According to Derrida and taking inspiration from the work of Ferdinand de Saussure , [15] language as a system of signs and words only has meaning because of the contrast between these signs. Derrida refers to the—in this view, mistaken—belief that there is a self-sufficient, non-deferred meaning as metaphysics of presence. One of the two terms governs the other axiologically , logically, etc. The first task of deconstruction would be to find and overturn these oppositions inside a text or a corpus of texts; but the final objective of deconstruction is not to surpass all oppositions, because it is assumed they are structurally necessary to produce sense.

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Key Concept Img: Annie Vought annievought. The concept was first outlined by Derrida in Of Grammatology where he explored the interplay between language and the construction of meaning. From this early work, and later works in which he has attempted to explain deconstruction to others, most notably the Letter to a Japanese Friend, it is possible to provide a basic explanation of what deconstruction is commonly understood to mean. These three features found the possibility of deconstruction as an on-going process of questioning the accepted basis of meaning.

While the concept initially arose in the context of language, it is equally applicable to the study of law. Derrida takes as his starting point the assertion that modern Western philosophy is characterized by and constructed around an inherent desire to place meaning at the centre of presence. Put simply, what this means is that philosophy is driven by a desire for the certainty associated with the existence of an absolute truth, or an objective meaning that makes sense of our place in the world.

Its effect is the placing of one particular term or concept, such as justice, at the centre of all efforts at theorizing or interrogating meaning. The term becomes the core around which meaning is constructed, the reference point that determines all subsequent knowledge. Derrida highlights how logocentrism assumes the existence of set and stable meanings that exist to be discovered. The way in which this term—the logos—is made known is language, the translation into words of a concept or a way of thinking.

John Hopkins Press, 49 The logos represents nature, which is something different from the instituted form embodied in language or in text.

For Derrida, it is this logocentrism, and the idea of the exteriority of meaning, that opens up the possibility of deconstruction. Rather than nature justice and institution law existing independently of each other, Derrida suggests that nature itself is constructed only with reference to the institution.

So rather than law being a direct embodiment of justice, how we understand both justice and law is determined by the interplay between the two.

This is a rejection of the rigid separation that makes the quest for certainty possible — of the very idea that justice exists as a prior objective standard to be discovered.

By reading law as reflecting or embodying the natural origin of justice, what is ignored or concealed are all the other possible interpretations of justice that are not embodied or encapsulated in the law. In this way writing defines nature, as well as reflecting it. The idea of deconstruction is therefore concerned with countering the idea of a transcendental origin or natural referent. It refutes the notion that it is possible to transgress the institution in order to discover something beyond — the existence of an independent origin.

It arises from the constant process of negotiation between competing concepts. Rather than pursuing the truth of a natural origin, what deconstruction requires is the interrogation of these competing interpretations that combine to produce meaning. The act of institution—or writing —itself captures this constant competition between the differing possible interpretations of meaning within the institution. It simultaneously embodies the desired meaning as intended by the author, and the constraints placed on that meaning through the act of interpretation of the text.

In this regard, meaning is defined equally by what is included in the institution and what is not. At any one time, one concept will be dominant over the other, thus excluding the other. However while the idea of exclusion suggest the absence of any presence of that which is excluded, in fact that which is instituted depends for its existence on what has been excluded.

The two exist in a relationship of hierarchy in which one will always be dominant over the other. The dominant concept is the one that manages to legitimate itself as the reflection of the natural order thereby squeezing out competing interpretations that remain trapped as the excluded trace within the dominant meaning. In Positions Derrida explains how the first task of deconstruction is to overturn the hierarchy.

However this is only the first stage. Derrida emphasizes how to remain in this phase is to remain within the oppositional structure, allowing the hierarchy to re-establish itself. In order to move beyond this dynamic, and to break open the structure itself, a second stage is necessary.

This second stage is where the indeterminate element of deconstruction becomes visible. Rather than resting with the inversion of the binaries, and by extension accepting a different manifestation of fixed meaning, the second phase requires us to step outside the oppositions, to remain in search of new meanings, not by repeating ideas but by analyzing how ideas are framed, how arguments are made.

It is a process characterized by uncertainty and indeterminacy. Rather it is an ongoing process of interrogation concerned with the structure of meaning itself. It is not done with a particular aim.

The consequence of this is that its value is not linked to any subsequent reconstruction. As discussed above, it does not exist to take apart one structure to replace it with another, but exists simply to reveal the inner logic of that structure so as better to understand it.

This has led to the charge that deconstruction is insufficiently concerned with questions of justice and ethics. Derrida is clear, however, that although deconstruction is not primarily concerned with advocacy or activism, nor is it nihilistic or anarchic. It does not reject the need for law and institutions, but rather seeks to work within those structures to reveal new possibilities.

Finally, deconstruction is not an act or an operation. Rather, it is something that happens, something that takes place. It takes place everywhere. It does not require deliberation or consciousness, but rather its potential exists within our structures of meaning.

It is interested in exploring and revealing the internal logic of ideas and meaning. It is concerned with opening up these structures and revealing the way in which our understanding of foundational concepts is constructed. This is internal to meaning itself and not dependent on external factors. It is primarily concerned with understanding ideas, not with their application.

Deconstruction does not aim to provide answers. It does not seek to prove an objective truth or to support any one particular claim to justice over another. For this reason deconstruction itself is indeterminate. It will not reveal the one true meaning of justice that can be embodied in law. Rather, deconstruction requires first and foremost the relentless pursuit of the impossible. When seen in these terms, it is not a method but simply a way of reading, writing, thinking and acting.

Rather than seeking an endpoint or a solid conclusion, the means cannot be distinguished from the end. The ongoing process of questioning is the end in itself. It is about negotiating the impossible and the undecidable and, in so doing, remaining open to the possibility of justice.


Jacques Derrida: Deconstruction

Gokora Chief among these are ways are those of mathematics and metaphysics. Today there is a sense that the philosophical underpinnings of the beginning of the movement have been lost, and all that is left is the aesthetic of deconstructivism. Some practitioners of deconstructivism were also influenced by the formal experimentation and geometric imbalances of Russian constructivism. Deconstructive Analysis of Sylvia Plaths Mystic. In this reference is at stake the problem The museum is conceived as a trace of the erasure of the Holocaustintended to make its subject legible and poignant. El Museo del Louvre.



Deconstruction: A school of philosophy that originated in France in the late s, has had an enormous impact on Anglo-American criticism. Largely the creation of its chief proponent Jacques Derrida, deconstruction upends the Western metaphysical tradition. It represents a complex response to a variety of theoretical and philosophical movements of the 20th century, most notably Husserlian phenomenology, Saussurean and French structuralism, and Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis. In her book The Critical Difference , Barbara Johnson clarifies the term: "Deconstruction is not synonymous with "destruction", however. If anything is destroyed in a deconstructive reading, it is not the text, but the claim to unequivocal domination of one mode of signifying over another.

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