Deconstruction in the social sciences and the arts, https://www.britannica.com/topic/deconstruction, Internet Encycopedia of Philosophy - Deconstruction, deconstruction - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). Derrida's original use of the word "deconstruction" was a translation of Destruktion, a concept from the work of Martin Heidegger that Derrida sought to apply to textual reading.  According to Derrida, his statement simply refers to the unavoidability of context that is at the heart of différance.:133. Though Deconstruction is primarily understood as a theory of TEXTUALITY and as a method for reading texts, it constitutes for many a radically new way of seeing and knowing the world. ... deconstruction - a philosophical theory of criticism (usually of literature or film) that seeks to expose deep-seated contradictions in a work by delving below its surface meaning. Derrida’s Essay, “Sign and Play in the talk of the ‘Human Sciences” is a prologue to the hypothesis of Deconstruction, or a gander at language and significance rather than the item or thing language and importance is utilized to portray. Have you ever seen the scaffolding that goes up during the construction of a building? Like all Derrida’s terms it has two mutually exclusive (and contradictory) meanings: to destroy/construct. Deconstruction theory: Its importance in law how is deconstruction theory relevant in law, Commonly known as inversion of hierarchy theory, this theory was put forward by Jacques Derrida which gave rise to a seismic shift in critical thought. Derrida writes, Without a doubt, Aristotle thinks of time on the basis of ousia as parousia, on the basis of the now, the point, etc. :133, In 1995, Searle gave a brief reply to Derrida in The Construction of Social Reality. The American philosopher Walter A. Davis, in Inwardness and Existence: Subjectivity in/and Hegel, Heidegger, Marx and Freud, argues that both deconstruction and structuralism are prematurely arrested moments of a dialectical movement that issues from Hegelian "unhappy consciousness". Derrida states that deconstruction is an "antistructuralist gesture" because "[s]tructures were to be undone, decomposed, desedimented". , Miller has described deconstruction this way: "Deconstruction is not a dismantling of the structure of a text, but a demonstration that it has already dismantled itself. Western thought and language have always had a fixed centre in absolute truth. A simple example would consist of looking up a given word in a dictionary, then proceeding to look up the words found in that word's definition, etc., also comparing with older dictionaries. :43 The presence of Hegelian dialectics was enormous in the intellectual life of France during the second half of the 20th century, with the influence of Kojève and Hyppolite, but also with the impact of dialectics based on contradiction developed by Marxists, and including the existentialism of Sartre, etc. DECONSTRUCTIVE ANALYSIS In a Deconstructive analysis you are looking to reverse the dominant … Therefore, Derrida wishes to help us step beyond Nietzsche's penultimate revaluation of all western values, to the ultimate, which is the final appreciation of "the role of writing in the production of knowledge". It rejects traditional readings and instead, calls readers to seek out contradictory viewpoints and analysis. A re-valuation of certain classic western dialectics: poetry vs. philosophy, reason vs. revelation, structure vs. creativity, David B. Allison, an early translator of Derrida, states in the introduction to his translation of, Breckman, Warren, "Times of Theory: On Writing the History of French Theory,", This page was last edited on 28 November 2020, at 22:51. Derrida claimed that all of his essays were attempts to define what deconstruction is,:4 and that deconstruction is necessarily complicated and difficult to explain since it actively criticises the very language needed to explain it. Deconstruction, form of philosophical and literary analysis, derived mainly from work begun in the 1960s by the French philosopher Jacques Derrida, that questions the fundamental conceptual distinctions, or “oppositions,” in Western philosophy through a close examination of the language and logic of philosophical and literary texts. As Derrida argues, however, spoken words function as linguistic signs only to the extent that they can be repeated in different contexts, in the absence of the speaker who originally utters them. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Derrida states that "Deconstruction is not a method, and cannot be transformed into one". Consequently, some critics[who? Deconstruction perceives that language, especially ideal concepts such as truth and justice, is irreducibly complex, unstable, or impossible to determine. . Deconstruction theory embraces the precept that meaning is always uncertain and that it is not the task of the literary critic to illuminate meaning in a given text. deconstruction synonyms, deconstruction pronunciation, deconstruction translation, English dictionary definition of deconstruction.  Deconstruction generally tries to demonstrate that any text is not a discrete whole but contains several irreconcilable and contradictory meanings; that any text therefore has more than one interpretation; that the text itself links these interpretations inextricably; that the incompatibility of these interpretations is irreducible; and thus that an interpretative reading cannot go beyond a certain point. Deconstruction is breaking something down into smaller parts.  He subsequently presented his views in the article "How to Deconstruct Almost Anything", where he stated, "Contrary to the report given in the 'Hype List' column of issue #1 of Wired ('Po-Mo Gets Tek-No', page 87), we did not shout down the postmodernists. The same happens, of course, with adjectives: when must we stop saying "yellow" and start saying "orange", or exchange "past" for "present"? Deconstruction Introduction You Can Do It If any theory takes blood, sweat, and tears to master, it's deconstruction.  