Talk:Deconstruction

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edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for Deconstruction:

This is a brief review of issues behind the rewrite tag and a list of tasks necessary to the rewrite.

The article requires continued efforts to ensure it is kept readily understandable to a lay audience. Given the reconstruction of the article recently, there may be some issues in pacing or logical continuity. Citations are badly needed in some areas.

The lead shall continue to need work.


High traffic

On 18 July 2008, Deconstruction was mentioned from xkcd, a high-traffic website. (See visitor traffic)

Recent edits by Byelf2007[edit]

1. The article ought to explain what the X is as soon as possible. Currently in the second sentence it says "Although he avoided defining the term directly, he sought to apply..." This is background info on *how* the concept came about by the creator but not *what it is*. Having "Derrida proposed the deconstruction of all texts where..." as the second sentence works much better in this respect.

2. The lede is currently very unprofessional: "On the one hand..." and starting a paragraph with "but" are particularly bad. I think I've cleaned them up pretty well.

3. A bunch of separate sections on what deconstruction is is very weird. I think it's much better to put them under "On deconstruction".

4. "Definitions by other authors" seems unprofessional to me. I prefer "Alternative definitions".

5. "Developments after Derrida" also seems unprofessional to me. I prefer "Post-Derrida development".

6. I believe etymology sections are encouraged. Byelf2007 (talk) 1 June 2012


Article reads like complete gibberish[edit]

This article may make sense to someone familiar with the topic, but to the lay-person it might as well be greek. I am not exaggerating here. I literally cannot comprehend anything that is being said here and I strongly suspect the same would apply to any lay-person.

W3ird N3rd, thank you for posting the link to the TV tropes article. I was at least able to obtain a basic understanding of the concept. I hope it's not massively misleading. JiFish0 (talk) 21:54, 23 July 2015 (UTC)

The TV Tropes article is not incredibly accurate, and it isn't covering exactly the same type of deconstruction as the philosophical construct of Derrida's. Trust me, this article is a vast improvement over a year ago, and I'd ask that instead of outright condemning the article you provide constructive criticism so that we may together work towards making it more readable for the layman.--Ollyoxenfree (talk) 21:21, 30 July 2015 (UTC)
I'd _love_ to provide some constructive criticism, but I literally cannot understand enough of the article to do so. It's a case of understanding the words but the sentences making no sense. Is there an article the other 'type' of deconstruction? Is that information burried in this article? JiFish0 (talk) 02:40, 1 August 2015 (UTC)
JiFish0, does my explanation (starting with "In buildings, deconstruction means..") make sense to you? And Ollyoxenfree, is my explanation even remotely accurate? If not, could it be modified so it becomes accurate enough to use in the article? W3ird N3rd (talk) 13:50, 7 August 2015 (UTC)
The easiest way to understand "deconstruction" is that it is intellectual charlatanism that arose as part of a nutty movement in art and literature criticism, that thankfully is in decline, called "postmodernism". For example, post modernists will "deconstruct" Newton's Laws and through this "deconstruction" claim that they are invalid because they are jut a manifestation of "male domination and capitalism" (becasue, for example gravitation resembles the "attraction a man penis for a vagina, or the capitalist's attraction for resources and assets" - I'm not making this up!). It has become associated with the political/economic left even though actual leftists (for example Noam Chomsky or almost certainly Marx weer he alive today) reject it as total nonsense. The best understanding of "deconstruction" can be had by looking up the "Sokal Affair" article.

I'm sorry W3ird N3rd your explanation isn't particularly accurate. How about this, before I go changing the article more and run up against more obscurantist editors I'll try and explain deconstruction to the two of you. The anonymous comment left above this is of course inaccurate and unfair. The Sokal Affair has nothing to do with deconstruction, and the example interpretation is senseless from anybody's perspective. Here goes: deconstruction cares primarily about the relationship between text and the meaning (or lack of) in it. A central belief is in differance, basically stating that meaning comes from the relationship between words and to their etymologies (synchronic and diachronic sources of meaning) rather than the word itself just having a meaning independent of context. From this view, since words are always understood in contrast with what is and what is not present, meaning is never totally there. The view that meaning is totally there is considered a bias that pervades philosophy called metaphysics of presence. Instead meaning is deferred to other elements of the text and to what is left unstated. Now to add another element in, there are also these things called binary oppositions, these are two elements that are opposites of each other and they can be anything. For example, existence and non-existence, traditionally certain philosophers such as Hegel believed that such an opposition cancels out in what could be put over-simplified as a synthesis of the thesis and antithesis. He believed for instance that the synthesis of existence and non-existence (being and non-being) was becoming. In Derrida's view, the synthesis cannot occur and not only that but the opposition is hierarchical, in other words the metaphysics of presence, the bias we all use, favours one side over the other. Existence is better than non-existence, straight is better than gay, action is better than words, etc. One can go on to show that often when a text tries to express a certain point of view, it may assume the opposite viewpoint. For example a support of gay rights might be written in the language of heteronormativity, etc. Does that make sense at all? --Ollyoxenfree (talk) 18:28, 24 August 2015 (UTC)

