derrida marxist?

Charles Miller bautiste at
Sun Dec 20 10:51:54 PST 1998

christian a. gregory" <driver at> wrote:

<<it's the crudest of reductions to say that derrida's work is interested in saving "uncertainty" in the context of the "certainty" of scientists, economists and artists. >>

Here is what I said: "charles wrote:

"I am talking about the notion that the certainty with which scientists,

economists, and artists make about objective reality and truth is questionable." This begins to get at what Derrida is doing, not that it encapsulates the totality of what he is doing, as you suggest. Your statements belie the fact that it is exactly those who advocate the scientistic paradigm who find Derrida's work most puzzling and somehow threatening. I account for this fact in that, like Heidegger, Derrida sees scientific objectivity as somehow derivative of more primordial forms of life.

>>most scientists i
know are more than happy to say that contingency is built into what they

do--but that doesn't stop them from doing science. it seems to me that you're conflating having a thesis (or constructing one) and trying to support it and believing that everything can be understood all at one go ("certainty"). <<

I guess I see your remarks here as missing the point. I am talking about scientism as an ideology. You are talking about it as method. Usually those who follow the method also believe in the ideology. I think Derrida--following Heidegger-- is suspect of all ideologies (and epistemologies) that wrap themselves in absolutes and TRUTH. Now, that scientists allow the _contingent_ nature of their material, does not entail that they understand the results of their processes to produce non-contingent, universal realities. This, of course, is not a problem, if we are talking about the relative motion of particle in space-time. But when these methods are transposed onto the world of human being, then one can question whether the scientist continues to remain objective and _presuppositionless_. The derivative nature of science comes from the background practices that make the scientific enterprise meaningful. Isn't this what Derrida attempt to show in his notion that we are always already in a world that makes sense?

>>if offering "indeterminacy" were all derrida were doing, it would be
way too little, way too late. as i've tried to show, he supports indeterminacy in chosen contexts, for chosen ends--it's not value free (any more than science).<<

Nor do my remarks imply that he does.

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