UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

The ethics of writing : Deconstruction and Pedagogy Trifonas, Peter Pericles 1997

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Item Metadata


831-ubc_1997-196615.pdf [ 12.7MB ]
JSON: 831-1.0054774.json
JSON-LD: 831-1.0054774-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 831-1.0054774-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 831-1.0054774-rdf.json
Turtle: 831-1.0054774-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 831-1.0054774-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 831-1.0054774-source.json
Full Text

Full Text

The Ethics of Writing: Deconstruction and Pedagogy by Peter Pericles Trifonas Hon.B.A., University of Toronto, 1983 B.Ed., University of Toronto, 1984 M.A., University of British Columbia, 1992 A THESIS S U B M I T T E D I N P A R T I A L F U L F I L L M E N T O F T H E R E Q U I R E M E N T S FOR T H E D E G R E E OF D O C T O R OF P H I L O S O P H Y in T H E F A C U L T Y O F G R A D U A T E STUDIES Center for the Study of C u r r i c u l u m and Instruction  We accept this thesis as conforming j o ^ h e required ^standa/d  T H E U N I V E R S I T Y O F BRITISH C O L U M B I A February 1997 © Peter Pericles Trifonas , 1997  In  presenting  degree at the  this  thesis  in  University of  partial  fulfilment  of  of  department  this thesis for or  by  his  or  requirements  British Columbia, I agree that the  freely available for reference and study. I further copying  the  representatives.  an advanced  Library shall make it  agree that permission for extensive  scholarly purposes may be her  for  It  is  granted  by the  understood  that  head of copying  my or  publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission.  DepartrrTSnt of The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada  DE-6 (2788)  ABSTRACT Converging on that w h i c h pertains to educational theory and philosophy in the corpus of Jacques Derrida, the specificity of detail to be found in its rereading that follows, illustrates, by example, how the textuality-based machinations of deconstruction can offer a profound resistance to the instruments of domination embedded w i t h i n the methodico-institutional praxeology of teaching-learning. Furthermore, how it can provide an effective manner for undoing the ethical substrata reinforcing the politics of educational theory and practice that suffuse the discursive gradients of concepts such as "freedom," "truth," "reason," or "humanity," and so on with ideological significance. To examine this thematization of the ethico-political focus of deconstruction w i t h respect to issues of educational theory and practice in general, the "philosophico-methodological" approach I take relies, more or less, on an actively interpretative instance of the moment of reading as writing.  That is, the "formativity" of the textual production is attuned to the  complexity of the thinking-through  and working-out,  a  thinking-working-  through-out, of the act of meaning-making itself. Respecting the "exigencies" of a classical protocol of reading, the modality of the writing—its philosophical emphasis and style—integrates and establishes associative links to the terms of deconstruction by forcing reflection u p o n the objectifiable values of the meaning of itself, attempting to come to an understanding of the significance of Derrida's texts for actualizing a positive transformation of  the institutional ground of pedagogy. Resisting the telos of decidability at the threshold of its o w n sense, the study compels "the reader"—as it does "the writer"—to push at the outer limits of their o w n horizons of knowledge. The "results" of this w o r k i n g through of the Derridean instance of deconstruction are articulated as part of the "ec-centricities" of reading as writing, wherein, the ideas d r a w n from these texts are turned back upon themselves and "worked-over," thereby, extending the intertextual schematism of the ideological norms and frames of reference within which the psyche operates. What I show through and by example is, how the radical polemics of deconstruction has value for analyzing the ethical and political implications of pedagogical contingencies of theory and practice.  iii  TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract  ii  Table of Contents  iv  Acknowledgements  v  Dedication  vi  Chapter One Polemical Introduction: A Prelude to the Pedagogy of Deconstruction  1  The Cultural Politics of the Sign: The Ethics of Writing in the " A g e " of Rousseau  17  The Ends of Pedagogy: From the Ends of Pedagogy to the Deconstruction of the Institution  89  Chapter T w o  Chapter Three  Chapter Four Technologies of Reason: The G r o u n d i n g of Academic Responsibility Beyond the Principle of Reason as the Metaphysical Foundation of the University  152  Afterwords: The Ethics of Deconstruction and the Politics of Pedagogy  233  Chapter Five  Bibliography  258  iv  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS  I w o u l d like to acknowledge, first and foremost, my gratitude to Dr. John Willinsky for the endless reserves of patience and energy expended o n supervising the production of this text. Without the tremendous breadth of his insight, advice, and support it w o u l d not have been possible, to put it quite simply, to have the courage to write what w i l l follow. A s well, I w o u l d like to thank Dr. Carl Leggo and Dr. Richard Cavell for the valuable assistance each of them has offered during my studies at the University of British Columbia. A n d finally, I w o u l d like to thank Professor Jacques Derrida for extending an open invitation to follow up with h i m some of the traces of his work relating to "the educational problematic" that have found their w a y into this text. Chapter Three, "The Ends of Pedagogy: From the Dialectic of M e m o r y to the Deconstruction of the Institution," has been published, albeit i n a somewhat shortened version as "The Ends of Pedagogy: From the Dialectic of M e m o r y to the Deconstruction of the Institution," Educational Theory 46, no. 3 (Summer 1996): 303-333. Chapter One, "Polemical Introduction: A Prelude to the Pedagogy of Deconstruction"—all but a paragraph or so—appears as part of the same article, cited above, i n Educational Theory.  v  DEDICATION  These words that w i l l follow are dedicated with eternal love and boundless appreciation to Elefteria, whose selfless giving of the unreturnable gifts of time and patience have made possible the chance for the fulfillment of what from its beginnings had always seemed an endless and unforgiving task. Thank you. I w i l l forever be grateful. A n d to my parents, Panagiotis and Martha, whose immeasurable sacrifice and love taught me that to live is but to learn; the joyful inspiration of their ancient w i s d o m is confirmed each and every single day by the miracle of my own children, Peirce and Anthi.  vi  CHAPTER ONE Polemical A Prelude  Introduction:  to the Pedagogy  of  Deconstruction  This, then, is not after all an undertaking of war or a discpurse of belligerence. I should like it to be also like a headlong flight straight towards the end, a joyous self-contradiction, a disarmed desire, that is to say something very old and very cunning, but w h i c h also has just been born and w h i c h delights i n being without defence. —Jacques Derrida, "The Time of a Thesis: Punctuations"^  1  Polemical  Introduction  The intra- and transnational sites of contestation that have emerged to engage the epistemological forcefulness of the postmodern evolution of French thought spanning the ideology-based vicissitudes of continental philosophy over the past twenty-five years encompass the interdisciplinary junctures of a hermeneutic terrain permeated, more often than not, by a critical radicality defined i n direct relation to deconstruction.  2  A  philosophical endeavouring of a decisively non-dialectical fervour.  3  What  the designation of this era as "poststructuralism" clearly attests to is the grand scale of its impact both within and without "the Academy": this deep breadth of its manifestations having served to underscore an unprecedented capacity to alter the reproducible stability of knowledge configurations. Quand meme, because of this or perhaps, to a notable degree, in spite of it, the rapid rise of deconstruction to an enviable position of prominence at the "higher" echelons of the pedagogical institution has not been without controversy. Its unique provocations to the long-standing codes of the Universitas as a theoretical phenomenon transgressive of normative contingencies of value has fascinated, has engaged, and, i n some cases, has even enraged intellectuals—either of the "left" or of the "right" —reacting to the mutability 4  of its many forms incurred among the "human sciences," including the disciplinary areas of educational studies.  5  In this right, the last stages of a  transitional passage from the endings of a "modern age" pedagogy wellversed i n the cogitative techniques of dialektike expanded u p o n from early Greek t h i n k i n g to the beginnings of an "other age"—an age of the Other— 6  are exemplified by the unique challenges the teachings of Jacques Derrida pose  2  Polemical  Introduction  to the metaphysical pediments of Western philosophy and science. A s the legacy of a pedagogical tradition preserved through the mode of argumentation constructing the logicality of Plato's dialogues and the contours of the path of a thinking beyond, the dialectic fervently guards the spirit of an ancient body of knowledge once believed to be w h o l l y "educative/' i n every sense of the w o r d , but most certainly experiencing successive phases of decline well into the latter half of the twentieth century.  7  Inevitably, it is the idealism of the absolute reason of the dialectic, as a teaching-learning strategy that carries the critical burden of an incalculable risk to the integrity of its truth, when the honor of its philosophical memory is violated by unforeseen transgressions into the uncharted territories of fundamental epistemic and pedagogical change. The pedagogical path of deconstruction Derrida has initiated and has chosen to pursue both i n France and abroad cannot, however, be arbitrarily reduced to the singular purpose of simply enabling a revolutionary defiance to the authority of the teachings of the dialectic of Western philosophy. Such an uninformed caricature is primarily the facile result of a distortion or ignorance of textual sources.  8  Tempting as this stereotypical "tract" might be  for those like Jiirgen Habermas, it places unmanageable limits upon the scope, if not the intentionality  (vouloir-dire), of a "philosophical  deconstruction" to fulfill nothing beyond a fatalistic rejection of the orthodox prophetics of modernity.  9  The charge of paving the way for advancing a  pandemic nihilism—the discord of an apocalyptic tone —usually 10  accompanies the rationalization of this accusation when and where it has  3  Polemical  Introduction  been leveled against the legons of Derrida. A n d the demonstrated potential of deconstruction to address the discourse ethics of the self-reasoning institutions of teaching-learning subsequently inaugurated from the founding thought of the philosophy of the West is dismissed outright. Rather, given the developmental course of postmetaphysical  11  thinking since  the first serious challenges Friedrich Nietzsche issued to the monography of Occidental reason, I w o u l d argue, it w o u l d be fairer and, indeed, considerably more accurate to view the "guiding role" for the future of deconstruction more or less imposed upon Derrida by those who read his texts or extol his thoughts, i n quite another light. That is, as the inescapable summons to responsibility demanded of an intellectual undertaking thoroughly inscribed by and inscriptive of the conditional effects of a gradual, though steady, intensification of the ethico-political maturation of the states of theory.  12  Derrida, for his part, has clearly acknowledged, "What we call deconstruction i n its academic or i n its editorial form is also a symptom of a deconstruction at work elsewhere i n society and the w o r l d . "  1 3  The  importance of this "symptomatic" aspect of deconstruction is often overlooked. Its "case" of interceding to disrupt the calculability of the interchange between the subjective topographies of m i n d and body traversing discourse and life unquestionably complicates the idea of a theory/praxis dualism.  A separation of the inferiority of thought from the exteriority of  action—inasmuch as it grounds the criteriological basis of consequences ostensibly i n "the real"—only succeeds to close-off the socius of the institutional sphere to the ethicity of implications accompanying any act of  4  Polemical  Introduction  interpretation, whether formalized creatively through the pragmatic signs of language as "reading" or "writing." The following passage from "Mochlos; or, The Conflict of the Faculties" is worth quoting here at length to illustrate h o w the heteronomous situation of deconstruction  "happens":  14  If, then, it lays claim to any consequence, what is hastily called deconstruction as such is never a technical set of discursive procedures, still less a new hermeneutic method operating on archives or utterances i n the shelter of a given and stable institution; it is also, and at the least, the taking of a position, i n work itself, toward the politicoinstitutional structures that constitute and regulate our practice, our competences, and our performances. Precisely because deconstruction has never been concerned w i t h the contents alone of meaning, it must not be separable from this politico-institutional problematic, and has to require a new questioning about responsibility, an inquiry that should no longer necessarily rely on codes inherited from politics or ethics. W h i c h is w h y , though too political i n the eyes of some, deconstruction can seem demobilizing in the eyes of those w h o recognize the political only w i t h the help of prewar road signs. Deconstruction is limited neither to a methodological reform that w o u l d reassure the given organization, nor, inversely, to a parade of irresponsible or irresponsibilizing destruction, whose surest effect w o u l d be to leave the everything as is, consolidating the most immobile forces of the university. 15  What today Derrida recognizes to be the richness of an unceasing profusion of "deconstructions"  concedes the dehiscent multiplicity of conceptual  dislocations readily achievable from the unpredictable flowering of the wellsown seeds of his o w n texts. Yet this p articular ization of theoretical practice that is required to address the contextual aporias of performing analytic gestures suitable to a critical task, still come to be motivated by the antinomic  5  Polemical  Introduction  vocation of finding ways to extinguish the paleonymic mastery of the pedagogical icons of the ages before.  16  For Derrida, as is reaffirmed more and  more by his recent writings, the situation of deconstruction is, was, and should he, the consequential result of the conscious subjectification of a desire to enact "a positive response to an alterity,"  17  regardless of the mainstream of  a "good conscience" of unreflective opinions or beliefs its w o r k i n g out may alienate along the way. Targetting the institutional ground that constructs the distinguishing of pure difference as the judgemental basis u p o n w h i c h to entrench a viable and tangible separation of essentialized  subjectivities—e.g.,  "the Same" from "the O t h e r " — c o u l d lead, i n its turning, to an eventual 18  dissolution of the grounds of interpretative foundations for arbitrary realw o r l d inclusions and exclusions. The "pedagogy of deconstruction,"  in this  sense, presupposes an affirmative answering of/to the call of the Other that, above all else, emphatically strives to hasten and improve the concrete possibilities of ushering forth a more equitable new world picture.  The  ethical-political aftermath of its aggressively interventive questioning of the limits of normativity allows for a qualitative expansion of the existential borders of selfhood (of the Being of beings) beyond the narrowly regulated structures of institutionalized authority framing the material horizons of the realities we inhabit and therefore shape. Whether it be incorporated w i t h i n "systematic" elements of the manifold guises of "post-marxisms," "post-feminisms," "post-colonialisms," or any other "post-critical" discourses promoting the emancipatory need for protecting the agency of the subject against the ideological tamperings of  6  Polemical Introduction cultural institutions, the ground-breaking work of Derrida has influenced recent theoretical re-evaluations of how to go about this common political and altruistic intent.  19  Deconstruction has breathed new-found life into a  host of current modifications of stale methodological lenses through w h i c h to identify and to re-approach the ethical dilemma of social inequalities. In short, the thought of Derrida has availed "us" the opportunity for an original recasting of the complicitous grounds of our o w n academic responsibility.  20  G i v e n that the problem of the institutionalization of education is posed "at the [epistemological and performative] root of philosophy as teaching,"  21  the theorized status of the applied site of pedagogy has been of sustained interest for Derrida i n this regard. A n d he has painstakingly reiterated this point many times before, for example, as i n "Ou commence et comment finit un corps enseignant," to clarify the depth of its parameters for the sake of protecting the right to philosophy education: "Deconstruction—or at least that w h i c h I proposed under this name that is as good as (qui en vaut bien) another, but not m o r e — h a s therefore always had bearing (porte) i n principle on the apparatus and the function of teaching i n general."  22  The initiative  Derrida has taken to expose the umbrage i n the decidable ethics of "right" and "wrong" active below the surface structures of the educational institution is counterpoised i n accordance w i t h the responsibility of a political obligation "to interrogate, to exhibit, to criticize [the conceptual cadre framing its characteristic features] s y s t e m a t i c a l l y — w i t h an eye toward transformation."  23  By unearthing the systemic indications of coercive elements i n the actual "machinery-of-schooling" that have the potential to shape the trajectory of  7  Polemical  Introduction  knowledge presentations or creations as the curricular products of a normative projection of a unified code of subjectivity, the concealed biases of pedagogical goals or aims are laid bare. It cannot be denied that in m i n i m i z i n g the gap or delay of a conceptual dichotomy separating theory from praxis, the "general principles" of Derridean deconstruction have sharpened the analytic wherewithal for the recrafting of "critical tools" w i t h w h i c h to reveal the nature of covert interests that infuse the actual conditions of teaching and learning.  24  This focus alone can and has—in some  instances—helped educational theorists or critics of diverse ideological "bents" to politicize the ethology of the cultural situatedness of pedagogy once and for all w i t h a view to the righting of wrongs. Deconstruction has heretofore set apart, among others, those who w o u l d scrutinize the p o w e r / k n o w l e d g e nexus at work for the pedagogical canonization and thus the privileging of certain texts, from those who w o u l d uphold the sanctity of a system of educational institutions engendered from the exclusionary heritage of their philosophical lessons. Born "of an other l o g i c "  25  parergonal—outside but w i t h i n the enclosure—of the conceptual oppositions of Western rationality, the intrepidity of its inferences has done that much to change the usually unexamined notions of polity assumed for the transmission of given or common u n d e r s t a n d i n g s . Despite the recurrent tendency of many proponents of educational reform associated w i t h the aforementioned "movements" to overzealously appeal to, or even use, some of the Derridean tenets for the expressed purpose of "institutional i n q u i r y " or "cultural critique" (e.g., difference, differance, trace,  8  Polemical  Introduction  inversion-displacement, binarity, [phal]logocentrism, "metaphysics of presence," supplementarity, dissemination, etc.), the ethical and political efficacy of deconstruction continues to be vehemently questioned, argued, and vastly undertheorized or examined i n this disciplinary area w i t h some care for a certain "philosophical r i g o u r . "  26  In a cross-disciplinary and cross-  cultural study of the reception of French and German theory by academia, Robert C . H o l u b correctly notes that the ongoing "attempt to politicize deconstruction [especially after the 'Yale school' brand of 'rhetorical poststructuralism'], of course, can more properly be considered a repoliticization of deconstruction for [North] American criticism, since the affinity w i t h radical and marxist thought had existed i n France from its very inception."  27  The matter-of-course underestimation or outright dismissal of  the potential—if not the substantive value—of deconstruction for reconceptualizing the ethical questions of political issues such as those associated w i t h pedagogy, essentially of interest for us w i t h i n the field of education, is most curious. Nevertheless, it may be due to a lack of critical attention given (to) a considerable part of the corpus that is Derrida's writings: the texts deliberating the institutional plight of "Philosophy," the serious problem of maintaining the teaching-learning of its curriculum, indigenous to the ideological fluctuations of the educational climate i n France. Primacy having been allocated to the so-called "philosophical" or "argumentative" texts, the remaining writings have been u n d u l y marginalized from the oeuvre propre on the basis of rhetorical or stylistic considerations.  28  A large proportion of what has been forged together at the  9  Polemical  Introduction  periphery to form a significantly less-recognized "subcanon" that has been short-shrifted, if addressed at all, is explicitly oriented to examining the politics of the institutionalization of la Philosophic; the pedagogical insolvency of its ethical underpinnings, as it were. The majority of these texts (essays, lectures, interviews, letters, etc.) were written i n the seventies up to the early-to-mid eighties, at what was the height of Derrida's involvement w i t h the G R E P H (Groupe de Recherches sur I'Enseignement  Philosophique),  a collective of philosophes de profession, teachers, students, a n d others devoted to protecting the discipline of philosophy against the educational mandates of a French state threatening its eradication. Considering the speed and the diligence w i t h w h i c h Derrida's more recent writings have been translated, the fact that a good deal of these "secondarized" texts have not been available for the perusal of non-French-reading downgrading of their critical weight and value.  29  scholars reflects a certain  A n d this glaring gap of  omission concerning the most overtly ethical and political phases of his philosophical labour notwithstanding, there remains quite a healthy trend to quasi-methodologize  well-known elements of the so-proclaimed "canon" by  reappropriating their theoretical precepts under the all-too-generic label of an "applied deconstruction," supposedly modified and thus more amenable to facilitating the study of "real-world" phenomena than the "authentic thing," whatever that may be.  30  I w i l l not endeavour to "go over" the minutia of these well-worn contentions to support or to refute them per se. Yet, all the while, the sightlines of the succeeding chapters do more than merely map over the vast  10  Polemical  Introduction  plane of what has been written in or against the name of deconstruction. Converging on that w h i c h pertains to educational theory and philosophy i n the totality of the published work of Derrida to date while concentrating on the rereading of largely "unread" and "under-read" texts and sources, the specificity of detail to be found i n the analyses to follow seeks, at the very least, to fill some of the lacunae these recurrent phases of critical conjuncture have left open to date on the ethics and politics of deconstruction, and at the most, to facilitate the breaking of new ground for thinking about the practice of pedagogy at large. Specifically, I will try to illustrate by example how the textuality-based  machinations of the Derridean instance of deconstruction can  offer a profound resistance to the instruments within  the philosophico-institutional  Furthermore,  of domination embedded  praxeology of  teaching-learning.  how it can provide an effective and efficient manner for  undoing the ethical substrata reinforcing the politics of educational theory and practice that suffuse the discursive gradients of concepts such as "freedom," "truth,"  "reason," or "humanity,"  and so on with ideological  significance. In addressing the body of Derrida's texts to examine this thematization of the ethico-political focus of deconstruction with respect to issues of educational theory and practice in general, the "philosophicomethodological" approach I w i l l take relies, more or less, on an actively interpretative instance of the moment of reading as writing.  That is, the  "formativity" of the textual production to be presented is attuned to the complexity of the thinking-through  and working-out,  11  a  thinking-working-  Polemical  Introduction  through-out, of the act of interpretation itself. Respecting what Derrida  has  called the "exigencies" of a classical protocol of reading, the modality of the writing I w i l l u s e — i t s philosophical focus and style—integrates and establishes associative links to deconstruction to come to terms w i t h an understanding of the significance of these texts for actualizing a positive transformation of the institution of pedagogy. It forces reflection on the objectifiable value of its o w n ground by enacting within the form of its structures an interpretative resistance to the decidability of meaning at the threshold of its o w n sense, i n that, it compels "the r e a d e r " — a s it does "the w r i t e r " — t o push at the outer limits of their o w n frames of knowledge and reference relative to conventions always already w i t h i n the confinement of a normative parameter of reflexivity. The philosophico-stylistic results of the working through of the Derridean corpus must be articulated then as part of the "ec-centricities" of reading as writing wherein the ideas d r a w n from these texts are turned back u p o n themselves and  "worked-over" w i t h i n the  intertextual schematism of the ideo-logies, norms, frames, w i t h i n which the interpretative psyche operates. In the complexity of such a context, what I shall seek to show through and b y example is, how the radical polemics of deconstruction  has value for analyzing  the ethical and political  of pedagogical contingencies of theory and practice.  12  implications  Polemical  Introduction  Notes 1. Jacques Derrida, "The Time of a Thesis: Punctuations," trans. Kathleen M c L a u g h l i n , i n Philosophy in France Today, ed. A l a n Montefiore (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983), 50. 2. For a most comprehensive discussion and documentation of this phenomenon of antiHegelianism, see Vincent Descombes, Modern French Philosophy, trans. L . Fox-Scott and J. H a r d i n g (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980). 3. See M i c h a e l R y a n , Marxism and Deconstruction: A Critical Articulation (Baltimore: Johns H o p k i n s University Press, 1982). Here Ryan develops a very thorough comparative analysis of deconstruction and speculative idealism while addressing the central question of his book: the potential of deconstruction for a rearticulation of orthodox marxism and dialectical materialism. 4. Jurgen Habermas, The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity: Twelve Lectures, trans. Frank Lawrence (Cambridge, Mass.: The M I T Press, 1985) and Gerald Graff, Literature Against Itself (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979) are examples of the rank and file of this " d i v i s i o n " on opposite sides of the political fence of theory or criticism. 5. For example, Barbara Johnson, The Wake of Deconstruction (Oxford, U K : Blackwell, 1994) and Jeffrey T. N e a l o n , Double Reading: Postmodernism After Deconstruction (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1993) are two recent books that present an "even-handed" outline of the trials and tribulations of the "splintering" of deconstruction i n the N o r t h A m e r i c a n academy. 6. See R o y Bhaskar, Plato Etc.: The Problems of Philosophy and Their Resolution (London: Verso, 1994). 7. In Gregory L . U l m e r , Applied Grammatology: Post(e)-Pedagogy from Jacques Derrida to Joseph Beuys (Baltimore: Johns H o p k i n s University Press, 1985), the metaphysical standards of a Hegelian pedagogy are outlined according to the demands of the dialectic and its protection of memorization for what is an "enlightened" learning. 8. See Jacques Derrida, "Afterword: T o w a r d an Ethic of Discussion," i n Limited Inc., trans. Samuel Weber and Jeffrey M e h l m a n , ed. Gerald Graff (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1988). The retort to his critics Derrida provides here (in the form of written answers to the questions of Graff) does m u c h to dispel the m y t h that deconstruction is apolitical and that its textualization of h u m a n experience does not take ethics into account. W i l l i a m B. Stanley i n Curriculum for Utopia: Social Reconstructionism and Critical Pedagogy in the Postmodern Era (Albany: State University of N e w Y o r k Press, 1992) presents an excellent over view of the discussion along w i t h some insight into the curricular implications of the ethics of deconstruction. 9. This is the basis of the critique of Derrida and deconstruction i n Jurgen Habermas, The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity. 10. The (non)relation of deconstruction w i t h apophatic thought (e.g., negative theology) is discussed i n Jacques Derrida, " O f an Apocalyptic Tone Recently A d o p t e d i n Philosophy," trans. John P. Leavy Jr., Oxford Literary Review 6, no. 2 (1984): 3-37. 