Specters and Scholars: Derrida and the Tragedy of Political Thought
Adam Thurschwell, SPECTERS AND SCHOLARS: DERRIDA AND THE TRAGEDY OF POLITICAL THOUGHT, Goodman, Hoffmann, Rosenfeld & Vismann, eds., Derrida and Legal Philosophy, Palgrave Macmillan: New York, 2008
Posted: 26 Jan 2005 Last revised: 31 Oct 2011
The paradoxical relationships among philosophical knowledge, ethical responsibility, legal decision, and political action were among the most persistent themes of Jacques Derrida's later writings. In this article, I examine this aspect of his work by focusing on a structural ambiguity in his accounts of the relation of ethical responsibility to legal-political action. The narrower point of this discussion is to demonstrate how Derrida's writing exemplifies the same aporia between knowledge and ethical responsibility that it describes; the larger aim is to suggest how this ambiguity illustrates the limit of political thought in general (a limit that at the same time demands and founds the possibility of ethical-political action).
Keywords: Derrida, political philosophy, ethical philosophy, Continental philosophy
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