User:Seferin

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This is my user page.

This page is entirely filled with rough work for my two current projects. Currently I am working on:

1. Creating content for a page on Derrida's essay "Cogito and the History of Madness"

2. Seriously Revamping the currently awful page on deconstruction

Criticisms[edit]

Derrida has been involved in a number of high profile disagreements with prominent philosophers including Michel Foucault, John Searle, Willard Van Orman Quine and Jurgen Habermas. Most of the criticism of deconstruction was first articulated by these philosophers and repeated elsewhere.

Foucault[edit]

Foucault was the subject of Derrida's early paper "Cogito and the History of Madness" in which Derrida makes the controversial claim that

In this 673-page book, Michel Foucault devotes three pages- and, moreover, in a kind of prologue to his second chapter- to a certain passage from the first of Descartes's Meditations. [...]In alleging- correctly or incorrectly, as will be determined- that the sense of Foucault's entire project can be pinpointed in these few allusive and somewhat enigmatic pages, and that the reading of Descartes and the Cartesian Cogito proposed to us engages in its problematic the totality of this History of Madness.[1]>

Foucault responds in the 1972 appendix "My Body, This Paper, This Fire" that Derrida engages in "a well rehearsed little pedagogy."

The Development of Derrida's Deconstruction in Relation to Husserl's Philosophy[edit]

Husserl is one of the major influences on the development of Derrida's thought[2] and Husserl is both mentor and foil to the development of deconstruction. In Derrida's first published paper titled "'Genesis and Structure' and Phenomenology"(1959) Derrida describes "two polemics which placed him [Husserl] in opposition to those philosophies of structure called Diltheyism and Gestaltism"[3]. These two polemics by Husserl are forerunners of Derrida's own deconstruction. Derrida notes admiringly that Husserl

Derrida argues that "the objectivity of a structure...is tied to the concrete genesis which must make it possible" and that "Husserl refuses, and will always refuse, to accept the intelligibility and normativity of this universal structure as manna fallen from a "heavenly place"...or as an eternal truth created by an infinite reason"[5]. As well as demonstrating the philosophical movement of deconstruction that Derrida would make his own, Husserl is also the thinker against which Derrida publishes his first book length deconstruction in the form of Speech and Phenomena(1967). Derrida's "major preoccupations" in Speech and Phenomena are with "the impossibility of maintaining the plenitude of the present, the purity of the origin, or the self-identity of the absolute in the face of 'delay', 'postponement' and 'originary Difference'"[6]. These early preoccupations indicate the critical engagement of deconstruction with metaphysics. For Derrida metaphysics is the appeal to originary self presence in philosophy. This appeal is typified for Derrida within Husserl's phenomenology by the alleged immediate self presence of the real in the phenomena of conscious experience.

In Speech and Phenomena Derrida notes that at the beginning of the first of Husserl's Investigations Husserl "puts out of play all constituted knowledge, he insists on the necessary absence of presuppositions...whether they come from metaphysics, psychology, or the natural sciences"(S&P,4) while Husserl argues at the same time that "the Faktum of language is not a presupposition"(S&P,4). Derrida argues that this necessitates a misunderstanding of language by Husserl as "the original self-giving evidence, the present or presenceof sense to a full and primordial intuition"(S&P,4). In this Derrida can "see the phenomenological critique of metaphysics betray itself as a moment within the history of metaphysical assurance"(SP,4). Derrida argues in Speech and Phenomena that the sense of what we mean to say cannot be fully self present in language because this would ignore the necessary operation of différance in language.


Derrida's Negative Descriptions of Deconstruction[edit]

Derrida has been more forthcoming with negative than positive descriptions of deconstruction. Derrida gives these negative descriptions of deconstruction in order to explain "what deconstruction is not, or rather ought not to be"[7] and therefore to prevent misunderstandings of the term. Derrida states that deconstruction is not an analysis[8], a critique[9], or a method[10]. This means that Derrida does not want deconstruction to be misunderstood as an analysis, a critique, or a method in the traditional sense that philosophy understands these terms. In these negative descriptions of deconstruction Derrida is seeking to "multiply the cautionary indicators and put aside all the traditional philosophical concepts"[11]. This does not mean that deconstruction has absolutely nothing in common with an analysis, a critique, or a method because while Derrida distances deconstruction from these terms, he reaffirms "the necessity of returning to them, at least under erasure"[12]. Derrida's necessity of returning to a term under erasure means that even though these terms are problematic we must use them until they can be effectively reformulated or replaced. Derrida's thought developed in relation to Husserl's and this return to something under erasure has a similarity to Husserl's phenomenological reduction or epoché. Derrida acknowledges that his preference for negative description “has been called...a type of negative theology[13]. The relevance of the tradition of negative theology to Derrida's preference for negative descriptions of deconstruction is the notion that a positive description of deconstruction would over-determine the idea of deconstruction and that this would be a mistake because it would close off the openness that Derrida wishes to preserve for deconstruction. This means that if Derrida were to positively define deconstruction as, for example, a critique then this would put the concept of critique for ever outside the possibility of deconstruction. Some new philosophy beyond deconstruction would then be required in order to surpass the notion of critique. By refusing to define deconstruction positively Derrida preserves the infinite possibility of deconstruction, the possibility for the deconstruction of everything.

Deconstruction in Relation to Structuralism and Post-Structuralism[edit]

Derrida states that his use of the word deconstruction first took place in a context in which "structuralism was dominant"[14] and its use is related to this context. Derrida states that deconstruction is an "antistructuralist gesture"[15] because "Structures were to be undone, decomposed, desedimented"[16]. At the same time for Derrida deconstruction is also a "structuralist gesture"[17] because it is concerned with the structure of texts. So for Derrida deconstruction involves “a certain attention to structures"[18] and tries to “understand how an “ensemble” was constituted"[19]. As both a structuralist and an antistructuralist gesture deconstruction is tied up with what Derrida calls the "structural problematic"[20]. The structural problematic for Derrida is the tension between genesis, that which is "in the essential mode of creation or movement"[21], and structure, "systems, or complexes, or static configurations"[22]. An example of genesis would be the sensory ideas from which knowledge is then derived in the empirical epistemology. An example of structure would be a binary opposition such as good and evil where the meaning of each element is established, at least partly, through its relationship to the other element. For Derrida, Genesis and Structure are both inescapable modes of description, there are some things that "must be described in terms of structure, and others which must be described in terms of genesis"[23], but these two modes of description are difficult to reconcile and this is the tension of the structural problematic. In Derrida's own words the structural problematic is that "beneath the serene use of these concepts [genesis and structure] is to be found a debate that...makes new reductions and explications indefinitely necessary"[24]. The structural problematic is therefore what propels philosophy and hence deconstruction forward. Another significance of the structural problematic for Derrida is that while a critique of structuralism is a recurring theme of his philosophy this does not mean that philosophy can claim to be able to discard all structural aspects. It is for this reason that Derrida distances his use of the term deconstruction from poststructuralism, a term that would suggest philosophy could simply go beyond structuralism. Derrida states that “the motif of deconstruction has been associated with "poststructuralism"" but that this term was "a word unknown in France until its “return” from the United States"[25].

