Différance as Temporization and its Problems

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    Derrida’s philosophy is usually known as a form of critique of metaphysics. This article, however, argues that Derrida’s deconstructions do not only dismantle metaphysics from within, but also remain in themselves thoroughly, and problematically, metaphysical. Its goal is to determine exactly where the metaphysical features of Derrida’s work can be found. The article starts with an analysis of Derrida’s understanding of metaphysics, as well as its deconstruction, by explaining the working of différance, mainly focusing on its temporality. Further, it will demonstrate how in the temporization or deferral of différance a metaphysical desire for purity remains effective. In readings of several texts, the mutual interdependence of metaphysics and deconstruction will be sketched. Then the ethical side of deconstruction will be highlighted, both in Derrida’s early work as well as in the slightly different elaboration of différance in the later ethical notions like justice, the gift and the messianic. This results in a distinction of three versions of différance. Finally, a critical discussion of the metaphysical side of deconstruction will be followed by a comparison of different readings of deconstruction and différance.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)433-451
    Number of pages19
    JournalInternational Journal of Philosophical Studies
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2020


    • Deconstruction
    • Derrida
    • Différance
    • Justice
    • Metaphysics
    • Temporality
    • deconstruction
    • differance
    • justice
    • metaphysics
    • temporality
    • différance


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