11. Such is the position taken by Thomas M c C a r t h y (a translator of Jurgen Habermas) i n "The Politics of the Ineffable: Derrida's Deconstructionism," The Philosophical Forum 21 (FallWinter 1989-90): 146-168 and by John M . Ellis i n Against Deconstruction (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1989. Cf., Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Outside in the Teaching Machine (New York: Routledge, 1993), Rodolphe Gasche, Inventions of Difference: On Jacques Derrida  13  Polemical  Introduction  (Cambridge, Mass.: H a r v a r d University Press, 1994), and Christopher N o r r i s , Derrida (London: Fontana Press, 1987). See also Barbara Foley, "The Politics of Deconstruction," i n Rhetoric and Form: Deconstruction at Yale, eds. Robert C o n Davis and Ronald Schleifer (Norman: University of O k l a h o m a Press, 1985), 113-134 and B i l l Readings, "The Deconstruction of Politics," i n Reading De Man Reading eds. L i n d s a y Waters and W l a d G o d z i c h (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1989), 223-243. 12. Even though many have hailed the most "politicized" statement of deconstruction to be Jacques D e r r i d a , Specters of Marx:  The State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning,  & the  New  International, trans. Peggy K a m u f (New York: Routledge, 1994), the continuation of an elaboration on general themes taken-up i n this text around the problems of ethics, democracy, ideology, and history have been addressed before i n the earliest of his texts. See also the more recent, for example, Jacques Derrida, "Force of L a w : The 'Mystical Foundation of Authority,'" trans. M a r y Quaintance, Cordozo Law Review 11, nos. 5-6 (1990): 919-1045, Jacques Derrida, Du Droit a la Philosophic (Paris: Galilee, 1990), a collection of previously published texts (from 1975 to 1990) on the ethico-juridical and socio-political sphere of the institution of philosophy education i n France, and more recently, Jacques Derrida, Politiques de I'amitie (Paris: Galilee, 1994). 13. Jacques Derrida, " O n Colleges and Philosophy," in Postmodernism: ICA Documents, ed. Lisa A p p i g n a n e s i (London: Free Association Books, 1989), 69. 14. See the interview w i t h Jacques Derrida entitled "Deconstruction and the Other," i n Dialogues  with  Contemporary  Continental  Thinkers,  ed. R i c h a r d K e a r n e y (Manchester:  Manchester University Press, 1984), 105-126, for a lucid explanation of this symptomatic appearance of deconstruction and its concern w i t h the repressed Other of desire that demands recognition. 15. Jacques Derrida, "Mochlos; or The Conflict of the Faculties," trans. Richard Rand and A m y Wygant, i n Logomachia: The Conflict of the Faculties, ed. Richard R a n d (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1992), 22-23. 16. See Jacques Derrida, "Some Statements and Truisms about Neo-Logisms, N e w i s m s , Postisms, Parasitisms, and other Small Seismisms," trans. A n n e Tomiche, i n States of Theory: History, Art, and Critical Discourse, ed. D a v i d Carrol (New York: C o l u m b i a University Press, 1990), 63-95, for Derrida's contribution to the polylogue and polyglot of "isms" currently bandied about i n academic discourses and for a clarification of some of the ethical-political value that is "misread" out of deconstruction. 17. Derrida, "Deconstruction and the Other," 118. 18. This anti-phenomenological theme (e.g., the dissimulation of auto-affection) goes back to an early text, Jacques D e r r i d a , Speech and Phenomena:  And  Other  Essays  on Husserl's  Theory  of Signs, trans. D a v i d B. A l l i s o n (Evanston: Northwestern University Press) where the identity of representation and the trace of the Other are major preoccupations as regards reflexion. See also R o d o l p h Gasche, The Tain of the Mirror: Derrida and the Philosophy of Reflection (Cambridge, Mass.: H a r v a r d University Press, 1986). 19. For an example of incorporating deconstruction i n post-marxist social theory, see Ernesto L a c l a u and  C h a n t a l Mouffe, Hegemony  and Socialist  Strategy:  Towards  a Radical  Democratic  Politics (London: Verso, 1986); for a feminist k n o d to deconstruction—albeit a reductive one since the point is to discuss postmodernism—as related to research and education, see Patti Lather, Getting  Smart:  Feminist  Research  and Pedagogy  14  with/in  the Postmodern  (New  York:  Polemical  Introduction  Routledge, 1991); for smatterings of a postcolonial rendering of deconstruction see H o m i K . Bhabha, The Location of Culture (New York: Routledge, 1994). I w i l l further pursue the question of the conception of difference i n these discourses w i t h respect to the principle of education equality and equity, and the value of deconstruction for reconceptualizing what is a very problematic articulation of the concept of difference therein, i n future work. 20. See Denise, Egea-Kuehne, "Deconstruction Revisited and Derrida's C a l l for Academic Responsibility," Educational Theory 45, no. 3 (1995): 293-309. 21. Jacques Derrida, " O u commence et comment finit u n corps enseignant," i n Du droit a la philosophic (Paris: Galilee, 1990), 119. ( A l l translations from this text are m y own.). 22. Ibid., 118-119. 23. Ibid., 115. 24. Some representative examples include: Cleo Cherryholmes, Power and Criticism: Poststructural Investigations in Education (New York: Teachers College Press, 1988); W i l l i a m F. Pinar and W i l l i a m M . Reynolds, eds., Understanding Curriculum as Phenomenological and Deconstructed Text (New York: Teachers College Press, 1992); and D o n a l d M o r t o n and M a s ' u d Z a v a r z a d e h , eds. Theory/Pedagogy/Politics: Texts for Change (Urbana: U n i v e r s i t y of Illinois Press, 1991). 25. Derrida, " O u commence et comment finit u n corps enseignant," 121. 26 . See P a u l Jay, "Bridging the Gap: The Position of Politics i n Deconstuction," Cultural Critique 22 (Fall 1992): 47-73, Gregory S. Jay, America the Scrivener: Deconstruction and the Subject of Literary History (Ithaca: C o r n e l l University Press, 1990), and John D , Caputo, Against  Ethics:  Deconstruction 27.  Contributions  to a Poetics  of Obligation  with Constant  Reference  to  (Bloomington: Indiana University press, 1993).  Robert C . H o l u b , Border Crossings:  Reception  Theory, Poststructuralism,  Deconstruction  (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1992), 112. 28. See Richard Rorty, "Is D e r r i d a a Transcendental Philosopher?," i n Derrida: A Critical Reader, ed. D a v i d W o o d (Oxford: Blackwell, 1992), 235-246. 29. M a n y of these "institutional" or "pedagogical" texts are collected i n Jacques Derrida, Du droit a la philosophic (Paris: Galilee, 1990). A voluminous book (six h u n d r e d and sixty-three pages i n all) that is edited for a decidedly French audience, one that w o u l d assuredly be familiar w i t h the institutional plight of philosophical pedagogies. A l l of the book's contents seriously engages some fundamental educational problems at the "cutting edge" of debate today in many disciplines. Some of the "chapters" i n the compenduim have been translated into English as separate texts (e.g., "Mochlos; or, the Conflict of the Faculties," The A g e of Hegel," "The Principle of Reason: The University i n the Eyes of its Pupils,"), but have been acknowledged by only a handful of critics referring primarily to poststructural/postmodern transformations of literary studies and even less by the more "radical" schools of educational theory that need to address the "real effects" of p o w e r / k n o w l e d g e distributions i n pedagogy directly. This neglect on behalf of both groups respectively, yet more conspicuously of the second, may account to some extent for the fact that the "ethics and politics of deconstruction" has remained i n a constant state of questioning, even by those who, nevertheless, cite its proper name to derive an avant-garde or post-modern authority without a p p l y i n g its "general principles" to the search for various "methods" of cultural criticism. To illustrate, a recent book states (rather baldly, I might add): "In writing about Derrida and education we are faced w i t h the problem the he appears to have nothing directly to say about education [my emphasis]."  15  Polemical  Introduction  A n d if this were not enough of a gross error, the authors continue, "Thus to read Derrida from the standpoint of an educator, w i t h an educational perspective and w i t h a v i e w to gaining educational 'pay-offs' from one's reading, must inevitably force us beyond our immediate standpoint into foregrounding, sooner or later, the general question of h o w a writer is to be read, of h o w a writer 'speaks' to us." I submit that this is precisely the uninformed opinion that has passed for "expert commentary" on Derrida when the point is more to rehash a conservative reading of deconstruction without sufficient depth for the expedient purpose of convenient generalizations or harried co-optation. Both quotations were taken from Robin Usher and Richard Edwards, Postmodernism and Education (New York: Routledge, 1994), 119. 30. This is due to the n o w quite fashionable trend of appealing to/for a radical authority or poststructural respectability by attaching the label of "deconstruction" to a particular approach, to a critico-theoretical cause, or to a research project to sanction the semblance of such a methodological validity i n terms of periodization or timeliness. This is the theoretical "double speak" of feigning an obedience to the aura of these so-called "deconstructive precepts" while adapting the core concepts of something else more methodologically stable or palatable for the purposes of passing it off as "new."  16  CHAPTER TWO The Cultural Politics of the Sign:  The Ethics of Writing in the "Age"of Rousseau  To recognize w r i t i n g i n speech, that is to say differance a n d the absence of speech, is to begin to think the lure. There is no ethics without the presence of the other but also, and consequently, without absence, dissimulation, differance, w r i t i n g . The arche-writing is the origin of morality as of immorality. The nonethical opening of ethics. —Jacques D e r r i d a , Of Grammatology^  17  The Cultural Politics of the Sign Chapter T w o intervenes at the phenomeno-semiological core of the deconstruction of the institutional history of Western epistemology. It proceeds to show h o w the question of w r i t i n g and a meditation of the ethicity of the teachings of metaphysics as "first philosophy" are inseparable, since, the reduction of difference and exteriority b y the sanguine fullness of presence constitutes a tradition of the exclusion of otherness. The chapter consists of two parts that "take u p " the cultural politics of the sign and the  deconstruction of the legitimacy of the foundation of intersubjective violence as Jacques Derrida articulates it i n Of Grammatology, and other texts of that time, most notably "Differance." W i t h i n this interpretative framework, the question of ethics, i n the plenum of more than a "general formulizability," is addressed through an elucidation of the problems of negotiating the affectivity of Western epistemology i n the pedagogical mode of theory as praxis. Specifically, the first part begins w i t h an examination of Derrida's engagement w i t h the philosophical history of the semiological underpinnings of the metaphysical model of cognition as it is developed i n the seminal text of deconstruction, Of Grammatology. It is shown h o w the recognition of the ethnocentric prioritization of speech over w r i t i n g is the product of understanding the "representationality" of language forms i n terms of an economy of signification. The point being that d e c o n s t r u c t i o n — and the radicality of its complication of the Occidental fable of pure origins— w o u l d not have been possible without the theoretical presuppositions of the teleological intimations of either semiological auto-affection or phenomenological transcendentalism.  This focus is taken further i n a  18  The Cultural Politics of the Sign rereading of Derrida's reading of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the political utopianism of his pedagogical ideal of a "community of speech" that w o u l d inevitably resist the supplementation of the originary (meaning "innocent" or "unsullied") state of its human nature by the violence of "culture." The deconstruction of the ethics of the educational theory of the eighteenthcentury philosopher is analyzed w i t h respect to the question of the derivation of the subjectivity of "the c h i l d " and the implications of this inchoate mourning for the Toss of the source of the Being of beings this romantic image of h u m a n k i n d portrays. In the second part of Chapter Two, the nonethical aftermath of the sign is examined i n relation to the characteristics of Saussurean semiology that enable Derrida to identify it as yet another example of the logocentrism of Western metaphysics.  The epistemic value of  a phonological theory of signification this type of "linguistic structuralism" posits is effectively questioned here by counter-posing its "linearist" premises predicated on the voice against the most crucial elements of the poststructuraL version of difference or the idea of the play of the sign of the writing of the Other. Thus, are set, the argumentative preconditions through w h i c h to gauge the "testing" of the theoretical matrix of deconstruction as it is brought to bear on the practical domain of the disciplinary areas of the application of structuralism w i t h i n the "social" or "human sciences." The example we consider w i t h i n this contextual site of praxis is Derrida's reading of "The W r i t i n g Lesson" to be found i n Claude-Levi-Strauss' Tristes Tropiques, a n ethnological master text representative of the "Age of Rousseau," the epoch of the founding of modern anthropology.  19  By expanding u p o n the ethico-  The Cultural Politics of the Sign political dimensions of the deconstruction of the ethnocentrism of the representation of the N a m b i k w a r a given, the chapter here renders an interpretation of the intersubjective violence characterizing the cultural politics of the sign i n light of the politology of a structuralist "educational" agenda dismissive of script. The second part ends with an elaboration of the ramifications of the "non-word," "non-concept" of differance Derrida details in the lecture of the same title, to offer it as the source of a grammatological reconstitution of semiology to resurrect the re-thinking of writing. Drawing attention to the deferred traces of the difference of the Other w i t h i n the history of philosophy facilitates the inquiry into h o w the post-structural, postphenomenological infrastructurality of deconstruction contends for an ethics of alterity that is beyond the cognitive limits of the teleological trajectory of the subject of metaphysics.  The Writing of the Sign Ontology and the  Logos:  A Pedagogy of the Voice  Derridean "grammatology" develops from the reversed displacement of the fundamental difference between writing and speech, deriving the originality of its formulation i n reaction to, on the one hand, the classical doctrines of the sign (ancient, medieval, modern) and, on the other hand, to linguistics and structuralism. The effectivity of this largely ignored  20  The Cultural Politics of the Sign semiological undercurrent u p o n deconstruction is fundamental to the articulation of its ethico-political potential for the examination of the sources of intersubjective violence as a "philosophy of the l i m i t . "  2  The tropology of  the sign, i n this respect, culls b y prefiguring the radicalization of the phenomenological horizon of what is for Jacques Derrida the domain of the ethics of writing, differance. O n l y by noting this grounding premise "upfront" can we begin to follow and appreciate the remarkable incursion Of Grammatology makes, along w i t h other Derridean texts of the same period, toward the deconstruction  of the ethnocentrism  and violence of metaphysics  as the source for a body of paideia. For it is w i t h i n the philosophico-cultural scope of the history of semiology, following from the characterizing logic of Western thought that Derrida pinpoints the privileging of the voice, that "presents itself as the non-exterior, non-mundane, therefore non-empirical or non-contingent signifier," to be the cause for the reduction and 3  confinement of w r i t i n g "to a secondary and instrumental function." The 4  manifestation of speech being construed as relatively "pure," simple and "intentionalizing," and the concession to the mediacy of the phone links the elements of self signification, and cognition to it. A n d h e r e — u n d e r these auspices of the "inflation of the s i g n " — D e r r i d a re-constructs the idealism of 5  the vision of the lack of play w i t h i n the communicative constitution of the pragmato-poiesis of the spoken w o r d that places w r i t i n g i n the fetishistic position of a "technics i n the service of language" : 6  21  The Cultural Politics of the Sign It is as if the Western concept of language (in terms of what, beyond it plurivocity and beyond the strict and problematic opposition of speech [parole] and language [langue], attaches it in general to phonematic or glossematic production, to language, to voice, to hearing, to sound and breath, to speech) were revealed today as the guise or disguise of a "primary writing": more fundamental than that which, before this conversion passed for the simple "supplement to the spoken w o r d " (Rousseau). Either writing was never a simple "supplement," or it is urgently necessary to construct a new logic of the "supplement." 7  Leaving the question of the reconstruction of the supplement aside for the m o m e n t — f o r we w i l l have cause to come to it soon e n o u g h — t o gauge the restrictive effects of the non-supplementarity  of the logos w i t h respect to the  auto-affective epigenetism and substantive immanence of the origin of the k n o w i n g Subject of the Self. The belief of "'hearing (understanding)-oneselfspeak' through the phonic substance,"  8  i n this sense of an interiorized  monologue reflecting the epideictic non-neutrality of the sign of speech, permeates the Western ideology of world-origins and along w i t h it the differentiations "between the w o r l d l y and the non-worldly, the outside and the inside, ideality and non-ideality, universal and non-universal, transcendental and empirical," cast around the centrality of presence upon 9  w h i c h all metaphysics of "the b o o k " — " a perfect t o t a l i t y " of the form of 10  meaning and of e x p r e s s i o n — i s based. "Representation mingles w i t h what it represents, to the point where one speaks as one writes, one thinks as if the represented were nothing more than the shadow or reflection of the representer."  11  Insofar as strict boundaries between the spoken and the  written sign cannot be maintained without destroying the concept of the sign  22  The Cultural Politics of the Sign altogether, Derrida outlines the impossibility of elaborating from the artificiality of such a division the relation of discourse to text:  [W]hat is a lineage i n the order of discourse and text? If i n a rather conventional w a y I call by the name of discourse the present, living, conscious representation of a text w i t h i n the experience of the person who writes or reads it, and if the text constantly goes beyond this representation by the entire system of its resources and its laws, then the question of genealogy exceeds by far the possibilities that are at present given for its elaboration. We k n o w that the metaphor that w o u l d describe the genealogy of a text correctly is still forbidden. In its syntax and its lexicon, i n its spacing, by its punctuation, its lacunae, its margins, the historical appurtenance of a text is never a straight line. It is neither causality b y contagion, nor the simple accumulation of layers. N o r even the pure juxtaposition of borrowed pieces. A n d if a text always gives itself a certain representation of its o w n roots, those roots live only b y that representation, b y never touching the soil, so to speak. W h i c h undoubtedly destroys their radical essence, but not the necessity of their racinating function . 4 12  W i t h i n the profuse entanglements of such an infinitizing dissemination of the twisting tendrils of the sign, the grafting of writing to the eudaimonics of  the sign-function of speech can only take place at the outer limits of the logocentric logicality of the history of metaphysics "which as yet has no name."  13  Implicit i n the Derridean description of the constitution of  discourse and text is an overlooked bridging of values of conductivity between "the sensible" and "the intelligible" that confounds a classical reduction of the terms of signification to empirical contingency. Even though the prioritizing of "speech" over "script" reinforces a dominant conception of writing as the uncomplicated reproduction of the spoken word, "phonetic  23  The Cultural Politics of the Sign writing, the m e d i u m of the great metaphysical, scientific, technical, and economic adventure of the West, is limited i n space and time and limits itself even as it is i n the process of imposing its o w n laws upon the cultural areas that had escaped i t . "  1 4  Here the imperialism of the s i g n — t h e self-interested  value of its teleo-phono-graphism Derrida describes as the sophistry of presence "immediately united to the voice and to b r e a t h " — l o o k s forward to 15  an exporting or re-plantation of the pneumatic essence of itself w i t h i n the reflective space of the temporality of the Being of the "wholly Other." But is the "route" of semiosis so progressively finite as to realize " i n - f u l l " the capacity of language to self-sign, to carry meaning? As the touchstone of the lesson of metaphysics, the voice stays close to the authority of the self-conscious S e l f — o r Subject—to facilitate w i t h i n itself the reappropriation of the presence of Being and to "buoy-up" the certainty of the ground of meaning, the meaning of the certainty of the ground, as Derrida explains:  A l l the metaphysical determinations of truth, and even the one beyond metaphysical ontotheology that Heidegger reminds us of, are more or less immediately inseparable from the instance of the logos, or of a reason thought w i t h i n the lineage of the logos, i n whatever sense it is understood: i n the pre-Socratic or the philosophical sense, i n the sense of God's infinite understanding or the anthropological sense, i n the pre-Hegelian or the post-Hegelian sense. W i t h i n the logos the original and essential link to the phone has never been broken. ... A s has been more or less implicitly determined, the essence of the phone w o u l d be immediately proximate to that w h i c h w i t h i n "thought" as logos relates to "meaning," produces it, receives it, speaks it, "composes" i t . 1 6  24  The Cultural Politics of the Sign From this perspective writing is hopelessly derivative, removed i n its distanciation from the controlling sources of an expressive proclivity and conceivable only (akin to the basest of "nominalisms") as a sign of a sign, a signifier of a signifier, or a mark of a mark. This attitude of the "secondary" and "parasitic" (epiphenomenal, simulacral, playful) character of all versions of script, Derrida has shown, is illustrated i n the Phaedrus of Plato w i t h the opposition of "bad writing (writing i n the 'literal' [propre] and ordinary sense, 'sensible' writing, ' i n space')" soul."  18  17  and "the ['good'] writing of the truth i n the  One (the former) is grammatological, "hieroglyphic," the other (the  latter) pneumatological, "hieratic." The instability of the contrast of their properties—the cross-contamination of their valences—forms the pharmakon (both poison and cure) that Derrida differentiates as the ambivalence of the effects of ecriture.  O r what is a deceptive and self-  19  forgetting  play of the orders of simulacra springing from a semio-cognitive  betrayal of the logocentric logic of the sign helpless before the sacrifice of the plenitude of presence. It is an "outer limit" w i t h i n the field of writing that itself opens outward to generate the metaphysical distinction between "good" and "bad" writing, the histos (up-righted-ness) of speech and the bathos of the re-mark, by leaving behind the speculum of an empty space—we might call it an ethical looking glass—reflecting in the difference of being, the beingpresent of the absence of Being. For Aristotle also, Derrida notes i n this ultraphonic vein of Greek philosophy, "spoken words (ta en te phone) are the symbols of mental experience (pathemata tes psyches) and written words are the symbols of spoken words . . . it is because the voice, producer of the first  25  The Cultural Politics of the Sign  symbols, has a relationship of essential and immediate proximity w i t h the mind."  2 0  Speech enables the production of the "first" signifier as the  reflection of thought that "mirrors things by natural resemblance"  21  i n the  revealing of the aletheia of their presencing of self-presence, thus tying the representation of objects (antikeimena) w i t h the process of thinking. M o d e r n semiology—for example, the linguistic proto-structuralism of Ferdinand de Saussure that we w i l l address i n the second half of Chapter Two—portrays the signifier and the signified "as two faces of one and the same leaf"  22  whereas i n classical theories of the sign there is a separation of  signans and signatum, a strictly defined hierarchization of the sign-referent, signifier-signified relation. By acknowledging the strict ordering of the "elements" of signification on the expression and content planes of representation, Derrida easily draws the conclusion—as he w i l l already have from the start—that  "logocentrism" is also a species of "phonocentrism."  This w o u l d be a tedious, or even almost a redundant observation, if it d i d not set the post-structural "ground-rules" for further distinguishing between the difference of cognition and signification and signification and reception. Following the path of this theoretical move is essential for analyzing h o w the philosophical conditions for "deconstruction" come about i n relation to the semiological basis of the cultural politics of the sign—the historicity of its Western heritage—as it is grounded on the "absolute proximity of voice and being, of voice and the meaning of being, of voice and the ideality of meaning"  23  through w h i c h the seduction of the auto-affective violence of the  26  The Cultural Politics of the Sign Reason of the selfsame can be said to impact on the representation of the subjectivity of the Other. The term "deconstruction" makes its first appearance i n the following quotation, from Of Grammatology, developing the historico-philosophical context of what Derrida considers to be a reaction to "the ethnocentrism which, everywhere and always, had controlled the concept of w r i t i n g " : 24  [A] writing thus enlarged and radicalized [referring here to grammatology as a "science of writing"], no longer ensues from a logos. Further, it inaugurates destruction, not demolition but the desedimentation, the de-construction, of all the significations, that have their source i n that of the logos. Particularly the signification of truth. 25  The necessity of a deconstructive call to (dis)order is premised o n the undoing of onto-theology from the Heideggerian determination of the meaning of B e i n g — d u e to the phonocentrism of its " m e t a p h o r o l o g y " — w i t h i n the history of metaphysics, at least since Plato, as presence, the non-play of difference. The resolution of this philosophical tradition, the teleological selfgroundedness of its intro-jective centering of subjectivity, i n conjunction w i t h the "hypothetical" history of language Derrida has forthrightly presented on the way to deconstruction to reveal a bias toward the exclusion of writing, cannot but lead to an incessant questioning of the self-reflexive act "by which, by virtue of hearing (understanding)-oneself-speak—an indissociable s y s t e m — t h e subject affects itself and is related to itself i n the element of ideality."  26  The "metaphysics of presence" identified as both the constitutive  27  The Cultural Politics of the Sign foundation and the semio-effect of the "'originary word' ('Urwort')"  27  arche-speech or as the "transcendental w o r d "  2 8  that assures the experience of  being and "the possibility of being-word to all other w o r d s " "precomprehended i n all language"  30  as  29  to be thus  is pulled d o w n by the very sense of its  self-truth as the law of the logos. For, "Language speaks,"  31  M a r t i n Heidegger  w i l l say, and the logic of its reason S P E A K S U S as the ground and the abyss of the Voice of Being. The conflux of logocentrism w i t h the determination of the Being of beings as presence; however, does not keep Derrida captive to Heideggerian Destruktion or Abbau.  32  suggest,  33  Contrary to what some critics w o u l d  deconstruction does not seek, i n like-fashion and by similar means,  to recapture the essence of what it is "proper" to the horizon of humanity outside of a community of language b y obstreperously wanting a reclamation of the truth of the spirit of Being still very much alive and l i v i n g within being, yet w e l l lost, from the dawning of time. To do so w o u l d mean to be w i l l i n g l y imprisoned i n the shadows of the "epoch of onto-theology, within the philosophy of presence,"  34  that Heidegger was unable to escape from by,  more or less, refusing to transgress a transcendentalizing phenomenology by moving to a plane of vision beyond the search for origins, to push outside of the framework of the enclosure of the concept of Being as presence, an inclination he ironically reinstates over and over again as the debilitating product of his o w n metaphysical enframing (Gestell) of the question of what it means to ek-sist, to be.  35  We must remember this, for it is often easily  forgotten. But at the same time we have to recognize that Heidegger perhaps more than any other Western philosopher announced the end of the epoch  28  The Cultural Politics of the Sign of metaphysics. A n d w i t h it, the end of "philosophy" and the beginning of thinking. The repression of w r i t i n g i n "the epoch of the logos"  36  has meant the  sustenance of its degradation into a merely visible aspect of the sign. Or so Derrida has argued. Rendered as a mediation of a mediation, the formativity of scripted expression symbolizes a stunted or negated power of indication— an empirical falling, outside of the expressive content of an absolute or ideal objectivity—that predicts the failure of representation i n the destructive consequences of a total abstraction and abjection of reality. The pure exteriority of the sensible signifier disfigures the "intelligible face of the sign"  3 7  by turning it away from the inner voice of conscience, the "mental  life" of the logos, "the w o r d and the face of G o d . " "Platonic d i a g r a m "  39  3 8  Derrida refers to the  of the catechisms of medieval semiology wherein the  "sign and divinity have the same place of b i r t h , "  40  to express the  metaphysico-theological constitution of semiosis during, for example, the era of St. Thomas A q u i n a s , but also to generally invoke the caustic virulence of 41  those theories we are dealing w i t h that attempt to "withdraw meaning, truth, presence, being, etc., from the [transcendental, 'phenomenological'] movement of signification" beyond writing and interpretation. 