Fidelity and Deconstruction[edit]

Derrida has said that "respect for the great texts" is "the condition of our work" and that "the way I have tried to read...is not a way of commanding, repeating, or conserving this heritage. It is an analysis which tries to find out how their thinking works or does not work, to find the tensions, the contradictions, the heterogeneity within their own corpus"[26].

"When one attempts, in a general way, to pass from an obvious to a latent language, one must first be rigorously sure of the obvious meaning. The analyst [i.e. psychoanalyst], for example, must first speak the same language as the patient"[27]

Deconstruction is not an analysis in the traditional sense[edit]

For Derrida deconstruction “is not an analysis in particular because the dismantling of a structure is not a regression toward a simple element, toward an indissoluble origin”[28]. When Derrida states that dismantling a structure does not lead us to a “simple element” or “indissoluble origin” he means that there is no fundamental level of self contained meaning that will end the possibility of further analysis. Beneath each level of structure revealed and rendered problematic by deconstruction there are further structures that also invite deconstruction. So when Derrida states that deconstruction is not an analysis he means that deconstruction is not an analysis if analysis is finite or limited, or as a methodology is itself beyond the possibility of analysis itself.

Deconstruction is not a critique in the traditional sense[edit]

Derrida states that deconstruction is not a “critique, in a general sense or in a Kantian sense. The instance of krinein or of krisis (decision, choice, judgment, discernment) is itself, as is all the apparatus of transcendental critique, one of the essential “themes” or “objects” of deconstruction”(3).

Deconstruction is not a method in the traditional sense[edit]

Derrida states that “Deconstruction is not a method and cannot be transformed into one”[29]. This is because deconstruction is not a mechanical operation. Derrida warns against considering deconstruction as a mechanical operation when he states that “It is true that in certain circles (university or cultural, especially in the United States) the technical and methodological “metaphor” that seems necessarily attached to the very word “deconstruction” has been able to seduce or lead astray”[30]. Commentator Richard Beardsworth explains that

Derrida is careful to avoid this term [method] because it carries connotations of a procedural form of judgement. A thinker with a method has already decided how to proceed, is unable to give him or herself up to the matter of thought in hand, is a functionary of the criteria which structure his or her conceptual gestures. For Derrida [...] this is irresponsibility itself. Thus, to talk of a method in relation to deconstruction, especially regarding its ethico-political implications, would appear to go directly against the current of Derrida's philosophical adventure.[31]

Beardsworth here explains that it would be irresponsible to undertake a deconstruction with a complete set of rules that need only be applied as a method to the object of deconstruction because this understanding would reduce deconstruction to a thesis of the reader that the text is then made to fit. This would be an irresponsible act of reading because it ignores the empirical facticity of the text itself - that is it becomes a prejudicial procedure that that only finds what it sets out to find. To be responsible a deconstruction must carefully negotiate the empirical facticity of the text and hence respond to it. Deconstruction is not a method and this means that it is not a neat set of rules that can be applied to any text in the same way. Deconstruction is therefore not neatly transcendental because it cannot be considered separate from the contingent empirical facticity of the particular texts that any deconstruction must carefully negotiate. Each deconstruction is necessarily different (otherwise it achieves no work) and this is why Derrida states that “Deconstruction takes place, it is an event”[32]. On the other hand deconstruction cannot be completely untranscendental because this would make it meaningless to, for example, speak of two different examples of deconstruction as both being examples of deconstruction. It is for this reason that Richard Rorty asks if Derrida should be considered a quasi-transcendental philosopher that operates in the tension between the demands of the empirical and the transcendental. Each example of deconstruction must be different but it must also share something with other examples of deconstruction. Deconstruction is therefore not a method in the traditional sense but is what Derrida terms "an unclosed, unenclosable, not wholly formalizable ensemble of rules for reading, interpretation and writing."[33]


Derrida also has a problem with the term method because deconstruction is not something that can be practiced by “an individual or collective subject who would take the initiative and apply it to an object, a text, a theme, etc.”[34]. A method implies a subject that can apply deconstruction as a method.

This inability to use deconstruction as a method implies that in the same way the structure of a text exists before deconstruction so does the possibility of deconstruction. The deconstruction is therefore mapped in the text rather than used as a tool on the text.

deconstruction cannot be the unfolding of a set of rules internal to deconstruction because this would be too structural an understanding of deconstruction. Deconstruction must also be that which exceeds structures.



Derrida acknowledges that this preference for negative description “has been called...a type of negative theology”[35]. This acknowledgement suggests that Derrida is at least comfortable with the comparison of his preference for negative descriptions of deconstruction to the tradition of negative theology. The relevance of the tradition of negative theology to Derrida's preference for negative description of deconstruction is the notion that a positive description of deconstruction would over-determine the idea of deconstruction and that this would be a mistake because it would close off the openness that Derrida wishes to preserve for deconstruction. This means that if Derrida were to positively define deconstruction as, for example, a critique then this would put the concept of critique for ever outside the possibility of deconstruction. Some new philosophy beyond deconstruction would be required in order to surpass the notion of critique. By giving refusing to define deconstruction positively Derrida preserves the infinite possibility of deconstruction, the possibility for the deconstruction of everything.


Derrida states that deconstruction involves “a certain attention to structures”(2) and tries to “understand how an “ensemble” was constituted”(3) and this implies some variation on the kind of activity that is normally termed analysis.

Derrida argues that “this word [deconstruction], at least on its own, has never appeared satisfactory to me (but what word is), and must always be girded by an entire discourse”(3).

“this has been called...a type of negative theology”(3).

or that, as is the case in the area of philosophy known as negative theology, he believes that there is a real question over whether the object of study can ever be positively known. In negative theology god is unknowable because a finite human mind cannot comprehend and know the infinite and if deconstruction is

Derrida states that “deconstruction is neither an analysis nor a critique”(3).


