By Simon Critchley
Deconstruction and pragmatism represent of the key highbrow impacts at the modern theoretical scene; affects personified within the paintings of Jacques Derrida and Richard Rorty. either Rortian pragmatism, which attracts the implications of post-war advancements in Anglo-American philosophy, and Derridian deconstruction, which extends and issues the phonomenological and Heideggerian impact at the Continental culture, have hitherto typically been considered as together specific philosophical language games.The function of this quantity is to deliver deconstruction and pragmatism into severe disagreement with each other via staging a debate among Derrida and Rorty, itself in accordance with discussions that happened on the collage foreign de Philosophie in Paris in 1993. the floor for this debate is layed out in introductory papers via Simon Critchley and Ernesto Laclau, and the rest of the quantity documents Derrida's and Rorty's responses to every other's paintings. Chantal Mouffe offers an summary of the stakes of this debate in a worthy preface.
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If Rorty is a liberal, then, I would claim, Levinas and Derrida are also liberals—which perhaps begs the question as to the adequacy of Rorty’s definition of liberalism. 26 Derrida makes some remarkably provocative statements in this text; he writes, ‘Justice in itself, if such a thing exists, outside or beyond law, is not deconstructible. No more than deconstruction itself, if such a thing exists. Deconstruction is justice’ (Derrida 1992, pp. 14–15). Derrida’s discussion proceeds from the distinction between law, which is deconstructable, and which, it is claimed, must be deconstructable if political progress is to be possible, and justice, which is not deconstructable, but is that in virtue of which deconstruction takes place.
Perhaps Rorty is also right to call for a banalization of leftist political language and a subordination of the claims of radical social theory to the facticity of democratic politics, which would entail less Ideologie-Kritik and more social criticism of the kind that Rorty finds in Orwell and which can be seen in the best investigative journalism. Perhaps philosophy should be only an underlabourer to democracy, criticizing any drift towards reactionary political movements, intolerance and cruelty and attempting to hegemonize the radical potentialities within liberalism.
In a quasi-transcendental register, Derrida claims that justice is the undeconstructable condition of possibility for deconstruction, that ‘nothing is more just than what I today call DERRIDA: PRIVATE IRONIST OR PUBLIC LIBERAL? , p. 21). On the basis of references to Montaigne and Pascal (and even a rare allusion to Wittgenstein on p. 14), Derrida paradoxically defines justice as an experience of that which we are not able to experience, which is qualified as ‘the mystical’, ‘the impossible’ or ‘aporia’.