Web Resources

The Derrida Seminars Translation Project: The website for the Derrida Today conference and journal: An excerpt from Benoît Peeters’ seminal biography of Derrida, published in the The Daily Beast:    

Without Foundations: Plato’s Lysis and Postmodern Friendship

– Paul W. Ludwig, “Without Foundations: Plato’s Lysis and Postmodern Friendship,” American Political Science Review 104:1 (2010): pp. 134-50.
Abstract: Political theory has developed at important junctures by questioning its ontological foundations. Modern political thought begins by questioning the naturalness of human sociability. Instead of the civic friendship propounded by the ancients, modern… More

Derrida and the Time of the Political

– Pheng Cheah and Suzanne Guerlac (eds), Derrida and the Time of the Political (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2009).
An intellectual event, Derrida and the Time of the Political marks the first time since Jacques Derrida’s death in 2004 that leading scholars have come together to critically assess the philosopher’s political and ethical writings. Skepticism about the… More

Radical Atheism: Derrida and the Time of Life

– Martin Hägglund, Radical Atheism: Derrida and the Time of Life (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2008).
Radical Atheism presents a profound new reading of the influential French philosopher Jacques Derrida. Against the prevalent notion that there was an ethical or religious “turn” in Derrida’s thinking, Hägglund argues that a radical atheism… More

The Philosophy of Derrida

– Mark Dooley and Liam Kavanagh, The Philosophy of Derrida (Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 2007).
In The Philosophy of Derrida, Mark Dooley examines Derrida’s large body of work to provide an overview of his core philosophical ideas and a balanced appraisal of their lasting impact. One of the author’s primary aims is to make accessible… More

Down by Law by Richard Wolin

– Richard Wolin, “Down By Law: Deconstruction and the Problem of Justice,” in The Seduction of Unreason: The Intellectual Romance with Fascism: From Nietzsche to Postmodernism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004): pp. 220-256.
Fifteen years ago, revelations about the political misdeeds of Martin Heidegger and Paul de Man sent shock waves throughout European and North American intellectual circles. Ever since, postmodernism has been haunted by the specter of a compromised past. In… More

Derrida’s Democracy to Come

– Matthias Fritsch, ‘Derrida’s Democracy to Come,’ Constellations 9:4 (2002): pp. 574-93.
Abstract: To assess the contribution of recent French thought to democratic theory, this paper discusses Derrida’s ‘democracy to come’ in relation to a quasi-transcendental account of the constitution of meaning and identity in terms of an excess of… More

Derrida on Law by John McCormick

– John P. McCormick, “Derrida on Law; or, Poststructuralism gets Serious,” Political Theory 29 (2001): pp. 395-423.
Excerpt: In the wake of the Paul de Man controversy nearly a decade ago, Jacques Derrida delivered a lecture on the “Force of Law.” It had only recently come to light that de Man, an intimate of Derrida and high-profile practitioner of deconstruction, had… More

The Reckless Mind: Intellectuals in Politics by Mark Lilla

– Mark Lilla, The Reckless Mind: Intellectuals in Politics (New York: New York Review of Books Press, 2001): Chapter 6.
European history of the past century is full of examples of philosophers, writers, and jurists who, whether they lived in democratic, communist, or fascist societies, supported and defended totalitarian principles and horrific regimes. But how can… More

Interrupting Derrida

– Geoffrey Bennington, Interrupting Derrida (London and New York: Routledge, 2000).
This major new work by world-renowned Derrida scholar and translator, Geoffrey Bennington, presents incisive new readings of both Derrida and interpretations of his work. Part one sets out Derrida’s work as a whole and examines its relevance to, and… More

Postmodernism, Derrida, and Différance: A Critique

– Brendan Sweetman, ‘Postmodernism, Derrida, and Différance: A Critique,’ International Philosophical Quarterly 39:1 (1999): pp. 5-18.
Excerpt: “I define postmodernism as a movement whose central theme is the critique of objective rationality and identity, and a working out of the implications of this critique for central questions in philosophy, literature and culture. My definition… More

The Ethics of Deconstruction

– Simon Critchley, The Ethics of Deconstruction (West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press, 1999).
The Ethics of Deconstruction, Simon Critchley’s first book, was originally published to great acclaim in 1992. It was the first book to argue for the ethical turn in Derrida’s work and to show as powerfully as possible how deconstruction has… More

The Prayers and Tears of Jacques Derrida

– John D. Caputo, The Prayers and Tears of Jacques Derrida (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997).
“Caputo’s book is riveting. . . . A singular achievement of stylistic brio and impeccable scholarship, it breaks new ground in making a powerful case for treating Derrida as homo religiosis. . . . There can be no mistaking the importance of… More

Deconstruction in a Nutshell: A Conversation with Jacques Derrida

– John D. Caputo (ed), Deconstruction in a Nutshell: A Conversation with Jacques Derrida (New York: Fordham University Press, 1997)
Responding to questions put to him at a Roundtable held at Villanova University in 1994, Jacques Derrida leads the reader through an illuminating discussion of the central themes of deconstruction. Speaking in English and extemporaneously, Derrida takes up… More

Richard Beardsworth, Derrida & the Political

– Richard Beardsworth, Derrida & the Political (New York: Routledge, 1996).
Jacques Derrida, one of the most influential, controversial and complex thinkers of our time, has come to be at the center of many political debates. This is the first book to consider the political implications of Derrida’s deconstruction. It is a… More