Derrida notes that “the motif of deconstruction has been associated with “poststructuralism” (a word unknown in France until its “return” from the United States)”(3). “It is true that in certain circles (university or cultural, especially in the United States) the technical and methodological “metaphor” that seems necessarily attached to the very word “deconstruction” has been able to seduce or lead astray”(3).

Derrida states that “Deconstruction is not a method and cannot be transformed into one”(3). One reason for this is that it is not a mechanical operation: “It is true that in certain circles (university or cultural, especially in the United States) the technical and methodological “metaphor” that seems necessarily attached to the very word “deconstruction” has been able to seduce or lead astray”(3). Another problem is that deconstruction is not something that can be practiced by “an individual or collective subject who would take the initiative and apply it to an object, a text, a theme, etc.”(3). This inability to use deconstruction as a method implies that in the same way the structure of a text exists before deconstruction so does the possibility of deconstruction. The deconstruction is therefore mapped in the text rather than used as a tool on the text. Derrida argues that “Deconstruction takes place, it is an event that does not await the deliberation, consiousness, or organization of a subject”(4).


The aim of negative descriptions of deconstruction for Derrida is to "avoid, if possible, a negative determination of its significations or connotations"[36].

Further, deconstruction is not, properly speaking, a synonym for "destruction". Rather, according to Barbara Johnson (1981), it is a specific kind of analytical "reading":

Some detractors claim deconstruction amounts to little more than nihilism or relativism. Relativism consists of various theories each of which claims that some element or aspect of experience or culture is relative to, i.e., dependent on, some other element or aspect. For example, some relativists claim that humans can understand and evaluate beliefs and behaviors only in terms of their historical or cultural context. The term often refers to truth relativism, which is the doctrine that there are no absolute truths, i.e., that truth is always relative to some particular frame of reference, such as a language or a culture.. Its proponents deny this; It is not the abandonment of all meaning, but attempts to demonstrate that Western thought has not satisfied its quest for a "transcendental signifier" that will give meaning to all other signs. According to Derrida, "Deconstruction is not an enclosure in nothingness, but an openness to the other" (Derrida, 1984, p. 124), and an attempt "to discover the non-place or non-lieu which would be that 'other' of philosophy" (ibid. p. 112).

Derrida's First use of the Term Deconstruction[edit]

Deconstruction and Derrida's Understanding of Language as Writing Rather than Speech[edit]

Derrida first employs the term deconstruction in Of Grammatologyin 1967 when discussing the implications of understanding language as writing rather than speech. Derrida states that:

[w]riting thus enlarged and radicalized, no longer issues from a logos. Further, it inargurates the destruction, not the demolition but the de-sedimentation, the de-construction, of all the significations that have their source in that of the logos.[37]

In this quotation Derrida states that deconstruction is what happens to meaning when language is understood as writing. Derrida argues that people have historically understood speech as the primary mode of language[38] and understood writing as an inferior derivative of speech[39]. Derrida argues that speech is historically equated with logos[40], meaning thought, and associated with the presence of the speaker to the listener[41]. It is as if the speaker thinks out loud and the listener hears the speaker thinking and if there is any confusion then the speaker's presence allows them to qualify the meaning of a previous statement. Derrida argues that by understanding speech as thought language "efaces itself."[42] Language itself is forgotten. The signified meaning of speech is so immediately understood that it is easy to forget that there are linguistic signifiers involved - but these signifiers are the spoken sounds (phonemes) and written marks (graphemes) that actually comprise language. Derrida therefore associates speech with a very straightforward and unproblematic theory of meaning and with the forgetting of the signifier and hence language itself. Derrida contrasts the understanding of language as speech with an understanding of language as writing. Unlike a speaker a writer is usually absent (even dead) and the reader cannot rely on the writer to clarify any problems that there might be with the meaning of the text. The consideration of language as writing leads inescapably to the insight that language is a system of signs. As a system of signs the signifiers are present but the signification can only be inferred. There is effectively an act of translation involved in extracting a significaton from the signifiers of language. This act of translation is so habitual to language users that they must step back from their experience of using language in order to fully realise its operation. The insight that language is a system of signs, most obvious in the consideration of language as writing, leads Derrida to state that "everything [...] gathered under the name of language is beginning to let itself be transferred to [...] the name of writing."[43] This means that there is no room for the naive theory of meaning and forgetting of the signifier that previously existed when language was understood as speech. Much later in his career Derrida retrospectively confirms the importance of this distinction between speech and writing in the development of deconstruction when he states that:

[F]rom about 1963 to 1968, I tried to work out - in particular in the three works published in 1967 - what was in no way meant to be a system but rather a sort of strategic device, opening its own abyss, an unclosed, unenclosable, not wholly formalizable ensemble of rules for reading, interpretation and writing. This type of device may have enabled me to detect not only in the history of philosophy and in the related socio-historical totality, but also in what are alleged to be sciences and in so-called post-philosophical discourses that figure among the most modern (in linguistics, in anthropology, in psychoanalysis), to detect in these an evaluation of writing, or, to tell the truth, rather a devaluation of writing whose insistent, repetitive, even obscurely compulsive, character was the sign of a whole set of long-standing constraints. These constraints were practised at the price of contradictions, of denials, of dogmatic decrees"[44]

Understood as writing language can be thought of as "dead" in the sense that once the markings are made they do not change in themselves. Thus, what an author says about their text doesn't revive it, and is just another text commenting on the original, along with the commentary of others. In this view when an author says "You have understood my work perfectly" this utterance constitutes an addition to the textual system, along with what the reader said was understood in and about the original text, and not a resuscitation of the original dead text. The reader has an opinion, the author has an opinion.


It is the problematisation of this naive theory of meaning - where language is understood as speech and hence thought - that leads to deconstruction: "it inaugurates [...] the de-construction, of all the significations [i.e. meanings] that have their source in that of the logos."[45]

This understanding of language as writing implies a theory of meaning which is less strictly determined by the language user.

Derrida therefore argues that with the philosophy of language, linguistics and semiotics, it is impossible to continue being so naive about the presence of the signifier (words) and the absence of a strictly determined signified (meaning) in language and therefore that

This historical privileging of speech over writing allows people to misunderstand language by thinking that the meaning of a word is actually present in the word itself - that a particular word is necessarily linked to a particular thought or thing. The privileging of speech is therefore a failure to recognise language as a system of signs with the attendent difference between signifier and signification.

