- Derrida, Jacques
- (1930– )French postmodernist and leader of the deconstructionist movement. Born in Algeria, Derrida was a philosophy teacher for more than twenty years at the École Normale Supérieure. The notion of deconstruction was first presented in the Introduction to his 1962 translation of Husserl's Origin of Geometry . Derrida urges the importance of the unconscious rhetorical aspects of works, arguing that attention to the incidentals often subverts the principal doctrines of a text: the process of deconstruction is one of showing how the author's ostensible message is undermined by other aspects of its presentation. In De la grammatologie (1967, trs. Of Grammatology, 1976), Derrida argues against the ‘phonocentrism’ that privileges speech above writing by imagining that the presence of the author affords a fixed point of meaning and intention. This desire for a ‘centre’ generates familiar oppositions (subject/object, appearance/reality, etc.) which need to be dismissed. Instead the endless possibility of interpretation and reinterpretation opens up a receding horizon within which meaning is endlessly deferred, although the reader as much as the author is a creator of any provisional significance that is eventually found (see also Gadamer ). Derrida's work emerges from the tradition of Husserl and Heidegger, and is not easily assimilated by people used to normal linguistic expressions of thought. See also deconstruction, différance , post-structuralism.
Philosophy dictionary. Academic. 2011.