March 28, 2007

I'm not so sure I get this one...

As previously stated, I'm really not so sure that I get this concept. I understand that the whole idea is to take apart an idea and try and find the nitty gritty underneath. What I didn't understand about Derrida was that he seemed to be jumping around like a jumping bean. He seemed to move from one concept to the next so fast I wasn't able to keep up. Even after a second reading I'm still not sure that I get the whole idea. I'm just going to take the following quote because that seemed to be the easiest for me to understand:

Consequently, whether he wants to or not - and this does not depend on a decision on his part - the ethnologist accepts into his discourse the premises of ethnocentrism at the very moment when he is employed in denouncing them.

What I think I am supposed to get from the above quote, as well as the surrounding argument, is that ethnology is comparable to metaphysics simply because they are in the same age? Not only is it supposed to be comparable, but ethnology is supposed to be the key to bringing down metaphysics? Like I said folks. I really don't understand this essay. I get that Derrida is trying to show us how to deconstruct something (he uses structuralism for his example), but I think that might be where I'm getting confused. The article was so full of vocabulary and shifting ideas that it was really hard to follow. I look forward to Valerie's presentation tomorrow on this topic. Maybe it will help me with mine.

Derrida, ''Structure, Sign and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences'' -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

Posted by Tiffany Brattina at March 28, 2007 7:42 AM | TrackBack

I think if you take a step back, you could say that any time you reject a philosophy or an ethos or a belief system, you are operating within the set of values, so in the very act of rejecting something, you are acknowledging its power. Thus, while I am not an economic determinist, in my dissertation when I used Marxist langauge and categories and analytical techniques, I might as well have been a Marxist since I was thinking like a Marxist in order to critique the way plays in the 20thC have represented machines and technology. In a similar way, someone who struggles with the Judeo-Christian concept of God is still conceptualizing a divine being according to the fremework of Western religions, if only to reject that image of God as undesireable or otherwise unworkable.

Some time ago I remember reading a good explanation of how the comics character Batman deconstructs the categories of "hero" and "villain". Batman (in the original comics, not in the 60s TV show) was dark and full of vengeance; he was judge and jury to the criminals, and didn't think twice about breaking the law in order to wipe out criminal scum.

Anyway, here are some helpful links about deconstruction and Derrida.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at March 28, 2007 9:40 AM

Hi Dennis!

I'm a Philosophy student at University of Salamanca (Spain). I'm working now on a presentation on Derrida, and as I've seen that
you work on one as well last term, I was wondering whether we could maybe get in touch and talk about Derrida.

So if you find the proposal attractive, my email id is: shiard[at]hotmail[dot]com

Also, I have checked out on the net Setonhill and, in a certain way, it looks to me
quite similar to my high school: the Mahindra United World College of India (

Along these lines, I'm also really into Literature, so I feel we might easily get on well.

Looking forward to your answer, and being pleased to meet you,


Posted by: Pedro at October 8, 2007 8:31 AM
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