Jacques Derrida: (1930 - 2004)

Jacques Derrida was an Algerian-born French philosopher, known as the founder of deconstruction. His voluminous work has had a profound impact upon literary theory and continental philosophy. His best known work is Of Grammatology. Distancing himself from the various philosophical movements and traditions that preceded him on the French intellectual scene (phenomenology, existentialism, and structuralism), in the mid 1960s he developed a strategy called deconstruction.

Deconstruction:
Deconstruction is a school of philosophy and literary criticism forged in the writings of the French philosopher Jacques Derrida. Deconstruction can perhaps best be described as a theory of reading which aims to undermine the logic of opposition within Texts. For Derrida this requires a scrutiny of the essential distinctions and conceptual orderings which have been constructed by the dominant tradition of Western philosophy.

For Derrida, deconstruction was conceived not as a negative operation aimed at tearing down, but rather as a kind of close analysis that seeks "to understand how an 'ensemble' was constituted and to reconstruct it to this end". It is in the process of reading closely, with an eye for how a discourse is constructed, that one also comes to see the points of potential instability within the structure. Deconstruction is the event that happens within a close reading. In one of many statements in which Derrida asserts that deconstruction is not a method of analysis or a critique, we read: "Deconstruction takes place, it is an event that does not await the deliberation, consciousness, or organization of a subject, or even of modernity. It deconstructs it - self. It can be deconstructed." Deconstruction happens to both the text at hand, the one being closely read, and to the interpretation itself.

Deconstruction, then, is what happens when one works through a certain logic of thinking in such a way as to reach what that logic cannot admit, what it must elude, the unthinkable upon which that very logic is premised.

Derrida does not pose deconstruction as a proper name, nor as a transcendent interpretative gesture. The happening of deconstruction occurs in a situation of the text and its interpretation, both poles presuppose a limit, a border. "The deconstructive reading", as Barbara Johnson, one of Derrida's early English translators puts it , "does not point out the flaws or weaknesses or stupidities of an author, but the necessity with which what he does see is symmetrically related to what he does not see". This notion of implicit 'blindness' plays a central role in Derrida's meditations on art and art history.Jacques Derrida: (1930 - 2004) Jacques Derrida was an Algerian-born French philosopher, known as the founder of deconstruction. His voluminous work has had a profound impact upon literary theory and continental philosophy. His best known work is Of Grammatology. Distancing himself from the various philosophical movements and traditions that preceded him on the French intellectual scene (phenomenology, existentialism, and structuralism), in the mid 1960s he developed a strategy called deconstruction. Deconstruction: Deconstruction is a school of philosophy and literary criticism forged in the writings of the French philosopher Jacques Derrida. Deconstruction can perhaps best be described as a theory of reading which aims to undermine the logic of opposition within Texts. For Derrida this requires a scrutiny of the essential distinctions and conceptual orderings which have been constructed by the dominant tradition of Western philosophy. For Derrida, deconstruction was conceived not as a negative operation aimed at tearing down, but rather as a kind of close analysis that seeks "to understand how an 'ensemble' was constituted and to reconstruct it to this end". It is in the process of reading closely, with an eye for how a discourse is constructed, that one also comes to see the points of potential instability within the structure. Deconstruction is the event that happens within a close reading. In one of many statements in which Derrida asserts that deconstruction is not a method of analysis or a critique, we read: "Deconstruction takes place, it is an event that does not await the deliberation, consciousness, or organization of a subject, or even of modernity. It deconstructs it - self. It can be deconstructed." Deconstruction happens to both the text at hand, the one being closely read, and to the interpretation itself. Deconstruction, then, is what happens when one works through a certain logic of thinking in such a way as to reach what that logic cannot admit, what it must elude, the unthinkable upon which that very logic is premised. Derrida does not pose deconstruction as a proper name, nor as a transcendent interpretative gesture. The happening of deconstruction occurs in a situation of the text and its interpretation, both poles presuppose a limit, a border. "The deconstructive reading", as Barbara Johnson, one of Derrida's early English translators puts it , "does not point out the flaws or weaknesses or stupidities of an author, but the necessity with which what he does see is symmetrically related to what he does not see". This notion of implicit 'blindness' plays a central role in Derrida's meditations on art and art history.