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This review is from: Deconstruction in a Nutshell: A Conversation with Jacques Derrida (Perspectives in Continental Philosophy) (Paper ac!

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" would su##est that anyone (a $ e#inner$) purchasin# this oo! to understand $Deconstruction$ as a philosophy in the #rand meta%narrative sense will e disappointed& $Deconstruction$ should e understood more precisely as a process of !eepin# a critical chec! on philosophical assumptions employed in philosophy in any historical time& "t involves %%as a process%% analysis of (un)warranted assumptions and conclusions in philosophy' and in that re#ard is e(traordinarily helpful in assessin# %%to a certain e(tent%% philosophical ar#uments& )ne should e quic! to add that $Deconstruction$ is a tool' not a do#ma or philosophical worldview per se' which the oo! attempts to address implicitly& " would ta!e care not to recommend this and related wor!s to those interested in analysis of pure philosophy' which does have value unto itself outside of socio% historical and lin#uistic criticism' which %%to a lar#e e(tent%% is the main thrust of $Deconstruction$ as a $discipline&$ )verall' the oo! constitutes a #ood introduction to Derrida*s thin!in# %%thin!in# which has without dou t provided much of the furniture of the landscape of $Deconstructive$ analysis& This oo! is a nice introduction to that landscape' not philosophical landscapes as conceived y philosophers& Thou#h Derrida is an e(traordinary philosopher' $Deconstruction$ should pro a ly not e thou#ht of as a philosophical process& " am not sure if this oo! communicates this implicit distinction that is currently drawn amon# many respecta le academicians& +uch of this oo! is seems to alternate etween #iddy cele ration of Derrida and a pric!ly defense of Deconstruction& The latter is pro a ly unneeded in this oo!' the former ma!es me impatient& Caputo*s $playful$ style ecomes quite annoyin# % unfortunate ecause the material is very interestin# (" particularly li!ed the chapter on Community)& The first part of the oo!' the interview' is quite #ood& The questions are en#a#in# and Derrida*s responses are clear and relevant& The rest of the oo! is more spotty& )n the whole' the oo! is worthwhile ut it mi#ht e more profita le to #o strai#ht to Derrida*s writin#& This round ta le discussion' delivered at ,illanova in -../' is one of the clearest and most en#a#in# introductions to the thou#ht of Jacques Derrida& 0urrounded y faculty' and spea!in# in e(cellent 1n#lish' Derrida fields a wide ran#e of questions re#ardin# the nature of deconstruction and how it has een misunderstood so frequently and irresponsi ly y his critics& John Caputo has also provided an outstandin# collection of critical commentaries which address in #reater detail the issues which were rou#ht up at the round ta le& Althou#h Caputo is a little polemical at times' he does an e(cellent 2o refutin# the mediocre criticisms leveled at Derrida from the li!es of 0o!al' 3uine' 4utmann and others who are quic! to condemn without truly readin# the wor! of Derrida& This is an e(ceptionally clear and en#a#in# collection of essays for any reader loo!in# for a safe entryway to the comple(ity of Derrida*s massive corpus& 5elp other customers find the most helpful reviews Caputo summari6es the destruction that Derrida puts forth so well' he ma!es it understanda le' he ma!es a writer that is often misunderstood' and viewed as impossi le to understand' and summari6es it well' he puts deconstruction in a nutshell' which Derrida pro a ly hates& 5elp

