Who's Who: Jacques Derrida

Views on BG | October 9, 2004, Saturday // 00:00

By wikipedia.org

Jacques Derrida (July 15, 1930 - 9 October 2004) is an Algerian-born French philosopher of Jewish descent considered the first to develop "deconstruction".

As Derrida explains in his "Letter to a Japanese Friend" the
word "deconstruction" is his attempt both to translate and re-appropriate for his own ends the Heideggerian terms 'Destruktion' and 'Abbau' via a word already existent in the French language whose varied senses seemed consistent with his requirements. Particularly through his long-time association with the literary critic Paul de Man, he has had a significant effect on literary theory, (though the reception of deconstruction in literary criticism is not universally agreed to be consonant with Derrida's work).

Deconstruction is related to vast tracts of the Western philosophical tradition. His work is often associated with post-structuralism and postmodernism (though many believe the latter association to be mistaken, taking Jean-Franзois Lyotard as the closest relation between deconstruction and postmodernism). Among his foremost influences are Sigmund Freud and Martin Heidegger.

By his activities in convening the Estates General of Philosophy and in furtherance of his activities as a founder of the Philosophical Pedagogy Research Group (French acronym: GREPH), he was active in organizing French philosophers against the so-called Haby reform proposed by the government of Valйry Giscard d'Estaing. He is also a founder and was the first president of the International College of Philosophy (French acronym: CIPH), a research institution intended to give a place to philosophical researches which could not be carried out elsewhere in the academy. In addition to de Man and Lyotard, his approximate contemporaries, many of whom were also friends (philosophically and personally), include Michel Foucault, Emmanuel Levinas, Maurice Blanchot, Gilles Deleuze, Jean-Luc Nancy, Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, Sarah Kofman, Hйlиne Cixous, and Geoffrey Bennington (this list is not exhaustive).

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