A philosophy webcomic about the inevitable anguish of living a brief life in an absurd world. Also Jokes

1377

Captain Metaphysics and the Postmodern Peril


Strawman Derrida defeated again!
Strawman Derrida defeated again!

Jacques Derrida is a French post-structuralist, best known for his "deconstruction" method. Throughout his career, and today, he is often portrayed as a kind of boogeyman of philosophy, who claims that everything is relative, any claim is just as true as any other claim, rationality is not desirable, etc. No one, Derrida included, has ever taken such a position. Deconstruction is, roughly speaking, an attempt to understand how we understand and interpret different texts. So to grasp the meaning of any given text, or even any given word, you must understand the network of related words, and the history of the meaning of the word and all of the related words. So Derrida is not against "rationality", what he is against is the belief that rationality, as a concept, has a timeless, pure, transcendent meaning, and that we can know what that meaning is. What he attempts to do is further understand the discourses of what rationality is in any given culture, giving greater clarity to the concept (although clarity is probably a bad word choice there, since he was never clear about anything).

Some of the text is based on Derrida's own answers to some of the charges against him, from this interview.

If you've noticed that the art looks a bit different, it is because I hired an artist, Noah Latz, to help me draw it. You can read the full story here.

Jacques Derrida is a French post-structuralist, best known for his "deconstruction" method. Throughout his career, and today, he is often portrayed as a kind of boogeyman of philosophy, who claims that everything is relative, any claim is just as true as any other claim, rationality is not desirable, etc. No one, Derrida included, has ever taken such a position. Deconstruction is, roughly speaking, an attempt to understand how we understand and interpret different texts. So to grasp the meaning of any given text, or even any given word, you must understand the network of related words, and the history of the meaning of the word and all of the related words. So Derrida is not against "rationality", what he is against is the belief that rationality, as a concept, has a timeless, pure, transcendent meaning, and that we can know what that meaning is. What he attempts to do is further understand the discourses of what rationality is in any given culture, giving greater clarity to the concept (although clarity is probably a bad word choice there, since he was never clear about anything).

Some of the text is based on Derrida's own answers to some of the charges against him, from this interview.

If you've noticed that the art looks a bit different, it is because I hired an artist, Noah Latz, to help me draw it. You can read the full story here.

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