other customers find the most helpful reviews Caputo*s tone in the commentary' which constitutes all ut the first 78 or so pa#es of this oo!' is infuriatin#ly cutesy and playful' and ehind his cutness and attempts to paraphrase Derrida' there is very little interestin# commentary& "t is o vious that Caputo has a #reat deal of admiration and love for his su 2ect' ut eyond that' " found an awful lot of defensive rhetoric and lots of wonderful aspects of Derrida*s wor! completely left out of the discussion& "t seems Caputo*s #reatest interest lies in Theolo#y and Deconstruction' and " was interested y his rief comments a out Derrida*s relationship to Judaism' ut he arely #ets into the su 2ect in this oo!' and instead recommmends that the reader read one of his several other oo!s on Derrida& )ne can only hope that his other oo!s contain more ori#inal ideas and less of his own titles in the ever% present footnotes9 Also: althou#h this title will undou tedly attract $ e#inners$ to Deconstruction' " must say " am #rateful that this te(t was not my first introduction to Derrida& :hile Derrida has a reputation for ein# difficult readin#' the rewards one #ets are certanly worth the effort9 There is ound to e somethin# that interests you amon# the titles that ma!e up his prodi#ious output& ;uy Dissemination' or :ritin# and Difference' ta!e it in' and then chec! this oo! out of the li rary' read the $<oundta le$' as! in the rilliance' and return it& Now you*ll have more room on your oo!shelf for oo!s worth ownin#9 5elp other customers find the most helpful reviews +uch of this oo! is seems to alternate etween #iddy cele ration of Derrida and a pric!ly defense of Deconstruction& The latter is pro a ly unneeded in this oo!' the former ma!es me impatient& Caputo*s $playful$ style ecomes quite annoyin# % unfortunate ecause the material is very interestin# (" particularly li!ed the chapter on Community)& The first part of the oo!' the interview' is quite #ood& The questions are en#a#in# and Derrida*s responses are clear and relevant& The rest of the oo! is more spotty& )n the whole' the oo! is worthwhile ut it mi#ht e more profita le to #o strai#ht to Derrida*s writin#& " would su##est that anyone (a $ e#inner$) purchasin# this oo! to understand $Deconstruction$ as a philosophy in the #rand meta%narrative sense will e disappointed& $Deconstruction$ should e understood more precisely as a process of !eepin# a critical chec! on philosophical assumptions employed in philosophy in any historical time& "t involves %%as a process%% analysis of (un)warranted assumptions and conclusions in philosophy' and in that re#ard is e(traordinarily helpful in assessin# %%to a certain e(tent%% philosophical ar#uments& )ne should e quic! to add that $Deconstruction$ is a tool' not a do#ma or philosophical worldview per se' which the oo! attempts to address implicitly& " would ta!e care not to recommend this and related wor!s to those interested in analysis of pure philosophy' which does have value unto itself outside of socio% historical and lin#uistic criticism' which %%to a lar#e e(tent%% is the main thrust of $Deconstruction$ as a $discipline&$ )verall' the oo! constitutes a #ood introduction to Derrida*s thin!in# %%thin!in# which has without dou t provided much of the furniture of the landscape of $Deconstructive$ analysis& This oo! is a nice introduction to that landscape' not philosophical landscapes as conceived y philosophers& Thou#h Derrida is an e(traordinary philosopher' $Deconstruction$ should pro a ly not e thou#ht of as a philosophical process& " am not sure if this oo! communicates this implicit distinction that is currently drawn amon# many respecta le academicians& 5elp other customers find the most helpful reviews

&&&&for Derrida is not easy readin#& This fine oo! ta!es some of his est concepts and e(plains them in a clear and witty style& 5i#hly recommended startin# point for the e#inner to deconstructionist thou#ht& 5elp other customers find the most helpful reviews Deconstruction*s stran#e demialliance with <oman Catholicism' June =-' -... ;y A Customer This review is from: Deconstruction in a Nutshell: A Conversation with Jacques Derrida (Perspectives in Continental Philosophy) (Paper ac!) <eaders of Derrida in America often say he*s hard to understand' as if this is a necessarily ad thin#& :e*ve lost as a culture any idea that the arcane may e a source of truth& The arcane may or may not e a source of truth' ut we tend as a culture to assume that if the author does not shuc! and 2ive in an e(pected and received way' we are wastin# our hard earned money& This has #enerated in oth science and in