42  A mistrust  of the teachings of "classical-based" semiotics was certainly not anything new to philosophy  4 3  about a c e n t u r y "  A s Derrida correctly remarks, it had been going on "for 44  after w h i c h deconstruction w o u l d treat as suspect "the  difference between signified and signifier, or the idea of the sign i n general." H o w is this to be understood?  Derrida explains:  29  45  The Cultural Politics of the Sign Thus w i t h i n this epoch, reading and writing, the production or interpretation of signs, the text i n general as fabric of signs, allow themselves to be confined w i t h i n secondariness. They are preceded by a truth, or a meaning already constituted by and w i t h i n the element of the logos. Even when the thing, the "referent," is not immediately related to the logos of a creator G o d where it began by being the spoken/thought sense, the signified has at any rate an immediate relationship w i t h the logos i n general (finite or infinite), and a mediated one w i t h the signifier, that is to say w i t h the exteriority of writing. W h e n it seems to go otherwise, it is because a metaphoric mediation has insinuated itself into the relationship and has simulated immediacy. 46  The "metaphoricity" of the trace of language—the extra-semiological purport (variability) of the articulation of s i g n i f i c a t i o n — w i l l licence Derrida to say that "there is no linguistic sign before w r i t i n g "  47  and that "[a]rche-speech [in  the causal formulation of its prescriptivity] is writing because it is a law. A natural law."  48  Arche-writing is thus born, not as the "psychic imprint" of  the h\jle and morphe of sound, but from the en-grammatic spacing of the graphie of the mind, its ability to produce the differential mark of language, i n tracing the origins of subjectivity as the voice of the self as another. The deconstruction of the main tenet of the classico-medieval tradition of semiology through the reversal of the relation of speech to script throws the most fundamental ethico-cognitive lessons of the phono-logocentric metaphysics of Western philosophy into a frenzy of confusion. And, the rationale of the system of representation that upholds the ethos of a community of interpretation at large, more or less, begins to show cracks under the weight of the renewing of the question of the sign of writing.  30  The Cultural  Politics  of the  Sign  Let us examine some misunderstood aspects of the argument put forward against the logocentrism of semiology more closely. It is true to s a y — a n d this is what is missed or not given adequate consideration by many commentators—that Derrida is not concerned w i t h devaluing speech to "tear-down" metaphysics, but carefully "sketches i n [the] broad outlines [of] a theoretical matrix,"  49  the  semio-deconstructive  contentions of "grammatology," as the post-structural basis for a "theory of w r i t i n g " that w o u l d grant philosophico-ideological status to the inscriptibility or textuality of language. The aim being to produce "the.problems of critical reading"  50  and not to demystify the cunning interactions of the W o r d i n all of  its manifestations. The presupposition is that "reading should free itself, at least i n its axis, from the classical categories of h i s t o r y — n o t only from the history of ideas and the history of literature but also, and perhaps above all, from the categories of the history of philosophy,"  51  to actualize the demand  for a means of analysis exhibiting much more "rigour," precision and depth, than a respectful "doubling commentary," while making oneself aware of the role of the vestigial remains of the effects of a theologico-cultural-epistemic m e m o r y — a long term sub-mnemonics—latent w i t h i n the hidden recesses of the encrypted grammatico-logics  of the psyche. Or the paradigmatic  relationality of the codic webbing of sign-functions—synchronic and d i a c h r o n i c — w i t h the life-world (Lebenswelt) interpretations w i t h significance.  52  endowing the language of our  A n d this process of reflection on the  "conditions" of interpretation, reading and writing, out and working-through  is crucial to the  working-  of the ethico-political impetus of deconstruction.  31  The Cultural Politics of the Sign The rethinking  of thinking  a thought thought-out promotes the  cultivation  of an informed grounding of action by tying it to the writing of strategy, a selfteaching of a teaching of learning, through which to approach the undecidability  of the decision to sign. To leave the trace of the mark of the  Self with and for the Other. In this sense, what we could call a definitive non-typologizing of the play of "writing in the literal sense"  53  of the  "sensible" and "finite" is for Derrida the freedom of a kind of writing not "thought o n the side of culture, technique, and a r t i f i c e "  54  within w h i c h we  find the unmistakable markings of the ironical dictatoriality of the fallibility of "a human procedure, the ruse of a being accidentally incarnated or of a finite creature." Law  55  A chance to fight against the metaphysico-ontotheological  of the non-ethics of the sign. The relegation of writing to an inferior  position i n the codicity or "semio-schematicism" of language as a metaphor of something ontologically "prior" or "originary" within a "system of a signified t r u t h "  56  of predetermined and essentializing meanings is (or it can  be) used to "put-down" or to discredit the subjective or interpretative aspect of the signifying function of "the book." For the difference of difference is the very thing the Empire of Metaphysics cannot bear. Derrida calls this supposedly "lowered-form" of a "lowered-writing" that displays, as the main feature of its technical formativity within the subjectivism of a self-idealizing rationality, "a non-self-presence to be denounced," "a certain fallen 57  writing."  58  Its identifying characteristic of supplementality we are told is  represented by the problematic corpus of the figure of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, to w h o m we shall n o w turn.  32  The Cultural Politics of the Sign  The Logic of the Supplement: Educating a Nature of Divine Origins Derrida approaches the double structure of the play of supplementarity by way of its appearance and disappearance w i t h i n the essentialized differences of the "philosophical" and "autobiographical" texts of Rousseau. If, indeed, such a sharpened distinction can stand w i t h the conflicting reasons for its fissuring after the genre-collapsing of deconstruction.  59  The intent of the  focus on Rousseau—"the only one or the first one to make a theme or a system of the reduction of w r i t i n g profoundly implied by the entire a g e " — i s 6 0  both the result of choosing one example among others and p r o v i d i n g i n the choice of example, the example par excellence for the exemplarity of the supplement of supplementarity itself:  In certain respects, the theme of supplementarity is certainly no more than one theme among others. It is i n a chain, carried by it. Perhaps one could substitute something else for it. But it happens that this theme describes the chain itself the being-chain of a textual chain, the structure of substitution, the articulation of desire and of language, the logic of all conceptual oppositions taken over by Rousseau, a n d particularly the role and the function, i n his system, of the concept of Nature. It tells us i n a text what a text is, it tells us i n w r i t i n g what writing is . . . 61  Therefore, out of any ordinary respect, Rousseau comes to represent and symbolize the entire field of "conceptual oppositions" situated at the stabilizing center of the epochal structure of the signifying chain of  33  The Cultural Politics of the Sign metaphysics (e.g., nature/culture, speech/writing, subject/object, presence/absence, and so on) and the logic of the supplement becomes the general economy of the process by w h i c h the "propriety" of these "items" are made visible and invisible at one and the same time. Recalling the distinction, made earlier, between a "rootlessness" of "text" and a "rootedness" of "book," the example Derrida proffers as exemplary gains force as it moves outside the stigmatizing focus of itself as a singular point of reference to the exteriority of an orientation and deviation that may graft the irrepressible tensions of difference to the sense of its use i n the first place. A n d so, the idea of supplementarity here w i l l begin to expand, gathering momentum, to culminate i n the contradiction of a magnificent reversal:  Rousseau inscribes textuality i n the text [through the supplement]. It tricks w i t h a gesture of effacement, and strategic relations like the relationships of force among the two movements [of presence and absence] form a complex design. This design seems to us to be represented i n the handling of the concept of the supplement. Rousseau cannot utilize it at the same time i n all virtualities of its meaning. The w a y i n w h i c h he determines the concept and i n so doing lets himself be determined by that very thing he excludes from it, the direction i n w h i c h he bends, here as addition, there as substitution, now as the positivity and exteriority of evil, now as happy auxiliary, all this conveys neither a passivity nor an activity, neither an unconscious nor a lucidity o n the part of the author. Reading should not abandon these categories of m e t a p h y s i c s — w h i c h are also the founding categories of metaphysics—but should produce the law of this relationship to the concept of the supplement. 62  To perceive the inscription of textuality i n a text may seem to be oxymoronic more than a philosophical clin d'oeil i n the direction of the division of an 34  The Cultural Politics of the Sign "essence" of writing, properly speaking, from the appearance and disappearance of a transcendental signified that always already is and is not there to mediate for meaning creation. The semio-phenomenological "conjuring trick" Derrida sees i n Rousseau, however, forms the texture of the complex design that is the contradictory skein of the pattern of supplementarity  "harbour[ing] w i t h i n itself two significations whose  cohabitation is as strange as it is necessary" : 63  The supplement adds itself, it is a surplus, a plenitude enriching another plenitude, the fullest measure of presence. It cumulates and accumulates presence. It is thus that art, techne, image, representation, convention, etc., come as supplements to nature and are rich w i t h this entire cumulating function. This k i n d of supplementarity determines in a certain w a y all the conceptual oppositions w i t h i n w h i c h Rousseau inscribes the notion of Nature to the extent that it should be selfsufficient. But the supplement supplements. It adds only to replace. It intervenes or insinuates itself in-the-place-of if it fills, it is as if one fills a void. If it represents and makes an image, it is by the anterior default of a presence. Compensatory [suppliant] and vicarious, the supplement is an adjunct, a subaltern instance w h i c h takes-(ihe)-place [tient-lieu]. A s substitute, it is not simply added to the positivity of presence, it produces no relief, its place is assigned i n the structure by the mark of an emptiness. Somewhere, something can be filled up of itself can accomplish itself, only by allowing itself to be filled through sign and proxy. The sign is always the supplement of the thing itself.  64  The two movements of the supplement do not cancel each other out in a stalemate of paralysis or a. force field of negativity, but magnify these tendencies to contextualize the impossibility of their full-compatibility, a play of non-complementarity, that w i l l translate for deconstruction to the inter-  35  The Cultural  Politics of the Sign  weaving of textuality. Thus, the "double b(l)ind" of the structure of this strange economy of signification, the simultaneity of presence and absence, is that "whether it adds or substitutes itself, the supplement is exterior, outside the positivity to w h i c h it is superadded."  65  The sign of writing is effaced  within the difference of the presence of itself, as substituted for itself, b y an addition that is only truly the tracing of its o w n inverse copy. The irony is the "superfluousness"  of the origin, its center being perpetually i n substitution,  and announcing of the need of the institution of its o w n supplementarity or supplementation. A n d this play of presence and absence is what w i l l make Derrida state that "from the moment we have meaning, we have nothing but signs."  66  The n o u m e n a l — a s I have alluded to a b o v e — i s the "blind spot," the independent variable of performativity, that the system cannot calculate or anticipate. "The supplement is what neither Nature nor Reason can tolerate."  67  As, Derrida shows, was the case for Rousseau and the strong  sentiment he often expressed against writing:  Rousseau repeats the Platonic gesture by referring to another model of presence: self-presence i n the senses, i n the sensible cogito, w h i c h simultaneously carries i n itself the inscription of divine law. O n the one hand, representative, fallen, secondary, instituted writing, w r i t i n g in the literal and strict sense, is condemned i n The Essay on the Origin of Languages (it "enervates" speech; to "judge genius" from books is like "painting a man's portrait from his corpse," etc.). Writing i n the common sense is the dead letter, it is the carrier of death. It exhausts life. O n the other hand, on the other face of the same proposition, w r i t i n g i n the metaphoric sense, natural, divine, and l i v i n g writing, is  36  The Cultural Politics of the Sign venerated; it is equal i n dignity to the origin of value, to the voice of conscience as divine law, to the heart, to sentiment, and so f o r t h . 68  Rousseau embraces an "Ethic of Speech" and the spoken w o r d that is linked to the political stance on community he adopted i n The Discourse on Inequality and The Social Contract as the face-to-face reciprocity of a union between beings of different and varying abilities and talents. The vision of humanity is pure and organically tied to a state of perfectability w i t h i n Nature. What Rousseau fears, according to Derrida, is the supplementarity of writing as the violent product of culture and the pursuit of progress that dislocates the presence of speech and leads the "noble" and "pure" heart of human being to the living of a lie, a life of self-perpetuated falsehood. A fictive referent of "the good" is thereby set-up as a point of order i n Nature, a gentle and benevolent Utopia, where the supplements to it are seen as the source of denaturation, depravity, and evil.  This dominant theme i n  Rousseau is approached b y Derrida b y w a y of the general question of education and the various themes related to it revolving around the problem of language. M u c h has been made of the deconstruction of the "masked" features of the "theory of w r i t i n g " presented i n The Confessions, but the pedagogical problems Rousseau situates at the center of his thought on the issue of the nature/culture conflict have been virtually eschewed. To quote Derrida: "Yet all education, the keystone of Rousseauist thought, w i l l be described or presented as a system of substitution [suppleance] destined to reconstitute  37  The Cultural Politics of the Sign Nature's edifice i n the most natural w a y possible."  69  The subject here is, of  course, the first educational "guide-book" Rousseau wrote, Emile or On Education.  And  Derrida hits u p o n the "duplicitous" supplementarity of the  concept of Nature that is at work i n the text as it refers to the evolving of human being. It is a contradiction Rousseau is b l i n d to, because of his associated belief i n the "violence done [by writing] to the natural destiny of language."  70  That is, the idea of nature as both full and lacking, a  completeness requiring supplementarity. Derrida explains "the strange unity of these two gestures"  71  i n the following manner related here around the  theme of b l i n d n e s s — i t is w e l l worth quoting at length:  Blindness thus produces that w h i c h is born at the same time as society; the languages, the regulated substitution of signs for things, the order of the supplement. One goes from blindness to the supplement. But the b l i n d person cannot see, i n its origin, the very thing he produces to supplement his sight. Blindness to the supplement is the law. A n d especially blindness to its concept. Moreover, it does not suffice to locate its functioning i n order to see its meaning. The supplement has no sense and is given no intuition. We do not therefore make it emerge out of its strange pneumbra. We speak its reserve. Reason is incapable of thinking this double infringement u p o n Nature: that there is lack i n Nature and that because of that very fact something is added to it. Yet one should not say that Reason is powerless to think this; it is constituted by that lack of power. It is the principle of identity. It is the thought of the self-identity of the natural being. It cannot even determine the supplement as its other, as the irrational and the non-natural, for the supplement comes naturally to put itself i n Nature's place. The supplement is the image and the representation of Nature. The image is neither i n nor out of Nature. The supplement is therefore equally dangerous for Reason, the natural health of Reason. Dangerous Supplement. 72  3 8  The Cultural Politics of the Sign  Both versions of supplementarity mentioned earlier "operate w i t h i n Rousseau's t e x t "  73  to self-deconstruct the educational presuppositions that  champion the retreat to the Reason of N a t u r e — m e a n i n g also the essence of human nature itself, the presence of B e i n g — a s the source of purity and "the good." Exteriority supervenes the appeal to such innocence and is therefore evil, "[b]ut always by way of compensation [Derrida stresses] for [sous I'espece de la suppleance] what ought to lack nothing at all i n itself."  74  By wanting to  supplement h u m a n nature w i t h the "acculturative" (in this case "habitforming") methods of education, Rousseau is basically admitting the insufficiency of the originary premises he supports about the completeness of human being, the self-sufficiency of its Reason. For if Nature is already full presence, h o w is it that Reason comes to supplement that fullness, to enrich it? Is not Reason i n itself also the plenitude of presence not i n need of supplementation? A l l these questions can be asked of Rousseau and his blindness to the reversability of the truth he yearns for by creating the conditions for it himself i n the state of Nature. The supplement plays and repeats as repeatability itself, but it is also in-form-ing of itself i n the shift from one principle of "pedagogical" action to another, from the order of Nature to that of Reason, culture, education, and so on, as Rousseau seeks to rediscover the beginnings of being, a Being before the fall, i n an Edenic language of a unified community, within which, its members are always w i t h i n "earshot," one to the Other. •  But Derrida allows a more moving subtlety to infiltrate this question of  pedagogy by projecting upon it the ethical question of the practical needs of  39  The Cultural Politics of the Sign the subject: "Childhood is the first manifestation of the deficiency w h i c h in Nature, calls for substitution [suppleance]. Pedagogy illuminates perhaps more crudely the paradoxes of the supplement. H o w is a natural weakness possible? H o w can Nature ask for forces that it does not furnish? H o w is a child possible i n general?"  75  The ambition Rousseau has is to empower the  child without subverting the "goodness" of human nature for culture, by "holding back" i n the process of education to allow N a t u r e — t h e good, "chthonic," mother of responsiblizing necessity—time to w o r k before supplementing the talent of original virtues w i t h the artifice of pedagogy. The "infamy" is, as Derrida tells us, "progress as the possibility of perversion, regression toward an evil that is not natural and that adheres to the power of substitution that permits us to absent ourselves and act by proxy, through representation, through the hands of others. Through the written [par ecrit]. This substitution always has the form of the sign. The scandal is that the sign, the image, or the representer, become forces and make 'the w o r l d move.'"  76  The c h i l d — a l t h o u g h inscribed at birth into the socio-cultural order of Reason by being named, a "propriety" of the p r o p e r — D e r r i d a w i l l claim, does not enter into the order of the supplement that mirrors the subtlety of the immediate relation to that of self w i t h the problem of the Other until there is the sign of speech that can express the emotion "I hurt," to "no longer weep"  77  senselessly at the sensation of lack. The repression and the  conversion of the "incommunicable," the meaninglessness of general feeling, is relinquished, as is powerlessness, i n the instant of language. "The child speaks before knowing how to speak."  But that does not constitute absolute  78  40  The Cultural Politics of the Sign conscious reflectivity as much as the effect of intuitive reflex or just reaction, because "what is lacking i n [the child's non-figural, pro-jective 'language'] is the power of replacing itself of substituting one sign for another, one organ of expression for another."  79  Speech thus entitles childhood, saving it from its  state of powerlessness to actively participate i n the creation of its o w n fate, and yet, for Rousseau the supplementation of Natural Reason as a moving away from "innocence" is the epitome of catastrophe, the turning toward "the origin of its perversion."  80  But what Derrida refers to is a "Nature" prior to  good and evil, where the "incapacitations" of the child are made apparent and the Other comes to friendship, pity, and aid. That is why, the "supplement w i l l always be the moving of the tongue or acting through the hands of others. In it everything is brought together."  81  For meaning is the  negotiation of presence and the irony that plays at its difference is the work of its reason, a question of the symbolic opening of community. The ethics of the supplement, the technical power of the substitution of the sign that allows for the construction of a society, also exposes it to the danger of its o w n destruction w h e n the child—supplementarity  itself—becomes  a force of its  own that is alway already beyond good or evil. A n d there is a responsibility here concomitant w i t h the value of freedom as a play of life and death. The supplement, b y producing w i t h i n itself the delimitations of its o w n excesses, so to speak, opens the space of truth and falsity, rhetoric and logic, speech and writing to a certain ethico-politicality of the sign that is culturally determined, in the metaphysics of the West at least, by the more than symbolic interaction of the simulacra of presence and absence.  41  The Cultural Politics of the Sign Deconstruction insists u p o n a re-doubled economizing of an other logic that supervenes the Rousseauistic blindness of a pedagogy of mimesis p u t forward to fulfill the democratizing vision of a non-oppositional ("equal") relation between subjects, but w i t h i n w h i c h the principle of identity developed is inscribed b y the very violence of hierarchical replications it rejects. A n d here Derrida finds the "dangerous supplement" of Nature to be Nature itself, and the belief i n the transparency of speech as presence:  What are the two contradictory possibilities that Rousseau wishes to retain simultaneously? A n d how does he do it? H e wishes o n the one hand to affirm, b y giving it a positive value, everything of w h i c h articulation is the principle or everything w i t h w h i c h it constructs a system (passion, language, society, man, etc.). But he intends to affirm simultaneously all that is cancelled by articulation (accent, life, energy, passion yet again, and so on). The supplement being the articulated structure of these two possibilities. Rousseau can only decompose them and dissociate them into two simple units, logically contradictory yet allowing an intact purity to the both positive and the negative. A n d yet Rousseau, caught, like the logic of identity, within the graphic of supplementarity, says what he does not wish to say, describe what he does not w i s h to conclude; that the positive (is) the negative, life (is) death, presence (is) absence and that this repetitive supplementarity is not comprised i n any dialectic, at least if that concept is governed, as it always has been, by a horizon of presence. 82  The egality of the communitarianism Rousseau advocates, i n fact, spurns difference as evil, a perversion of presence, to condone the reproducibility of the Same. The vision itself violates the possibility of a future by s(t)ealing time i n the still-life of a vignette of the eternal perfection of being, untainted and at peace w i t h the beauty of its true and pure Nature. That is w h y i n the  42  The Cultural Politics of the Sign teaching of Rousseau's teaching, the "letter killeth," bringing w i t h its concrete abstraction of supplementarity the terrible pain of a w o u n d or hurt to the essence of the l i v i n g soul of heaven o n earth. The mark of the ablation symbolizes the transgression of violence against the purity of presence and self-presence, of culture against spirit, and in this sense it wantonly mutilates the source of human dignity in language by subjecting it to the humiliation of having to face its own powerlessness, to acknowledge a lack of control over its very destiny to educate the self. But is not Rousseau repeating the ethnocentrism that relies o n the biases of a philosophical anthropology w i t h one utopic nucleus of reference, a community free of writing?  The m y t h of the original innocence of an  identity of s p e e c h — a self-deceiving and self-denuding image of presence conquered—uncontaminated  by the violence of its Other, is what sets the  metaphysical pre-conditions of a system for the ethico-political representation of being simply by identifying the statutoriness of norms of relation and behaviour.  Such an institution of laws, however, as deconstruction reminds  us and illustrates through an ex-posing of the techniques of metaphysics, has w i t h i n its structure the violence of its own means of enforcement. O r what is a reverie of pure auto-affection, unmediated self-presence and temporal continuity. A theme that we shall explore i n the greater detail of its variations a little farther on, i n the context of the deconstruction of the ethnological variation of Saussurean semiology i n anthropological structuralism.  43  The Cultural Politics of the Sign  The Non-Ethical Aftermath of the Sign Structure and Play: The Cultural Monumentality of the Sign Stratified  To return to the sign. A n d so to the origins of the "ethnocentricity" of the mark of writing. The modern example of sign theory that Derrida takes to be a primary instance of a "logocentric" or "ethnocentric" model of language is a "semiology of a Saussurean type" : both as it was constructed from the 83  compilation of lecture notes that comprised the Course in General Linguistics of 1916 and as it emerged later i n its most vigorous expression by taking the philosophico-scientific form of French Structuralism. The difference of these "newer" developments w i t h the traditional archetypes of semiosis or signification h a d "an absolutely decisive critical r o l e "  84  i n "breaking-up" the  rule of the classico-medieval orthodoxy over semiosis b y showing "that the signified is inseparable from the signifier, that the signified and signifier are the two sides of one and the same production."  85  The "two-sided u n i t y "  86  of  the formulation of the Saussurean sign establishes the differential (sensible) and the formal (intelligible) features of signification. A t this point the concept of language has to be drastically rethought.  87  A quality of its  "symbolicity" is indispensably effaced within an arbitrariness of sense that posits no "natural" or "inevitable" bond (e.g., no analogous, correlational, or motivational ties) of the sign to its referent, of signifier to signified (e.g.,  44  The Cultural Politics of the Sign words to "things" or even linguistic expressions to concepts). The  non-  autonomy of instances of semiosis, but the differentiality of their interrelation therefore allows language to be construed as a signing system of differences of negative relation. For Derrida, however, the tremendous potential of the new  conception  was not realized by Saussure to accentuate or to maximize the turning-back upon metaphysics the very concept of the sign borrowed from it. A n d thus, this otherwise promising path of semiology remains tightly bound to the equivocal delimitation of hierarchizing effects rooted at the "Togocentric and ethnocentric l i m i t s ' "  88  of the model itself " i n systematic solidarity w i t h stoic  and medieval theology."  89  The problem Derrida isolates is that even though  the "separation" between signifier and signified is innovatively managed to move toward the dis-integration of the selfsameness of the metaphysical ideality of the word-concept, Saussure unfortunately also retains and conserves the mechanism of the sign-function, being unable to find any alternative to it:  N o more than any other, this concept [of the sign] cannot be employed in both an absolutely novel and conventional way. One necessarily assumes, i n a non-critical way, at least some of its implications inscribed i n its system. There is at least one moment at w h i c h Saussure must renounce drawing all the conclusions from the critical w o r k he has undertaken, and that is the not fortuitous moment when he resigns himself to using the w o r d "sign," lacking anything better. 90  45  "  The Cultural Politics of the Sign  The sign assumes a "transcendental signified" that is an ending point i n a series of significations, "which i n and of itself, w o u l d exceed the chain of signs, and w o u l d no longer itself function as a s i g n i f i e r "  91  to supercede the  concatenated elements comprising a given syntagm or "super-syntagm." The signified is, Derrida w i l l counter, "always already in the position of the signifier."  