Sunday, March 20, 2011

Fathoming Foucault and Derrida

[Thinking the Impossible: French Philosophy Since 1960 by Gary Gutting – review The Guardian - Gary Gutting The theories of Derrida and Foucault are revisited in this fair-minded history of French deconstructionism, and guess what? It wasn't all bunkum… But was there anything inside the texts of Derrida and his fellow deconstructionists? Gutting is scrupulously fair-minded on this point. On the one hand, he says (in an argument that gives him his title), post-structuralist thought has been no less than an attempt to "think the impossible".

On the other hand, impossible thinking makes for impossible writing, and he boldly admits that "for almost all of us (even those of us who spend a good amount of time on recent French philosophy), [it] cannot be understood through a close, line-by-line reading". Far better, he concludes, to treat this stuff like poetry – as essentially unparaphrasable and never fully explicable.]
Venturing through this poetry of the last half century can be hugely rewarding even for Savitri Erans who wear poetry as second skin. [TNM]

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