philosophy a demand for the precis and the est of sort of oo! which will #ive the e(hausted middle row white collar wor!er who aspires to finer thin#s The ;i# Picture& +y words sound disimissive ut actually are not' for " am precisely one of these types of readers& "t is not $pretentious$' in a world where one of our leadin# literary% critical li#hts' 0tanley >ish' has stated $" won*t read a poem unless "*m paid&$ That is' in a world where the elect have elected damnation' the person who reads a poem in his limited spare time if more human' and more truly $educated$ than 0tanley >ish& " shall e rief& Caputo*s seminar and oo! ma!e clear that in a culture carryin# out a war on memory and reducin# an open' multidimensional world to the 1uclidean #eometry of a we pa#e' Derrida*s type of analysis has intellectual respecta ility and it is sorely needed& 5is analysis of the structural relationship of 2ustice and law' for e(ample' shows us how to avoid anarchy on one side and >ascism on the other' for it shows a wor!in# policeman (who may elieva ly e a #raduate of Norte Dame rather than Princeton) how to use his common sense' ut avoid racial profilin#& That is' there is currently a move a#ainst the use of racial profilin# in stoppin# cars and suspects: this profilin# was initially enforced top%down y administrators in a ri#id and unima#inative way' and it used poorly desi#ned computer software (from the production of which the actual cops were ri#orously e(cluded) which necessarily had racist results& Counterpressure y minorities shall' it is thou#ht y eat cops and the 0mo!eys' actually prevent them from stoppin# minorities at all& ;oth sides are demandin# perfect 2ustice' perfectly encoded in law and in software: ut Derrida and Caputo show us two necessary truths (-) 2ustice and law shall never mer#e' and (=) we should ever see! to mer#e them' indeed the very process is what Dr& ?in# died for& This means' in my e(ample' that at this point cops should pro a ly err on the side of compassion' and indeed let suspicious cars #o if they are driven y minorities' and come down a it harder on drun!en white oys& This is not perfect 2ustice ut the rutal fact is that the drun!en white oys will pro a ly #et off& The stran#e alliance with <oman Catholicism is this& America itself was founded y Puritans who wanted to found a city on a hill& +uch to their distress' however' the 2oint actually had to e uilt y imperfect riff raff includin# African slaves and my "rish ancestors& )ur Constitution' which to

me is a holy document' #ives the riff raff equal time ut when the riff raff #ets to the mi!e' it tends to say the wron# thin#' since the terms of the discourse are set y the Puritans& "n the lac! and white world of the +anichean Puritan' lac! is more accepta le than #rey' and thus the most 0atanic messa#es of roc! and roll are actually @01D as a technique for social control& As to the chaos that results' well' are there no 0:AT teams: are there no helicopters: are there no ma(imum security prisons& "n this rutal world' the a#enda is set y <ep& DeAay' ut true su version for the underclass and the soon to e downsi6ed may e maintainin# an even strain& Deconstruction in a nut shell #ives the riff raff a way to smooth out the ed#es' 2ust enou#h' and lose some of the riff and the raff& ;asically' the Puritans are wron#' ut they run the shop and we must discourse' we must ne#otiate' we must compromise' we must play all with them& >rench theory is a useful appliance for so doin#& Perhaps that*s why it is so hated y the commandin# hei#hts of academe' which contrary to their popular reputation actualy pour down scorn on deconstrction' from the Non Placet at )(ford issued in protest to Derrida*s honorary de#ree' to 5arold ;loom& Ai!e to <oman senator' the leadin# li#hts say deconstruction must e destroyed in the oddest damn conte(ts: yet it !eeps on Poppin# @p in the damnest places' here at Notre Dame& <o ert ;ly has pointed out that the #eometry of 5ell is pro a ly 1uclidean' and two% dimensional& Deconstruction shows that we are creatures who are thrown into a world of many more dimensions that we are capa le