Ideas of Jacques Derrida, by Theme

[French, 1930 - 2005, Born in Algeria.]

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1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 1. Philosophy
Derrida focuses on other philosophers, rather than on science
1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 3. Philosophy Defined
Philosophy is just a linguistic display
1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 5. Aims of Philosophy / e. Philosophy as reason
Philosophy aims to build foundations for thought [May]
1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 7. Despair over Philosophy
Philosophy is necessarily metaphorical, and its writing is aesthetic
1. Philosophy / H. Continental Philosophy / 3. Hermeneutics
Interpretations can be interpreted, so there is no original 'meaning' available
Hermeneutics blunts truth, by conforming it to the interpreter [Zimmermann,J]
Hermeneutics is hostile, trying to overcome the other person's difference [Zimmermann,J]
1. Philosophy / H. Continental Philosophy / 4. Linguistic Structuralism
Structuralism destroys awareness of dynamic meaning
1. Philosophy / H. Continental Philosophy / 6. Deconstruction
Deconstructing philosophy gives the history of concepts, and the repressions behind them
The movement of 'différance' is the root of all the oppositional concepts in our language
Deconstruction is not neutral; it intervenes
Derrida came to believe in the undeconstructability of justice, which cannot be relativised [Critchley]
The idea of being as persistent presence, and meaning as conscious intelligibility, are self-destructive [Glendinning]
We aim to explore the limits of expression (as in Mallarmé's poetry)
Sincerity can't be verified, so fiction infuses speech, and hence reality also
Sentences are contradictory, as they have opposite meanings in some contexts
2. Reason / C. Styles of Reason / 1. Dialectic
I try to analyse certain verbal concepts which block and confuse the dialectical process
3. Truth / A. Truth Problems / 9. Rejecting Truth
Derrida says that all truth-talk is merely metaphor [Engel]
True thoughts are inaccessible, in the subconscious, prior to speech or writing
5. Theory of Logic / F. Referring in Logic / 1. Naming / b. Names as descriptive
Names have a subjective aspect, especially the role of our own name
'I' is the perfect name, because it denotes without description
5. Theory of Logic / F. Referring in Logic / 1. Naming / c. Names as referential
Even Kripke can't explain names; the word is the thing, and the thing is the word
15. Nature of Minds / B. Features of Minds / 1. Consciousness / b. Essence of consciousness
Heidegger showed that passing time is the key to consciousness
18. Thought / A. Modes of Thought / 1. Thought
'Tacit theory' controls our thinking (which is why Freud is important)
19. Language / A. Nature of Meaning / 1. Meaning
'Différance' is the interwoven history of each sign [Glendinning]
Meanings depend on differences and contrasts
For Aristotle all proper nouns must have a single sense, which is the purpose of language
Capacity for repetitions is the hallmark of language
The sign is only conceivable as a movement between elusive presences
Writing functions even if the sender or the receiver are absent [Glendinning]
Madness and instability ('the demonic hyperbole') lurks in all language
19. Language / A. Nature of Meaning / 2. Meaning as Mental
Everything that is experienced in consciousness is meaning
19. Language / A. Nature of Meaning / 9. Ambiguity
Derrida focuses on ambiguity, but talks of 'dissemination', not traditional multiple meanings
'Dissemination' is opposed to polysemia, since that is irreducible, because of multiple understandings [Glendinning]
19. Language / A. Nature of Meaning / 10. Denial of Meanings
Words exist in 'spacing', so meanings are never synchronic except in writing
22. Metaethics / C. The Good / 1. Goodness / a. Form of the Good
The good is implicitly violent (against evil), so there is no pure good
24. Political Theory / A. Basis of a State / 1. A People / c. A unified people
A community must consist of singular persons, with nothing in common [Glendinning]
Can there be democratic friendship without us all becoming identical? [Glendinning]