"O, my friends, there is no friend." The most influential of contemporary philosophers explores the idea of friendship and its political consequences, past and future. Until relatively recently, Jacques Derrida was seen by many as nothing more than the high priest of Deconstruction, by turns stimulating and fascinating, yet always somewhat disengaged from the central political questions of our time. Or so it seemed. Derrida's "political turn," marked especially by the appearance of Specters of Marx, has surprised some and delighted others. In The Politics of Friendship Derrida renews and enriches this orientation through an examination of the political history of the idea of friendship pursued down the ages. Derrida's thoughts are haunted throughout the book by the strange and provocative address attributed to Aristotle, "my friends, there is no friend" and its inversions by later philosophers such as Montaigne, Kant, Nietzsche, Schmitt and Blanchot. The exploration allows Derrida to recall and restage the ways in which all the oppositional couples of Western philosophy and political thought—friendship and enmity, private and public life—have become madly and dangerously unstable. At the same time he dissects genealogy itself, the familiar and male-centered notion of fraternity and the virile virtue whose authority has gone unquestioned in our culture of friendship and our models of democracy The future of the political, for Derrida, becomes the future of friends, the invention of a radically new friendship, of a deeper and more inclusive democracy. This remarkable book, his most profoundly important for many years, offers a challenging and inspiring vision of that future.
The value of these volumes lies not only in the fact that it will make many well-known essays easily available, but also that it will present many essays never before translated into English. The names alone of the authors assembled here indicate the importance of this collection, contributors include: Blanchot, Cixous, deMan, Foucault, Gadamer, Habermas, Irigaray, Levinas, Lyotard and Ricoeur.
Is giving possible? Is it possible to give without immediately entering into a circle of exchange that turns the gift into a debt to be returned? This question leads Jacques Derrida to make out an irresolvable paradox at what seems the most fundamental level of the gift's meaning: for the gift to be received as a gift, it must not appear as such, since its mere appearance as gift puts it in the cycle of repayment and debt. Derrida reads the relation of time to gift through a number of texts: Heidegger's Time and Being, Mauss's The Gift, as well as essays by Benveniste and Levi-Strauss that assume Mauss's legacy. It is, however, a short tale by Baudelaire, "Counterfeit Money," that guides Derrida's analyses throughout. At stake in his reading of the tale, to which the second half of this book is devoted, are the conditions of gift and forgiveness as essentially bound up with the movement of dissemination, a concept that Derrida has been working out for many years. For both readers of Baudelaire and students of literary theory, this work will prove indispensable.
Consisting of two texts on facing pages, the form of this presentation of two 1996 lectures on hospitality by Jacques Derrida is a self-conscious enactment of its content. Invitation by Anne Dufourmantelle appears on the left (an invitation that of course originates a response), clarifying and inflecting Derrida's "response" on the right.
Limited Inc. is a major work in the philosophy of language by the celebrated French thinker Jacques Derrida. The book's two essays, 'Limited Inc.' and 'Signature Event Context, ' constitute key statements of the Derridean theory of deconstruction. They are perhaps the clearest exposition to be found of Derrida's most controversial idea.
Acts of Religion, compiled in close association with Jacques Derrida, brings together for the first time a number of Derrida's writings on religion and questions of faith and their relation to philosophy and political culture. The essays discuss religious texts from Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions, as well as religious thinkers such as Kant, Levinas, and Gershom Scholem, and comprise pieces spanning Derrida's career. The collection includes two new essays by Derrida that appear here for the first time in any language, as well as a substantial introduction by Gil Anidjar that explores Derrida's return to his own "religious" origins and his attempts to bring to light hidden religious dimensions of the social, cultural, historical, and political.
The notorious French philosopher, literary critic and film star(!) First translated in 1983, Dissemination contains three of Derrida's most central and seminal works: 'Plato's Pharmacy', 'The Double Session' and 'Dissemination'. The essays provide original readings of philosophy and literature, and present a re-evaluation of the logic of meaning and the function of writing in Western discourse. This is a groundbreaking work on the relationship and interplay between language, literature and philosophy.
Geoffrey Bennington sets out here to write a systematic account of the thought of Jacques Derrida. Responding to Bennington's text at every turn is Derrida's own excerpts from his life and thought that, appearing at the bottom of each page, resist circumscription. Together these texts, as a dialogue and a contest, constitute a remarkably in-depth, critical introduction to one of the leading philosophers of the twentieth century and, at the same time, demonstrate the illusions inherent in such a project. Bennington's account of Derrida, broader in scope than any previously done, leads the reader through the philosopher's familiar yet still widely misunderstood work on language and writing to the less familiar and altogether more mysterious themes of signature, sexual difference, law, and affirmation. Seeking to escape this systematic rendering - in fact, to prove it impossible - Derrida interweaves Bennington's text with surprising and disruptive "periphrases": reflections on his mother's death agony, commentaries on St. Augustine's Confessions, memories of childhood, remarks on Judaism, and references to his collaborator's efforts. This extraordinary book offers, on the one hand, a clear and compelling account of one of the most difficult and important contemporary thinkers and, on the other, one of that thinker's strangest and most unexpected texts. Far from putting an end to the need to discuss Derrida, Bennington's text might have originally intended or pretended, this dual text opens new dimensions in the philosopher's thought and work and extends its challenge.
First published in 1967, Writing and Difference, a collection of Jacques Derrida's essays written between 1959 and 1966, has become a landmark of contemporary French thought. In it we find Derrida at work on his systematic deconstruction of Western metaphysics. The book's first half, which includes the celebrated essay on Descartes and Foucault, shows the development of Derrida's method of deconstruction. In these essays, Derrida demonstrates the traditional nature of some purportedly nontraditional currents of modern thought—one of his main targets being the way in which "structuralism" unwittingly repeats metaphysical concepts in its use of linguistic models. The second half of the book contains some of Derrida's most compelling analyses of why and how metaphysical thinking must exclude writing from its conception of language, finally showing metaphysics to be constituted by this exclusion. These essays on Artaud, Freud, Bataille, Hegel, and Lévi-Strauss have served as introductions to Derrida's notions of writing and différence—the untranslatable formulation of a nonmetaphysical "concept" that does not exclude writing—for almost a generation of students of literature, philosophy, and psychoanalysis. Writing and Difference reveals the unacknowledged program that makes thought itself possible. In analyzing the contradictions inherent in this program, Derrida foes on to develop new ways of thinking, reading, and writing,—new ways based on the most complete and rigorous understanding of the old ways. Scholars and students from all disciplines will find Writing and Difference an excellent introduction to perhaps the most challenging of contemporary French thinkers—challenging because Derrida questions thought as we know it.
In The Gift of Death, Jacques Derrida's most sustained consideration of religion to date, he continues to explore questions introduced in Given Time about the limits of the rational and responsible that one reaches in granting or accepting death, whether by sacrifice, murder, execution, or suicide. Derrida analyzes Patocka's Heretical Essays on the History of Philosophy and develops and compares his ideas to the works of Heidegger, Levinas, and Kierkegaard. A major work, The Gift of Death resonates with much of Derrida's earlier writing and will be of interest to scholars in anthropology, philosophy, and literary criticism, along with scholars of ethics and religion. "The Gift of Death is Derrida's long-awaited deconstruction of the foundations of the project of a philosophical ethics, and it will long be regarded as one of the most significant of his many writings."—Choice "An important contribution to the critical study of ethics that commends itself to philosophers, social scientists, scholars of relgion . . . [and those] made curious by the controversy that so often attends Derrida."—Booklist "Derrida stares death in the face in this dense but rewarding inquiry. . . . Provocative."—Publishers Weekly