9 2  The attempt to return to the false Utopia of a "transcendental  s i g n i f i e d " — a s it "leaves open the possibility of thinking a concept signified in and of itself a concept simply present for thought, independent of a relationship to language, that is of a relationship to a system of s i g n i f i e r s " — 9 3  w o u l d posit an origin before the sign without any mediation or feasible connection to anything else. A c c o r d i n g to Derrida, the dream of this quasimessianic hope of the truth of signification expressed i n Saussurean semiology, the desire of a decidability fore-sworn, is "not being imposed [upon it] from without by something like 'philosophy,'" but is a 94  consequence of "everything that links our language, our culture, our 'system of thought' to the history and system of metaphysics."  95  The concession to logocentrism can be seen elsewhere i n Saussure's lectures o n the "science of linguistics" i n the privileging of speech over writing, the "phonic substance" of the breath of voice tying the sign to the 96  aspiration of the phone as "the regulatory model, the 'pattern,' for a general semiology of which it was to be, by all rights and theoretically, only a part."  97  "The thematics of the arbitrary, thus, is turned away from its most fruitful paths (formulation) toward a hierarchizing teleology."  98  For by emphasizing  the unity of signifier and signified i n speech, the voice is collapsed into  46  The Cultural Politics of the Sign consciousness only to blur the existence of the sign, sublimating it, through the illusion of the glossematic transparency of the immediate presence of sound. The focus, Derrida believes, should have been on the new-found capability that presented itself to invent "a system of distinct s i g n s " — m u c h 9 9  like deconstruction has d o n e — t h a t could generate "the possibility of the code and of articulation, independent of any substance, for example, phonic substance,"  100  and not the modular construction of spoken language. The  tendency again is to reduce the exteriority of the signifier, to stifle, i n this sense, the opening of a channel to the gift of writing. Similarly, i n the "modern" conception of "structure" and "structurality" Derrida astutely perceived radically equivocal components of a theoretical function that could "simultaneously confirm and shake logocentric and ethnocentric assuredness."  Deconstruction, w i t h no fixed system or hyper-  101  logical architectonics to speak of, "but rather [as] a sort of strategic device, opening onto its o w n abyss,"  102  could and w o u l d use the "double-sidedness"  of these elements to trouble the steadfastness of the foundation of metaphysics.  For, as w i t h the concept of the sign, the idea of structure "is as  old as the episteme—that is to say, as old as Western science and Western philosophy."  103  A n d it is variously translated w i t h i n the older phases of the  metaphysical tradition as the expression of "unity," "connectivity," "order," "system," and so on. The structurality of structure has heretofore "always been neutralized or reduced,"  104  Derrida remarks, by the method of "giving it  a center or of referring it to a point of presence, a fixed o r i g i n "  1 0 5  outside of  the logic of itself, and not i n total unison w i t h an ideality of the vision of a  47  The Cultural  Politics of the Sign  pure structurality of structure. The following example is a concise expression of this judgement:  The function of this center was not only to orient, balance, and organize the s t r u c t u r e — o n e cannot i n fact conceive of an unorganized s t r u c t u r e — b u t above all to make sure that the organizing principle of the structure w o u l d limit what we might call the play of the structure. By orienting and organizing the coherence of the system, the center of the structure permits the play of its elements inside the total form. A n d even today the notion of a structure lacking any center represents the u n t h i n k a b l e . 106  The moment of contradiction Derrida exposes is the reason for the selfviolating violence of the "breach" of the metaphysical tradition that spawned nothing but antagonism to a deviation from the monolith of a typical cultural mono-mythism. This self-debilitating weakness manifests itself as the cruel invitation of an opening to the undermining of the hollow ground of its o w n epistemological premises. It presupposes and is presupposed by the potential disruption of the center that sets the parameters to the play of elements w i t h i n a system to which it belongs, yet at the same time is separate from, being both "inside" and "outside" the formation of the structure it necessarily defines. The metaphysical "concept of the centered s t r u c t u r e "  107  is  incoherent to deconstruction if conceived i n any other w a y than through "the concept of a play [of tensions, positions, effects, etc.,] based on a fundamental ground, a play constituted on the basis of a fundamental immobility and a reassuring certitude, which i n itself is beyond the reach of p l a y . "  108  The  center is there to hold what it cannot possibly fathom or foresee arising out of  48  The Cultural Politics of the Sign the logicality of itself For Derrida, the contradiction of this coherence, representing "coherence itself, the condition of episteme as philosophy or science,"  109  asseverates "the force of a d e s i r e "  110  to mitigate the difference of  discipline and disciplinarity because it relieves the anxiety of freedom, that is of the possibility of error, i n the starkness of individuality: " A n d on the basis of this certitude anxiety can be mastered, for anxiety is invariably the result of a certain mode of being implicated i n the game, of being caught b y the game, of being as it were at stake i n the game from the outset."  111  The classical concept of structure or structurality, as such, is a system of "repetitions, substitutions, transformations, and p e r m u t a t i o n s "  112  implicated  in a historicity of meaning where the centricity of presence consummates the spirit of the first and last truth of being, and the re-educating of being. From its archeology to its eschatology, a value beyond the pleasure of play. To Derrida, and for deconstruction, the tradition of Western philosophy and science—and this is a vital aspect that has been disregarded—needs to be, indeed, "must be thought as a series of substitutions of center for center, as a linked chain of determinations of the center,"  113  w i t h i n w h i c h the  structurality of the general structure is kept under control by the reproductive resources of a metastatic nomenclature of the Same. In short, the archia of a language capable of reducing the whole to a part of its evolving yet quiescent self. "The history of metaphysics, like the history of the West, is the history of these metaphors and metonymies."  114  N o w the point d'appui of its "matrix"  (Derrida's word) is predicated o n "the determination of Being as presence i n all senses of the word. It could be shown that all the names related to  49  The Cultural Politics of the Sign fundamentals, to principles, or to the center have always designated an invariable presence—eidos, arche, telos, energeia, ousia (essence, existence, substance, subject) aletheia, transcendentality, consciousness, God, man, and so f o r t h . "  115  After the writings of Nietzsche and Heidegger, Sigmund Freud  also, the "transcendental s i g n i f i e d " — t h e absolute ideality of a center of m e a n i n g — h o v e r i n g around the capacity of humanity to guide itself via a pedagogy (training and discipline) of the body, mind, and spirit is turned i n toward the symptomaticity of itself as a function inside the structure it itself governs, proving to be nothing more nor less than one sign among other signs. A n imaginary point of no real reference. W i t h this realization—"that there was no center, that the center could not be thought i n the form of a present-being [a being-present], that the center had no natural site, that it was not a fixed locus but a function, a sort of non-locus i n w h i c h an infinite number of sign-substitutions came into p l a y "  1 1 6  — e v e r y t h i n g is infinitely  changed from the ground of metaphysics, and beneath it, upwards. Derrida perceives a similar breaking-through of the thought of the structurality of structure i n the disciplinary context of Saussure's semiology that we have been addressing up to this point, as it informs the "human sciences" and particularly the structural ethnology of Claude Levi-Strauss. Although i n the case of the second, the ethico-political dimension is perhaps more outrightly emphasized. Indeed, o n the pragmatological plane of philosophico-scientific immanence, the scope of the structural ethnology of Levi-Strauss is of keen interest to Derrida and its deconstruction is essential to our o w n focus on the  50  The Cultural  Politics  of the  Sign  cultural politics of the sign. That is, for examining h o w the education of cognition through the fixing of values of representation and responsivity controls the interpretability of the Other. Especially, i n this sense of the hypostatization of beings, as deconstruction relates to the problem of the ethics of w r i t i n g and the ethnocentrism of interdictions against the play of the explanatory status of the sign of "humanity." It is an "affinity or filiation that binds Levi-Strauss to R o u s s e a u "  117  and exposes the modern re-hashing of the  nature/culture dichotomy i n the attempt made by an ethnologist to write about a particular group of individuals without suspending the value of general categories of ethical distinction. A n d this may be a harsh and even shocking indictment given the right of entitlement Levi-Strauss has claimed and tried to secure for modern "Anthropology" as a discipline studying the relative breadth of "cultural difference" i n every possible area of its manifestation.  118  C a n we, however, resist the idea that ethnology w o u l d  accept into its discourse the "premises of ethnocentrism,"  119  to lay, even if  inadvertantly, the troubling foundations for the hermeneutical violence of prejudice and racism? This is what Derrida, more or less asks of Levi-Strauss, and w i t h good reason, due to the fact that appearances may have suggested otherwise w i t h the "time-honoured" reflectivity of the ethnographic text:  In fact, one can assume that ethnology could have been born as a science only at the moment when a decentering had come about; at the moment w h e n European c u l t u r e — a n d , i n consequence, the history of metaphysics and of its c o n c e p t s — h a d been dislocated, driven from its locus, and forced to stop considering itself as the culture of reference. This moment is not first and foremost a moment of philosophical or  51  The Cultural Politics of the Sign scientific discourse. It is also a moment w h i c h is political, economic, technical, and so forth. One can say w i t h total security that there is not nothing fortuitous about the fact that the critique of e t h n o c e n t r i s m — the very condition for e t h n o l o g y — s h o u l d be systematically and historically contemporaneous w i t h the destruction of the history of metaphysics. Both belong to one and the same era. N o w e t h n o l o g y — like any science—comes about w i t h i n the element of discourse. A n d it is primarily a European science employing traditional concepts, however m u c h it may struggle against them. 120  The sign of the culture of reference s p e c i f i e d — a s it is complicit w i t h and relies on logocentric metaphysics i n the concrete form of a vested privileging of concepts through w h i c h to order r e a l i t y — g r a n t s science the power to arrest the play of difference by closing-off the field of interpetation to the reason of the Other. What is defined from this sense of a limited and distorted perspectivism of the correlational valuation of the Being of beings is an ethnocentric reconciliation of specificity with generality through which "humanity" acquires and retains, at least on the surface, the mark of ambiguity. Here, as much as anywhere else for Derrida, the potential "rehabilitation" of the sign of writing and its relation to violence is the central issue. One that no rereading of the ethico-political implications of deconstruction could ignore. "What links w r i t i n g to v i o l e n c e ? "  121  A certain materiality or exteriority  of the sign, as we have said. In its expansion or reduction, w r i t i n g is the stuff of violence itself. N o t a physical duress, as such, but a cohersion of some "immeasurable" force or oppressive proportionality that brings a subject under the control of an active and dominating power, since language i n all of  52  The Cultural Politics of the Sign its forms (discursive or textual, spoken or written) is an oriented structuring of a principal manifestation of hierarchization. It ranks, classifies, groups, and separates according to a system of differences or polarities by the subjective placing of value to objectify entities. The general strategy of the ethico-axiology of its oppositional schematics as transliterated from metaphysics to the sign is a deconstructive metaphor for violence. W i t h Levi-Strauss and Rousseau, Derrida here makes the same judgement, but i n another direction, "radicalizing this theme, no longer considering this violence as derivative w i t h respect to a naturally innocent speech, one reverses the entire sense of a p r o p o s i t i o n — t h e unity of violence and w r i t i n g — w h i c h one must therefore be careful not to abstract and i s o l a t e . "  122  That the "ethno-poietical" determination of l a n g u a g e — t h e translation of its "figurativity" to a mythomorphic typologizing of the supplementary expression of cultural value—creates hierarchies perpetuating forms of social inequality or reinforcing situations of domination is considered t r u e ,  123  however, there is neither a militating against interpretative differences nor a castigation of w r i t i n g as either the cause of human slavery (the Marxism of Levi-Strauss) or the source of falsehood (the utopianism of Rousseau). For better or for worse, the means of the system of representation makes the attempt at community and communication imaginable because there is an intersubjective element to the ordering of "the space of its possibility, the violence of the arche-writing, the violence of difference, of classification, and of the system of appelations."  124  Derrida explores the validity of the moral  judgement accompanying the inscription of the letter by a rereading of "A  53  The Cultural Politics of the Sign W r i t i n g Lesson/' a seemingly insignificant chapter i n Levi-Strauss' ethnological travel-logue Tristes Tropiques, "which is at the same time The Confessions and a sort of supplement to the Supplement au voyage de Bougainville [by Denis D i d e r o t ] / ' "ethnography."  125  a cross between "autobiography" and  126  The "experience" that is retold here for the benefit of Western eyes and ears "marks an episode of what may be called the anthropological war, the essential confrontation that opens communication between peoples and cultures, even w h e n that communication is not practiced under the banner of colonial or missionary i m p r e s s i o n " repressed or d e f e r r e d "  128  127  and is "recounted i n tones of violence  to the "private" moments of the writer's guilty  reflection "accusing and humiliating o n e s e l f "  129  as a "friendly intruder," one  self-placed, without right or rights, among his cultural others, the Nambikwara. They are a people w h o "could not write," Levi-Strauss tells us, emphasizing its obviousness "goes without s a y i n g . "  130  The presupposition  being, of course, it is only what we could expect to expect. The violent insurgence of the ethnologist's "penetration" (Derrida's word) into the lifew o r l d of the nomadic band is looked-upon, i n these terms during the narrative, as a giant-step back i n history, a descent into a "lost w o r l d " before time where humanity had once been eons before. Most importantly for LeviStrauss and the academic "prestige" of his fieldwork, the N a m b i k w a r a represent the survivors of an epoch with no writing, symbolizing all that is existentially projected backwards w i t h i n the l i v i n g frame of '"the childhood of our race.'"  131  Derrida begins to query the depiction presented of this  54  The Cultural Politics of the Sign indigenous people on the grounds of its Rousseauistic romanticism bybringing out salient points from the detail of the ethnologist's own  notes that  contradict the image of a "peaceful innocence." The ethnological portrait being, i n this case, a doxographic exoticization of cultural otherness celebrating the non-violence of the un-educated, the un-taught. The likeness of the N a m b i k w a r a Levi-Strauss w i l l unveil is ethnocentric i n the nostalgia of its yearning to return human being to a " p r i m i t i v i s m " of orgins lost, the non-supplemental eco-logy of the Rousseauian "noble savage" free from writing, culture, and violence. A n d Derrida exposes this aspect of the representation of the "wholly Other" i n the strategem of such an imagism:  If w r i t i n g is no longer understood i n the narrow sense of linear and phonetic notation, it should be possible to say that all societies capable of producing, that is to say of obliterating, their proper names, and of bringing classificatory difference into play, practice w r i t i n g i n general. N o reality or concept w o u l d therefore correspond to the expression "society without writing." This expression is dependent on ethnocentric oneirism, u p o n the vulgar, that is to say ethnocentric, misconception of writing. The scorn for writing, let us note i n passing, accords quite happily w i t h this ethnocentrism. The paradox is only apparent, one of those contradictions where a perfectly coherent desire is uttered and accomplished. By one and the same gesture, (alphabetic) writing, servile instrument of a speech dreaming of its plenitude and its self-presence, is scorned and the dignity of w r i t i n g is refused to non-alphabetic s i g n s . 132  Derrida objects to the use of the Western concept of w r i t i n g to order peoples along a scale of "sophistication" according to the degree of their possession of the graphein. The ethnocentrism permeating Levi-Strauss' description of the  55  The Cultural Politics of the Sign N a m b i k w a r a is revealed b y the qualifying basis of this system of classification ranging between the poles of " p r i m i t i v i s m " and "modernism" configured " w i t h i n an ethico-political order, as an innocence and a non-violence interrupted b y the forced entry of the West and the 'Writing Lesson.'"  133  For  Derrida, "the peoples said to be 'without writing' lack only a certain type of writing, "[t]he genealogical relation and social classification are the stitched seam of arche-writing, condition of the (so-called oral) language, and of w r i t i n g i n the colloquial sense."  134  A n d i n ignoring the prohibition of the  N a m b i k w a r a against the utterance of the proper name as a protection against its "misuse" b y exposing its double, a bearer, to attacks of enemies, LeviStrauss is said to be naive to the "horizon of intersubjective v i o l e n c e , "  135  the  play of language and aggression, instituting the laws of the ethics and politics of representation w i t h i n the society of this culture as an interdiction against behaviour contrary to the standard of carefully circumscribed norms:  There was i n fact a first violence to be named. To name, to give names that it w i l l on occasion be forbidden to pronounce, such is the originary violence of language w h i c h consists i n inscribing w i t h i n a difference, i n classifying, i n suspending the vocative absolute. To think the unique within the system, to inscribe it there, such is the gesture of the arche-writing: arche violence, the loss of the proper, of absolute proximity, of self-presence, i n truth the loss of what has never taken place, of a self-presence w h i c h has never been given but only dreamed of and always already split, repeated, incapable of appearing to itself except i n its o w n disappearance. Out of this arche-violence, forbidden and therefore confirmed by a second violence that is reparatory, protective, instituting the "moral," prescribing the ' concealment of w r i t i n g and the effacement and obliteration of the socalled proper name w h i c h was already d i v i d i n g the proper, a third violence can possibly emerge or not (an empirical possibility) w i t h i n 56  The Cultural Politics of the Sign what is commonly called evil, war, indiscretion, rape; w h i c h consists of revealing b y effraction the so-called proper name, the originary violence w h i c h has severed the proper from its property and its selfsameness [proprete]. We could name a third violence of reflection, w h i c h denudes the native non-identity, classification as denaturation of the proper, and identity as the abstract moment of the concept. It is on this tertiary level, that of the empirical consciousness, that the common concept of violence (the system of moral law and of transgression) whose possibility remains yet unthought, should no doubt be situated. The scene of the proper names is written on this level; as w i l l be later the w r i t i n g lesson. 136  The proper name upholds the route to the possibility of a "pre-ethical violence"  137  preceding even the presence of the subject. It w i l l allow for the  discovery of the institution of the violence of w r i t i n g at an ontologically prior stage i n "arche-writing." A n d here Derrida emphasizes a non-spatial exteriority that, nevertheless, is still the general difference of the " i n scription" of the sign. "To refuse the name of writing to this or that technique of consignment is the 'ethnocentrism that best defines the prescientific vision of [hu]man[ity]."'  138  The instance of the episode of "The Writing L e s s o n " — a n d we w i l l explain the significance of the title m o m e n t a r i l y — i s a putting to practice of Rousseau's ideas by Levi-Strauss, who is most assuredly a committed and p r o u d disciple of the romanticism of the "anthropological" trend begun i n the eighteenth century toward facilitating the restoration of h u m a n being to Nature. Derrida describes the utopianism of its modern outcome i n structural ethnology as the peculiar result of a busy time of colonial expansionism: "Non-European peoples were not only studied as the index to  57  The Cultural Politics of the Sign a hidden good Nature, as a native soil recovered, of a 'zero degree' w i t h reference to w h i c h one could outline the structure, the growth, and above all the degradation of our society and culture. A s always, this archeology is also a teleology and an eschatology; the dream of a full and immediate presence closing history, the transparence and indivision of parousia, the suppression of contradiction and difference."  139  Wanting to gauge or test the Marxist  hypothesis of the debilitating effects of "writing," Levi-Strauss introduces its general principle of the inscribability of thought into the midst of the "primal scene" of the N a m b i k w a r a when pencils and paper are distributed to them. The leader of the band immediately allies himself w i t h the "new" technology, "recognizing that writing could increase his authority, thus grasping the basis of the institution without k n o w i n g h o w to use i t . "  1 4 0  A c c o r d i n g to Levi-  Strauss, the result was predictable i n the differences of status it reinforced as the dangerous culmination of the cultural politics of the sign, a fact further solidified on these grounds of the abuse of a system of symbolic exchange w h e n the impending threat of real violence to the ethnologist's entourage spontaneously arises and must be squelched. Later on, the Chief himself was deposed and exiled for the combination of the following actions:  A n d now, no sooner was everyone assembled than he drew forth from a basket a piece of paper covered w i t h scribbled lines and pretended to read from it. W i t h a show of hesitation he looked up and d o w n his " l i s t " for the objects to be given i n exchange for his people's presents. To so and so a bow and arrows, a machete! and another a string of beads! for his n e c k l a c e s — a n d so on for two solid hours. What was he hoping for? To deceive himself, perhaps: but, even more, to amaze his companions and persuade them that his intermediacy was  58  The Cultural Politics of the Sign responsible for the exchanges, that he had allied himself w i t h the white man, and that he could n o w share his secrets. We were i n a hurry to get away, since there w o u l d obviously be a moment of real danger at w h i c h all the marvels I had brought w o u l d have been handed over. 141  The importation of w r i t i n g into what Levi-Strauss believed was "a microsociety of non-violence and freedom, all the members of w h i c h can by rights remain w i t h i n range of an immediate and transparent, a 'crystalline' address, fully self-present i n its living s p e e c h "  142  is blamed as the cause for the clumsy  attempt made at the "exploitation" of the others by the chosen overseer. O n the one hand, the lesson that the ethnologist teaches to the N a m b i k w a r a Chief is a knowledge of h o w to capitalize upon the power of the "profoundly enslaving f u n c t i o n "  1 4 3  of the letter, "here accessory, of communication,  signification, of the [Western] tradition of a s i g n i f i e d . "  144  O n the other hand,  the violence of the gesture of writing as it is thought by Levi-Strauss to repeat the general conditions toward a "proletarization" of s o c i e t y — a n arbitrary lowering of the stature of some of its members for the benefit or advancement of others—concretizes the source of suffering i n the materiality of a commodification of the sign and a system for the exchange of its value w i t h i n an economy governing the means and modes of its production. Derrida comments o n some of the unexamined presuppositions permeating these ethico-political aspects of the semiology-based "pedagogical" theoretics of "The W r i t i n g Lesson":  59  The Cultural Politics of the Sign It [Saussurean phonocentrism u p o n w h i c h structural ethnology derives it philosophico-scientific credibility] is, however, an ethnocentrism thinking itself as anti-ethnocentrism, an ethnocentrism in the consciousness of a liberating progressivism. By radically separating language from writing, by placing the latter below and outside, believing at least that it is possible to do so, by giving oneself the illusion of liberating linguistics from all involvement w i t h written evidence, one thinks i n fact to restore the status of authentic language, human and fully signifying language, to all languages practiced by  peoples whom one nevertheless continues to describe as "without  writing." It is not fortuitous that the same ambiguity affects LeviStrauss' i n t e n t i o n s . 145  The concept of the exclusion of w r i t i n g Levi-Strauss supports ultimately "allows h i m to consider the passage from speech to w r i t i n g as a leap, as the instantaneous crossing of a line of discontinuity,"  146  that is " e p i g e n e t i s t "  147  through its apportionment of a signifying pureness to the totality of the sense of the spoken w o r d imbuing everything w i t h a plenitude of meaning. Antiethnocentrism is equated w i t h the spirit of Rousseau by the courting of a "semiological authenticity" of expression steeped i n the recitative "memory and oral tradition of generations"  148  of supposedly "pre-literate" peoples.  For Derrida, the scene at question is not the example of the origin of w r i t i n g among the Nambikwara, but "only that of the imitation of writing,"  1 4 9  a borrowing w i t h no invention, transmission, or institutive  effusion w i t h the chance of repeatibility. The demonstrativity of the event Levi-Strauss orchestrates, thus, displays the excesses of action without knowing, a playing o n the cultural politics of signification, its objectifying of a value system or a system of values, that essentially works against its pretender and does not hone a theory of the sign or signing that could be used 60  The Cultural Politics of the Sign for the communication of ideas rather than for the ruse perpetuating the "bad faith" of self-conscious misdirection. W i t h i n the space of this parable of "sociological purposes" (a question of intersubjective function) and "intellectual ends" (a question of cognitive goal-orientation) "outside of speech," the ethnologist begins to "think w r i t i n g , "  150  as Derrida explains, the  "split between the factual certainty and its interpretative reconsideration"  151  being of special interest to distinguish between the reporting of an "extraordinary incident" and philosophical reflection. The difference of the "close-up" involvement of the description of the experience given and the introspective indulgence of the analytical  "viewing-of-the-incident-from-  afar" that follows, certainly brings together the antinomy of reflections LeviStrauss has on the corruption of knowledge and power b y moving between the anthropological need for "identification" (participation) and the scientific requirement of "distanciation" (objectivation) to effectively "trademark" the interpretation of the negative effects of the rise of literacy through an ideological confounding of the dictates of law and the persuasiveness of authority to criticize the violence of the letter. Writing is hailed as a late cultural arrival "not at all pertinent to the appreciation of historical rhythms and types."  152  A n assertion that by extension denies the "specificity [conceded]  to the scientific project and to the value of truth i n g e n e r a l "  153  i n terms of the  unstable fluctuations of a quantitative advancement of knowledge. But there are problems w i t h the logic of this perspective that Derrida w i l l take careful note of to breakdown the cultural unilinearity of universal standards of progress Levi-Strauss establishes b y "exoticizing" the otherness of the Other  61  The Cultural Politics of the Sign in the ethnocentric mirage of a stereotypical " p r i m i t i v i s m " to deny the N a m b i k w a r a w r i t i n g as a community of "innocent and unoppressive speech" : 154  Is not the notion of the quantity of knowledge suspect? What is a quantity of knowledge? How is it modified? Without speaking of the science of the order or of quality, we may wonder what the quantity of the science of pure quantity signifies. How can it be evaluated i n quantity? Such questions can only be answered in the style of pure empiricity. Unless one attempts to respect the very complex laws of the capitalization of learning, something that cannot be done without considering w r i t i n g more attentively. One can say the opposite of what Levi-Strauss says and it w o u l d be neither truer nor more false. One can say that during such and such a half-century, even before "modern science," and today every minute, the accretion of knowledge has gone infinitely beyond what it was for millennia. So m u c h for accretion. As for the notion of fluctuation, it presents itelf as perfectly empirical. In any case, propositions of essence can never be made to fit a scale. 