27 January 2010

Deconstruct This

You might have guessed than I am a fan of neither post-modernist thought nor of deconstructionist philosophy.

Thus, anytime Derrida takes one on the chin, I don't complain. 

From the review of a new book on Derrida:

For those who hated him, Derrida was a mountebank, a sloppy thinker and even sloppier writer whose antics did nothing but muddle what should be clear. To those who loved him—and his defenders were as ferocious as his detractors—he offered a whole new way of thinking. According to Mikics, both sides were wrong.

But in his own way, Mikics stands with Derrida’s detractors. Through a series of careful analyses, he maintains that Derrida was sometimes a brilliant misreader of the philosophical tradition and often an egregious one. Always attentive to the problems and the questions that Derrida avoided, he finds Derrida most instructive in his failure to move from doubt to any feasible ethics or politics. According to Mikics, Derrida was allergic to psychology, which Mikics calls “the most palpable sign of our existence, our inner life.” As a result, the philosopher was unable to think about motives and responsibilities. This was a major failing because in the end, Derrida was unable to theorize convincingly about ethics.
Read the review in its entirety here.

(Hat Tip to UP for pointing me towards Arts and Letters Daily.)


Perscors said...

I came across this blog due to a google alert I placed on Derrida. It seems as if I'm likely not much more interested in postmodernism than you are. The reason I put up the alert was that I felt guilty for my somewhat ignorant bias--I just find it boring. Rather than read any of the the PoMo lit I decided to pick up what scraps I can on the aether, and this one seems mighty juicy, dirt on Derrida, I might have to read this!

mtjofmcap said...

Thanks for checking out the blog.

Yeah, you got me pinned as an anti-PoMo guy. Maybe if it could define itself, I'd garner enough discipline to begin listening...