Okay I had a moment of idleness so I just decided, hey, why not remake the lede from that explanation and reuse some of the stuff already there. So as of now, I have updated the lede so that hopefully it has greater clarity. I'll make a new section about that but comments are appreciated.--Ollyoxenfree (talk) 06:26, 25 August 2015 (UTC)
No, it is not because W3ird comes here saying what ever he wants that it gives you the authority to do what you want. What is there is result from consensus from many editors and you have to respect it.
Hibrido Mutante (talk) 22:06, 26 August 2015 (UTC)
Thanks Ollyoxenfree! It makes.. some sense. The article now as well, I feel like I'm beginning to understand it. But there's a problem. Various animals make sounds and some apes (read it in a newspaper so no source sorry) produce various grunts that have some meaning. They had 4 grunts or so with meanings like "food" and "danger". And language doesn't seem to be 100% culture, some of it is hardwired in our brain. Some words or combinations are just really likeable. (or the opposite) I'm pretty sure (not sure if it was ever tried, it's kinda not humane) that if you put a few human babies together and let them develop their own language, it won't be 100% random. I saw a test on TV where participants were shown images of a spikey cartoon character and a bubbly cartoon character. They asked: who is Kiki and who is Bubba? Everybody knew. Kiki was the spikey character. So words/sounds do appear to have meaning all by themselves.
Simply put, looks to me like Derrida was wrong. ;-) His method could still provide interesting insights or inspiration, just like mushrooms can, but that doesn't mean any of it is true.
Also (but that may just be me) I flat out disagree with "Existence is better than non-existence, straight is better than gay, action is better than words". This completely depends on the context. Is action better than words? Not when you're talking about a rapist. I'd rather a rapist would speak and try to explain to us what is going on in their mind rather than taking action. Or a politician, or some investment bankers? I'd rather they would talk and try to reach consensus instead of jumping to some silly action that's not completely thought through. Straight better than gay? If you want to reproduce, I guess. But otherwise it's like saying red is better than blue. Existence better than non-existence, you'd think there would be no argument.. Yet I'm grateful for many things because they do not exist. (anymore) And there are various things where I'm thinking almost every day how much better the world would be if they didn't exist. Existing and not existing are two sides of the same coin. Many great artists are not great because of what they show, because of what they bring into existence, but because of what they do not bring into existence. (in that case: the things they do not publish and put straight into the bin) And often, something first needs to not exist before somebody can make it exist. Many words would cross my mind as I write this. If I wrote every single one, this would be even more of a mess than it already is. The text becomes (more or less ;-)) something coherent because of everything my mind had to create and didn't get written down. But if all that had never existed, this text couldn't exist either.
Long story short: in order to make lemonade, you need lemons. The lemons no longer existing afterwards is crucial to the creation of lemonade. Existence and non-existence are two sides of the same coin. I don't prefer one over the other. I might try later to write yet another short description of deconstruction, but I'm not sure there's a point to it. W3ird N3rd (talk) 20:03, 14 September 2015 (UTC)
Derrida is committed, like most post-modernists, to anti-humanism. The belief that there is no fixed human nature, refer to Foucault's argument with Chomsky on some of the evidence that you point to in your reply, suffice to say the argument is more two-sided than you imagine. That said, I'm not an anti-humanist, I believe there is a fixed human nature, however I'm telling you what Derrida believes not what I believe. To your next point: "Also (but that may just be me) I flat out disagree with 'Existence is better than non-existence, straight is better than gay, action is better than words'." Derrida doesn't believe that, however he believes that there is a general bias in those directions underlying western philosophy which he was attempting to rectify. His philosophy attempted to deconstruct those hierarchies if you will. -- Ollyoxenfree (talk) 21:06, 14 September 2015 (UTC)

xkcd.com/451 174.21.117.240 (talk) 16:40, 7 May 2016 (UTC)

That's why I came here to try and improve it. It is better than it was before, it still needs work, but its made progress at least. -- Ollyoxenfree (talk) 20:54, 7 May 2016 (UTC)

Discrepancy regarding the use of "method"[edit]

The lede opens with identifying deconstruction as a "method" despite the fact that Derrida very clearly took exception to that term being applied to what might more accurately be described as a practice or something else. The wiki has an entire section dedicated to this disavowal of deconstruction as method which directly contradicts the opening sentence of the lede. i feel this should be rectified. Any thoughts on alternative terms we might use to replace "method" and "analysis" for that matter, since Derrida rejected both of those terms outright? Cheers! TheArcane03 (talk) 10:51, 25 September 2015 (UTC)TheArcane03

Good catch the problem is that if we want to reduce Deconstruction to something outside Deconstruction and stay true to the spirit of Derrida we'll have to talk about it in terms of an aporia that Derrida considered undeconstructable (the basis of his support for a pseudo-Levinasian morality). "Deconstruction is a body of theory concerned with...", "Deconstruction is a philosophy concerned with...", or "Deconstruction is a critical outlook..." (given his occasionally phenomenological methods he doesn't appear to have something against point of view)?--Ollyoxenfree (talk) 22:05, 26 September 2015 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 14 December 2015[edit]

Jacques Derrida's name is spelled incorrectly in the FIRST LINE of the article! It should be "Jacques", not "Jacque." Salibanr (talk) 00:34, 14 December 2015 (UTC)

Regret[edit]

It's a shame that there doesn't appear to be any way to explain this topic in a way that doesn't sound like complete nonsense. EEng 17:32, 22 April 2017 (UTC)