155  As Derrida finds it, because many types of "script" preceded the alphabet, the institution of the "deep structures [social, economic, technical, political, and so on] u p o n w h i c h we still l i v e " transmissibility"  157  1 5 6  are the result of a "theoretically infinite  of knowledge only thinkable w i t h a "methodicity" for the  archiving of information. That w r i t i n g — i n this extended discretion of the arche-trace of the mark of the sign—is  the "indispensable c o n d i t i o n " of the  possibility of the fruition and advancement of knowledge, "that there is no science without w r i t i n g , "  1 5 8  is the issue Levi-Strauss cannot avoid and "his  entire argument founders on or is contaminated by the gross mark of empirical a p p r o x i m a t i o n "  159  legitimating i n itself the ethnocentrism of the  62  The Cultural Politics of the Sign Western prejudice for a model of pure speech at the very moment w h e n "writing as the criterion of historicity or cultural value is not taken into account."  160  The description of the "historical facticity" of the evolution of the organic conditions of " c i v i l i z a t i o n " is i n total conformation w i t h the political ideology of a M a r x i a n vision of the institution of "capitalist society." A n d here, i n what is more than an observational exposition of evidence or proof to support this thesis, a startling conclusion is stated by Levi-Strauss: "If my hypothesis is correct, the primary function of w r i t i n g as a means of communication is to facilitate the enslavement of other h u m a n beings."  161  However extreme the judgement may seem to be, it is also an example of the metaphysical recuperation of a "cognitive materialism" valorizing the "vocative" or "dative" dimension of language as the living presence of speech to be the performative equivalent of the communicative enunciation of the truth of meaning.  162  Derrida reacts by confirming the thesis w i t h some  essential modifications at the ethical level of its "politology":  It has long been k n o w n that the power of w r i t i n g i n the hands of a small number, caste, or class, is always contemporaneous w i t h hierarchization, let us say w i t h political differance; it is at the same time distinction into groups, classes, and levels of economico-politicotechnical power, and delegation of authority, power deferred and abandoned to an organ of capitalization. This phenomenon is produced from the very onset of sedentarization; w i t h the constitution of stocks at the origin of agricultural societies. Here things are so patent that the empirical illustration that Levi-Strauss sketches could be infinitely enriched. This entire structure appears as soon as a society begins to live as a society, that is to say from the origin of life i n  63  The Cultural Politics of the Sign general, when, at very heterogeneous levels of organization and complexity, it is possible to defer presence, that is to say expense or consumption, and to organize production, that is to say reserve in general. This is produced w e l l before the appearance of writing i n the narrow sense, but it is true, and one cannot ignore it, that the appearance of certain systems of writing three or four thousand years ago was an extraordinary leap i n the history of life. A l l the more extraordinary because a prodigious expansion of the power of differance was not accompanied, at least during these millennia, by a notable transformation of the organism. It is precisely the property of the power of differance to modify life less and less as it spreads out more and more. If it should grow infinite—and its essence excludes this a priori—life itself w o u l d be made into an impassive, intangible, and eternal presence: infinite differance, G o d or d e a t h . 163  Levi-Strauss creates an absolute identification between culture and violence or between w r i t i n g and violence that exhibits as self-evident the real-world impossibility of the liberation of humanity by the unjustly wielded power of a textualized code of undiscriminating law. The combination of the drive to eradicate illiteracy through compulsory schooling, combined w i t h military service, the stratification of society, and the policing of the enforcement of adherence to a particular order of executive power i n the legislation of rules of behaviour is considered evidence of the intent of this oppression. The "happy co-incidence" of these duties and responsibilities mandating the diminishment of the freedom of the citizen by the State exists so, as LeviStrauss asserts it, "authority can decree that 'ignorance of the law is no defence'"  164  to the transgression of a specific "generality of [ethical] and  political i n t e r e s t "  165  upheld thanks to the hegemonism of a ruling minority.  Derrida does not simply oppose a classical system of the critique of writing.  64  The Cultural Politics of the Sign O n one level, as we have explained above, he acknowledges it as having some merit. Although, the idea of an "enslaving violence [being] assigned to a total l i t e r a c y "  166  these p r e m i s e s "  167  is rejected because it cannot be "rigorously deduced from that liberty is the result of "illiteracy and the absence of  compulsory military service, public instruction or law i n general." "libertarian i d e o l o g y "  169  168  . The  Levi-Strauss assumes to protect the "anti-colonialist  and anti-ethnocentric h u e "  170  of his t e x t — i t s being "misread" or "wrongly  i n t e r p r e t e d " — i s paradoxical to the Rousseauistic imperative for an intersubjective negotiation of social contract and the communal consent of a self-fulfilling v i s i o n of the non-violent association of beings.  Driven as the  ethnologist is b y the "phono-logo-centrism" of a "metaphysics of presence," the adoption of a univocal conception of L a w and State, freedom and equality that substitutes the illusion of the idyllic harmony described among the N a m b i k w a r a w i t h the revolutionary call for an anarchical resistance to the violence of w r i t i n g is somewhat unusual, contradictory even. A n d yet, it is because of an ethical edge to the bricolage of structural anthropology that Levi-Strauss confesses the desire to achieve a reconciliation of the difference of culture w i t h a hypothetical sameness to be found amidst an innocent nature so as to reduce or eradicate the degradation of the unity of community by the insurmountability of intersubjective violence. For Derrida, an attitude p r o d u c i n g — f r o m the "accidental f i n i t u d e "  171  of the objectivization of its  metaphysical valuations of the v o i c e — p a r a l l e l results to the negative effects of the "demagogic h a r a n g u e "  172  of the State and the "unneighbourliness" of  "modern" society objected to i n the first place:  65  The Cultural Politics of the Sign Finally, the value of "social authenticity" is one of the two indispensable poles of the structure of morality i n general. The ethic of the l i v i n g w o r d w o u l d be perfectly respectable, completely Utopian and a-topic [utopique et atopique] as it is (unconnected to spacing and to difference as writing), it w o u l d be as respectable as respect itself if it d i d not live o n a delusion and a non-respect for its o w n condition of origin, if it d i d not dream i n speech a presence denied to writing, denied b y writing. The ethic of speech is the delusion of presence mastered. 173  By construing the exclusion of w r i t i n g to be the criterion for the "social authenticity" of the Nambikwara, "the image of a community immediately present to itself, without difference," Levi-Strauss "uses this dream [of 174  'transparent proximity i n the face-to-face of countenance and the immediate range of the voice' ] as one weapon or instrument among others," 175  176  in a  celebration of the Other that manages to deny the difference and differance of otherness due to the metaphysical idealism of the representation of alterity as the logocentric paralogism of a "good" versus " e v i l " structure of identity. The desire to escape violence and repression b y rejecting the manifestations of culture and w r i t i n g is to endeavour to think the unthinkable, for what comes before the "already-there-ness" of institutionalized values and the exteriority of a form of language once the effect of origins are objectified i n an inaugurating logic of the selfsame is "always already" unreachable. A n d does this serious dilemma not descry "the question of the relations between belonging and opening, the question of the c l o s u r e "  177  that opposes and  supports the totality and the infinity of the call to the Other? W i t h i n this muted expressivity of a positive and negative proximity is the subject  66  The Cultural Politics of the Sign "drawn-out" from its o w n isolation or inwardness to a state of transcendance beyond the confines of the egological essence of its o w n being. The idea of phono-logocentrism Derrida examines i n the context of ethnology identifies the cognitive dimension of thought itself w i t h the creation of hierarchies, oppositions, and structures of exclusion. It is a hermeneutical violence LeviStrauss repeats as an ethnocentrism replicated i n the name of antiethnocentrism b y a discharging of what is the only ethical possibility; that is, the differance of the w r i t i n g of the Other.  The Subject of Differance: Re-Writing the Ethicity of the Sign  For Derrida, Levi-Strauss, like Saussure, Plato, Aristotle, and Rousseau, among others, excluded w r i t i n g "as a phenomenon of exterior representation, both useless and dangerous."  178  This, of course, was a metaphysical  judgement safeguarding the reduction of the exteriority of the sign for the sake of the voice. For Saussure, for example, the logocentric favouring of the seeming presence of one over the absence of the other must have been justified b y the model of "phonetic-alphabetic"  179  script used to delimit  language, a "type" sustaining the impression of presenting speech while simultaneously erasing "itself before speech."  180  Conversely, Derrida has  tried to show "there is no purely phonetic writing, and that phonologism is less a consequence of the practice of the alphabet i n a given culture than a  67  The Cultural Politics of the Sign certain ethical or axiological experience of this p r a c t i c e . "  W i t h i n this  181  practicability of metaphysics, the implication is clearly as follows:  W r i t i n g should erase itself before the plenitude of l i v i n g speech, perfectly represented i n the transparency of its notation, immediately present for the subject who speaks it, and for the subject who receives its meaning, content, v a l u e . 182  The most significant point for Derrida is "not only not to privilege one substance—here the phonic, so-called temporal, substance—while  excluding  a n o t h e r — f o r example, the graphic, so called spatial, substance—but even to consider every process of signification as a formal play of differences."  183  The  enigmatic modification deconstituting and dislocating the "linear expressivity" of the sign reinforces the need to ask the question, H o w can "grammatology" be introduced, and w i t h it " w r i t i n g " and "text" or "textuality" i n the deconstructive sense of the articulation of an "nondisciplinary" object, when there seems to have been a neutralization of "every substance, be it phonic, graphic, or o t h e r w i s e ? "  184  We may possibly  receive the following answer from Derrida: "Of course it is not a question of resorting to the same concept of w r i t i n g and of simply inverting the disymmetry that now has become problematical."  185  A n d , to be more specific,  the broader and more radical re-defining of the concept of w r i t i n g that is proposed to encompass every k i n d of expression, communication, and coding (phonic, graphic, artistic) "can be called gram or differance."  186  The  distinguishing characteristic of this semio-scriptology w o u l d be the "play of  68  The Cultural Politics of the Sign differences" i n v o l v i n g the interweaving of syntheses and references, but not to the extent that a "simple element" of its significo-psychic generation w o u l d be "present i n and of itself, referring only to i t s e l f "  187  as the auto-affective  arbiter of complete, unmitigating and unrelenting, sense. As such, the "text" and "textuality" of this w r i t i n g is a chaining of signs, not simply sign-functions standing i n for a (cultural) center of mediated meaning, but "only, everywhere, differences and traces of traces,"  188  within  w h i c h the "gram" w o u l d come to be the most general sign and semiology would he therefore reconstituted as grammatology. This is the clarification of the outline Derrida presents for the "science of a new writing." Since the gram "is a structure and a movement no longer conceivable o n the basis of the opposition presence/absence"  189  and flourishes w i t h i n the codic play of  differences, it is as differance that the grammatological  conversion of  semiology takes place v i a deconstruction. There are some crucial sticking points however that we must address. O n the basis of the above function, differance is incompatible "with the static, synchronic, taxonomic, ahistorical motifs i n the concept of s t r u c t u r e "  190  and yet, contrastingly, it is not  "astructural." Derrida insists on this. Because the "systematic and regulated transformations"  191  i n the specificity of its general workings are able to  develop, i n certain cases, "the most legitimate principled exigencies of 'structuralism.'"  192  That w o u l d be, for example, i n the extended  concatenation of sytagmatic units of expression whose traces are deferred and multiplied to some degree w i t h i n the differential ox fragmented proportionality of discursive or narrative structures. A n d here we come to  69  The Cultural Politics of the Sign the crux of the matter we must next follow, as Derrida defines it. It cannot be said, from this vantage that some "present and in-different b e i n g " shape or form "precedes differance or spacing,"  194  1 9 3  i n any  for example, a subject "who  w o u l d be the agent, author, and master of differance,"  195  or u p o n w h o m  differance w o u l d impose itself. Why? Because, to Derrida, " S u b j e c t i v i t y — like o b j e c t i v i t y — i s an effect of differance, an effect inscribed w i t h i n a system of differance."  196  We w i l l n o w begin to evaluate the implications of this  c l a i m — t h e effectivity of w h y and h o w it is m a d e — f o r the phenomenality of the writing of Being, the being written, all that relates deconstruction and the institution of pedagogy i n the cultural politics of the sign. Since, it w o u l d seem, at least for the moment, that the ethico-axiological agency of the "beingpresent" of the sign, its being as presence, is forever undercut as such, and w i t h it is summarily extinguished the metaphysical light of both the educational edifice of a valuation of truth and the psychological comfort of a sense of origin. The most affable text for gauging the complexity of these ramifications is "Differance," the lecture Derrida addressed to the Societe Frangaise de la Philosophic o n January 27, 1968.  197  A s is noted i n the preamble to the  discourse "proper," the French verb differer, like the Latin differre, suggests two meanings of association, "to differentiate" and "to delay," thus, relating the idea of difference i n two unsimilar ways:  O n the one hand, it indicates difference as distinction, inequality, or discernability; on the other, it expresses the interposition of delay, the interval of a spacing and temporalizing that puts off until "later" what 70  The Cultural Politics of the Sign is presently denied, the possible that is presently impossible. Sometimes the different and sometimes the deferred correspond [in French] to the verb "to differ." This correlation, however, is not simply one between act and object, cause and effect, or primordial and derived. In the one case "to differ" signifies non-identity; in the other case it signifies the order of the same. Yet there must be a common, although entirely differante, root w i t h i n the sphere that relates the two movements of differing to one another. We provisionally give the name differance to this sameness w h i c h is not identical. 198  U s i n g the letter "a" from the present participle of the verb differer,. e.g., "differante," Derrida constructs the noun differance, a new word, a "nonw o r d " that is, i n his estimation, a "non-concept"—profoundly ametaphysical—precisely because it cannot be either "narrowed-down" or "fixed" to a single part of both of its meanings. It is perhaps the penultimate of deconstructive terms, if that were possible i n this -post-structural sense, given that the difference of differance is only perceptible in writing, since the change of spelling is i n a u d i b l e — t h e "e" for w h i c h the "a" is s u b s t i t u t e d — i s silent to the (French) ear. Thus, the "semanteme" that is "neither a word nor a concept"  199  expresses both meanings of differentiation as spatio-temporality  and as the movement that structures each kind of dissociation i n the "middle voice" between passivity and activity like the penumbra of an irreducible origin of production. It is perhaps the offspring of the monstrosity Derrida predicts at the end of his famous lecture at Yale University, "Structure, Sign, and Play i n the Discourse of the H u m a n Sciences" (1966), deconstruction already having given form i n itself to a species of non-species marking the un-namable in the alterity of a philosophical subject metaphysics cannot  71  The Cultural Politics of the Sign stomach or mouth. A n d here it w o u l d be t e m p t i n g — y e s it i s — t o consider differance an operating principle, to criticize it as the ambi-valent counterpart to a philosophy of origin upon which the Other must rely or fall. But this w o u l d also be to mis-understand, not to do justice to the interpretative formativity of a "doubling commentary" Derrida has said is possible at some m i n i m a l parameters of s i g n i f i c a t i o n ,  b y representing differance as external  200  to identity instead of it being always already w i t h i n the non-indicative selfrelation of the being written of Being, modifying the here and now "at the zero-point of the subjective o r i g i n . "  201  What it is that it does to the s i g n — f o r  our purposes the trace of the writing of the Self as Other—is  evident i n the  semiological prospectus of signification: the structural necessity of its repeatability, or re-iteration, beyond a single, unitary point of expression. If we acknowledge, as we should, a "sign" can signify only through the force of repetition, the consequences of differance render the sign relational rather than identical (e.g., not the selfsame, or "iconic," possessing the properties of its "referent"), thus, bringing indication into line w i t h expression to undo the Husserlian idea of a "pre-expressive intentionality" of pure consciousness. This line of argument de-centers the subject, brings it out of the shell of the Cartesian cogito that shelters its attempt at realizing the security of a selfdiscourse w i t h i t s e l f — w h a t Derrida shows to be an instance of noncommunication, because i n the equating of self-hood w i t h self-presence, the Other is effaced to the point where an inner-monologue w i t h one's "Self" is not really an instance of transmissibility at all, but the self-deceptive verification of the desire for auto-affection. Or, an attempt at the reduction of  72  The Cultural Politics of the Sign differance. In order to ascertain the existence of itself, a subject must refer outside of itself to the world of the signs of the Other using the resources of what does not begin " w i t h i n " itself, therefore striving to refrain from obliterating itself just as it seems to have authenticated its existence. It is this relational aspect that Derrida makes us aware of about the ethical grounding of differance b y referring to the constitutive function of the sign-trace of the Other, the deferring difference between presence and repetition, self and nonself, reveals itself as undecidability at the proliferative core of identity. Returning, once again, to the text of the lecture, Derrida suggests that differance is or can stand for "the j u n c t u r e — r a t h e r than the s u m m a t i o n — o f what has been most decisively inscribed i n the thought of what is conveniently called our 'epoch.'"  202  A n age of the irreducible play of the sign  summarized as the de-limitation of onto-theo-logy, of the metaphysics of presence (logocentrism) and the possibility of an ethical opening of the subject toward the difference of the Other. The following are given as examples of the reason of the proto-typical thinkers leading to differance: "the difference of forces i n Nietzsche, Saussure's principle of semiological difference, differing as the possibility of [neurone] facilitation, impression and delayed effect i n Freud, difference as the irreducibility of the trace of the other i n Levinas, and the ontic-ontological difference i n Heidegger."  203  A l l of these  individuals have no doubt figured greatly i n the elaboration of Derrida's working of deconstruction, but more importantly the list displays the "discoveries" or "inventions" of varying fields from the history of philosophy to theology and psychoanalysis that have changed or altered  73  The Cultural Politics of the Sign perceptions of the ethics of Western metaphysics i n their refusal to be subdued or dominated b y the dizzying substitutions of master signs w i t h i n its self-enclosed system of truth and meaning. The exposition of the breadth of the contributions to the theory of differance makes a previous point quite clear: differance is not only "irreducible to every ontological or t h e o l o g i c a l — onto-theological—reappropriation, but it opens up the very space i n w h i c h onto-theology—philosophy—produces  its system and its history. It thus  encompasses and irrevocably surpasses onto-theology and p h i l o s o p h y . "  204  The alogicality of its structure also prevents an afore-planned linearity w i t h i n the reading of the writing of signs, for example, the ordering of a "reason" of strategy or of finality of purpose, a tacticality toward teleology, "philosophicallogical d i s c o u r s e " speech."  206  205  and its symmetrical opposite "logico-empirical  The alternative to these more or less traditional discourses of  epistemological fortitude and forebearance is a "semiotics" of the play of difference as differance, a subject Derrida favours and has little difficulty i n handling regarding elements of the teachings of Nietzsche, Freud, Saussure, Heidegger, and Levinas. W i t h respect to Nietzsche and Freud, both are excellent examples w i t h i n the context of the lecture because they "often i n a very similar way, questioned the self-certitude of consciousness"  207  and showed-up the  traumatizing elisions of the substantive Self of metaphysics that wrought the pragmatological center of a pedagogical en-framing (Ge-Stell) of being. The main point for Derrida is that this was done "by starting out w i t h the theme of differance."  208  A n accurate, but nevertheless, audacious claim.  74  The Cultural  Politics of the Sign  Concerning Nietzsche, the understanding of differance is evident to Derrida in his argument that '"the important main activity is unconscious'"  209  and  that "consciousness is the effect of forces whose essence, ways, and modalities are not particular to i t . "  2 1 0  The force determining consciousness, as we have  said earlier, being never present as presence to itself but rather, "only [as] a play of differences and quantities."  The "postulating" of differance i n  211  Nietzsche correlates to a "symptomatology" diagnostic of the "adiaphoristic repression"  212  and indifference of a philosophy dedicated to the Same at the  expense of the Other, a pedagogy of the one and only Reason. The postmetaphysical interpretation, however, does qualify differance, not as "the disclosure of truth as a presentation of the thing itself i n its presence," as "an incessant deciphering,"  214  213  but  an on-running hermeneutics of  ressentiment based on a "cipher without truth, or at least a system of ciphers that is not dominated b y truth v a l u e . "  215  A n d the struggle to demythologize  the objectification of the meaning of a W i l l to the Power forming an economy of interests weighed against interests according to the profit of function is consequently "understood, inscribed, and c i r c u m s c r i b e d " history of episteme and philosophy.  216  w i t h i n the  Nietzsche, Derrida w i l l say, thought  "this active (in movement) discord of the different forces and of the differences between f o r c e s "  217  i n direct opposition "to a system of  metaphysical grammar, wherever that system controls culture, philosophy, and  science."  218  W i t h F r e u d — l e a v i n g Saussure to the side for we w i l l have dealt w i t h h i m earlier—another "diaphoristics," this time a questioning of "the primacy of  75  The Cultural Politics of the Sign presence qua consciousness"  219  is transformed to a psychoanalytic  questioning of the authority of consciousness.  The two meanings of  differance as differentiation and deferral are inextricably fused i n Freud's thought, especially i n the concepts of the trace (Spur), facilitation (Bahnung), memory (Erinnerung), inscription (Niederschrift), and the repressive reserve (Vorrat) of delay (Nachtrdglichkeit). Derrida emphasizes the play of this structure of psychic retardement, developed i n Beyond the Pleasure Principle, that suggests the ego's drive toward self-preservation motivates the temporary displacement of the pleasure principle by the reality principle, but without surrendering the drive to an ultimate increase i n pleasure, thereby requiring the temporary suspension of gratification through the w i l l f u l tolerance of displeasure. W i t h i n the vision and certitude of the prevalent system of thinking we have called after deconstruction, "metaphysical," that requires the objectification of the value of its "content" as "form" i n the act of teaching (enseignement), the exteriority of language inscribes the inferiority of consciousness from the production of the intersubjective violence of a welcomed socius. In this sense of the transitive apportionment of the Self to the infinity of the secret of the Other, the thought of E m m a n u e l Levinas is anything but psychoanalytic. A n d so Derrida confirms by maintaining that the Heideggerian "forgetting of Being" acknowledges the radicality assigned to ethics as first philosophy, an assertion already expressed i n E d m u n d HusserTs conception of phenomenology. In Speech and Phenomena, Derrida w i l l have come to deconstructive terms with, on the one hand, the intuition of essence analogous to perception adequating the act of cognition w i t h "the thing" of its  76  The Cultural Politics of the Sign object and, on the other, the possibility that the apodicticity of evidence requires no adequation of the phenomenality of its apperception beyond the retensions and protensions of experience, a consciousness of a past and future ego. O r a consciousness of "other selves," a presupposition of the recognition of materiality, e.g., the body of the Other, physical presence, etc, for the exteriority of "a thing" outside "the Self" is not reducible to the presentation of the language of its re-presentation. Derrida accepts this as a justification for the infinite transcendence of the Other, a positive infinitude of the ego involved i n the inability to actualize a totality of experience, but paralleling by "analogical appresentation" the Self's relation to the Other as the Other's ego to one's own.  This is a "peaceful" resolution of the rendering of the "sense"  of subjectivity. The result is the approximation of experience that solidifies the alterity of the Other, the being of the Self depending on the being of another ego, and this transcendental economy of Hussurlean phenomenology does not do violence to the Other Derrida has claimed against Levinas, because it respects the difference of being: "Levinas in fact speaks of the infinitely other, but b y refusing to acknowledge an intentional modification of the e g o — w h i c h w o u l d be a violent and totalitarian act for h i m — h e deprives himself of the very foundation and the possibility of his own  language."  220  It is not a question of transcendental phenomenology as  "metaphysical idealism" or "metaphysical realism" because i n the suspension of empirical and metaphysical "factuality" there is at least some semblance of "non-neutrality" garnered through the intentional quality of the ego as the basis for language and subjectivity that shows-up i n the equating of exteriority  77  The Cultural Politics of the Sign as an openness to the Other. Is this a paradox or an incoherence w i t h respect to fundamental ontology?  Derrida comments,  It is true that Ethics i n Levinas' sense, is an Ethics without law and without concept, w h i c h maintains its non-violent purity only before being determined as concepts and laws. This is not an objection; let us not forget that Levinas does not seek to propose laws or moral rules, does not seek to determine a morality, but rather the essence of the ethical relation i n general. But as this determination does not offer itself as a theory of Ethics, i n question, then is an Ethics of Ethics. In this case, it is perhaps serious that this Ethics of Ethics can occasion neither a determined ethics nor determined laws without negating and forgetting itself. Moreover, is this Ethics of Ethics beyond all laws? Is it not the Law of laws? A coherence w h i c h breaks d o w n the coherence of the discourse against coherence—the infinite concept, h i d d e n w i t h i n the protest against the concept. 