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Jacques Derrida and Deconstruction

Jacques Derrida was one of the most well known 20th century philosophers who is best known for developing a form of semiotic analysis known as deconstruction. He distanced himself from the various philosophical movements and traditions that preceded him the French intellectual scene. He is also associated with post–structuralism and post–modern philosophy. Deconstruction emphasis negative critical capacity involves demystifying a text to reveal internal arbitrary hierarchies and presuppositions. By examining the margins of a text, the effort of deconstruction examines what it represents, what it does not say and its incongruities. It does not solely unmask error but redefines the text by undoing and reversing polar opposites. As opined by Rosenau, deconstruction does not resolve inconsistencies but rather exposes hierarchies involved for the distillation of information. There was two main aspect of deconstruction that follows

The literary aspect: concerns the textual interpretation where invention is essential to finding hidden alternative meanings in the text.

The philosophical aspect: concerns the main target of deconstructions the metaphysics of presence or simply metaphysics. Derrida argued that metaphysics affects the whole of philosophy from Plato onwards. Metaphysics creates dualistic opposition and installs a hierarchy that privileges one tem of each dichotomy.

Deconstruction’s emphasis on the proliferation of meanings is related to the deconstructive concept of Iterability. Iterability is the capacity of signs and texts to be repeated in new situations and grafted onto new contexts. The term play is sometimes used to describe the resulting instability in meaning produced by Iterability. Hence deconstructive arguments and techniques often overlap with and may even be in the service of other approaches such as pragmatism, feminism or critical race theory.

Deconstruction is used as a method of ideological critique. It is useful because ideologies often operate by privileging certain features of social life while suppressing or deemphasizing others. It analyses closely study the figural and rhetorical features of texts to see how they interact with or comment upon the arguments made in the text. A deconstruction may consider the multiple meanings of key words in text, etymological relationships between words and even puns to show how the text speaks with different. A general probing and questioning of familiar oppositions between philosophy and rhetoric or between the literal and the figural. Deconstruction does not allow that all texts are meaningless but rather that they are overflowing with multiple and often conflicting meanings. Deconstruction does not claim that concepts have no boundaries but that their boundaries can be parsed in many different ways as they are inserted into new contexts of judgment. Although people use deconstructive analyses to show that particular distinctions and arguments lack normative coherence, deconstruction does not show that all legal distinctions are incoherent. Deconstructive arguments do not necessarily destroy conceptual oppositions or conceptual distinctions. Rather they tend to show that conceptual oppositions can be reinterpreted as a form of nested opposition.

Rosenau’s deconstruction analysis

Find an exception to a generalization in a text and push it to the limit so that this generalization appears absurd. Use the exception to undermine the principle.

Interpret the arguments in a text being deconstructed in their most extreme form.

Avoid absolute statements and cultivate intellectual excitement by making statements that are both startling and sensational.

Deny the legitimacy of dichotomies because there are always a few exceptions.

Nothing is to be accepted, nothing is to be rejected .It is extremely difficult to criticize a deconstructive argument if no clear viewpoint is expressed.

Write so as to permit the greatest number of interpretations possible. Obscurity may protect from serious scrutiny. The idea is to create a text without finality or completion, one with which the reader can never be finished.

Employ new and unusual terminology in order that familiar positions may not seem too familiar and otherwise obvious scholarship may not seem so obviously relevant.

Never consent to a change of terminology and always insist that the wording of the deconstructive argument is sacrosanct. More familiar formulations undermine any sense that the deconstructive position is unique.

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