The exchange was characterized by a degree of mutual hostility between the philosophers, each of whom accused the other of having misunderstood his basic points. Searle did not consider Derrida's approach to be legitimate philosophy or even intelligible writing and argued that he did not want to legitimize the deconstructionist point of view by dedicating any attention to it.
Consequently, some critics  have considered the exchange to be a series of elaborate misunderstandings rather than a debate, while others  have seen either Derrida or Searle gaining the upper hand. The level of hostility can be seen from Searle's statement that "It would be a mistake to regard Derrida's discussion of Austin as a confrontation between two prominent philosophical traditions", to which Derrida replied that that sentence was "the only sentence of the "reply" to which I can subscribe".
Austin's theory of the illocutionary act. While sympathetic to Austin's departure from a purely denotational account of language to one that includes "force", Derrida was sceptical of the framework of normativity employed by Austin. He argued that Austin had missed the fact that any speech event is framed by a "structure of absence" the words that are left unsaid due to contextual constraints and by "iterability" the constraints on what can be said, given by what has been said in the past. Derrida argued that the focus on intentionality in speech-act theory was misguided because intentionality is restricted to that which is already established as a possible intention.
He also took issue with the way Austin had excluded the study of fiction, non-serious or "parasitic" speech, wondering whether this exclusion was because Austin had considered these speech genres governed by different structures of meaning, or simply due to a lack of interest. In his brief reply to Derrida, "Reiterating the Differences: A Reply to Derrida", Searle argued that Derrida's critique was unwarranted because it assumed that Austin's theory attempted to give a full account of language and meaning when its aim was much narrower.
Searle considered the omission of parasitic discourse forms to be justified by the narrow scope of Austin's inquiry.
The Seductions of Psychoanalysis: Freud, Lacan and Derrida
Some critics  have suggested that Searle, by being so grounded in the analytical tradition that he was unable to engage with Derrida's continental phenomenological tradition, was at fault for the unsuccessful nature of the exchange. The substance of Searle's criticism of Derrida in relation to topics in the philosophy of language —referenced in Derrida's Signature Event Context —was that Derrida had no apparent familiarity with contemporary philosophy of language nor of contemporary linguistics in Anglo-Saxon countries.
Searle explains, "When Derrida writes about the philosophy of language he refers typically to Rousseau and Condillac , not to mention Plato. And his idea of a "modern linguist" is Benveniste or even Saussure. Searle also wrote in The New York Review of Books that he was surprised by "the low level of philosophical argumentation, the deliberate obscurantism of the prose, the wildly exaggerated claims, and the constant striving to give the appearance of profundity by making claims that seem paradoxical, but under analysis often turn out to be silly or trivial.
Derrida, in his response to Searle "a b c Searle did not reply. Later in , Derrida tried to review his position and his critiques of Austin and Searle, reiterating that he found the constant appeal to "normality" in the analytical tradition to be problematic from which they were only paradigmatic examples.
Derrida: Psychoanalysis - Bibliography - PhilPapers
In the description of the structure called "normal," "normative," "central," "ideal," this possibility must be integrated as an essential possibility. The possibility cannot be treated as though it were a simple accident-marginal or parasitic.
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It cannot be, and hence ought not to be, and this passage from can to ought reflects the entire difficulty. In the analysis of so-called normal cases, one neither can nor ought, in all theoretical rigor, to exclude the possibility of transgression. Not even provisionally, or out of allegedly methodological considerations.
It would be a poor method, since this possibility of transgression tells us immediately and indispensable about the structure of the act said to be normal as well as about the structure of law in general. He continued arguing how problematic was establishing the relation between "nonfiction or standard discourse" and "fiction," defined as its "parasite", "for part of the most original essence of the latter is to allow fiction, the simulacrum, parasitism, to take place-and in so doing to 'de-essentialize' itself as it were".
This question is all the more indispensable since the rules, and even the statements of the rules governing the relations of "nonfiction standard discourse" and its fictional "parasites," are not things found in nature, but laws, symbolic inventions, or conventions, institutions that, in their very normality as well as in their normativity, entail something of the fictional. In the debate, Derrida praises Austin's work but argues that he is wrong to banish what Austin calls "infelicities" from the "normal" operation of language.
One "infelicity," for instance, occurs when it cannot be known whether a given speech act is "sincere" or "merely citational" and therefore possibly ironic, etc. Derrida argues that every iteration is necessarily "citational," due to the graphematic nature of speech and writing, and that language could not work at all without the ever-present and ineradicable possibility of such alternate readings.
Derrida takes Searle to task for his attempt to get around this issue by grounding final authority in the speaker's inaccessible "intention". Derrida argues that intention cannot possibly govern how an iteration signifies, once it becomes hearable or readable.
This significance, Derrida argues, cannot be altered or governed by the whims of intention. In , Searle argued that the ideas upon which deconstruction is founded are essentially a consequence of a series of conceptual confusions made by Derrida as a result of his outdated knowledge or are merely banalities. He insisted that Derrida's conception of iterability and its alleged "corrupting" effect on meaning stems from Derrida's ignorance of the type—token distinction that exists in current linguistics and philosophy of language.
As Searle explains, "Most importantly, from the fact that different tokens of a sentence type can be uttered on different occasions with different intentions, that is, different speaker meanings, nothing of any significance follows about the original speaker meaning of the original utterance token.
He called Derrida's conclusion "preposterous" and stated that "Derrida, as far as I can tell, does not have an argument. He simply declares that there is nothing outside of texts According to Searle, the consistent pattern of Derrida's rhetoric is: a announce a preposterous thesis, e. The revised idea—for example that everything exists in some context —is a banality but a charade ensues as if the original claim— nothing exists outside of text [ sic ]—had been established. In some academics at Cambridge University , mostly not from the philosophy faculty, proposed that Derrida be awarded an honorary doctorate.
