Jacques Derrida: Outside the Text

Did the famous French philosopher really believe there was nothing outside the text?
Jacques Derrida
Adam Kotsko of An und für sich attempts to dispel the assumption that Jacques Derrida was interested in textual analysis alone. Citing examples, Kotsko insists that while the French philosopher often examined the tensions or contradictions in a particular text, his work was concerned with its wider implications in the 'real world': 'Yes, Derrida’s method almost always involves the analysis of some particularly representative or symptomatic text. Yet those texts are about something. [But] he’s not just analyzing them to be clever, he’s analyzing them because he believes them to be particularly illustrative of the difficulties of analyzing whatever phenomenon he’s analyzing. So, for instance, Of Grammatology is not primarily about the texts of Rousseau, it’s a book about human language in general. The Animal I Therefore Am is about animals. Rogues is about politics. On Touching: Jean-Luc Nancy is about touching. I could go on and on, as could anyone with access to the backs of these various books. This is the simplest possible point: Derrida talks about a lot of things.'

Source: Adam Kotsko, 'Derrida’s supposed textualism', An und für sich, 16 August 2010

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