In addition, Derrida asks rhetorically "Is not the idea of knowledge and of the acquisition of knowledge in itself metaphysical? Simply put, deconstruction is the systematic disassembly (“unbuilding”) of a structure by hand in order to salvage the maximum economic and environmental value of materials through reuse and recycling. Nevertheless, he eventually accepted that the term had come into common use to refer to his textual approach, and Derrida himself increasingly began to use the term in this more general way. The approach you describe to deconstruction is very interesting and I would be very happy to read some examples of post structural deconstruction at work. Speech qualifies as language, in other words, only to the extent that it has characteristics traditionally assigned to writing, such as “absence,” “difference” (from the original context of utterance), and the possibility of misunderstanding. philosophy - the rational investigation of questions about existence and knowledge and ethics. Reason, logic, philosophy and science are no longer solely sufficient as the royal roads to truth. This group came to be known as the Yale school and was especially influential in literary criticism. Many things that end in "theory" (e.g., deconstruction theory, queer theory) are also critical theory's progeny. Largely the creation of its chief proponent Jacques Derrida, deconstruction upends the Western metaphysical tradition. Jean-Luc Nancy argues, in his 1982 book The Inoperative Community, for an understanding of community and society that is undeconstructable because it is prior to conceptualisation. Learn more. Ø Deconstruction DOES NOT however, seek to destroy, rather it points out the limitless instability of language. In the writings of the French Enlightenment philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, for example, society and culture are described as corrupting and oppressive forces that gradually develop out of an idyllic “state of nature” in which humans exist in self-sufficient and peaceful isolation from one another. Derrida states that his use of the word deconstruction first took place in a context in which "structuralism was dominant" and deconstruction's meaning is within this context. [page needed] Like Nietzsche, Derrida suspects Plato of dissimulation in the service of a political project, namely the education, through critical reflections, of a class of citizens more strategically positioned to influence the polis. 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 would close off the openness that Derrida wishes to preserve for deconstruction. The point of the deconstructive analysis is to restructure, or “displace,” the opposition, not simply to reverse it. Language is dogmatic because it is inescapably metaphysical. Deconstruction . Derrida initially resisted granting to his approach the overarching name "deconstruction", on the grounds that it was a precise technical term that could not be used to characterize his work generally. The problem with Nietzsche, as Derrida sees it, is that he did not go far enough. One of the dominant features of deconstruction is that it inhabits the margins of a text, i.e., it shows how texts deconstruct themselves. Derrida called these undecidables—that is, unities of simulacrum—"false" verbal properties (nominal or semantic) that can no longer be included within philosophical (binary) opposition. Derrida takes as his starting point the assertion that modern Western philosophy is characterized by and constructed around an inherent desire to place meaning at the centre of presence. The logocentric conception of truth and reality as existing outside language derives in turn from a deep-seated prejudice in Western philosophy, which Derrida characterizes as the “metaphysics of presence.” This is the tendency to conceive fundamental philosophical concepts such as truth, reality, and being in terms of ideas such as presence, essence, identity, and origin—and in the process to ignore the crucial role of absence and difference. Understanding language, according to Derrida, requires an understanding of both viewpoints of linguistic analysis. In his brief reply to Derrida, "Reiterating the Differences: A Reply to Derrida", Searle argued that Derrida's critique was unwarranted because it assumed that Austin's theory attempted to give a full account of language and meaning when its aim was much narrower. As nouns the difference between formalism and deconstruction is that formalism is strict adherence to a given form of conduct, practice etc while deconstruction is a philosophical theory of textual criticism; a form of critical analysis. Derrida states that deconstruction is not an analysis, a critique, or a method:3 in the traditional sense that philosophy understands these terms. Rather, it is to displace the opposition so as to show that neither term is primary. n. A philosophical movement and theory of literary criticism that questions traditional assumptions about certainty, identity, and truth; asserts that words... Deconstruction - definition of deconstruction by The Free Dictionary. It is a theory of literary criticism that questions traditional assumptions about certainty, identity, and truth; asserts that words can only refer to other words; and attempts to demonstrate how statements about any text subvert their own meanings. :19[jargon][further explanation needed], Derrida's theories on deconstruction were themselves influenced by the work of linguists such as Ferdinand de Saussure (whose writings on semiotics also became a cornerstone of structuralism in the mid-20th century) and literary theorists such as Roland Barthes (whose works were an investigation of the logical ends of structuralist thought). Derrida was involved in a number of high-profile disagreements with prominent philosophers, including Michel Foucault, John Searle, Willard Van Orman Quine, Peter Kreeft, and Jürgen Habermas. The aim was to deconstruct the tensions and procedures by which they are constructed, expressed, and deployed. Deconstruction is a term in contemporary philosophy, literary criticism, and the social sciences, denoting a process by which the texts and languages of Western philosophy (in particular) appear to shift and complicate in meaning when read in light of the assumptions and absences they reveal within themselves. This foil to Platonic light was deliberately and self-consciously lauded in Daybreak, when Nietzsche announces, albeit retrospectively, "In this work you will discover a subterranean man at work", and then goes on to map the project of unreason: "All things that live long are gradually so saturated with reason that their origin in unreason thereby becomes improbable. Define deconstruction. Learn more. Many things that end in "theory" (e.g., deconstruction theory, queer theory) are also critical theory's progeny. Nietzsche's point in Daybreak is that standing at the end of modern history, modern thinkers know too much to be deceived by the illusion of reason any more. :2 The structural problematic for Derrida is the tension between genesis, that which is "in the essential mode of creation or movement", and structure: "systems, or complexes, or static configurations". This being merely one historical event amongst many, Nietzsche proposes that we revisualize the history of the West as the history of a series of political moves, that is, a manifestation of the will to power, that at bottom have no greater or lesser claim to truth in any noumenal (absolute) sense. Deconstruction also inspired deconstructivism in architecture and remains important within art, music, and literary criticism.. Marian Hobson. It claims that words can only refer to other words, and that when we interpret them we immediately subvert their meaning. Deconstruction looks at the smaller parts that were used to create an object. 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.. This means that there is an assumed bias in certain binary oppositions where one side is placed in a position over another, such as good over bad, speech over the written word, male over female. One of the two terms governs the other (axiologically, logically, etc. ] have considered the exchange to be a series of elaborate misunderstandings rather than a debate, while others[who? The popularity of the term deconstruction, combined with the technical difficulty of Derrida's primary material on deconstruction and his reluctance to elaborate his understanding of the term, has meant that many secondary sources have attempted to give a more straightforward explanation than Derrida himself ever attempted. Self and other, private and public, subjective and objective, freedom and control are examples of such pairs demonstrating the influence of opposing concepts on the development of legal doctrines throughout history.  As a consequence, meaning is never present, but rather is deferred to other signs. The idea or phonic substance that a sign contains is of less importance than the other signs that surround it. For example, the word "house" derives its meaning more as a function of how it differs from "shed", "mansion", "hotel", "building", etc.  Further, in an essay on religion and religious language, Habermas criticized Derrida's emphasis on etymology and philology (see Etymological fallacy). Though notoriously misunderstood, mainly due to its initial reception, it is at the core an approach to literary criticism. :7, 12 As Richard Rorty contends, "words have meaning only because of contrast-effects with other words...no word can acquire meaning in the way in which philosophers from Aristotle to Bertrand Russell have hoped it might—by being the unmediated expression of something non-linguistic (e.g., an emotion, a sensed observation, a physical object, an idea, a Platonic Form)". We live in a logo centric world – We want to believe that everything is grounded. Actually, Deconstruction is more a way of reading than a theory of literature, and it aims to show how texts deconstruct or contradict themselves. Psychology Press. Deconstruction begins, as it were, from a refusal of the authority or determining power of every 'is', or simply from a refusal of authority in general. Derrida argued that the focus on intentionality in speech-act theory was misguided because intentionality is restricted to that which is already established as a possible intention. Derrida would say that the difference is "undecidable", in that it cannot be discerned in everyday experiences. The smaller parts are usually ideas. Its impact on literature, mediated in North America largely through the influences of theorists at Yale University, is based.  Some critics[who? He also surveys the latest research into the relationship between the past, history, and historical practice, as well as articulating his own theoretical challenges.. To demonstrate the indeterminacy of legal doctrine, these scholars often adopt a method, such as structuralism in linguistics, or deconstruction in Continental philosophy, to make explicit the deep structure of categories and tensions at work in legal texts and talk. Ø Deconstruction is a post-structuralist theory which was initiated by the French philosopher Jacques Derrida. Premium Membership is now 50% off! While sympathetic to Austin's departure from a purely denotational account of language to one that includes "force", Derrida was sceptical of the framework of normativity employed by Austin. Like all Derrida’s terms it has two mutually exclusive (and contradictory) meanings: to destroy/construct. Theory Benefit: Deconstruction creates individual questioning of the traditional assumptions and prejudices, especially in how the lesser binary has shaped society. pp. Searle considered the omission of parasitic discourse forms to be justified by the narrow scope of Austin's inquiry. [page needed]. There is a focus on the deconstruction that denotes the tearing apart of a text to find arbitrary hierarchies and presuppositions for the purpose of tracing contradictions that shadow a text's coherence. (Form of Content, that Louis Hjelmslev distinguished from Form of Expression) than how the word "house" may be tied to a certain image of a traditional house (i.e., the relationship between signified and signifier), with each term being established in reciprocal determination with the other terms than by an ostensive description or definition: when can we talk about a "house" or a "mansion" or a "shed"? This is the basis of différance. Similarly, deconstructionlooks at what makes a text whole and what holes are in between its piec… Deconstruction And Critical Theory: surveys the main schools and theorists of deconstruction; establishes their philosophical roots; traces their intellectual development; analyses their contribution to the understanding of literature and ideology; compares their critical value; explores the critical reaction to deconstruction and its limitations.