This enlargement of writing is a radicalisation of writing because it ought to change how language is understood. Derrida argues that understanding language as writing implies that language can no longer be considered the thought of a thinking subject. Unlike a speaker a writer can be absent or even dead. Derrida argues that when considering language as writing it becomes inescapable that language a system of signs. The consequence of understanding language as a system of signs is that one is forced to recognise the difference between signifier and signification in language - the separation between the linguistic sign used and the meaning inferred from its use. This gap was always part of language but the equation of speech with logos disguised this fact and it only becomes obvious by considering language as writing.



In this historical understanding speech is associated with logos, meaning thought, and the presence of the speaker. Writing was considered an inferior derivative of speech and associated with the absence of the author. As part of subverting the presumed dominance of logos over text, Derrida argued that the idea of a speech-writing dichotomy contains within it the idea of a very expansive view of textuality that subsumes both speech and writing. According to Jacques Derrida, "There is nothing outside of the text" (Derrida, 1976, at 158). That is, text is thought of not merely as linear writing derived from speech, but any form of depiction, marking, or storage, including the marking of the human brain by the process of cognition or by the senses.

In a sense, deconstruction is simply a way to read text (as broadly defined); any deconstruction has a text as its object and subject. This accounts for deconstruction's broad cross-disciplinary scope. Deconstruction has been applied to literature, art, architecture, science, mathematics, philosophy, and psychology, and any other disciplines that can be thought of as involving the act of marking.

In deconstruction, text can be thought of as "dead", in the sense that once the markings are made, the markings remain in suspended animation and do not change in themselves. Thus, what an author says about his text doesn't revive it, and is just another text commenting on the original, along with the commentary of others. In this view, when an author says, "You have understood my work perfectly," this utterance constitutes an addition to the textual system, along with what the reader said was understood in and about the original text, and not a resuscitation of the original dead text. The reader has an opinion, the author has an opinion. Communication is possible not because the text has a transcendental signification, but because the brain tissue of the author contains similar "markings" as the brain tissue of the reader. These brain markings, however, are unstable and fragmentary.


Derrida states that when he first used the term deconstruction he "wished to translate and adapt to my own ends the Heideggerian word Destruktion or Abbau. But in French "destruction" too obviously implied an annihilation or a negative reduction much closer perhaps to Nietzschean "demolition" than to the Heideggerian interpretation or to the type of reading that I proposed."(LJF,1). Derrida wished to adapt the term to his own purposes and acknowledges that there were a number of pre-existing definitions for deconstruction that had an affinity with what he "meant"(LJF, 2) when he first used the word deconstruction and contributed to his choice of the term. These definitions include:

Dissarranging the construction of words in a sentence [...] To disassemble the parts of a whole. To deconstruct a machine to transport it elsewhere [...] to lose its construction. 'Modern scholarship has shown us that in a region of the timeless East, a language reaching its own state of perfection is deconstructed [...] and altered from within itself according to the single law of change, natural to the human mind

Derrida first employs the term deconstruction in Of Grammatologyin 1967 when discussing the implications of understanding language as writing rather than speech:

The "rationality"- but perhaps that word should be abandoned for reasons that will appear at the end of this sentence- which governs a writing thus enlarged and radicalized, no longer issues from a logos. Further, it inargurates the destruction, not the demolition but the de-sedimentation, the de-construction, of all the significations that have their source in that of the logos.(OG,10)

This passage occurs in a section where Derrida argues that the historical understanding of language as speech allowed language to be reductively equated with the thought of a thinking subject. The equation of language with thought is reductive because it assumes that language is a transparent medium that does not in any way influence or shape the thought it expresses. The understanding of language as speech implied that the meaning of language was what the language user intended it to mean and that any question of meaning can be clarified by the qualifications of the speaking subject. Derrida describes these definitions as "models or regions of meaning and not the totality of what deconstruction aspires to at its most ambitious"(LJF, 2).

Deconstruction and the "Letter to a Japanese Friend"[edit]

The "Letter to a Japanese Friend" is a five page text by Derrida intended to give some "preliminary reflections on the word 'deconstruction'"(1). Derrida wrote the "Letter to a Japanese Friend" to try and avoid a misunderstanding of the word deconstruction when it was being translated into Japanese. It is written by Derrida as a preliminary reflection on deconstruction and is therefore a relatively straightforward text. The short and straightforward nature of the text makes it a valuable introduction to deconstruction for an interested reader who is not necessarily a professional philosopher. In the letter Derrida sets out to describe "what deconstruction is not"(1). The letter therefore gives a negative description of deconstruction and this seems to indicates that a positive description would be too complicated for the introductory level description of deconstruction that Derrida proposes in the "Letter to a Japanese Friend".

Derrida asserts that deconstruction does not refer to "some clear and univocal signification"(1). The term univocal means to say something with one voice. When Derrida writes that deconstruction is not univocal he indicates that when the word deconstruction occurs, it always occurs with many levels of meaning.

Derrida states that deconstruction in the American context "is already attached to very different connotations, inflections, and emotional or affective values"(1). Derrida therefore distances the role of the word deconstruction in his own thought from the interpretation of the word deconstruction in the context of American universities.

Derrida states that when he first chose the word deconstruction he "little thought it would be credited with such a central role in the discourse that interested me at the time"(1). Derrida implies that deconstruction has been made central to understanding his philosophy by people trying to understand his philosophy rather than his own intention to develop a philosophy based around this word.

Derrida states that when he first used the word deconstruction he

"wished to translate and adapt to my own ends the Heideggerian word Destruktion or Abbau. But in French "destruction" too obviously implied an annihilation or a negative reduction much closer perhaps to Nietzschean "demolition" than to the Heideggerian interpretation or to the type of reading that I proposed."(1).

The origins of the word deconstruction are therefore in Heidegger's philosophy. The word was chosen to avoid the too obviously negative term demolition.

Derrida gives a number of pre-existing definitions for deconstruction that influenced his choice of the word:

"Dissarranging the construction of words in a sentence...To disassemble the parts of a whole. To deconstruct a machine to transport it elsewhere...to lose its construction. 'Modern scholarship has shown us that in a region of the timeless East, a language reaching its own state of perfection is deconstructed...and altered from within itself according to the single law of change, natural to the human mind"

Derrida notes that these definitions had an affinity with what he "meant"(2) when he first used the word deconstruction. Derrida describes these definitions as "models or regions of meaning and not the totality of what deconstruction aspires to at its most ambitious"(2).