221  What sort of discourse can be beyond the scope of the law as external to the phenomenological closure of the frame of the logic of reference? There is difficulty i n responding to or philosophizing about what is otherwise than being. Especially, for Levinas whose discourse, Derrida reminds us, seems to be all about the ethics of discourse itself, the engagement and aversion of intersubjective violence i n the face-to-face relation w i t h the Other. But the concept of "the trace and the enigma [that is also an opening] of absolute alterity, that is, the Other [autrui]"  222  certainly parallels the give-and-take of  psychic (dis)indications that led to the inscription of the Freudian rebus of the unconscious, a "mystic writing-pad" of the mind, dis-covered by dis-arming the pedagogical value of the "teaching-being" and the "being-taught" of a faceto-face exchange of hidden memory w i t h the self. Yet, to go further i n  78  The Cultural Politics of the Sign another direction, Nietzsche occupies a more prominent position i n the lecture itself and is "held-up" i n conjunction with the significance of Heidegger for deconstruction, i n all probability the intellectual figure to w h o m Derrida is most closely tied, yet also the furthest from. On the one hand, it must be said that " i n a particular and strange way, differance [is] 'older' than the ontological difference or the truth of B e i n g , "  223  because in its  horizon is borne and bound the play of the deferral of traces demarcating the living-depth of existence.  On the other hand, Heidegger pioneered the  "epochality" of textuality and language, the insight making a rethinking of the Being of beings possible, but not "actual." Derrida believes that we "must stay w i t h i n the difficulty of this passage [of ontological difference, recognizing the necessity for it as a point of reference among others]; we must repeat this passage i n a rigorous reading of metaphysics, wherever metaphysics serves as the n o r m of Western speech, and not only i n the texts of 'the history of philosophy.'"  224  This two-sided "tack" is i n itself the responsibility of an ethic  of differance, of difference and deferral, the non-end of a keeping w i t h i n to move beyond the present to the future. Derrida w i l l ask, here as elsewhere, a more fundamental question intriguingly posed, after Heidegger and the unfolding of the language of B E I N G S P E A K I N G , exterior to the "in-stallment" of signification: "How do we conceive of the outside of a t e x t ? "  225  We could reply to this unanswerable  question with another: H o w do we conceive of the inside of a text? A n d to, some extent, we have been broaching an answer to the radical opening of the ethics of both of these impossible aporias all along.  79  The Cultural Politics of the Sign  For Loose Ends: At the Proximity of a Teaching of the Other Deconstruction integrates semiological difference w i t h i n the radical irreducibility of the infrastructurality of differance marking the arche-trace of the Other to expose h o w the telepathy of the logos is deferred by the selfeffacement, erosion, phthora, of the plenitude of the eidos of presence. D e r r i d a — c o m p l i c a t i n g the "archive f e v e r "  226  of Western epistemology at the  base of its desire to exclude the "im-proper," that which does not belong to the "place of consignment,"  2 2 7  by re-introducing the idea of an outside to the eco-  nomy of the arkheion—begins  to address the relative specificity of the larger  question "of pedagogy" around a rethinking of the classical thematizations of the nature/culture opposition of metaphysics, its main pragmatico-logical focus. The engagement of deconstruction w i t h what it means to think, to learn, to teach, to know takes shape i n the "early" texts comprising the biblioblitz of the collection of "writings" appearing alongside Of Grammatology as a resituating of the intelligibility of the institutionalization of knowledge at the level of the historicity of the sign. Or, what are the socio-theo-philosophical sources of a non-natural ethics before and after the letter of writing. Deconstruction convenes post-structural interventions into topical variations of the educational problematic (e.g., origins, mimesis, nature, "primitivism," childhood, reason, etc.) around the issue of the paradoxical stricture of supplementarity, the middle-ground between the fullness of presence and the lack of absence, to show that there is no neutral or apolitical safe-haven of  80  The Cultural Politics of the Sign language or representivity, an unmediated, "un-policed" point of decidable exteriority, from w h i c h to approach the horizon of intersubjective violence, the linearist techniques of the repetition of impressionability. The ethicotheoretical hierarchy of the cultural politics of the sign privileging an edifying speech cannot persevere, as such, after the dis-position of an ideal of objectivity as dis-continuous with the reality of an ethnocentric deflation of the grapheme exacted at the expense of the heterogeneity of the writing of the Other. That is, the grafting of subjective originarity from w i t h i n the play of the inferiority of consciousness and the exteriority of the pro-jection of being. What counter-acts the irresponsibilizing drive of metaphysics to secure a teleological trajectory of the subject for its "just completion" along the lines of a teaching of a normative ethics, a normative ethics of teaching, is the deconstructive obligation to grant a vertiginous plurivocity to the re-tracing of semiological difference as the deferral of the self-presence of the sign, the law of an open-ended justice always already set beyond the divisibility of nature and culture i n the order of differance and the impossibility of gaining access to a single and determinate Truth.  81  The Cultural Politics of the Sign Notes 1. Jacques D e r r i d a , Of Grammatology, trans. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (Balimore: Johns H o p k i n s University Press, 1974), 139-140. (Translation has been modified.). 2. This is the alternate name—a "re-name"—Drucilla Cornell gives deconstruction for its ability to push the boundaries of ethics, law, logic, and so on i n a book b y the same title, The Philosophy of the Limit (New York: Routledge, 1992). See also on the question of the deconstructive economy of limits, boundaries, margins, and so on as addressed through a variety of themes, H e r m a n Rapaport, Heidegger & Derrida: Reflections on Time and Language (Lincoln: U n i v e r s i t y of Nebraska Press, 1989), Irene H a r v e y , Derrida and the Economy of Differance (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986), B i l l M a r t i n , Matrix and Line: Derrida and the Possibilities of a Postmodern Social Theory (Albany: State U n i v e r s i t y of N e w Y o r k Press, 1992), a n d A r k a d y Plotnitsky, In the Shadow of Hegel: Complementarity, History, and the Unconscious (Gainseville: University of Florida Press, 1993). 3. D e r r i d a , Of Grammatology, 7-8. 4. Ibid., 8. 5. Ibid., 6. 6. Ibid., 8. 7. Ibid., 7. 8. Ibid., 8. 9. Ibid., 8. (Translation modified.). 10. Jacques Derrida, Positions, trans. A l a n Bass (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981), 3. 11. D e r r i d a , Of Grammatology, 36. 12. Ibid., 101. 13. Ibid., 102. 14. Ibid., 10. 15. Ibid., 17. 16. Ibid., 10-11. (Translation modified.). 17. Ibid., 15. 18. Ibid., 15. 19. See Jacques Derrida, Dissemination, trans. Barbara Johnson (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981) for an extended discussion of the Platonic theory of w r i t i n g as it is related to and through the idea of the pharmakon capacitated b y the mythopoieic rendition of the appearance of the letter presented i n the Phaedrus and the Philebus. 20. Derrida, Of Grammatology, 11. (Translation modified.). 21. Ibid., 11. 22. Ibid., 11. 23. Ibid., 12. 24. D e r r i d a , Of Grammatology, 3. 25. Ibid., 10. (Translation modified.). 26. Ibid., 12. 27. Ibid., 20. 28. Ibid., 20. 29. Ibid., 20. 30. Ibid., 20. 31. M a r t i n Heidegger, Poetry, Language, Thought, trans. Albert Hofstadter ( N e w York: Harper & R o w Publishers, 1971), 191.  82  The Cultural Politics of the Sign  32. Derrida goes over the history of "deconstruction" and its relation to Heidegger's "destruction" i n "Letter to a Japanese Friend," trans. D a v i d W o o d and A n d r e w Benjamin, i n Derrida and Differance, eds. D a v i d W o o d and Robert Bernasconi (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1988), 1-11. 33. In L u c Ferry and A l a i n Renault, French Philosophy of the Sixties: An Essay on Antihumanism, trans. M a r y H . S. Cattani (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1990), it is suggested that Derridean deconstruction is a rehashing of Hedeggerianism i n the worst sense of a repeating of Heidegger w i t h Derrida's style. But the fundamental differences between the philosophers are ignored on grounds bearing little relation to the specificity of the philosophies of either. It is more a matter, Ferry and Renault claim, of French Heideggerianism not being to p u l l itself free from the theme of ontological difference i n a facile repetition where nothing is lost and nothin is gained. The more recent w o r k of Derrida—that i n fact comes out of the early texts—is itself an answer to this charge of repeatability. For example, "Geschlecht," "Philopolemology: Heidegger's Ear," "Geschlecht II: Heidegger's H a n d , " Of Spirit: Heidegger and the Question. 34. Derrida, Of Grammatology, 12. 35. See M a r t i n Heidegger, Being and Time, trans. John Macquarrie and E d w a r d Robinson (United States: Harper & R o w Publishers, 1962). 36. D e r r i d a , Of Grammatology, 12. (Translation modified.). 37. Ibid., 13. 38. Ibid., 13. 39. Ibid., 18. 40. Ibid., 14. 41. See the dissertation of Umberto Eco (1954) published as The Aesthetics of Thomas Aquinas (Cambridge, Mass.: H a r v a r d University Press, 1988). 42. Ibid., 14. 43. Charles Sanders Peirce and Friedrich Nietzsche were two philosophers w h o had begun to question the reason of the sign. Peirce on pragmatic grounds and Nietzsche on the basis of the genealogy of Western morality. 44. Derrida, Of Grammatology, 14. 45. Ibid., 14. 46. Ibid., 14-15. (Translation modified.). 47. Ibid., 14. 48. Ibid., 17. 49. Ibid., lxxxix. 50. Ibid., lxxxix. 51. Ibid., lxxxix. 52. See Jacques Derrida, "Freud and the Scene of Writing," trans. A l a n Bass, i n Writing and Difference (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978), 196-231. 53. Derrida, Of Grammatology, 15. 54. Ibid., 15. 55. Ibid., 15. 56. Ibid., 15. 57. Ibid., 17. 58. Ibid., 15.  83  The Cultural Politics of the Sign  59. This is the theme of Jacques Derrida, "Before the L a w , " trans. A v i t a l Ronell and Christine Roulston, i n Acts of Literature, ed. Derek Attridge (New York: Routledge, 1991), 181-220 and Jacques Derrida, "The L a w of Genre," trans. A v i t a l Ronell, Glyph 7 (1980): 176-232. 60. Ibid., 98. 61. I bid., 163. 62. Ibid., 163. 63. Ibid., 144. 64. Ibid., 144-145. 65. Ibid., 145. 66. Ibid., 150. 67. Ibid., 148. 68. Ibid., 17. (Translation modified.). 69. Ibid., 145. 70. Ibid., 144. 71. Ibid., 144. 72. Ibid., 149. 73. Ibid., 145. 74. Ibid., 145. 75. Ibid., 146. 76. Ibid., 147. 77. Ibid., 248. 78. Ibid., 247. 79. Ibid., 247. 80. Ibid., 147. 81. Ibid., 147. 82. Ibid., 245-246. 83. Derrida, Positions, 18. 84. Ibid., 18. 85. Ibid., 18. 86. Ibid., 18. 87. See Umberto Eco, A Theory of Semiotics (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1976) and A l g i r d a s Julien Greimas, Structural Semantics: An Attempt at a Method, trans. Daniele M c D o w e l l , R o n a l d Schleifer, and A l a n Velie (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1983). 88. Derrida, Positions, 17. 89. Ibid., 17. 90. Ibid.,'19. 91. Ibid., 19-20. 92. Derrida, Of Grammatology, 73. 93. Derrida, Positions, 19. 94. Ibid., 20. 95. Ibid., 20. 96. Ibid., 21. 97. Ibid., 21. 98. Ibid., 21. 99. Ibid., 21. 100. Ibid., 21.  84  The Cultural Politics of the Sign  101. Ibid., 21. 102. Jacques Derrida, "The Time of a Thesis: Punctuations," trans. Kathleen M c L a u g h l i n , i n ed. A l a n Montefiore, Philosophy in France Today (Cambridge: Cambridge U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1983), 40. 103. Jacques Derrida, "Structure, Sign, and Play i n the Discourse of the H u m a n Sciences, trans. A l a n Bass, i n Writing and Difference, 278. 104. Ibid., 278. 105. Ibid., 278. 106. Ibid., 278-279. 107. Ibid., 279. 108. Ibid., 279. 109. Ibid., 279. 110. Ibid., 279. 111. Ibid., 279. 112. Ibid., 279. 113. Ibid., 279. 114. Ibid., 279. 115. Ibid., 279-280. 116. Ibid., 280. 117. D e r r i d a , Of Grammatology, 101. 118. For a detailed reading of the "contradictory allegiances" of the structural ethnology of Claude Levi-Strauss, especially relating to h u m a n i s m and "cultural relativism" see Tzvetan Todorov, On Human Diversity: Nationalism, Racism, and Exoticism in French Thought, trans. Catherine Porter (Cambridge, Mass.: H a r v a r d University Press, 1993). 119. Derrida, "Structure, Sign, and Play i n the Discourse of the H u m a n Sciences," 282. 120. Ibid., 282. 121. D e r r i d a , Of Grammatology, 101. 122. Ibid., 106. 123. See Jacques Derrida, "Structure, Sign, and Play i n the Discourse of the H u m a n Sciences." 124. Ibid., 110. 125. Ibid., 107. 126. See Clifford Geertz, Works and Lives: The Anthropologist as Author (Stanford: University of Stanford Press, 1988). Especially the chapters entitled "The W o r l d i n a Text: H o w to Read 'Tristes Tropiques'" and "Being There: Anthropology and the Scene of W r i t i n g . " 127. D e r r i d a , Of Grammatology, 107. 128. Ibid., 107. 129. Ibid., 114. 130. Cited i n ibid., 110. 131. Cited i n ibid., 108. 132. Ibid., 109-110. 133. Ibid., 110. 134. D e r r i d a , Of Grammatology, 125. 135. Ibid., 127. 136. Ibid., 112. 137. Ibid., 125. 138. Ibid., 83.  85  The Cultural Politics of the Sign  139. Ibid., 114-115. 140. Claude Levi-Strauss, Tristes Tropiques, trans. John Weightman and Doreen Weightman (New York: Pocket Books, 1977), 339. 141. Cited i n Derrida, Of Grammatology, 125-126. 142. Ibid., 119. 143. Ibid., 122. 144. Ibid., 122. 145. Ibid., 120. 146. Ibid., 120. 147. Ibid., 120. 148. Ibid., 124. 149. Ibid., 127. 150. Ibid., 127. 151. Ibid., 126. 152. Ibid., 128. 153. Ibid., 128-129. 154. Ibid., 121. 155. Ibid., 129. 156. Ibid., 129. 157. Ibid., 128. 158. Ibid., 130. 159. Ibid., 130. 160. Ibid., 121. 161. Cited i n ibid., 130. 162. See the interview of Jacques Derrida conducted by Jean-Louis Houdebine and G u y Scarpetta in Positions for reasons w h y deconstruction had up to that time not engaged M a r x i s m . 163. Derrida, Of Grammatology, 130-131. 164. Cited i n ibid., 132. 165. Ibid., 132. 166. Ibid., 132. 167. Ibid., 132. 168. Ibid., 132. 169. Ibid., 132. 170. Ibid., 132 171. Ibid., 139 172. Ibid., 137. 173. Ibid., 139. 174. Ibid., 136. 175. Ibid., 138. 176. Ibid., 138. 177. Jacques Derrida, "Violence and Metaphysics: A n Essay on the Thought of Emmanuel Levinas," trans. A l a n Bass, i n Writing and Difference, 110. 178. Derrida, Positions, 25. 179. Ibid., 25. 180. Ibid., 25. 181. Ibid., 25.  86  The Cultural Politics of the Sign  182. Ibid., 25. 183. Ibid., 26. 184. Ibid., 26. 185. Ibid., 26. 186. Ibid., 26. 187. Ibid., 26. 188. Ibid., 26. 189. Ibid., 27. 190. Ibid., 27. 191. Ibid., 28. 192. Ibid., 28. 193. Ibid., 28. 194. Ibid., 28. 195. Ibid., 28. 196. Ibid., 28. 197. A l t h o u g h the text of this discourse has appeared i n many different places, the version of "Differance" I w i l l be using is found i n Jacques Derrida, Speech and Phenomena: And Other Essays on Husserl's Theory of Signs, trans. D a v i d B. A l l i s o n (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1973), 129-160. (Translations have been modified unless otherwise indicated.). 198. Ibid., 129. 199. Ibid., 130. 200. See Jacques Derrida, Limited Inc., trans. Samuel Weber and Jeffrey M e h l m a n , ed. Gerald Graff (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1988). The chapter entitled "Afterword: T o w a r d an Ethic of Discussion" is most clear about the misrepresentation of Derridean undecidability and the play of the sign. 201. Derrida, Speech and Phenomena, 94. 202. "Differance," 130. 203. Ibid., 130. 204. Ibid., 135. 205. Ibid., 135. 206. Ibid., 135. 207. Ibid., 148. 208. Ibid., 148. 209. Ibid., 148. 210. Ibid., 148. 211. Ibid., 148. 212. Ibid., 148. 213. Ibid., 149. 214. Ibid., 149. 215. Ibid., 149. 216. Ibid., 149. 217. Ibid., 149. 218. Ibid., 149. 219. Ibid., 149. 220. Derrida, "Violence and Metaphysics," 125.  8 7  The Cultural  221. Ibid., 111. 222. Derrida, "Differance," 152. 223. Ibid., 154. 224. Ibid., 154. 225. Ibid., 158. 226. See Jacques Derrida, Archive Fever: A Freudian (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996). 227. Ibid., 11.  88  Politics of the  Impression, trans. Eric Prenowitz  CH APTER TH REE The Ends of Pedagogy: From the Dialectic of Memory to the Deconstruction of the Institution  A typical movement of the Hegelian text: speculative dialectics sets on its course a sometimes quite precise piece of historical information, but without precautions. A certain number of very determined effects result from this, and i n the very form of that.which Hegel elsewhere criticizes: the juxtaposition of an empirical content w i t h a henceforth abstract form, an exterior form superimposed o n that w h i c h it should organize. This is manifest particularly i n unnoticed contradictions, contradictions without concepts and not reducible to the speculative movement of contradiction. —Jacques Derrida, "The P i t a n d the P y r a m i d : Introduction to Hegel's Semiology" 1  89  The Ends of Pedagogy Chapter Three follows the educational force of the "crosses-over" i n the trans-lation (Uber-setzen) of the ethnocentric historicity of the sign of the logos, the phonetic w r i t i n g of speech, to the releve of the auto-bio-graphy  of  memory as the motivation for the post-structural re-tracing of the semiological difference of differance beyond the dialectical absolutism of the teaching of the speculative Idea. To do this, I offer a reading of a marginalized text of Jacques Derrida, "The Age of Hegel," a deconstructive rereading of a "special report" about the ethico-cultural predicament of philosophical pedagogy w i t h i n the structure of the Prussian system of "general education" during the early nineteenth century. A n "officious" document useful for the political purposes of the State that Hegel was requested to carefully prepare and submit to the M i n i s t r y of Public Instruction, the year being 1822. The chapter is d i v i d e d into three parts. The first part commences by reinvoking the ethical and political circumstances of the text-context relation Derrida elucidates to situate the report Hegel signs w i t h i n the specificity of the conditions of its necessity and the fate of its reception. W i t h constant reference to deconstruction, the analysis explores h o w the state of affairs that spawned the "ideology" of the report for the political purpose of actualizing educational policy can be reread through a gauging of the speculative presuppositions of the pedagogical memory of childhood Hegel reveals, as is found i n the exposition of the dialectical laws of the philosopher's o w n texts (e.g., the Philosophy of Right and the Phenomenology of Spirit). It is followed b y a technical analysis of the auto-bio-graphical moment of the philosophical age of Hegel. O r what is the reflexive instant of i d e a l i t y — w h e n  90  The Ends of Pedagogy the subjective identity of being is concretized through a self-referential writing posed against the reality of itself as an auto-affective recapitulation of the thought of memory thinking itself as stemming from the Hegelian rejuvenation of a Platonistic rewriting of anamnesis without the creative intuition of signs. The question, at hand, here is: H o w does the signature of the proper name as a life-writing of the Self stabilize the pedagogical "truth" of a childhood memory from the past to sanction the institutionalization of a speculative modality for the teaching and learning of philosophy i n the future? The last part moves the deconstructive protocol of reading away from the contradictions of the representation of the empiricity of subjective identity that penetrate the ideology of the report Hegel signs into the actual ethics and politics of the scene of teaching to continue to open-up to scrutiny the accepted codes or institutional codability of a "dialectical schooling." It ends w i t h a discussion of some of the recommendations Derrida makes to the G R E P H for achieving a rewarding critique of the pedagogical institution of philosophy and expands u p o n their implications.  The  Text-Context/Context-Text  Dialangue  Breaking Down the Philosophical Barriers: Between the Subject, the State, and the Educational Institution . . . and if I may be permitted to evoke my o w n experience ... I remember having learned, i n m y twelfth y e a r — d e s t i n e d as I was to enter the theological seminary of m y country—Wolf[f]'s definitions of 91  The Ends of Pedagogy the so-called idea clara and that, i n m y fourteenth year, I had assimilated all the figures and rules of syllogism. A n d I still k n o w them.  — H e g e l , Letter to Altenstein, 16 April 1822  2  To begin w i t h then, a rememoration of, and for, a curriculum. The auto-bio-graphical portrayal of a pedagogical moment from childhood is ascribable to the experience of the German philosopher identified by the proper name of Hegel (Georg W i l h e l m Friedrich), for his signature sanctions its reiteration a posteriori the labour of its extraction, from the nadir of an other time and space that is memory, into writing. Citation to the pastness of this event evokes the historicity of the selfsame subjectivity marked from the auto-appellative force of the signature of the proper name operating as a closing salutation to an "official correspondence." In actuality, the anecdote is not part of a letter at all, but of an "official study" commissioned from Hegel, Derrida reminds us, "by a [Prussian] State bureaucracy i n the process of organizing the nationalization of the structures of philosophical education by extracting it, based o n historical compromise, from clerical jurisdiction."  3  This seemingly wandering digression of subjective thought re-thinking itself in the spontaneous flashing of an interiorizing reflection—the example of a memory of adolescence that interrupts the illustrative contents of the report for argument's sake—is anything other than accidental retors, a slip of the pen. What "happens" w i t h i n the textual confines of this report follows closely on the enforcement of mandatory schooling during the reformation of the  92  The Ends of Pedagogy  pedagogical institution i n early nineteenth-century Germany, having been "recently adopted for academic freedom, and the defence of the university against feudal powers."  4  Altenstein, Minister of Public Instruction since  1817—and Hegel's benefactor—proves to be a devoted advocate of the State cause of seeing-through the initiation of a public schooling.  5  The position he  occupies as a career bureaucrat i n the dawning of the "age of European civil s e r v i c e " is "sensitive, precarious, vulnerable" ; it is soon evident to the 6  7  parties concerned that the struggle against the more resolute among the proponents of feudalism must be waged w i t h "suppleness, negotiation, and c o m p r o m i s e " to ensure a complete victory. H e g e l — t h e apologist for the 8  rationality of the State (expounded i n the three revisions of the Philosophy of Right [1822] that had, i n his o w n words, "thoroughly scandalized the 9  d e m a g o g u e s " ) — i s desperately needed to assist the "budding bureaucracy" 10  11  w i t h the major task of enacting the cultural instauration of educational policy. Expediently summoned to Berlin by Altenstein himself, he is unceremoniously offered Johann Gottlieb Fichte's chair and appointed to the university's faculty as Professor of Philosophy. For Hegel, the intricate subtleties of "networking" to secure faithful alliances of patronage from w i t h i n the bureaucratic ranks of the state's government is at the personal jeopardy of losing non-political liasons. That is the cost to be paid for the stakes, both private and professional, are high, the risks to be taken, immense. A n unstable, albeit promising, locality of fortuitous transpositions that creates this sudden opening, it leaves Hegel "caught between the 'feudalists' and the 'demagogues,' giving signs of  93  The Ends of Pedagogy allegiance to the 'right' when the situation or the relation of forces seems to require that he do so, [while] secretly protecting his persecuted friends on the 'left,'" as Derrida has cause to note of the philosopher's double bind. The 12  bureaucratic desire to quell the irrepressible tensions enveloping the contextual field of intersecting though "discrete" interests is all-pervasive (e.g., "this skein where 'private interests' and the interests of historical reason, special interests and the interests of the State, the interests of the particular state and the universal historical rationality of the State are so conveniently i n t e r t w i n e d " ) . A n d the growing urgency of the situation, n o w being ripe 13  for intervention, underwrites the axiology of the ethico-political premises required to secure the countersigning of yet-unspoken-of contracts enjoining philosopher and State i n the hard-to-be-fought mission of pedagogical restoration. The institutional and monetary terms of reciprocation—those tangible advantages Hegel explicitly wants and most assuredly w i l l receive after the fierce lobbying of "the same ministerial s p o n s o r "  14  fighting for the  privilege of g e n i u s — a r e to be exchanged b y the bureaucratic fraternity Altenstein speaks for, i n return for the philosopher's unwavering public support of the State's educational policy mandates. The details of the agreement are scrupulously stipulated i n the Hegel-Altenstein correspondences prior to, as w e l l as, after the appearance of the report.  15  The "pact," once made i n principle, is contingent o n the immanent eminence of the proper name of 'Hegel': a value measurable b y the extent of its ability to exert influence on the discourse or the actions of others for the benefit of the State technocracy.  Altenstein requires the veneration inspired  94  The Ends of Pedagogy by the straightforward utterance or re-writing of the sign of 'Hegel' to empower the visionary spirit of his project of educational reform. The legitimating authority of the proper name is adjudicated as the "metalinguistic" expansion of its potential to affect reality by superceding the semiological restrictions of representational forms available for signifying identity. For Derrida, the laws of proper name operating here to the obvious advantage of both parties are commensurable w i t h a logocentric aspiration to bridge the pneumatic abyss between writing and difference. Altenstein 16  counts heavily on the symbolic propriety to be derived from the deictic stimulus of onomasia that the signature of Hegel must consistently and irrefutably validate i n spite of the mediacy of language. This totalizing movement from ideality to identity hopes to preserve the continuity of subjectivity and w o r l d through the erasure of the absence of the subject i n writing. I w i l l return to this again. For now, let us concentrate on analyzing how the "ideological" pretext of the anecdote abides w i t h the stringent pressures the situation places Hegel under to act without haste. How, i n Derrida's judgement, a remembrance of childhood as the memory of memory itself "is intended to carry a conviction and pave the w a y for political d e c i s i o n s " by lending the credibility of intellectual support to a thesis 17  referring to the "proper age" for philosophy education. The strategic reserve of this "techno-bureaucratic region of Hegelian confiding"  18  permeates the unsolicited memory of childhood that the  signature of the philosopher ratifies. It works, most conveniently, to counterbalance, on the one hand, the politico-economic site of its  95  The Ends of  Pedagogy  engendering with, on the other, the philosophico-ethical reasons of the arbitration for the attainment of pedagogical ends. Derrida elucidates the extent to w h i c h the implicit  goals of the philosopher and the  explicit  objectives of the State are aligned for the eventual attainment of a speculative knowledge on w h i c h to ground the development of learning:  By addressing his report to Altenstein, he [Hegel] is not simply acting as a "realistic" philosopher, compelled to reason w i t h the powers that be, w i t h the contradictions inherent i n these powers, and w i t h his interlocutor's strategy w i t h i n these contradictions. It is not the powersthat-be (Le pouvoir)—considered as a monolithic w h o l e — w h i c h are compelled to reckon w i t h the Hegelian system; and indeed, Hegel w i l l say nothing i n his pedagogical-philosophical propositions that is not i n keeping w i t h this system, a system which, admittedly, can fold and turn i n on itself without breaking. Only a fraction of the forces i n power is represented i n the summons to Hegel. A t any rate, the space for the intricate negotiations between the forces i n power (however contradictory they may be and however determined may be a particular stasis of contradiction) and Hegel's philosophical strategy must be open, possible, already practicable. Without this, no compromise, no implicit contract w o u l d even have been sketched. This space, like the topic u p o n w h i c h it depends, can construe itself neither w i t h i n Hegel's oeuvre—as if something of the sort existed i n a pure s t a t e — n o r i n what we could regard as the non-philosophical realm exterior to it. Neither the "internal necessities of the system" alone nor the generally accepted opposition between "system" and "method" can account for the complexity of these contracts or compromises. 1 9  Altenstein reinforces "the locus of the exchange and of the contract, the insurance of the one and the assurance of the o t h e r "  20  b y defending the  decision to honor the request Hegel makes (to him) for extra dispensations i n consideration for the loyalty of previous services freely rendered unto the  96  The Ends of Pedagogy State. The Minister brings to the attention of the bureaucratic elite, not only the scholarly solidity of speculative i d e a l i s m — t h e deftness of its demonstrated capacity to repulse the "pernicious infiltration of a philosophy without d e p t h " — b u t also the admirable skillfulness w i t h w h i c h its 2 1  philosopher "has dashed the presumptions of young minds."  