Counter-Institutions: Jacques Derrida And the Question of by Simon Morgan Wortham

By Simon Morgan Wortham

This ebook offers a definitive account of Jacques Derrida's involvement in debates concerning the college. Derrida was once a founding member of the study team at the instructing of Philosophy (GREPH), an activist staff that mobilized competition to the Giscard government's proposals to rationalizethe French academic process in 1975. He additionally helped to convene the Estates common of Philosophy, an enormous amassing in 1979 of educators from throughout France. additionally, he was once heavily linked to the founding of the foreign university of Philosophy in Paris, and his reference to the overseas Parliament of Writers in the course of the Nineties additionally illustrates his carrying on with curiosity within the risk of launching an array of literary and philosophical tasks whereas experimenting with new forms of associations within which they may take their particular form and path. Derrida argues that where of philosophy within the collage might be explored as either a historic query and a philosophical challenge in its personal correct. He argues that philosophy at the same time belongs and doesn't belong to the collage. In its founding function, it needs to come from outsidethe establishment within which, however, it involves outline itself. the writer asks even if this irresolvable stress among belongingand now not belongingmight now not additionally shape the root of Derrida's political considering and activism the place wider problems with modern importance are involved. Key questions this day referring to citizenship, rights, the countryside and Europe, asylum, immigration, terror, and the returnof faith all contain assumptions and concepts approximately belonging; they usually entail constitutional, criminal, institutional and fabric constraints that take form accurately at the foundation of such rules. This venture will consequently open up a key query: Can deconstruction's perception into the paradoxical institutional status of philosophy shape the root of a significant political reaction by way of theoryto a few modern overseas concerns?

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If thought cannot ever entirely free itself from the process of dreaming, which might in fact give rise to thinking, then the thought of the counter-institution that arises in this passage from “I Have a Taste for the Secret” must inevitably give itself over, to a certain degree, to the complex agency of the dream. And, notably, it is by way of such dreaming that the counter-institution may come to “replace” or, indeed, rethink existing institutions only according to “an interminable process” that, in the very style of the dream, hardly promotes closure, balance, resolution.

This is not just because philosophy at the same time always exists as a part of the university, constituting itself as a discipline among others. It is also due to the fact that, as Derrida shows in relation to Kant, the orientation that stems from the philosophical thought of the university remains insufficient to provide an extraterritorial standpoint from which to regard or comprehend the university as such. Philosophy thus belongs to the university (it cannot simply stand outside, over, or above it), but it does so in the form of a certain non-belonging—for, in another respect, “philosophy” is not just one discipline among others, since it also exists as the always deconstructible foundation of the university in which it remains (in the sense that it can never hope to master or supersede the university itself).

Nor is it to imply that the purity of the “counter-institutional” spirit must be preserved in a way that always transcends (and therefore risks leaving untroubled) the more prosaic and pragmatic life of existing institutions. Our account of Derrida’s own institutional involvements demonstrates as much. Rather, as Derrida notes in the passage from “A ‘Madness’ Must Watch Over Thinking,” to think the counter-institution according to the irreducible trait of the “other” is to continually shift the 18 ■ Introduction force of the “counter-institutional” so that it works, again, at an angle with or to the institution.

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