Jacques Derrida, 1930 - 2004

Anyone who has heard [Derrida] lecture in French knows that he is more performance artist than logician. His flamboyant style—using free association, rhymes and near-rhymes, puns, and maddening digressions—is not just a vain pose (though it is surely that). It reflects what he calls a self-conscious “acommunicative strategy” for combating logocentrism.

— Mark Lilla


Jacques Derrida (1930–2004) is one of the most influential and controversial philosophers of the latter half of the twentieth century. He is most notable as the originator of literary “deconstruction,” which is at once an interpretive approach and a critique of Western metaphysics.
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Derrida’s works are routinely studied and cited in a variety of scholarly disciplines within the social sciences and humanities, especially in departments of literature, languages, philosophy, fine arts, cultural studies, anthropology, psychology, sociology, and political science. The term deconstruction, moreover, which he popularized, has migrated from academic halls to descriptions of salads on menus and point guards’ styles in basketball.
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