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There has never been The Subject for anyone.... The Subject is a fable'. (1) Within the works of all the major figures in the history of philosophy Derrida argues there are 'aporias, fictions and fabrications' that present as it were internal disruptions within the texts themselves that 'would have at least the virtue of de-simplifying, of "de-homogenizing" the reference to something like The Subject'. (2) This would appear to make the narrative of the history of western metaphysics portrayed by Heidegger decidedly problematic and ostensibly renders the narrative of presence adopted by Deconstruction as itself not an authoritative depiction of the history of philosophy. But this fable of 'the Subject' is nevertheless powerful and an edifice of concepts and method has (rightly or wrongly) grown around it. It is the discourse of mastery, identity and self-knowledge against which Derrida defined his project, terms that have been most often associated in his writing with Hegel's thought. Despite Derrida's willingness to see fractures and limits in the great works of the canon of philosophy in figures from Plato to Husserl, one can only understand the development of notions such as trace and differance and so on in response to a dominating and uniform tendency within the tradition. Deconstruction requires that myth be powerful and real. How would we interpret his early critique of the Hegelian dialectic in 'From Restricted to General Economy' as a totalizing machine unless that myth was clearly taken to be representative of the dominant strain of the philosophical tradition? Without granting the force of this dominant strand Derrida's later turning of the critique of presence back upon Heidegger would be an empty criticism.

Religion & Spirituality
July 1
Ashton and Rafferty

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