20 July 2015

Derrida the graffitist

Derrida called his philosophy grammatology, among other things, but this is a misnomer. What he practises is grammatogrammy, a writing over writing that obliterates what the original writing was pointing to -- the phenomena themselves. Hence Derrida is a graffitist working hard to oblieterate the phenenoma themselves, along with their adequate interpretation.

Read on if you dare in

A Question of Time

An alternative cast of mind

Chapter 2.8.


  1. I've read some of his texts -- I'm not a Derridista; I have not read him closely -- and I have a different understanding of what Derrida is up to. I agree that from a phenomenological point of view, it would appear, or be the case, that Derrida is not interested in the phenomena themselves.

    He is instead interested in what makes the phenomena possible (the Lichtung/open), and how the propriative dance of un/concealing, hides beyng. By deconstructing the text, he hopes to find traces of beyng.

    1. I've read plenty of Derrida without becoming much enlightened. In my book I try to show in detail that the only trace of beyng that Derrida finds is a line of text, not a phenomenon. Even a phenomenon that likes to hide is still a phenomenon. Derrida's deconstructive reading of the crucial footnote in Being and Time on time is the obliteration of the phenomenon in question through merely suggestive graffiti. Ditto for Derrida's grammatogrammical treatment of the Anaximander fragment.

  2. Michael, it's always refreshing to read your thoughts. I'm half-way through Cratylus, and after seeing your post, straight-away the quote that came to mind is:

    "Ajax, son of Telemon, seed of Zeus, lord of the people,
    All you have said to me seems spoken after my own mind."

    When truth is present it feels like drinking from a sublime stream. Wisdom and knowledge are flowing and in motion. Truth, created through the conversation of which the reader is a part, enables understanding of the flow and the delight in our understanding of it.It allows us journey with things, "Neither falling behind nor running ahead."

    Thank you and best wishes,

    Steph in Tassie.

    1. Thanks, Steph,
      Nice to know you're listening, reading, thinking.

      With found memories of our live Tassie conversation in 2012,

    2. Yes so do I. Always listening, reading and thinking. Ask not what, but who, as you approach and being will reveal itself.