Conventional and Historical

Dennis R Redmond dredmond at
Mon Jan 31 12:23:34 PST 2000

On Mon, 31 Jan 2000, Boff Tagstumper wrote:

> Just to toss in my $0.02US: in _French Phil. of the
> Sixties_ (a book I didn't like, but...) Luc Ferry and
> Alain Renaut claim that _differance_ is just
> Heidegger's ontological difference, i.e., the
> distinction between beings and Being, warmed over. If
> this is so, then Adorno's criticism of the ontological
> difference applies to _differance_ as well -- it's an
> arrested, de-historicized moment of dialectics.

Except that differance is meant to bridge the gap between a (neonational) particular sign-system and the realm of (international) signification, whereas Heidegger wants to shut down any and all mediation between the two (the ontology of Being, that polite code word for the unencumbered rule of the NSDAP, is supposed to trump its localized ontic practicalities, i.e. be realer and more authentic than reality itself). This is where the whole language thing comes in: Derrida's "Of Grammatology" is really an attempt to leverage the linguistic sign-system as a new kind of mediation, a pattern or organizing code by which other codes can be accessed. Trouble is, Derrida never actually bothers to find out what those other codes might be. I don't always agree with Yoshie, but she's dead on when she describes Derrida as an Information Age idealist.

Which doesn't mean you can't learn anything from Jacques, as Marx's radical recuperation of Hegel ought to show, just that one must be cautious when dealing with French speculators not backed by BNP-bonds.

-- Dennis

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