of handlin#' ut that we must try anyway' indeed that is a definition of our thrown%ness& "n a nut shell read this oo! in your less than a undant spare time& There are a few oo!s that attempt to ma!e Derrida*s thou#h more accessi le& this is one of the est' as it is an interview with Derrida' himself& 5e tends to e more accessi le when he is not writin#' ut spea!in#& :e also find Derrida in interview mode in a tome entitled $Positions&$ ;oth of these helped we quite a lot with Derrida' as did Derrida for ;e#inners& 5elp other customers find the most helpful reviews D1C)N0T<@CT")N "N A N@T051AA contains a series of questions to and answers y Jacques Derrida at the inau#uration of ,illanova*s doctoral pro#ram in philosophy a few years a#o& :hy it is for the most part Catholic schools that are willin# to teach any sort of innovative philosophy in the An#lo world "*m not entirely sure& Anyway' Derrida tal!s a out 2ustice' comparin# it with the #ivin# of a #ift& ;efore quotin# what he says' "*d li!e to ear in mind a few ma(ims from Aa <ochefoucauld: $A man*s in#ratitude may e less reprehensi le than the motives of his enefactor&$ $)ver%ea#erness to repay a de t is in itself a !ind of in#ratitude&$ $Almost every ody en2oys repayin# small o li#ations' many are #rateful for middlin# ones' ut there is scarcely a soul who is not un#rateful for i# ones&$ 5ere*s Derrida: $The only thin# " would say a out the #ift % this is an enormous pro lem % is that the #ift is precisely' and this is what it has in common with 2ustice' somethin# which cannot e reappropriated& A #ift is somethin# which never appears as such and is never equal to #ratitude' to commerce' to compensation' to reward& :hen a #ift is #iven' first of all' no #ratitude can e proportionate to it& A #ift is somethin# that you cannot e than!ful for& As soon as " say *than!

you* for a #ift' " start cancelin# the #ift' " start destroyin# the #ift' y proposin# an equivalence' that is' a circle which encircles the #ift in a movement of reappropriation& 0o' a #ift is somethin# that is eyond the circle of reappropriation' eyond the circle of #ratitude& A #ift should not even e ac!nowled#ed as such& As soon as " !now that " #ive somethin#' if " say *" am #ivin# you somethin#'* " 2ust canceled the #ift& " con#ratulate myself or than! myself for #ivin# somethin# and then the circle has already started to cancel the #ift& 0o' the #ift should not e rewarded' should not e reappropriated' and should not even appear as such& As soon as the #ift appears as such then the movement of #ratitude' of ac!nowled#ment' has started to destroy the #ift' if there is such a thin# % " am not sure' one is never sure that there is a #ift' that the #ift is #iven& "f the #ift is #iven' then it should not even appear to the one who receives it' not appear as such& That is parado(ical' ut that is the condition for a #ift to e #iven& $That is the condition the #ift shares with 2ustice& A 2ustice that could appear as such' that could e calculated' a calculation of what is 2ust and what is not 2ust' sayin# what has to e #iven in order to e 2ust % that is not 2ustice& That is social security' economics& Justice and #ift should #o eyond calculation& This does not mean that we should not calculate& :e have to calculate as ri#orously as possi le& ;ut there is a point or limit eyond which calculation must fail' and we must reco#ni6e that&$ To the e(tent that Derrida is not 2ust ein# mystical' he seems to me to e tal!in# a out !indness' and would e etter off usin# that word' even if Plato did not& Derrida ta!es Aa <ochefoucauld*s ideas to an e(treme' which is stran#e& Aa <ochefoucauld was convinced that there was no !indness in the world& 5e spo!e of 2ustice as a dis#uised e(pression of $self%interest'$ 2ust as political theorists referred to it as a contract& Derrida see!s to promote more !indness in the world' well aware of its e(istence' y acceptin# Aa <ochefoucauld*s assertion that it does not e(ist& Ae respect que Derrida merite dans la philosophie outre%atlantique commence par ce livre& Necessaire pour tout de utant' e(cellant compa#nion pour les amoureu( de la sa#esse&