Searle, Derrida, and the ends of phenomenology

In Barry Smith (ed.), John Searle. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 261--86 (2003)
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The relations between Searle, Derrida, CP and phenomenology are complex. The writings of Derrida, the most influential figure within CP, are inseparably bound up with phenomenology and with the transformation of phenomenology effected by Heidegger. Indeed a large part of CP grew out of phenomenology. It has often been claimed that Searle's own contributions to the philosophy of mind advance claims already put forward by the phenomenologists, and Searle himself has given his own account of phenomenology, in particular of the role of idealism in phenomenology. In what follows I argue that the preoccupations of early phenomenology are often those of later analytic philosophers - a point that remains invisible so long as phenomenology is looked at from the point of view of what phenomenology became - but that Searle's philosophy of mind differs on most central points from that given by Husserl. On the other hand, Searle's criticisms of Derrida and of the philosophical parts of postmodernism do indeed have much in common with the criticisms put forward by the early phenomenologists and by Husserl himself of what they saw as phenomenology's gradual transformation and degeneration and of related irrationalisms. A grasp of these similarities will suggest the beginnings of an answer to the question why Searle's anti-Derridas and anti-postmodernisms are such splendidly isolated examples of the genre.
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