Reading Derrida Against Geoffrey Bennington

Abstract

One may locate in Geoffrey Bennington's reading of Derrida a formalization of deconstructive terms reminiscent of Caputo's thematizing of the moment of the sign. In Bennington's hands, Derrida's differance seems to be thought as a conceptual form programmatically configuring subjective, or `actual', events. Bennington reads Derrida's possible-impossible hinge, the `perhaps', as pertaining to definitive events which either conform to convention or break away from those norms. Bennington's quasi-transcendental, in thinking itself via the pure structurality of internal relation, unknowingly succumbs to a deconstructive destabilization before it can even think the first instance of its own `contingently realized' form. An internally unitary principle or form, even if thought only in the instant of its contingent application to an empirical event, cannot justify its momentary identicality, and so the supposed determinativeness of the event as the `as such' of its internal structure is revealed as a phantasm repressing a more intimate effect.

Author's Profile

Joshua Soffer
University of Chicago

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