrida's unique contribution to post-modernism quite well. Also the introduction he wrote to Lacoue-Labarthe's Typographies ("Desistance.")

I've heard Malabou's work is really good, though I haven't read her. I was supposed to hear her talk once but her parents or her kid or someone was sick so Derrida gave her paper for her instead. Since the paper was critical of him it was very funny.

And Derrida did know how to be funny.

Ask me anything


Ideas Man, Ph.D. said...

I forgot to mention --- that Searle of all people (who is one of the people who deserves the most blame for Derrida's poor reception just because Derrida could run circles around him and Searle happened to be a dick) recently wrote that Derrida should be taken seriously --- that he really understood something about metaphysics that was latent in the work of Heidegger and Wittgenstein and that he just got it wrong, returning us to metaphysics.

Except the last ten words, Searle is absolutely right. Those are dialectically wrong.

Ideas Man, Ph.D. said...

I should also note that I write the answers, not the questions...