Derrida states that the "use value", of deconstruction, "had been been determined by the discourse that was then being attempted around and on the basis of Of Grammatology" and this suggests that Derrida absolves himself of full responsibility for how the word deconstruction is actually used. At this point in the letter Derrida says that he will try to "give some precision"(2) to the use of the word deconstruction that is not limited to "some primitive meaning or etymology"(2).

Derrida relates the word deconstruction to a context in which "structuralism was dominant"(2) and he notes that the word "signified a certain attention to structures"(2). Deconstruction is therefore a "structuralist gesture"(2) because it is concerned with the structure of thought in texts but it is also an "antistructuralist gesture"(2) because "Structures were to be undone, decomposed, desedimented (all types of structures, linguistic, "logocentric," "phonocentric"-structuralism being especially at that time dominated by linguistic models"(2).

and what Derrida calls the "structural problematic"(2).

Derrida emphasises the positive aspects of deconstruction: “Rather than destroying, it was also necessary to understand how an “ensemble” was constituted and to reconstruct it to this end”(3).

Derrida argues that “this word [deconstruction], at least on its own, has never appeared satisfactory to me (but what word is), and must always be girded by an entire discourse”(3).

“this has been called...a type of negative theology”(3).

Derrida states that “deconstruction is neither an analysis nor a critique”(3).

For Derrida deconstruction “is not an analysis in particular because the dismantling of a structure is not a regression toward a simple element, toward an indissoluble origin”(3). This statement does not necessarily mean that deconstruction has nothing to do with analysis. Derrida is actually denying that deconstruction is an 'analysis' in a common sense of the term. Derrida states that deconstruction involves “a certain attention to structures”(2) and tries to “understand how an “ensemble” was constituted”(3) and this implies some variation on the kind of activity that is normally termed analysis. When Derrida states that dismantling a structure does not lead us to a “simple element” or “indissoluble origin” he means that there is no fundamental level that will end the possibility of further analysis. Beneath each level of a structure that can be deconstructed there are further structures that can also be deconstructed. Derrida means that deconstruction is not an analysis, if analysis is conceptualised as finite or limited.

Derrida states that deconstruction is not a “critique, in a general sense or in a Kantian sense. The instance of krinein or of krisis (decision, choice, judgment, discernment) is itself, as is all the apparatus of transcendental critique, one of the essential “themes” or “objects” of deconstruction”(3).

Derrida notes that “the motif of deconstruction has been associated with “poststructuralism” (a word unknown in France until its “return” from the United States)”(3). “It is true that in certain circles (university or cultural, especially in the United States) the technical and methodological “metaphor” that seems necessarily attached to the very word “deconstruction” has been able to seduce or lead astray”(3).

Derrida states that “Deconstruction is not a method and cannot be transformed into one”(3). One reason for this is that it is not a mechanical operation: “It is true that in certain circles (university or cultural, especially in the United States) the technical and methodological “metaphor” that seems necessarily attached to the very word “deconstruction” has been able to seduce or lead astray”(3). Another problem is that deconstruction is not something that can be practiced by “an individual or collective subject who would take the initiative and apply it to an object, a text, a theme, etc.”(3). This inability to use deconstruction as a method implies that in the same way the structure of a text exists before deconstruction so does the possibility of deconstruction. The deconstruction is therefore mapped in the text rather than used as a tool on the text. Derrida argues that “Deconstruction takes place, it is an event that does not await the deliberation, consiousness, or organization of a subject”(4).

Derrida writes “I am only thereby increasing the difficulties...This too is what is meant by 'deconstructs'”(4).

“For me, for what I have tried and still try to write, the word [deconstruction] has interest only within a certain context, where it replaces and lets itself be determined by such other words as “ecriture,” “trace,” “differance,” “supplement,” “hymen,” pharmakon,” “marge,” “entame,” “parergon” etc. By definition, the list can nver be closed, and I have cited only names, which is inadequate and done only for reasons of economy. In fact I should have cited the sentences and the interlinking of sentences which in their turn determine these names in some of my texts.”(4/5) All these replacement terms for deconstruction are key terms from Derrida's engagement with other philosophers. Each one is invested with special meaning that represents the event of the deconstruction of the philosopher in quesiton. Derrida therefore links deconstruction closely to his own philosophical practice.

or that, as is the case in the area of philosophy known as negative theology, he believes that there is a real question over whether the object of study can ever be positively known. In negative theology god is unknowable because a finite human mind cannot comprehend and know the infinite and if deconstruction is

Deconstruction and Derrida's Understanding of Language[edit]

Derrida argues that the "problem of language"(OG,6) has invaded "the global horizon of the most diverse researches and the most heterogeneous discourses, diverse and heterogeneous in their intention, method, and ideology."(OG,6). Rather than infer from this linguistic turn a postmodernist conclusion that this signifies the end of metaphysical truth, Derrida argues that "a historico-metahpysical epoch must finally determine as language the totality of its problematic horizon."(OG,6) Derrida argues that when language is therefore the "signifier of the signifier"(OG,7) rather than the more conventional formulation of the signifier of the signified. This necessitates the privilege of speech over writing because language functions as (in this formulation which Derrida rejects) "The system of 'hearing(understanding)-oneself-speak'"(OG,7). Speech therefore "presents itself as the nonexterior, nonmundane, therefore nonempirical or noncontigent signifier"(OG,7-8) and hence still makes language meaningful in a metaphysical sense after the linguistic turn in that it "has even produced the idea of the world".

"There is not a single signified that escapes, even if recaptured, the play of signifying references that constitute language. The advent of writing is the advent of this play"(OG,7)

Derrida argues against the "transparence"(OG,11) of language. Referring to

Arguing that written language vastly exceeds spoken language Derrida concludes that "writing...no longer issues from a logos"(OG,10). Logos means a speaking subject. "it inaugurates the destruction, not the demolition but the de-sedimentation, the de-construction, of all the significations that have their source in that of determinations of the logos."(OG,10) Note that this is the first use of the term deconstruction in Of Grammatology.

