Re: [xmca] Vygotsky vs. Derrida

From: Tony Whitson (twhitson@UDel.Edu)
Date: Sun Oct 22 2006 - 08:06:59 PDT

On Sun, 22 Oct 2006, Wolff-Michael Roth wrote about Derrida:

> He is probably the most misunderstood philosopher, because interpreted from
> non-dialectical scholars.

I think one reason is that he makes philosophical points performatively,
and not just propositionally. Many don't understand what he's doing by
that, and many more don't even see he's doing that at all, but reduce his
writing to some sort of propositional residue which they rightly observe
does not amount to as much. What's being evaluated then is the reader's
own reduction, not Derrida's thinking and writing. (The exchange with
Searle is the best-known example.)

Somebody once distinguished between philosophers who are either understood
or not understood, vs those who are either understood or misunderstood.
(Anybody know the source for that?)

Derrida makes a bad mistake at the point where he sees Peirce resorting to
a "transcendental signified" (I think that's the phrase D uses, but I
won't look it up right now.) I think Deely's right about Derrida (unlike
Peirce) being trapped in an anti-realist modernism. Still, I think that to
reduce Derrida to Saussure is to miss out on some important insights that
Derrida uniquely has to offer.
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