Derrida Force Of Law Essay

Derrida Force Of Law Essay-40
There is a sense in which, although he was an atheist, he practiced what a medieval scholar might have recognized as "negative theology" -- an effort to define the nature of God by cutting away all the misleading conceptions imposed by the limits of human understanding.

There is a sense in which, although he was an atheist, he practiced what a medieval scholar might have recognized as "negative theology" -- an effort to define the nature of God by cutting away all the misleading conceptions imposed by the limits of human understanding.

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But the problem is not simply with the American public at large.

"There is something I've wanted to say in public for some time," announced Simon Critchley, a professor of philosophy at New School University. They hadn't read Derrida, and they knew they hadn't.

(Or so I figured out the hard way, a few months ago, by reading Rogues first.) "What is currently called deconstruction," said Derrida in 1989, "would not at all correspond (though certain people have an interest in spreading this confusion) to a quasi-nihilistic abdication before the ethico-politico-juridical question of justice and before the opposition between just and unjust...." His goal, in effect, is to point to a notion of justice that would be higher than any given code of laws.

Likewise, in other late writings, Derrida seeks to define a notion of forgiveness that would be able to grapple with the unforgivable.

"The treatment of Derrida by philosophers in the Anglophone world was shameful. But philistinism -- combined with envy at Derrida for being smart, charismatic, good looking, and a snappy dresser -- made them behave in a way that was, there is no other word for it, shameful." The crowd applauded. Posthumous compliments for Derrida, and cathartic insults for his enemies, were only a small part of the program.

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Speakers came back repeatedly to "Force of Law: The ' Mystical Foundation of Authority' " -- a lecture on the complex and contradictory relationship between law and justice that Derrida gave in 1989, at a colloquium called "Deconstruction and the Possibility of Justice," held at Cardozo, the law school of Yeshiva University.

The oddest and most contentious turn in the discussion may have been the remarks of Jack Balkin, a professor of constitutional law at Yale, who, in a sardonic way, implied that there might be a hotbed of deconstructionist legal thought in the Bush administration.

He sketched an outline of Derrida's formulation of three "aporias" (that is, unpassable points or double binds) in the relationship between justice and law.

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On Sunday, about 200 people crowded into the Jacob Burns Moot Court of the Cardozo School of Law in New York City to speak of Jacques Derrida -- a.k.a.


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