22  Derrida does  not fail to tell us h o w i n the report surrendered to Altenstein, Hegel admits he is acutely aware of the State resolve: to prevent "philosophical teaching i n the G y m n a s i u m [high school] from losing itself i n a babble of hollow formulas (sich in ein holhes Formelwesen verliere) or f r o m transgressing the limits of school-teaching."  23  A n d that there must be the "figment" of a  negative educational correlate to speculative philosophy, one whose postulates are supposedly relentless i n their unmitigating hostility to the future attainment of a correctively prescriptive Reason w i t h i n the populus of the State citizenry. This refined logic of communitarian universalism is the philosophical bedrock for the State's purpose of w o r k i n g toward the re-inscription of the same through the education of the subject. It solicits the motivational basis entreated to sustain the minister's claim for arbitrarily securing the implementation  of one curriculum at the expense of another.  urgency of implementing "new"  The political  educational policy is ideologically structured  as the impetus of a perceived need that both philosopher and State commend: first and foremost, to censor the distractions lesser philosophical discourse imposes o n the indiscriminate tastes of young (and rebellious) minds. Realizing political support to bolster the forcefulness of this educational  97  The Ends of Pedagogy policy decision Altenstein urges his collegues to make, necessitates the citational authority of the formal recommendations for a propaedeutic Hegel had elaborated i n the letter to the Prussian Ministry of Education only months before. Its attainment involves the minister's predicting the answers to the following kinds of questions Derrida w o u l d ask about the latent ideology of the presuppositions the philosopher carefully put forward i n the concrete form of a "teachable curriculum": "What is the hollowness of formulas?  What is babble? Who is to define it? From what point of view?  According to what philosophy and whose politics? Does not every new or subversive discourse always constitute itself through rhetorical effects that are necessarily identified as gaps i n the prevailing discourse, w i t h the inevitable phenomena of discursive degradation, mechanisms, mimetisms, etc.?" So, 24  for the essential purpose of politically justifying the ethics of the curricular choice Altenstein is seen to have given way t o — t h e "higher reasons" to exclude metaphysics proper from the G y m n a s i u m — H e g e l cannot avoid presenting a precise content and methodology of philosophy instruction. One that, he believes, "does not exceed the intellectual capacities (Fassungskraft) of G y m n a s i u m students"  25  and w o u l d therefore be remediating i n its response  to the undisciplined transitoriness of juvenile memory. The apparent complicity of the pedagogical proposal the philosopher endorses w i t h the expressed urgency of the ministerial request can be of no great surprise to Derrida: "[I]n this case [it is] the dialectic of speculative i d e a l i s m — a s a general criteriology that distinguishes between empty and full language i n education. A n d w h i c h also determines the limit between  98  The Ends of Pedagogy schoolteaching and that w h i c h lies outside its domain."  26  As we have seen,  Hegel's most difficult decisions very naturally display the tendency to predicate the "agendas" of the major actants—those subjects i n p o w e r — driving the crucial outcomes of this complex situation. Derrida's rhetorical questions punctuate the sharp irony of the alliance w h e n he pointedly asks, "Can we not say that the basis of the negotiation w i t h the ministerial request was extraordinarily narrow? Does this not explain w h y the Altenstein-Hegel episode was without issue (sans lendemain)?"  27  To return (momentarily) to the autobiographical anecdote of the report. Taking the stylistic form of an aside, almost an afterthought or a "flashback" of memory, the portrait of childhood self that Hegel puts forward supplies the minister w i t h the good reasons for navigating the fine line d r a w n between the competing discourses of oppositional forces i n the political arena. A n ethics of commitment to the educational priorities of these "good reasons" is above the need to be explained or even broached, modeled as it is after the philosophical conviction of a naturally progressive capacity for conceiving the system of the Absolute Idea i n the university after the formative years of early schooling. The image of quiet genius Hegel discreetly lays out "justifies itself, thereby effacing its anecdotal singularity by i n v o k i n g an older c o m m o n experience (die algemeine dltere Erfahrung)."  28  The ideology of its design is intended to bolster political support for a nonspeculative propaedeutic the philosopher seeks to promote by a restructuring of core areas of the existing philosophy curriculum around the faculty of Geddchtnis (flatly translatable as "memory," but a more apt meaning here due  99  The Ends of Pedagogy to the pedagogical thrust of expediating the natural gifts of the faculty is the classical routine of "rote-memorization"  or "learning-by-heart"). The faint  aura of a semi-detached humility consolidating the appeal of the representation licenses the implementation of a philosophical curriculum of unproductive memorization. Derrida very succinctly underlines the theoretical importance of a developmental theory of mnemonics to speculative idealism to evoke the well-known recitations of Hegelian philosophy:  For Hegel, memory was both a beginning and an end; he remembers (his twelfth year) and remembers that he began by remembering that w h i c h he first learned by heart. But at the same time, this homology of the system (the dialectical concept of Gedachtnis) and of the autobiographical situation that gave Hegel the inducement and freedom to think, this homology is to be enriched again by its pedagogical version: by beginning with teaching the content of knowledge, before even thinking it, we are assured of a highly determined prephilosophical inculcation w h i c h paves the w a y for good p h i l o s o p h y (la bonne philosophic). 29  The curricular system outlined i n the report to Altenstein is most remarkable. It sketches out a method for h o w the teaching-learning of philosophy should be initiated at an early age beginning w i t h the administering of a highly formalized method of instruction that is intended to facilitate for the conscientious transference of ideas, from teacher to student, from w r i t i n g to mind, etc., via the memorization of preselected "kernels" of knowledge. Insofar as Hegel attempts to react favourably to the professional requirements of the episode i n its singularity, there is a betrayal 100  The Ends of Pedagogy of the logic of non-contradiction between his thought and actions that Derrida draws attention to,  . . . this capacity, to w h i c h the little, eleven-year-old Hegel bears witness, is not yet a philosophical capacity as such (that is a speculative capacity, but rather, a memory of certain lifeless contents, contents of understanding (entendement), contents that are forms (definitions, rules, and figures of syllogisms). A n d this not-yet propagates its effects throughout the letter, permeates the entire pedagogical machinery that Hegel proposes to the Minister. This not-yet of the already . .. interdicts precisely that which it w o u l d seem to promote, namely, the teaching of philosophy i n the Gymnasium. W h e n Hegel says that he still remembers the idea clara and the syllogistics, we note a mixture of coyness (refinement and play, the puton puerility of the great mathematician w h o feigns astonishment that he still remembers his multiplication tables), a certain affected tenderness for the remnants of the child i n himself; most of all, a portion of irony i n his challenge to pedagogic modernity, "a challenge directed at current prejudices against autonomous thought, productive activity." A n d what is more current (even today, for the age of Hegel w i l l have lasted that long) than the monotonous pedagogic modernity that takes issue w i t h mechanical memorization, mnemotechnics, i n the name of productive sponteneity,, of initiative; of independent, living self-discovery, etc.? But Hegel's irony is double: H e knows that he has, elsewhere, objected to mnemotechnic formalism and learning "by heart." We cannot, therefore, suspect him, of being simply and generally a partisan of such techniques. It is a question, precisely of age, of the order and teleology of acquisition, of progress. 30  W i t h the appearance of the Philosophische Propddeutik i n 1808, a good deal before the problematic occlusion of the anecdote related to Altenstein, these public resolutions on the subject of philosophical pedagogy are w e l l documented.  31  Hegel, i n fact, had resisted the nostalgia of recapitulating the  connivance of teaching matter without meaning b y speaking derisively at  101  The Ends of Pedagogy this time of the dangers of a memorization devoid of "materiality," of a deaccented learning without the "in-signing" of images (bildlos).  Textuality, History, Institution Deconstructing the "Ideology" of Educational Policy Reform: Autobiographical Memories of a Philosophical Child of State Reason  To query the validity of this recollection of childhood that reinforces a pedagogy of memory, Derrida problematizes the generalizability of what is foregrounded i n the textual staging of this personal retrospection outlined i n the report the philosopher freely signs for "to render apparent the essence of a [curricular] possibility: every normal healthy child could be Hegel. A t the moment w h e n the o l d Hegel remembers the child Hegel, but also thinks h i m and conceives h i m i n his truth, this child Hegel plays, no doubt, like all children, but plays here the role of a figure or of a moment i n the pedagogy of the mind."  32  The "double reading" of the memory episode attended to i n  "The Age of Hegel" tests the value of its certainty by clarifying the intertext of philosophical arguments germane to w o r k i n g toward a fuller understanding of the ideology of the report "proper," e.g., the desire of what is left unsaid, held in-reserve, or closely in-check as insufficient explanation. It does so by locating the authority of the signature of the life-writing of Hegel at the ethico-political parameters of a discursivized field enframing the tensions of competing socio-economic and epistemological-historical forces v y i n g for  102  The Ends of Pedagogy sovereignty over the pedagogical institution. A n d it allows for the allusion to what might be called a vulgar chronology evident i n the memory Hegel signs for to be played-off homonymically against itself, i n light of the dialectical precepts of speculative philosophy, by a more eclectic recourse to,  . . . the basic interpretation of the philosophical "age" as epochality (that is, a Heideggerian interpretation that designates the Cartesian event as one of certitude, as a reassuring foundation of subjectivity that becomes the basis of all post-Cartesian metaphysics until and including Hegel). This epochal interpretation, w i t h all its machinery, could be connected (either as proof or as derivation) to the Hegelian, onto-teleological interpretation of the philosophical "age" as moment, form, or figure, totality or pars totalis, i n the history of reason. We could then pose the question whether, i n this form or i n ancillary ones, such a debate could dominate, indeed could shed light on, the problematic of the structures of teaching . . . — w h e t h e r that w h i c h we first recognize i n terms of its regional determinants—psycho-physiological, technical, political, ideological, (etc.)—could be rendered comprehensible by such a debate, or whether it would, instead, force us to revise our premises. 33  The confluence of this replacement of the epistemic contents of the report the signature of the philosopher valorizes, w i t h i n the juridical scope of the issues apropos the pedagogical institution and philosophy education, illustrates the importance of the ethical obligation to solve the dilemma that brings together the State and Hegel. This "tactic" enables Derrida to undertake an interpretative modulation i n the reading of the "letter" temporarily away from the problem of memory to stress the central question of developmental "age." O r more precisely, the nebulousness of this question of the "age" (both  103  The Ends of Pedagogy as epochality and as chronology) to be most suitable for the teaching-learning of philosophy. The warring factors bringing the issue of pedagogy to an climax i n the early years of nineteenth-century Prussia are, Derrida contends, "neither simply within nor simply external to philosophy."  34  Their cumulative effects  span the breadth of socio-cultural and ethico-political forces lurking beneath an irreducible aggregate of discourses that imbue the spectrum of ideologies specific to the historical site of the struggle for control over the institution of education, but also reach far beyond the immediate distance of its horizons. Even though conflicting perspectives about outcomes proliferating from the rich signifying frame of such a heterogeneous textuality are often irreconcilable i n the end, Derrida lists primary sources to w h i c h an interpretation of the "age of Hegel" must refer to "for a m i n i m a l intelligibility of the Letter":  35  . . . Hegel's place [in the context of the situation and the role of the "letter" i n the complexity of it] can really not be determined without the simultaneous and structural cognizance of an entire general textuality, consisting (at least) of: (1) his "great" philosophical works, the most obvious being the entire Philosophy of Right, w h i c h is to say . . . the "three" philosophies of right; (2) his other writings, that is, at least all his letters, even the secret ones, those w h i c h he h i d from the police as an act of solidarity w i t h certain victims of persecution; (3) his actual practice i n all the complexity that has always been more or less evident, but which, as we know, cannot be reduced (far from it) during the Berlin period to that of an official and respectful (indeed, obsequious) philosopher of the State. 36  104  The Ends of Pedagogy The hermeneutic stance suggested does not harbour aspirations of accessing complete understandings of past actions or events that coordinate the educational problematic of the age of Hegel. "Certain of the sharper features of this episode [that is isolated] indeed remain without issue/'  37  the  contextualization of the curricular battle revolving around the principal efforts made to resolve "a situation whose political interpretation is immediately and necessarily relevant to the fundamental stakes of all the political struggles i n Europe during the 19th and 20th centuries."  38  Derrida  goes on to explain:  . . . rather than constituting a philosophical, political, or pedagogical revolution, it developed (like Hegelian philosophy) and accumulated a past; and to a large extent it has survived. . . . W h i c h is neither to allege that Hegel responded so admirably and i n such detail (art or chance?) to a demand formulated elsewhere, i n the empirical field of historical politics; nor vice versa. But a possibility had been opened to this common language, to all its secondary variations (for Hegel was not the only philosopher to propose his pedagogy, and the entire systematic range of these variations remains to be studied), to its translatability. This common possibility is legible and transformable neither simply w i t h i n the philosophical system [of Hegel], if such a thing existed i n a pure state, nor i n a domain foreign to any sort of philosophy. Taken i n its greatest singularity, the Altenstein-Hegel endeavor was undoubtedly a failure; but the general structure that opened it and that Hegel tried to keep open is where we find ourselves today, and it does not cease to modify its modalities. This what [sic] I call the age of Hegel. 39  The interpretative thrust of the retranslation of philosophy to pedagogy, of text to context impels the deconstructive rereading and hence rewriting of the  105  The Ends of Pedagogy archive situating Hegel's age, the contextuality adumbrating the nuances of the report. The retranscription of the operative expansiveness of this " d e c e l e r a t i o n of a great p h i l o s o p h e r "  40  and "his great philosophemes i n  their most forceful internal arrangement"  41  expunges the reductionist  predilection of arbitrarily historicizing the intellect. M o v i n g diacritically across the rebus of "the past" from the textual demesne of ideas and philosophy to the "actual w o r l d " of pedagogy and politics then back again, abates the dangers of arbitrarily externalizing the expressivist complexions of the h u m a n m i n d b y merely contextualizing thought vis-a-vis the cultural materiality of writing. To assess the magnitude of this erstwhile minorized text of Hegel's, it becomes unavoidable for Derrida to furnish an account of, and to account for, a deconstructive tract that w o u l d interpellate for the dynamism of a life-work matrix enjoining reality and thought, being and consciousness, history and language.  42  But, again, the interpretative purport  is not aimed locus in quo at reconstituting the Zeitgeist of a metaphysical logos that can be attributed ex post facto to the textualized products of culture: to render their contents immanently legible as the self-directed projections of a "truthfulness of spirit" symbolic of the times.  43  The "original" or  "intentional" meanings of a writing are not concretizable from the de-reading of an opaque textuality readily poised to inhere within the facticity of its discursive and narrative structures the obtainable conditions of its inception w i t h i n a transparent history. A n exegesis of the significance of context to the "production" and "consumption" of the report Hegel writes for Altenstein entails that the  106  The Ends of Pedagogy axiomatics of the interpretative focus be induced from the culpability of reading the interstices or interspaces of text-context relations. Entering into a cross-textual dialogue pitting the diachrony of textuality and culture against the synchrony of writing and subjectivity, the rereading of the "letter" Derrida presents summarily converges on the discursive ruptures i n the conceptual structuring of the argument the philosopher weaves, the framework of an interlocking core of concepts (e.g., philosophy, justice, rationality, teaching, etc.) that inscribe the operating space of ideology i n the unifying logic of the ideas about education.  44  A n a l y z i n g the thematism permeating the premises  of Hegel's report—e.g., those controlling concepts of speculative dialectics that function i n the ideational structuring of the argument to help guide Altenstein and State i n defending the actualization of such specifically reproductive pedagogical or curricular practices—is tied to: penetrating the interactions between a symbol system governing stylistic considerations of morphology for encoding the representation of ideas i n the form of signs and a social system facilitating a semantic code for the goal of decoding the signs to make them meaningful at some " level" of abstraction beyond sheer referential analogy.  What this "semio-deconstructive" approach to reading  the ideology of the report incurs i n "The Age of Hegel" is the obligation of s u p p l y i n g the historiographic means for exploring the cultural politics of textuality. O r the critical liability for a surveying of the rational bases of sign referent/signifier-signified associations punctuating the conjunctions and disjunctions of the conceptual veneer of language as an interpolation of "reality."  107  The Ends of Pedagogy While referring to the curricular pragmatics of teaching-learning that Hegel's report condones, Derrida augures precisely such an analytic shifting of emphasis to a semiotico-textuality of communication "to move beyond a prestatist problematics of education and of philosophical education."  45  A  l i n k i n g of the semantic consequences of signification to the socio-political and historico-cultural dimensions constituting the discursive field of "Sense" automatically problematizes the articulation and dissemination of meaning as it relates to the controversy over the issue of schooling. The "ideology" of the textuality spun-round the concept of "philosophy education" comes to be defined from the uncovering of residual excrescenses of value stemming from the exhibited (self-)interest of the parties involved. In "The A g e of Hegel," Derrida shows h o w the ineffable of language belies what are believed to be the natural correspondences of sign-referent/signifier-signified relations w i t h i n the variable structures of this text-context dialangue. Instead of the truth of the signs of w r i t i n g or of discourse, what deconstruction teaches us to read literally of the report is the meaning of its meaning; or, more generally, how  the affectivity of what is negotiated through the retranslation of  concepts, turns of mind, progression of thought, values and ideals of individuals, groups or societies embodied i n various textualized forms across the cultural milieux of an historical epoch comes to be enunciated as the sayable and the unsayableA  6  A semiotic rethinking of text-context  distinctions—that Derrida identifies i n "The A g e of Hegel" w i t h "the original irreducible configuration i n w h i c h our questions [about education] are a s k e d " — m a k e s it feasible to disrupt the relative autonomy once granted 47  108  The Ends of  ideology to ensure the total reproducibility of meaning-constructions  Pedagogy  i n the  subject as the order of the conceptual sense of signification propagated through the media of an inflected discourse. The "linguistic t u r n " of a deconstructive reading of the report can then illustrate h o w the written text itself contains self-rationalizing aspects w o r k i n g to normalize the "matter" of a conceptual content while reinforcing the prefigured meanings of a collection of ideas indicative of "Truth." By keeping the semantic network in-tune w i t h the ideological alterations of the interpretation, the ethicalpolitical idiomatic of the discourse Hegel unfolds seeks "to pass itself off as universal or absolute"  48  i n an effort to expedite (in the future) the  institutionalization of speculative idealism as a State pedagogy i n the age of the concept. Derrida confronts the problem of the ideological i n "The A g e of Hegel" by superimposing an array of epistemology oriented questions on the historicocultural scene of the "letter" to connect the content of the text w i t h its intraphilosophical context relative to the political conditions that produced the discourse o n the role of the State i n public education:  Interpreting the age of Hegel involves keeping i n m i n d this boundless textuality, i n an effort to determine the specific configuration that interests us here: the moment at w h i c h systematic p h i l o s o p h y — i n the process of becoming philosophy of the State, of Reason as the S t a t e — begins to entail, more or less obviously, but essentially, indispensably, a pedagogical systematics governed by the necessity of entrusting the teaching of philosophy to state structures and civil servants. The business most certainly began before Hegel. . . . But can we not date from the age of Hegel the most powerful discursive machine of this problematic? Is this not indicated by the fact that the Marxist, 109  The Ends of Pedagogy Nietzschean, and Nietzscheo-Heideggerian problematics that n o w dominate all questions concerning the relations of education and the State must still come to grips w i t h Hegelian discourse? 49  The discourse of a radical resistance to the institution—reflective of an unfettered will-to-action a la Nietzsche, Marx, or H e i d e g g e r — i s elided with a transformational re-reading of the metaphysical infrastructure supporting the political use of ideology prevalent i n Hegelian pedagogical architectonics, remediated as it is by the ethical theory of the State. For Derrida, this " s l i p p i n g " of Hegelianism or speculative dialectics into a fusion of philosophy and history i n the form of non-universalizable rules for educational praxis implodes the usual text-context distinctions. A s Michael Ryan has correctly observed of demystifying the "applied ethics" of hegemonies after deconstruction, "Ideology is the political use of metaphysics in the domain of practice."  50  Derrida, from this perspective, is left to push the  socio-cultural exigencies of this post-Hegelian, post-speculative ground even further to dissolve the epistemological possibility of an "extradiscursive" or linguistically unmediated point of departure from w h i c h to study the report without neglecting the philosophical intricacies of the concept of age or the politicization of what n o w are well-known reconfigurations of pedagogical issues surrounding the ethical problem(s) of the state of education and the education of the State that are rehearsed i n the "letter" (e.g, What content should be taught?, W h o should define it?, H o w should it be defined?, H o w should it be taught?, H o w should it be implemented i n the curriculm?, etc.). The text-context rapprochement on w h i c h to query the ideological basis of the  110  The Ends of Pedagogy philosophical propaedeutic Hegel outlines i n the report to Altenstein is the space identified by Derrida to be "between the Idea of the State defined i n the third part of The Philosophy of Right (reality as an act of substantial w i l l , as a goal i n itself, absolute, immobile, knowing what it wants i n its universality, etc.) and personal subjectivity or particularity, whose most extreme forms the modern State has the power to perfect."  51  Hegel's Philosophy of Right: The Right of Hegel's Philosophy  Hegel d i d indeed anticipate (philosophically, if not practicably), i n The Philosophy of Right—the  theoretically overdetermined  idea or concept of the  modern State central to his political thought and on w h i c h his conception of education interdepends—the fundamental decree of his commitment, that is, "making teaching—particularly philosophical t e a c h i n g — i n t o a structure of the State."  52  For Hegel, the education (Bildung) of subjectivity constitutes the  subordination of i n d i v i d u a l freedom(s) to an over-arching principle of undeniable universality or "Reason" apprehended from w i t h i n the Spirit or M i n d (Geist) and actualized through its progressive becoming as the essence of Being. The mediacy of a w i l l f u l determination of h u m a n consciousness culminates vicariously i n the formation of the State: a "hieroglyph of reason"  53  supplying the uncontestable grounds for existence relative to the  socio-political and juridico-ethical constructions of an autotelic nomothetic order (e.g., institutions of civil society, state bureaucracies, military apparatii, etc.) constituted from the indissoluble linkage of inner and outer senses of  111  The Ends of Pedagogy "reality" m o v i n g toward the attainment of absolute knowledge.  54  Filling up  the v o i d of immanence i n its passing to transcendence, this selfdeterminateness of being as the logic of Being signals the emergence of Objective Spirit from Subjective Spirit and finally to Absolute Spirit takes the shape of a tripartite dialectical division encompassing the totality of thought or the finitude of M i n d , understanding (Verstehen):  I. Logic: the science of the Idea i n and for itself. II. Philosophy of Nature: the science of the Idea i n its otherness. III. Philosophy of Spirit: the science of the Idea come back to itself out of that otherness. 55  Affective influences o n the distillation of individual identity outside of the rational technologies of self are not discounted tout court, but placed i n auxiliary importance to the intersubjective nature of a communal development that codifies the nexus of Being from the symbolic products of a shared "cultural capital" or from the results of conscious energeia for engendering the aletheia (literally the "non-forgetting") of the Spirit (or 56  M i n d ) and of its reasoned development throughout the enactment of "history." What is crucial to the Hegelian systematic exposition of categories—as an infinitesimal extension of the Kantian imperative toward the apprehension of reality i n Spirit (or M i n d ) — i s the continuity of memory (Gedachtnis) a n d the anamnesic interiorization (Erinnerung) of empirical knowledge for the procreative unfolding of human self-consciousness.  112  The Ends of Pedagogy  Following the dialectical metaphysics of the speculative stratagem to its "logical" closure, there is a limitation to thought (Gedanke) that is bound to the certainty of sensory sources of empirical reality, the perceptual fulfillment of which, springs forth a transcendentalized meaning tempered from the apocalypsis of Spirit (or M i n d ) as a "self-producing, self-justifying and selfcorrecting system, an eternal activity of self-alienation, self-discovery and selfunion."  57  Spirit (or M i n d ) therefore reveals itself i n the pronounced ideality  of its o w n "structures" and is verified i n the passing-through of subjective and objective states of consciousness to "absolute knowing." It bears out its "right" from the detailed logic of a systematic grammar of the conditions of thought, the knowledge that we already possess: for what is not interiorized and subjected to the l i v i n g memory of itself cannot be k n o w n i n totality. But what of the valuation of memory i n this pedagogical quest for pinpointing the age of philosophical identity Hegel pursues i n the report?  The Limits of Signing and the Dialectic of Pedagogical Identity: The Undecidability of Anamnesis and the Life-writing of the Self  The idealization of memory i n the example of impressionable youth Hegel evinces is permitted by an a priori notion of subjectivity. The unitariness of an auto-reflexive reconciliation of consciousness to selfconsciousness unwaveringly succors the decidability of the mnemotechnically engineered pedagogical identity that is demarcated to moderate for the truth of a memory of unphilosophical "age." Hegel can 113  The Ends of Pedagogy attest to the efficacy of this educational methodology as a surviving "model" of the discernable ends of a schooling nearly identical to what is described i n the "letter" written to Altenstein. The apologaic form of the example adjudicates the start of subjective identity, the life-writing of w h i c h is authorized b y the indelibility of the signature functioning as the mark of the truth of memory to the self. The "Age of Hegel" asks (among other things) whether what Hegel is doing w i t h (and to) the anecdote i n the report b y staking the claim of being able to determine w i t h undaunted precision and absolute singularity the major source of pedagogical influence on the realization of "philosophical selfhood" is even plausible; O r whether the story of origins, itself suspect, is a clever invention for the institutional sake of speculative philosophy; " i f he plays w i t h the example the way, elsewhere [in the Phenomenology of Spirit], he teaches the Beispiel  [example]."  