Thursday, July 8, 2010

Sokolowski on Deconstruction

From his Introduction to Phenomenology, p. 225:

"Deconstruction should also be mentioned in a survey of the phenomenological movement, albeit with some embarrassament, the way a family might be forced to speak about an eccentric uncle whose antics are known to everyone but whom one tries to avoid mentioning in polite society. Jacques Derrida's first writings were translations and interpretations (highly questionable interpretations, to be sure) of short works by Husserl, but he soon abandoned Husserl and moved into wider philosophical fields.... I would also claim that Husserl has a much more subtle treatment of absence and difference than Derrida gives him credit for, one that recognizes these phenomena but does not fall into the extremes of deconstruction. One of the most appropriate comments I have heard about deconstruction was made in a lecture by the Scottish literary theorist Alasdair Fowler; he observed that deconstruction in moderate sips provides a welcome correction to traditional literary theory, which might have become a bit too tidy and rationalist, but that in the United States it became absorbed into a political ideology and hence developed beyond all proportion."

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