The term différance is important to an understanding of how Derrida conceptualises language. Howell notes that "Derrida sets up an opposition between notions of 'book' and 'text'...the Book is conceived as a totality, a meaningful whole...'The idea of the book', Derrida writes, 'which always refers to a natural totality, is profoundly alien to the meaning of writing [écriture]. It is the encyclopaedic protection of theology and logocentrism against the disruption of writing...against differce in general' (Gram, 30-1)" (Howells,Derrida,74)

Cogito and the history of madness[edit]

"Cogito and the History of Madness"[46] is an early paper by French philosopher Jacques Derrida in which he gives a critical response to the 1961 edition of Michel Foucault's book the History of Madness in relation to Descartes's Meditations on First Philosophy. The philosophical themes addressed by Derrida in this paper include madness, history, and the cogito. Derrida's "Cogito and the History of Madness" has been considered the only critical response to Foucault's text that “really hit the mark”[47]. This may explain why Derrida's paper invited a response from Foucault that was “so violent in tone that the two writers stopped communicating for ten years”[48]. The "acrimonious"[49] exchange sparked by "Cogito and the History of Madness", between two of the most famous French intellectuals of the last forty years, has attracted a substantial amount of attention from scholars interested in continental philosophy.

As a very early paper it is somewhat atypical in Derrida's uncharacteristic emphasis on speech and the speaking subject, perhaps necessitated by the theme of the cogito. A mere four years later in 1967 Derrida is arguing strongly in Speech and Phenomena and Of Grammatology, both cornerstones of Derrida's thought for his entire career, that language must be understood as writing rather than speech.

Cogito and the History of Madness is also said by editors of Derrida's bibliography to be the first occurrence of the term deconstruction in Derrida's writing[50].

Presentation and Subsequent Publication[edit]

“Cogito and the History of Madness” was originally presented by Derrida in the form of a lecture at the Collège Philosophique in 1963 as “Cogito et histoire de la folie”. The audience included Michel Foucault to whom Derrida had sent a letter of formal invitation[51]. The paper was published in the 1967 as part of the collection of Derrida's shorter early works in L’écriture et la différence. The paper became available in English when Derrida's book L’écriture et la différence was translated by Alan Bass and published as Writing and Difference in 1978.

Summary of Derrida's Critique[edit]

Derrida's Point of Departure[edit]

Derrida takes as the point of departure for his reflections in “Cogito and the History of Madness” the three pages at the start of the second chapter of Foucault's 673-page book[52] in which madness seems, he argues, to be dismissed by Descartes[53]. These are the pages in which Foucault argues that Descartes refuses to consider madness as legitimate grounds for doubt and that this represents a philosophical exclusion of madness from the cogito in the name of reason.

Derrida argues that the "reading of Descartes and the Cartesian Cogito proposed to us engages in its problematic the totality of this History of Madness".[54]

Foucault’s response to Derrida's critique[edit]

Foucault responded to Derrida’s critique when publishing the second edition of his book, now titled Histoire de la folie à l’âge classique, in 1972. In this edition Foucault dropped the original 1961 preface. By dropping the 1961 preface Foucault removes a number of claims concerning his intentions in the text upon which Derrida had based his critique. This includes Foucault’s claim that “My intention was not to write the history of that language [the monologue of reason on madness], but rather the archaeology of that silence [the silence of madness]” (xxviii, clarifications added). Derrida had argued that Foucault’s proposal to give an archaeology of silence, that is of something without a trace, is an impossible project. Dropping the 1961 preface also removed Foucault’s emphasis on the need to “identify the moment of expulsion” (xxvii) of madness from discourse. Derrida had argued that Foucault fails to locate this expulsion at the end of the classical age and that if such an expulsion took place it must have its origin with the Pre-Socratics of Ancient Greece, effectively beyond the reach of a historical study like Foucault’s. Dropping the 1961 preface also removed a number of references to the experience of madness and therefore suggests a move away by Foucault from a phenomenology of madness. Derrida made a number of critiques of phenomenology in relation to Husserl’s philosophy and Foucault may have been distancing himself from that undermined philosophical position.

Foucault’s new preface for the 1972 observes that “A book is produced…fragments of it pass into circulation and are passed off as the real thing, purporting to contain the book in its entirety” (xxxvii). This is a reference to Derrida’s critique of Foucault’s work. Derrida’s critique relies on small sections of Foucault’s text, namely the 1961 preface and the three pages Foucault wrote on Descartes, yet claims that “the sense of Foucault’s entire project can be pinpointed in these few allusive and somewhat enigmatic pages” (37). Foucault also makes a dismissive reference to Derrida’s philosophical practice of deconstruction when he writes “it is claimed [supposedly by Derrida], the book is itself at last, avowing all that it refused to say, delivering itself from all that which is so loudly pretended to be” (xxxvii). Foucault considers asserting “the monarchy of the author” (xxxviii), by which he means the right to determine by dictate what the work means, but rejects this as a course of action. Instead Foucault argues that “We should not try to justify the old book…we should not pretend to discover in it a secret reserve…I will add only two texts…where I try to address a remarkable criticism by Derrida” (xxxix).

Commentators on the dispute[edit]

Analysis in terms of alternative reading strategies[edit]

Literary theorists such as Edward Said and Peter Flaherty have analysed "Cogito and the History of Madness" in terms of the alternative reading strategies proposed by Derrida and Foucault. Said characterises "the polemical conflict between Derrida and Foucault" as a "highly schematic divergence" of critical attitudes towards the text in his 1983 text The World, the Text, and the Critic(183). Peter Flaherty shares Said's concern in his 1986 essay “(Con)textual Contest: Derrida and Foucault on Madness and the Cartesian Subject" where he concentrates on “how markedly different the reading strategies” of Derrida and Foucault are revealed to be in this dispute (157).

The interpretation of Derrida's reading strategy in this dispute has been biased by Foucault's attack upon it.

Edward Said has observed that for Foucault "the text is part of a network of power" while "Derrida works more in the spirit of a kind of negative theology...he grasps textuality for itself" (184). Said argues that "In both cases, nevertheless, the critic challenges the culture and its apparently sovereign powers of intellectual activity" and that "Dedefinition and antireferentiality are the common response to the positivist ethos that both Derrida and Foucault abhor" (185).


Flaherty relies on Foucault’s response in “My body, this paper this fire” to argue that there is an “extreme tension between ‘textuality’ and ‘discursivity’ as rival reading strategies” (165). Flaherty argues that Derrida “feels that the text must be relentlessly ‘deconstructed’” (165). This is somewhat misleading because Derrida’s reading of Descartes, to which Flaherty refers, is not a deconstruction because it gives a sympathetic defence of the intention of the text and therefore how meaning is constructed within it. Despite the confusion of terminology, Flaherty correctly argues that Derrida’s reading strategy is based upon an analysis of how meanings are generated within the text itself. Flaherty argues that on the other hand Foucault “takes the position that a text can best be read against its context, that is, as a part of a larger set of discursive practices that inform the epistémé of its specific spatio-temporal configuration” (165). Foucault’s reading strategy assess’ the meaning of the text in relation to the context of the current social discourse, which he calls the episteme, in which it appears.

