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LoveKnowledgeThe Life of Philosophy from Socrates to Derrida$
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Roy Brand

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780231160445

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231160445.001.0001

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Derrida’s “Here I Am”

Derrida’s “Here I Am”

(p.111) 7 Derrida’s “Here I Am”

Roy Brand

Columbia University Press

This chapter describes Jacques Derrida's method of deconstruction. In Derrida's reading, texts become battlefields for interaction between the explicit meaning of a text and other emergent meanings that were contained in language. Deconstruction is a way of reading and writing that does not affirm new knowledge but generates understandings enclosed in other texts. In this way, deconstruction gives light to a literary unconscious—an unrecognized undertone that flows through a text and animates its language. The chapter also looks at Derrida's take on the concept of death, mainly through the eulogy he delivered for his philosophical muse, Emmanuel Levinas. He focuses on ethical-political considerations of forgiveness, responsibility to the dead, terror, and the death sentence. The chapter concludes with his theorization of love, which he refers to as the greatest gift one can bestow.

Keywords:   Jacques Derrida, deconstruction, knowledge, death, eulogy, love

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