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After the liberation of France, Jacques Derrida returned to school, where he discovered philosophy. In France, he attended the Lycee Louis-le-Grand and gained entrance to the Ecole normale supérieure in 1952. Although he was admitted, he failed to achieve the aggregation in philosophy, which was essential for lifelong teaching appointment at French universities. After graduating from the Ecole, Derrida married psychoanalyst Marguerite Aucouturier.
Derrida's political philosophy
Derrida's political philosophy argues that political action is structured by time. He criticises the "metaphysical here and now" and suggests that political action is a matter of preserving a "host" that endures, or heritage. It is important to read Derrida's political philosophy in context, especially in relation to the history and legacy of his times.
Though Derrida retains faith in democracy as a political structure, he takes seriously his doubts about parliamentary democracies, believing that most are little more than disguises for unbridled violence. Regardless, Derrida's political philosophy focuses on the reopening of "the political" through the deconstruction of the state, the recognition of violence, and the radical questioning of political facts.
His preoccupation with language
Jacques Derrida was a French philosopher and professor of humanities at the University of California, Irvine. He died in 2004. Derrida's work is characterized by its preoccupation with language. In it, Derrida explores the meaning of language and its role in reality.
Jacques Derrida's preoccupation is often described as being concerned with the condition of all linguistic systems. He believes that all linguistic theories have placed undue emphasis on speech, despite the fact that written signs were around before spoken language, and that written signs can reveal much more about linguistic phenomena than spoken ones.
The book is an excellent introduction to Derrida's work. Peter Salmon digs deep into French philosophy in the mid-to-late twentieth century and connects different schools of thought to Derrida's own intellectual development. In the process, he explains the phenomenology of Husserl and the structuralist approach of Levi-Strauss. He also explains the psychoanalytic flavors of Lacan and Kristeva.
His friendship with Paul de Man
Jacques Derrida wrote his Memoires for Paul de Man after the death of Paul de Man in 1983. In the essay, Derrida reflects on de Man's past as a Nazi and on the grief that comes with the death of a close friend. He also reflects on the paradoxical logic of mourning the deceased. This paradoxical logic suggests that a successful mourning of the deceased is impossible.
De Man arrives in New York in 1948 and charms his way into the left-wing intellectual circles. His friends, like Mary McCarthy, recommend him for a teaching job at Bard College. In exchange, De Man provides the institution with an imaginary master's thesis and doctoral dissertation, detailing his service in a resistance group during the war.
His defense of Jean Hyppolite
The exchange between Jacques Derrida and Jean Hyppolite raises a number of issues. Hyppolite's work in particular concerned the dislocation of classical thinking in contemporary science. In his classic book, Languages of Criticism, Hyppolite posited that the dislocation in modern science can be attributed to a radical departure from classical thinking.
The exchange between Derrida and Hyppolite highlights the difference between the two philosophers' approaches to relativity. While Hyppolite was admitted to the Ecole Normale based on his philosophy ability, Derrida spent years studying key ideas in modern science and mathematics. Derrida's response to Hyppolite's question suggests that Derrida's own view of relativity is more decentered than Hyppolite's.
Derrida's critics tend to take Hyppolite's comment out of context. While Hyppolite brought up the issue of relativity, Derrida responded extemporaneously. The exchange suggests that there is no such thing as an absolute center in relativity theory.
His commitment to his students
Jacques Derrida was born in El-Biar, Algeria, in 1930. His grandparents were Algerian Jews who became French citizens in 1870 under the Cremieux Decree. Before that, they had only had limited legal and civil rights. During the Algerian War of Independence, he taught soldiers' children.
Jacques Derrida's work has engaged multiple discourses, including Marx, Freud, Heidegger, and Michel Foucault. Derrida's writings include extensive clippings files and manuscripts. The collection spans roughly from 1946 to 2000.
Derrida's commitment to students goes beyond his philosophical work. He champions public philosophy and expanded philosophy education. In 1979, he convened the Etats Generaux de la Philosophie, a conference of more than 1,000 philosophers, which focused on philosophy's place in education.
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