Roy Boyne's book Foucault and Derrida[edit]

Roy Boyne’s Foucault and Derrida, published in 1990, is the only book length treatment of the dispute between Derrida and Foucault. Boyne describes Derrida’s essay “Cogito and the History of Madness” as the only critical response to Foucault’s Folie et Déraison: Histoire de la folie à l’âge classique that “really hit the mark”(1). This is because Derrida’s critique does not simply accuse Foucault’s text of technical inaccuracy but challenges the very possibility of Foucault’s text as a philosophical project. Boyne argues that Derrida’s position in “Cogito and the History of Madness” can be summarised as the accusation that “Foucault’s subtle defence of the established order was the false promise of Utopia, an image which if pursued would always lead to disillusionment and the acceptance that nothing can ever change the way that the world is” (4). This refers to Derrida’s argument that Foucault is misguided to think that it is possible to escape the dominance of reason over the form of thought. Boyne argues that Foucault’s position in “My body, this paper, this fire” can be summarised as the counter accusation that “Derrida was a defender of the one form of understanding that would always remain the same, that would always produce holy wars in the name of truth, and sanctified divisions between the experts and the ignorant” (4). This refers to Foucault’s argument that Derrida repeats the Cartesian exclusion of madness by arguing that there was no need for Descartes to consider madness in the first place.

