Deconstruction in a Nutshell

Deconstruction in a Nutshell : A Conversation with Jacques Derrida, With a New Introduction

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This volume, now with a substantial new Introduction, represents one of the most lucid, compact and reliable introductions to Derrida and deconstruction available in any language.

Responding to questions put to him at a roundtable held at Villanova University in 1994, Jacques Derrida leads the reader through an illuminating discussion of the central themes of deconstruction. Speaking in English and extemporaneously, Derrida takes up with unusual clarity and great eloquence such topics as the task of philosophy, the Greeks, justice, responsibility, the gift, community, and the messianic. Derrida refutes the charges of relativism that are often leveled at deconstruction by its critics and sets forth the profoundly affirmative and ethico-political thrust of his work.

The roundtable is marked by an unusual clarity that continues into the second part of the book, in which one of Derrida's most influential readers, John D. Caputo, elaborates upon Derrida's comments and supplies material for further discussion.

This edition also includes a substantial new Introduction by Caputo that discusses the original context of the book and traces the development of deconstruction since Derrida's death in 2004, from the rise of new materialisms to return to religion.

Long one of the most lucid and reliable introductions to Derrida and deconstruction available in any language, and an ideal volume for students, Deconstruction in a Nutshell will also prove illuminating for those already familiar with Derrida's work.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 272 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 16.51mm | 426.38g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Annotated
  • 0823290298
  • 9780823290291
  • 691,031

Back cover copy

"One of the most comprehensive and valuable interpretations of deconstruction to date."--Library Journal

Responding to questions put to him at a roundtable held at Villanova University in 1994, Jacques Derrida leads the reader through an illuminating discussion of the central themes of deconstruction. Speaking in English and extemporaneously, Derrida takes up with unusual clarity and great eloquence such topics as the task of philosophy, the Greeks, justice, responsibility, the gift, community, and the messianic. Derrida refutes the charges of relativism that are often leveled at deconstruction by its critics and sets forth the profoundly affirmative and ethico-political thrust of his work.

The roundtable is marked by an unusual clarity that continues into the second part of the book, in which one of Derrida's most influential readers, John D. Caputo, elaborates upon Derrida's comments and supplies material for further discussion.

This edition also includes a substantial new Introduction by Caputo that discusses the original context of the book and traces the development of deconstruction since Derrida's death in 2004, from the rise of new materialisms to return to religion.

Long one of the most lucid and reliable introductions to Derrida and deconstruction available in any language, and an ideal volume for students, Deconstruction in a Nutshell will also prove illuminating for those already familiar with Derrida's work.

Jacques Derrida was the single most influential voice in European philosophy for the last third of the twentieth century.

John D. Caputo is Thomas J. Watson Professor Emeritus of Religion at Syracuse University and David R. Cook Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Villanova University. His most recent book is In Search of Radical Theology.
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Table of contents

Acknowledgements | xi

Abbreviations | xiii

Introduction (2020): Specters of Derrida by John D. Caputo | xix

Part One

The Villanova Roundtable: A Conversation with Jacques Derrida

Part Two

A Commentary: Deconstruction in a Nutshell

1. Deconstruction in a Nutshell: The Very Idea (!) | 31

The Aporetics of the Nutshell | 31

The Axiomatics of Indignation (The Very Idea!) | 36

Apologia: An Excuse for Violence | 44

Nutshells, Six of Them | 47

2. The Right to Philosophy | 49

Of Rights, Responsibilities, and a New Enlightenment | 49

Institutional Initiatives | 60

Between the "Department of Philosophy" and a Philosophy to Come | 69

3. Khora: Being Serious with Plato | 71

A Hoax | 71

Deconstruction is Serious Business | 74

An Exorbitant Method | 77

Khora | 82

Two Tropics of Negativity | 92

Differance: Khora is Its Surname | 96

4. Community Without Community | 106

Hospitality | 109

Identity Without Identity | 113

An Open Quasi-Community | 121

5. Justice, If Such a Thing Exists | 125

Doing Justice to Derrida | 125

Deconstruction and the Possibility of Justice | 129

The Gift | 140

Dike: Derrida, Heidegger, and Dis-junctive Justice | 151

6. The Messianic: Waiting for the Future | 156

The Messianic Twist in Deconstruction | 156

Faith Without Religion | 164

The Messianic and the Messianisms: | 168

-Which Comes First? | 168

-When Will You Come? | 178

7. Re-Joyce, Say "Yes" | 181

Between Husserl and Joyce | 182

The Gramophone Effect | 184

Joyce's Signature | 189

Inaugurations: Encore | 198

A Concluding Amen | 201

Bibliography | 203

Index of Names | 209

Index of Subjects | 213
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Review quote

A wonderfully helpful and stimulating book. . . . Highly recommended.-- "Choice"
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About Jacques Derrida

Jacques Derrida (Author)

Jacques Derrida was the single most influential voice in European philosophy for the last third of the twentieth century. His many books include Of Grammatology, Specters of Marx, and The Animal That Therefore I Am.

John D. Caputo (Edited By)

John D. Caputo is Thomas J. Watson Professor Emeritus of Religion at Syracuse University and David R. Cook Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Villanova University. His most recent book is In Search of Radical Theology.
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