This was opposed by, among others, the university's Professor of Philosophy David Mellor. Academic status based on what seems to us to be little more than semi-intelligible attacks upon the values of reason, truth, and scholarship is not, we submit, sufficient grounds for the awarding of an honorary degree in a distinguished university. In the end the protesters were outnumbered— votes to —when Cambridge put the motion to a vote;  though almost all of those who proposed Derrida and who voted in favour were not from the philosophy faculty.
Richard Wolin has argued since that Derrida's work, as well as that of Derrida's major inspirations e. For example, Wolin argues that the "deconstructive gesture of overturning and reinscription ends up by threatening to efface many of the essential differences between Nazism and non-Nazism".
In , when Wolin published a Derrida interview on Heidegger in the first edition of The Heidegger Controversy , Derrida argued that the interview was an intentionally malicious mistranslation, which was "demonstrably execrable" and "weak, simplistic, and compulsively aggressive". As French law requires the consent of an author to translations and this consent was not given, Derrida insisted that the interview not appear in any subsequent editions or reprints. Columbia University Press subsequently refused to offer reprints or new editions.
The matter achieved public exposure owing to a friendly review of Wolin's book by the Heideggerian scholar Thomas Sheehan that appeared in The New York Review of Books , in which Sheehan characterised Derrida's protests as an imposition of censorship. It was followed by an exchange of letters. Twenty-four academics, belonging to different schools and groups — often in disagreement with each other and with deconstruction — signed a letter addressed to The New York Review of Books , in which they expressed their indignation for the magazine's behaviour as well as that of Sheenan and Wolin.
Contrary to what some people believe or have an interest in making believe, I consider myself very much a historian, very historicist [ I take great interest in questions of language and rhetoric, and I think they deserve enormous consideration, but there is a point where the authority of final jurisdiction is neither rhetorical nor linguistic, nor even discursive.
The notion of trace or of text is introduced to mark the limits of the linguistic turn. This is one more reason why I prefer to speak of 'mark' rather than of language. In the first place, the mark is not anthropological; it is prelinguistic; it is the possibility of language, and it is everywhere there is a relation to another thing or relation to another. For such relations, the mark has no need of language. In language there are only differences. Even more important: a difference generally implies positive terms between which the difference is set up; but in language, there are only differences without positive terms.
Whether we take the signified or the signifier, language has neither ideas nor sounds that existed before the linguistic system, but only conceptual and phonic differences that have issued from the system. The idea or phonic substance that a sign contains is of less importance than the other signs that surround it.
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Successively, and in a regulated fashion, the centre receives different forms or names. The history of metaphysics , like the history of the West, is the history of these metaphors and metonymies. Its matrix [ All these formulations have been possible thanks to the initial distinction between different irreducible types of genesis and structure: worldly genesis and transcendental genesis, empirical structure, eidetic structure, and transcendental structure.
To ask oneself the following historico-semantic question: "What does the notion of genesis in general , on whose basis the Husserlian diffraction could come forth and be understood, mean, and what has it always meant? What does the notion of structure in general , on whose basis Husserl operates and operates distinctions between empirical, eidetic, and transcendental dimensions mean, and what has it always meant throughout its displacements?
And what is the historico-semantic relationship between Genesis and structure in general? It is to ask the question about the unity of the historical ground on whose basis a transcendental reduction is possible and is motivated by itself.
It is to ask the question about the unity of the world from which transcendental freedom releases itself, in order to make the origin of this unity appear. Perhaps something has occurred in the history of the concept of structure that could be called an "event," if this loaded word did not entail a meaning which it is precisely the function of structural—or structuralist—thought to reduce or to suspect.
Between these two papers is staked Derrida's philosophical ground, if not indeed his step beyond or outside philosophy. If the alterity of the other is posed , that is, only posed, does it not amount to the same , for example in the form of the "constituted object" or of the "informed product" invested with meaning, etc.? From this point of view, I would even say that the alterity of the other inscribes in this relationship that which in no case can be "posed.
On the phrase "default of origin" as applied to Derrida's work, cf. Stiegler understands Derrida's thinking of textuality and inscription in terms of a thinking of originary technicity, and in this context speaks of "the originary default of origin that arche-writing constitutes" p. It is an opening that is structural or the structurality of an opening.
Yet each of these concepts excludes the other. It is thus as little a structure as it is an opening; it is as little static as it is genetic, as little structural as it is historical. It can be understood neither from a genetic nor from a structuralist and taxonomic point of view, nor from a combination of both points of view.
One way in which this question is raised in relation to Husserl is thus the question of the possibility of a phenomenology of history , which Derrida raises in Edmund Husserl's Origin of Geometry: An Introduction One of the more persistent misunderstandings that have thus far forestalled a productive debate with Derrida's philosophical thought is the assumption, shared by many philosophers as well as literary critics, that within that thought just anything is possible.
Derrida's philosophy is more often than not construed as a license for arbitrary free play in flagrant disregard of all established rules of argumentation, traditional requirements of thought, and ethical standards binding upon the interpretative community. Undoubtedly, some of the works of Derrida may not have been entirely innocent in this respect and may have contributed, however obliquely, to fostering to some extent that very misconception. But deconstruction which for many has come to designate the content and style of Derrida's thinking, reveals to even a superficial examination, a well-ordered procedure, a step-by-step type of argumentation based on an acute awareness of level-distinctions, a marked thoroughness and regularity.