Foucault responded to Derrida's critique in the second edition of his book in 1972. Foucault dropped the 1961 preface and included two new appendices. These appendices are comprised of a qualification of his project in "Madness, the Absence of an Oeuvre" and a direct response to Derrida's critique in "My body, this paper, this fire". Foucault's article "Reply to Derrida" was published in a Japanese journal in the same year but is considered to be an earlier formulation of "My body, this paper, this fire". Foucault's History of Madness, originally Folie et déraison: Histoire de la folie à l’âge classique, was first published in English in an abridged version translated by Richard Howard and published in English as Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Classical Age in 1965. This abridged version ommitted the passage Foucault wrote on Descartes upon which Derrida bases most of his critique. This passage has become available in the recent translation of Foucault's book in its entirety by Jonathan Murphy and Jean Khalfa that was published under the title History of Madness in 2006. Derrida made a late return to the dispute with the paper " 'To do Justice to Freud': The History of Madness in the Age of Psychoanalysis" first delivered as a talk in 1991 then translated and published in English in 1994.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Derrida, J., 1978. Cogito and the History of Madness. In Writing and Difference. Translated by A. Bass. London and New York: Routledge. p. 37.
  2. ^ "Sartre, Levinas, Lyotard and Derrida himself all started their publishing careers with a critique/ exposition of a certain aspect of phenomenology. Their works cannot be properly understood without some knowledge of what they are criticizing or refining...He [Derrida] considers Husserl to have been one of the major influences on his philosophical formation." from Howells, C., 1999. Derrida: Deconstruction from Phenomenology to Ethics. Oxford: Polity Press. pp. 6-7.
  3. ^ Derrida, J., 1978. "'Genesis and Structure' and Phenomenology" from Writing and Difference trans. Alan Bass. London & New York: Routeledge. p. 197.
  4. ^ Derrida, J., 1978. "'Genesis and Structure' and Phenomenology" from Writing and Difference trans. Alan Bass. London & New York: Routeledge. p. 197.
  5. ^ Derrida, J., 1978. "'Genesis and Structure' and Phenomenology" from Writing and Difference trans. Alan Bass. London & New York: Routeledge. p. 197.
  6. ^ Howells, C., 1999. Derrida: Deconstruction from Phenomenology to Ethics. Oxford: Polity Press. p. 17.
  7. ^ Derrida, Jacques, "Letter to A Japanese Friend," Derrida and Différance, ed. David Wood and Robert Bernasconi, Warwick: Parousia, 1985, p. 1.
  8. ^ Derrida, Jacques, "Letter to A Japanese Friend," Derrida and Différance, ed. David Wood and Robert Bernasconi, Warwick: Parousia, 1985, p. 3.
  9. ^ Derrida, Jacques, "Letter to A Japanese Friend," Derrida and Différance, ed. David Wood and Robert Bernasconi, Warwick: Parousia, 1985, p. 3.
  10. ^ Derrida, Jacques, "Letter to A Japanese Friend," Derrida and Différance, ed. David Wood and Robert Bernasconi, Warwick: Parousia, 1985, p. 3.
  11. ^ Derrida, Jacques, "Letter to A Japanese Friend," Derrida and Différance, ed. David Wood and Robert Bernasconi, Warwick: Parousia, 1985, p. 3.
  12. ^ Derrida, Jacques, "Letter to A Japanese Friend," Derrida and Différance, ed. David Wood and Robert Bernasconi, Warwick: Parousia, 1985, p. 3.
  13. ^ Derrida, J., 1985. "Letter to A Japanese Friend," Derrida and Différance, ed. David Wood and Robert Bernasconi, Warwick: Parousia. p. 3.
  14. ^ Derrida, Jacques, "Letter to A Japanese Friend," Derrida and Différance, ed. David Wood and Robert Bernasconi, Warwick: Parousia, 1985, p. 2.
  15. ^ Derrida, Jacques, "Letter to A Japanese Friend," Derrida and Différance, ed. David Wood and Robert Bernasconi, Warwick: Parousia, 1985, p. 2.
  16. ^ Derrida, Jacques, "Letter to A Japanese Friend," Derrida and Différance, ed. David Wood and Robert Bernasconi, Warwick: Parousia, 1985, p. 2.
  17. ^ Derrida, Jacques, "Letter to A Japanese Friend," Derrida and Différance, ed. David Wood and Robert Bernasconi, Warwick: Parousia, 1985, p. 2.
  18. ^ Derrida, Jacques, "Letter to A Japanese Friend," Derrida and Différance, ed. David Wood and Robert Bernasconi, Warwick: Parousia, 1985, p. 2.
  19. ^ Derrida, Jacques, "Letter to A Japanese Friend," Derrida and Différance, ed. David Wood and Robert Bernasconi, Warwick: Parousia, 1985, p. 3.
  20. ^ Derrida, Jacques, "Letter to A Japanese Friend," Derrida and Différance, ed. David Wood and Robert Bernasconi, Warwick: Parousia, 1985, p. 2.
  21. ^ Derrida, J., 1978. "'Genesis and Structure' and Phenomenology" from Writing and Difference trans. Alan Bass. London & New York: Routeledge. p. 194
  22. ^ Derrida, J., 1978. "'Genesis and Structure' and Phenomenology" from Writing and Difference trans. Alan Bass. London & New York: Routeledge. p. 194.
  23. ^ Derrida, J., 1978. "'Genesis and Structure' and Phenomenology" from Writing and Difference trans. Alan Bass. London & New York: Routeledge. p. 194.
  24. ^ Derrida, J., 1978. "'Genesis and Structure' and Phenomenology" from Writing and Difference trans. Alan Bass. London & New York: Routeledge. p. 196.
  25. ^ Derrida, Jacques, "Letter to A Japanese Friend," Derrida and Différance, ed. David Wood and Robert Bernasconi, Warwick: Parousia, 1985, p. 3.
  26. ^ Derrida, J., 1997. "The Villanova Roundtable: A Conversation with Jacques Derrida". From Deconstruction in a Nutshell. ed. J.D. Caputo. New York: Fordham UP. p. 9.
  27. ^ Derrida, J., 1978. "Cogito and the History of Madness" from Writing and Difference trans. Alan Bass. London & New York: Routeledge. p. 38.
  28. ^ Derrida, Jacques, "Letter to A Japanese Friend," Derrida and Différance, ed. David Wood and Robert Bernasconi, Warwick: Parousia, 1985, p. 3.
  29. ^ Derrida, J., 1985. "Letter to A Japanese Friend," Derrida and Différance, ed. David Wood and Robert Bernasconi, Warwick: Parousia. p. 3.
  30. ^ Derrida, J., 1985. "Letter to A Japanese Friend," Derrida and Différance, ed. David Wood and Robert Bernasconi, Warwick: Parousia. p. 3.
  31. ^ Beardsworth, R. 1996. Derrida and the Political. London and New York: Routledge. p.4.
  32. ^ Derrida, J., 1985. "Letter to A Japanese Friend," Derrida and Différance, ed. David Wood and Robert Bernasconi, Warwick: Parousia. p. 4.
  33. ^ Derrida, J., 1983. "The time of a thesis: punctuations" from Philosophy in France Today ed. Alan Montefiore. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. p.40.
  34. ^ Derrida, J., 1985. "Letter to A Japanese Friend," Derrida and Différance, ed. David Wood and Robert Bernasconi, Warwick: Parousia. p. 3.
  35. ^ Derrida, J., 1985. "Letter to A Japanese Friend," Derrida and Différance, ed. David Wood and Robert Bernasconi, Warwick: Parousia. p. 3.
  36. ^ Derrida, Jacques, "Letter to A Japanese Friend," Derrida and Différance, ed. David Wood and Robert Bernasconi, Warwick: Parousia, 1985, p. 1.
  37. ^ Derrida, J., 1978. Of Grammatology. Trans. G. C. Spivak. Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press. p.10.
  38. ^ On the historical understanding of language as speech Derrida writes that "These disguises are not historical contingencies that one might admire or regret. Their movement was absolutely necessary" and that "Within this logos [i.e. the western tradition of philosophical thought], the original and essential link to the phonè has never been broken. It would be easy to demonstrate this and I shall attempt such a demonstration later." from Derrida, J., 1978. Of Grammatology. Trans. G. C. Spivak. Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press. pp.7-11.
  39. ^ Derrida argues that writing has been considered "a particular, derivative, auxiliary form of language in general" from Derrida, J., 1978. Of Grammatology. Trans. G. C. Spivak. Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press. p.7.
  40. ^ Derrida considers the understanding of language as speech "The system of 'hearing (understanding)-oneself-speak' through the phonic substance" from Derrida, J., 1978. Of Grammatology. Trans. G. C. Spivak. Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press. p.7.
  41. ^ "the co-presence of the other and of the self" from Derrida, J., 1978. Of Grammatology. Trans. G. C. Spivak. Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press. p.12.
  42. ^ Derrida, J., 1978. Of Grammatology. Trans. G. C. Spivak. Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press. p.11.
  43. ^ Derrida, J., 1978. Of Grammatology. Trans. G. C. Spivak. Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press. p.6.
  44. ^ Derrida, J., 1983. "The time of a thesis: punctuations" from Philosophy in France Today ed. Alan Montefiore. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. p.40.
  45. ^ Derrida, J., 1978. Of Grammatology. Trans. G. C. Spivak. Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press. p.10.
  46. ^ Derrida, J., 1978. "Cogito and the History of Madness" from Writing and Difference trans. Alan Bass. London & New York: Routeledge. pp. 36-76.
  47. ^ Boyne, R., 1990. Foucault and Derrida: The other side of reason. London: Unwin Hyman. p. 1.
  48. ^ Khalfa, J., 2006. "Introduction" from M. Foucault History of Madness. Translated by J. Murphy and J. Khalfa. Edited by J. Khalfa. London and New York: Routledge. p. xxiii.
  49. ^ Boyne, R., 1990. Foucault and Derrida: The other side of reason. London: Unwin Hyman. p. 1.
  50. ^ "Schultz, W.R. & Fried, L.B., 1992. Jacques Derrida: An Annotated Primary and Secondary Bibliography. London & New York: Garland."
  51. ^ Foucault, M., 1994. Dits et Écrits 1954-1988, vol. I: 1954-1969. Edited by D. Defert, F. Ewald, J. Lagrange. Paris: Gallimard. p. 26.
  52. ^ Note that Derrida is referring to the original 1961 edition of Foucault's text. The section to which Derrida refers was unavailable in English until the translation in 2006 of the unabridged 1972 edition of Foucault's text as the History of Madness. Foucault, M., 2006. History of Madness. Translated by J. Murphy and J. Khalfa, edited by J. Khalfa. London and New York: Routledge. pp. 44-47.
  53. ^ Derrida, J., 1978. "Cogito and the History of Madness" from Writing and Difference trans. Alan Bass. London & New York: Routeledge. p. 37.
  54. ^ Derrida, Jacques (2001). "Cogito and the History of Madness". Writing and Difference. London and New York: Routledge. pp. 36–76.