Postmodern Platos

– Catherine Zuckert, Postmodern Platos (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996): Chapters 7 & 8.
Catherine Zuckert examines the work of five key philosophical figures from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries through the lens of their own decidedly postmodern readings of Plato. She argues that Nietzsche, Heidegger, Gadamer, Strauss, and Derrida,… More

God Without Being

– Jean-Luc Marion, God Without Being, trans. Thomas A. Carlson (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995).
Jean-Luc Marion is one of the world’s foremost philosophers of religion as well as one of the leading Catholic thinkers of modern times. In God Without Being, Marion challenges a fundamental premise of traditional philosophy, theology, and metaphysics: that… More

Serious Play: The Ethical-Political Horizon of Derrida

– Richard Bernstein (1992) ‘Serious Play: The Ethical-Political Horizon of Derrida,’ in Richard Bernstein (ed.) The New Constellation: The Ethical-Political Horizons of Modernity/Postmodernity, (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press): pp.172-98.
Excerpt: “Jacques Derrida is perhaps the most controversial writer of our time. There are those who think that he is a clever intellectual fraud, a ‘prophet’ of nihilism, a whimsical destroyer of any ‘canons’ of rationality, a… More

Derrida and Negative Theology

– Harold G. Coward and Tobey Foshay (eds), Derrida and Negative Theology (Albany: SUNY Press, 1992).
This book explores the thought of Jacques Derrida as it relates to the tradition of apophatic thought — negative theology and philosophy — in both Western and Eastern traditions. Following the Introduction by Toby Foshay, two of Derrida’s… More

The Politics of Derridean Deconstruction by Catherine Zuckert

– Catherine Zuckert, “The Politics of Derridean Deconstruction” Polity 23.3 (Sprint 1991): 335-356.
The term “deconstruction,” according to one of its champions, Jacques Derrida, is more than merely a method for interpreting texts; it is a mode of political action as well, though it is not “political action” as that term is… More

Declarations of independence: Arendt and Derrida on the problem of founding a republic

– Bonnie Honig, "Declarations of independence: Arendt and Derrida on the problem of founding a republic,” The American Political Science Review 85:1 (1991): pp. 97–113.
Abstract: Beginning with Hannah Arendt’s depiction of the American Revolution and founding, I critically examine Arendt’s reading of the Declaration of Independence, comparing it with Jacques Derrida’s reading of (a draft of) the same… More

With the Compliments of the Author: Reflections on Austin and Derrida

– Stanley Fish, “With the Compliments of the Author: Reflections on Austin and Derrida” in Doing What Comes Naturally: Change, Rhetoric, and the Practice of Theory (Durham: Duke University Press, 1989): pp. 37-67.
Excerpt: “In the summer of 1977, as I was preparing to teach Jacques Derrida’s Of Grammatology to a class at the School of Criticism and Theory in Irvine, a card floated out of the text and presented itself for interpretation. It read: WITH THE… More

From Ironist Theory to Private Allusions: Derrida

– Richard Rorty, “From Ironist Theory to Private Allusions: Derrida,” in Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989): pp. 122-140.
Excerpt: Derrida stands to Heidegger as Heidegger to Nietzsche. Each is the most intelligent reader, and most devastating critic, of his respective predecessor. That predecessor is the person from whom each has learned most, and whom he most needs to surpass.… More

“Platonic Reconstruction” by Stanley Rosen

– Stanley Rosen, “Platonic Reconstruction,” in Hermeneutics as Politics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989): pp. 50-86.
[In] Hermeneutics as Politics, perhaps the most important critique of post-modern thought ever written… Rosen illuminates the underpinnings of post-modernist thought, providing valuable insight as he pursues two arguments: first, that post-modernism, which… More

Prophets of Extremity: Nietzsche, Heidegger, Foucault, Derrida

– Allan Megill, Prophets of Extremity: Nietzsche, Heidegger, Foucault, Derrida (Berkley, CA: University of California Press, 1989).
[In Prophets of Extremity, Megill] examines the philosophical works of Nietzsche, Heidegger, Foucault, and Derrida, and analyzes the connections between their viewpoints.

On the Margins of Politics

– Thomas McCarthy, “On the Margins of Politics,” The Journal of Philosophy 85:11 (1988): 645- 8.
Excerpt: “The general question raised by Jacques Derrida’s subtle variations on Levinasian and Heideggerian themes is how best to be postmetaphysical in thinking about ethics, law, and politics. Is it by pursuing a deconstructionist strategy that… More

Deconstruction and Philosophy: The Texts of Jacques Derrida

– John Sallis (ed), Deconstruction and Philosophy: The Texts of Jacques Derrida (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987).
This volume represents the first sustained effort to relate Derrida’s work to the Western philosophical tradition from Plato to Heidegger. Bringing together twelve essays by twelve leading Derridean philosophers and an important paper by Derrida… More

The Tain of the Mirror: Derrida and the Philosophy of Reflection

– Rodolphe Gasche, The Tain of the Mirror: Derrida and the Philosophy of Reflection (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1986)
Deconstruction is no game of mirrors, revealing the text as a play of surface against surface. Its more radical philosophical effort is to get behind the mirror and question the very nature of reflection. The Tain of the Mirror (tain names the tinfoil, or… More