58  Paralleling the Nietzschean preoccupation for exploring 'how one becomes what one is,' Derrida interrogates the auto-bio-graphical limits constitutive of subjective identity through a life-writing-of-the-self  to  undermine the sense-certainty of the unsolicited retrospection Hegel freely gives testimony to b y ever-so-humbly signing for it. There is a strong deconstructive rationale for sustaining the auto-bio-graphical reading of the report that concentrates, more or less, on the signing of memory veiled under the guiles of the proper name, while addressing the ethical-political aspects of key curricular questions regarding the institutionalization of philosophical pedagogies of ages past and present: the contradiction or "incompatibility between the teaching and the signature, a schoolmaster and a signifier . . .  114  The Ends of Pedagogy even w h e n they let themselves be thought and signed, these two cannot overlap each other (se recouper)."  59  operations  The pedagogical ramifications of  this double metaphorical writing of the signature of the proper name of Hegel as a sign of the truth of the philosophical memory of speculative dialectics have been dealt w i t h extensively by Derrida:  . . . Hegel presents himself as a philosopher or a thinker, someone w h o constantly tells you that his empirical signature—the signature of the i n d i v i d u a l named H e g e l — i s secondary. His signature, that is, pales i n the face of the truth, w h i c h speaks through his mouth, w h i c h is produced i n his text, w h i c h constructs the system it constructs. This system is the teleological outcome of all Western experience, so that i n the end Hegel, the individual, is nothing but an empirical shell w h i c h can fall away without subtracting from the truth or from the history of meaning. A s a philosopher and as a teacher, he seems to be saying that not only is it possible for his signature and his proper name to disappear without a loss, to fall outside of the system, but that this is even necessary i n his o w n system because it w i l l prove the truth and autonomy of that system. ... It appears, then, that Hegel d i d not sign. . . . Yet, i n fact, Hegel signs . . . One could show, as I have tried elsewhere,[ ] i n what way it was difficult to dispose w i t h the name of Hegel i n his work, to withhold its i n s c r i p t i o n — c a l l it personal or biographical from his work. It implies a reelaboration of the whole biographical w i t h i n philosophy. 60  61  The idea that one can write-the-self from the arche-text of memory, and by so doing, to extract from the terms of representation an intersubjective code of meaning-making pregnant i n its pedagogical implications for the Other, is linked to a dialectics of the signature, or the sign-function of identity, as recuperative of the built-in differentiality of subjectivity. By reconceptualizing subjectivity and its exteriorizable corollary of identity as  115  The Ends of Pedagogy consolidated i n the guises of the signature of the proper name, Derrida can deconstruct the pedagogical formulations of the report to reveal what is concealed i n the ideological subtext of the speculative logic informing the ethics and politics of the life-writing of the memory. The empirical act of signing Hegel performs is a cathexis of the example. M o v i n g beyond the form of representation to "real-life," it names and appropriates for the disunity of subjectivity i n the very materiality of its significatory content. It replaces and supplements the semblances of an originary difference of self-identity that this instance of life-writing from memory w o u l d otherwise unveil i n the transl(iter)ation from sign to eidos, from text to context, from writing to life itself: "Memory and truth cannot be separated. The movement of aletheia is a deployment of mneme through and through. A deployment of living memory, of memory as psychic life i n its self-presentation to itself."  62  Endorsing the pedagogical "authenticity" of  such an attempt at utter and unmitigated self-representation are the borders of a negative space stipulating the affirmation of selfhood or identity to be delineated from the conscious ascription of difference to an Other. The signature of Hegel itself "notarizes" the autonomy of this inwardly projecting totalization of subjectivity by containing the implicature of a consolidation of origins, wherein the nominative capacity of the form of the proper name that is excerpted i n w r i t i n g is granted the right to "self-sign" or to "sign-self" from the continuity of the living-memory trace.  63  The signature comes to  personify the visible difference of identity: a conflating of the subject Hegel w i t h the sign of the proper name of "Hegel." From the arbitrariness of a self-  116  The Ends of Pedagogy referential sign-grouping, the heterogeneity of subjectivity is expunged under the dominant modes of graphematic articulation available for the concatenation of the proper name. Hegel signs for the memory of childhood. A n d the signing of the proper name that Hegel reenacts to justify the curricular schema is (and also must be) the synoptic periphrasis of a surfeit of textuality concentrated w i t h i n the lexematic structures of the signature; it maintains the illusion of not exceeding the strictures of its formal features, but does just so, given the teleological systematicity of the epistemological presuppositions o n w h i c h it rests. Because the signature is a politico-juridical fetishization of writing gathered under what M a r t i n Jay calls the normative ethics of a phallogoculatxentric ^ 6  non-supplementarity  of the graphical form, it  substitutes the resemblance of the sign of identity for the "truth" of identity. That is so the sign of 'Hegel' can be made to stand i n ideal or un(equ)ivocal relation to the non-arbitrariness of itself as a semaphorical retypification testifying to the "truthfulness" of its referent, the philosopher Hegel.  More  importantly for Altenstein's political purposes, what the inscription of the empirical signature of Hegel at the conclusion of the "letter" ensues is: the availability of a mechanismos for a retransposition of the "real-world" estimation (e.g., societal, economic, cultural, academic, etc.) deemed the h u m a n signified that the signutatum refers to, to the content of thought the philosopher espouses i n the text about philosophical education o n behalf of the State. The signature discharges unto the subject-philosopher Hegel what is the equivalent of an undiminishing and after-the-fact responsibility for the  117  The Ends of Pedagogy pronouncements of memory and for the memory of self expounded i n the report. The act of signing carries over to join the anteriority of the past to the posterity of the future. Its effects are perceived much later. This juridicalethical power of the signature Hegel appends to this "letter" is d u l y conferred by the oath Hegel took as a citizen of the State to uphold a bureaucratic code of decorum that decrees the officiousness of bearing witness to the truth of signing one's o w n name. The proper name of the philosopher countersigns the legalistic jurisdiction of its o w n symbolic authority to intercede i n the intense politics of the debate over education: to attempt to affect those conditions by a defense of speculative idealism and of the State, for the rights of which, Hegel has signed before and often enough, throughout the corpus of his philosophical texts, lectures, correspondences, and so on. Derrida "do[es] no more than name, w i t h a proper name as one of the guiding threads, the necessity of a deconstruction" of the memory of the sign of self. 65  Deja-Pas-Encore:  The Already-Not-Yet of a Post-Cartesian Subjectivity The exemplar of "unschooled" youth that Hegel imparts is a reminiscence depicting the quality of a not-as-yet philosophical subjectivity. Or what was, once u p o n a time, the childhood experience of his o w n developing pedagogical identity. A n attempt to reify a past subjective identity from the life-writing of an ideal r e f l e x i v i t y — t o make the "truth" of memory speak the self-consciousness of itself, as it w e r e — e n t a i l s the eradication of the  118  The Ends of Pedagogy undecidability always already immanent to the personal conception of what one is. There is too much interfering w i t h the ego's reception of perceptual sense-data coloring the way it sees itself as subject that Hegel chooses to disregard or to explain away. The signing of the life-writing of memory i n this "retrograde v i s i o n " revolves around the recognizable presence of a selfpresence that is present to itself and signs for the Being of itself as being. It is a projection of an autogenetic subjectivity, or an effortless reflexivity amalgamating the diversity of the realms of consciousness combining the simultaneity of Self, as both same and Other, i n its returning to itself through the "spectacle" of introspection.  66  The teleologicality of the reminiscence is  adducible only by positing prior to the instance of the ego's self-remembering a timeless state of Being charged fully as the enunciation of unchanging presence.  67  The continual suppression of the absence of presence that  hypostatizes (fixes, enframes, parodies) subjectivity makes it capturable i n the still-of-life and perpetuates the idealistic premises igniting the memory of non-philosophical identity Hegel puts forward. Pretending to look back i n time and space at the "source" of the "present-day" self through the inverted lens reflecting a mirror-like past, Hegel has immediately interceded to predict for any retranslation of the pedagogical significance of the living memory trace the episode highlights. A n d by defining the terms of a subjective writing of identity from the consistency of a negatively defined logics designed to fulfill the speculative ends of dialectical philosophy, the "teleological gesture of return i n q u i r y " establishes an ideal frame of 68  reference crucial to the engendering of the ego's "absolute knowledge" of  119  The Ends of Pedagogy itself. The subjective vision could then be generalized (by Altenstein or Hegel) to serve as the fountainhead of universalizable curricular or pedagogical truths. The "entire 'system' of speculative dialectics organizes this childhood anamnesis to suit the ministerial project" for a concrete icon of the 69  imaginable outcome of a speculative pedagogy, that could be Hegel and more than Hegel. The first two modalities denoting the performance of memory are essential to the representational politics of a general economy of the signature Hegel supplies (e.g., the signer actively engaged i n authenticating the impression of self-identity, either by conscious intent or by accident, resulting i n the leaving of a set of "idiomatic" marks to fulfill the stylistic demands of the genre of transmission).  70  The signature enables the life-  writing of memory to allude to two chronological ages, for example, the spatio-temporal figurativization of dissonant modes of subjectivity that exhibit divergent stages of mental development relative to states of b e i n g — the w i s d o m of Hegel, the elder philosopher vs. the folly of Hegel, the untutored child. The dialectical synthesis of identity from the interiorizing effects of memory overcomes the symmetrization of the self and anti-self as the false identities of opposites. By resolving this binary structuration of subjectivity that Hegel presents as a thesis vs. antithesis construction to the prospect of a third term, the speculative result of what is subsumed w i t h i n the "force-gesture" of a sublation (Aufhebung), that "raises, denies, suspends, and preserves the f i r s t . "  71  The penultimate movement is suspended  indefinitely, held i n reserve, for reasons that are revealed by Derrida to be not  120  The Ends of Pedagogy altogether altruistic (ethical), but immanently self-serving and selfishly motivated by the "narrow" interests of the time. The reader is left to ponder over it, to decide what it all means. What can we make of the auto-biographical reliability of the life-writing of memory that Hegel signs for, to preserve a philosophical pedagogy? The representation of pedagogical experience Hegel yields to, incumbently for reasons of argument, is not and could not (ever) be identical to the conceptual tenor of the ideas evoked. Even though a life-writing-of-the-self must be responsive to a subjective transcendentality of the memory trace, it is still supplementary to thought i t s e l f — a sign of a s i g n — a n d not analogous, correlational, motivational, nor iconic of the eidetic workings of the human psyche.  72  The conceptual limits of the exposition (Darstellung) Hegel proffers  to Altenstein are exceeded by the undecidability of an already-not-yet (dejapas-encore) reconfiguration of philosophical subjective identity that Derrida introduces to displace, to dis-locate, and to dis-figure (Enstellung) the selfconfident prosopopoeia of the p o r t r a y a l .  73  The "enjambed" logic of the  structure of this neologism connotes the philosophical selfhood of the subject Hegel to be a veritable conundrum of multiply suspended educational beginnings: rather than the assertion of a teleologicality of Being that is represented as the likelihood of the first steps to a speculative pedagogy. The destructuration of the "ideal route" to a re-gaining of identity stultifies the absolute certainty of a subjective self-representation the life-writing of memory is wont to warrant. Derrida explains the deconstructive complication:  121  The Ends of Pedagogy A t the age of fifty-two, he [Hegel] speaks of his twelfth year. He was already a philosopher. But just like everyone else is, right? That is, not yet a philosopher since, i n view of the corpus of the complete works of his maturity, this already w i l l have been a not yet. It we don't think through this conceptual, dialectical, speculative structure of this already-not yet, we w i l l not have understood anything (in its essentials, as he w o u l d say) about the age (for example, that of Hegel). Or about any age whatsoever, but especially, and par excellance that of philosophy or for philosophy. . . . Under the cover of the alreadynot-yet, autobiographical confiding enlists the anecdote i n a demonstration, treating the issue of (the) age as a figure i n the phenomenology of the mind, as a moment i n the l o g i c . 74  It is not a matter of who  the "real" Hegel is or was.  Such understanding could  never be realized in toto: the rhizome of actions and events of discourse carried-out by or enacted-upon a subject do not and cannot concede such accuity of insight. For Derrida, the pedagogical purposiveness of the lifewriting of memory Hegel surrenders to is an extant indicator of an intransitory subjectivity, a coming-into-being-of-the-self that the signature of the proper name authorizes and is authorized by, to dissimulate identity as a presence feigning absence behind the masks of confiding.  75  The predisposition of this writing of the identity of self from the ruins of life's memories assures that Hegel w i l l speak only of the deaths of un-named, de-propriated, and ex-propriated younger selves. What is excluded from the representation of being is an intrinsic forgetfulness (lethe) of Being that Derrida acknowledges. It is a prosopopoeia that spans the dark recesses of a space-time continuum to veritably undo the mimetological impulse of the life-writing of anamnesis by keeping its structures open to the machinations of differance, wherein meaning re-construction is deferred from the traces of 122  The Ends of Pedagogy differential movements of the signification process away from an intangible source. Derrida explains:  The powers of lethe simultaneously increase the domains of death, of non-truth, of non-knowledge. This is why writing, at least insofar as it sows "forgetfulness of the soul," turns us toward the inanimate and toward non-knowledge. But it cannot be said that its essence simply and -presently confounds it w i t h death or non-truth. For w r i t i n g has no essence or value of its own, whether positive or negative. It plays w i t h i n the simulacrum. It is i n its type the mime of memory, of knowledge, of truth, etc. 76  Hegel's depiction of this pedagogical moment from the "pasts" of childhood must inevitably surrender the living presence of life-writing of the selfsameness of auto-affective presence itself to the contaminating effects of a first o u t s i d e — t h e "monumental" (hypomnematic) supplementarity of a f o r m — that is the absence (or death) of "essence" w i t h i n the economy of memory that incurs a loss of profit(s)—the "up-side" of its meaning p o t e n t i a l — d u e to the very materiality of its production.  77  It is i n this sense of the  "inscribability" of "psychic life" and "somatic existence" that what is included under the authority of the sign of Hegel are the fragments of a thanatographical discourse that looks forward, i n time, to the ends beyond the impending death of the philosopher and of his philosophical pedagogy, although also insures for or against it. For what is signed remembers the Self to the Other, yet also remembers the death of the Self to the Other and to the Self.  123  The Ends of Pedagogy  Delimiting the Teachings of Metaphysics The Pedagogical Institution and the Perils of Philosophy: Deconstruction and the GREPH in the Postmodern Age of Hegel  To further the discussion of the nature of educational presentation "adequate" to philosophy education, Derrida turns loose the specters of the Hegelian legacy on the "analogous and contiguous"  78  context of post-  revolutionary France. Twenty-two years after the "self-portrait" Hegel sketched-out, the (again very public) "confidence" of a progeny of Hegelianism, Victor Cousin, is added to the file. A disciple and friend of the German philosopher (whose release from prison Hegel had secured after six months of incarceration for participation i n demonstrations occuring during the period of social unrest involving the university student fraternities of Bavaria [1824]), Cousin expostulated an eloquent argument to oppose the 79  threatened eradication of philosophy from the colleges by the powers-that-be in a discourse presented before the House of Peers. Derrida summarizes it as follows:  The jist [sic] of Cousin's reply: Definitely not [in regard to the abolition of metaphysics from the lycee curriculum]; since philosophy teaches natural certitudes (for example, the existence of God, the freedom or immortality of the soul), i n principle, it can never be too early to begin. In other words, as long as the contents of instruction reinforce, as it were, the predominant forces, it is best to begin as early as possible. A n d the contradictory unity that reconciles the predominant force w i t h itself  124  The Ends of Pedagogy and constitutes the basis of historical compromise is a mutually desired contract between secular State and R e l i g i o n . 80  O n the one hand, by insisting o n the "reciprocal independence of philosophy and t h e o l o g y "  81  Cousin attenuates the liberal and neutralist scope of pedagogy  to take o n the epistemological demeanor of a national French character i n that of a Cartesian Rationalist dreamscape. H i s mentor Hegel, we must remember, had originally attempted to introduce the German context to the recapitulation of these equivocal motifs, for what "extends the domain of 'general c u l t u r e ' " w i t h i n curriculum is what "always remains highly 82  determined i n the contents it inculcates." Cousin is i n some ways more 83  precocious. A n d he promises to instill at the beginnings of the philosophy curriculum a program of study concentrating on a dualist metaphysics of k n o w i n g derivative of a provisional and "methodic" doubt, whereby, the "naturality of truth" tracks a transendental route as proceeding from the selfevident resolution of the reflexive sensibilities of M i n d realized through the activation of epistemological subjectivity (the cogito) to a perfect certainty of Spirit. The affirmation of the rational soul of the self, i n Cousin's pedagogical revising of Cartesian epistemology, verifies the existence of G o d to unite religion w i t h philosophy for the eradication of skepticism and for the betterment of the State. Whereas, on the other hand, Hegel denies the gymnasium (the primary grades) entrance to the "Pantheon of Western Metaphysics"  84  by invoking the "limits of schoolteaching"  85  to safeguard  against the pedagogical shortsightedness of allowing the material components  125  The Ends of Pedagogy of i n s t r u c t i o n — i t s c u r r i c u l u m — t o surpass the mental capabilities of these students. Regulating the implementation of a prephilosophical (read nonmetaphysical) content core that Derrida objects to, the Hegelian curriculum is made up of "the humanities (the Ancients, the great artistic and historical ideas of individuals and peoples, their ethics and their r e l i g i o s i t y ) " as well 86  as other areas (e.g., empirical psychology and logic). The pedagogical aim Hegel pursues here is to seamlessly cultivate a "natural" progressivity of learning to be inaugurated from the first non-contemplative steps of interiorizing memorization (Erinnerung)  87  to an outwardly speculative  rationality of thought "for, [as he insists i n the report] i n order to possess knowledge of any k i n d — e v e n the highest s o r t — o n e must have memorized it (im Gedachtnisse haben); regardless of whether this is to be a beginning or an end i n itself."  88  In "The Age of Hegel," the theo-philosophico-rationalist  conceptualization of intellectual maturity Cousin advances for nurturing the mental capacities of the average student to apprehend the "natural truths" of Spirit-Mind is juxtaposed against the organicist archetype of the mneme of Spirit-Mind Hegel entreats to assert an hierarchy of instructional contents excluding metaphysics. The approach permits Derrida to lay bare the great extent to w h i c h both discourses harbour deep-seated ideological compulsions aspiring to pedagogically replicate "nationalistic" or "State-sponsored" assumptions indicative of a "general culture" from w h i c h the suitability of subject matter and the appropriateness of instructional maneuvers for the teaching-learning of philosophy are determined. The undertexts of both  126  The Ends of Pedagogy discourses condone the educational institutionalization of a philosophical k n o w i n g that ensures and is ensured b y the reproducibility of dominant modes of cultural (re)transmission for the perpetuation of the onto-theo-logy of Western metaphysics. The yielding of contrasting positions w i t h respect to the "correct" age for the teaching-learning of first philosophy is not coincidental; the "higher reasons" of Religion, for Cousin (e.g., to placate the skepticism of the Church), and the "good reasons" of State, for Hegel (e.g., to appease the power of a government bureaucracy), encroach o n the pedagogical methodologizing of epistemology i n their search for the most appropriate means to acceptable ends. F r o m this quasi-eschatological viewpoint, a cross-organizational harmonizing of the structures of the educational organum w i t h those sociocultural institutions that it must, sooner or later, surrender answers to is metaphorically subsumed i n an overcoded symbol of teleology, the "ontoencyclopaedic system of the Universitas"  89  as the microcosmic counterpart of  the totality of the "real world":  There is a Hegelian hierarchization [Derrida is referring to the assignment of the "letter" as a minor pedagogical moment i n the philosophical canon of Hegel] but it is circular, and the minor is always carried, sublated (releve) beyond the opposition, beyond the limit of inside and outside in(to) the major. A n d inversely. The potency of this age without age derives from this great empirico-philosophical cycle. Hegel does not conceive of the school as a consequence or the image of the system, indeed, as its pars totalis: the system itself is an immense school, the thoroughgoing auto-encyclopaedia of the absolute spirit i n absolute knowledge. A n d it is the school we never leave,  127  The Ends of Pedagogy hence, an obligatory instruction, w h i c h obliges (by) itself, since the necessity can no longer come from without. 90  Neither C o u s i n nor Hegel ignore the "conservativism" of the type Derrida abstracts above from the speculative system of dialectics. We are again reminded that the defence of the right to philosophy teaching-learning i n the public (dis)course of education must project an ethico-political accountability for the concept of the pedagogical institution and for the lasting results of its curricular ordinances.  Unsurprisingly enough, this sense of responsibility to  the power of external forces contained w i t h i n the internal bounds of the disciplinary infrastructure of the educational system reinforces the "distinction between metaphysics and dogmatic theology"  91  for Cousin and  Hegel. The partitionary function of the historical paradigm of the faculties for separating epistemology from religion i n both situations allows them to gloss over the prejudices of the curricular prerequisites unique to each context for inculcating the experience of a civic sense of duty i n students through the procedures of schooling. The overwhelming irony, however, is that this common goal is also the stigme of their departure i n judgement when both philosophers are pushed to the limit by the requirement of recommending solutions to the problem of the "age" befitting the teaching-learning of "pure" philosophy. Of common and singular importance to the strategies of C o u s i n and Hegel is to keep the philosophical formulations on w h i c h their pedagogical propositions depend manifestly "pliable" or ostensibly "open" so as to make  128  The Ends of Pedagogy the "substance" of their ideas appear favourable to the prevailing doctrines of the day. The political overtones of the criteria they both employ for the setting out of what are oppositional curricula are temporarily defused by a restatement of their respective pedagogical visions i n the metaphysical surety of a "post-Cartesianist" meditation. M o r e than likely, the rationalist mannerisms of the style w o u l d be perceived to be non-threatening to the ideological predilections of the nineteenth-century State bureaucracies they were presenting them to: either because of the distinctive penchant for perpetuating an effigy of "epistemological nationalism" by transmuting it into the (in)flexible stock of cultural capital or because of the favourable predisposition of an educational methodology toward a benign controllability of the "natural faculties" of thought.  92  Feigning a "rational  disinterestedness" for setting the parameters of what can be thought and of how  thought is to be expressed, Cousin and Hegel sufficiently neutralize the  political upshot of what could be construed to be, on the one side, "reactionary" or, on the other, "biased" i n the meticulous rhetoric of their speculative musings on education. Derrida reads the ethical coherence of this ideologico-philosophical hedging as a verbal alibi for reinstating many of the well-known naturalist motifs of a pedagogical humanism considered potentially less dangerous to the stability of the status quo.  Redirecting the critical emphasis to the  material conditions of the educational institution inherited from these major dialecticians by contemporary makers of curriculum or educational policy (e.g., bureaucrats, public servants, and so on), "The Age of Hegel" directly  129  The Ends of Pedagogy engages (but has it ever really left?) the postmodern sphere of partisan politics engulfing France during the mid-seventies.  Derrida consciously forefronts  the relevance of the historical context to tamper w i t h the two complementary poles of nationalism and universalism that Cousin and Hegel eulogize, "not [wanting] to abandon the field to empiricism and thereby to whatever forces are at hand":  93  . . . it is always by insisting upon the 'natural,' by naturalizing the content or the forms of instruction, that one "inculcates" precisely what one wishes to exempt from criticism. G R E P H must be particularly careful i n this respect, since its tactics could expose it to this risk of naturalist mystification; by demanding that the age at w h i c h a young person begins the study of philosophy be lowered, and that the scope of instruction be extended, there is a risk of being understood (without intending it; but the adversary w i l l do his best to further this impression) as suggesting that once prejudices and "ideologies" have been erased, what w i l l be revealed is the bare truth of an "infant" always already ready to philosophize and naturally capable of doing so. Those modes of discourse that are currently held to be the most "subversive" are never entirely free of this naturalism. They always appeal to some sort of return to primitive desire, to the simple lifting of repression, to the unbinding of energy, or to the primary process. . . . The natural truths taught by metaphysics proceed from divine writings and w i l l have engraved i n the soul of the disciple that w h i c h the teacher of philosophy can only reveal through self-effacement: an invisible writing that he causes to appear on the body of the pupil. Are the discourses of the G R E P H always free of this schematization? Does it not return, necessarily, i n a more or less disguised f o r m ? 94  "The Age of Hegel" localizes the precipitous complexity of the pedagogical ideal of progressivity i n respect to the metaphysical genealogy of the Western institution of pedagogy. A n d it facilitated the point of entry for a radical  130  The Ends of Pedagogy broaching (I'entame) into the heterogeneity of the intense deliberation over State educational policy reform that was needed at the time the text was written and first appeared i n Qui a peur de la philosophic?, a research 95  manifesto into philosophy teaching-learning published under the aggregate authorship of the G R E P H . Derrida addresses the historicity of these pressing issues very plainly to accent the alacrity of h o w the historico-political circumstances preceding the situational considerations of the philosophical age Cousin presided over while a member of parliament and i n w h i c h Hegel "found himself implicated, advancing or floundering," are akin to the 96  social climate initiating the pedagogical reform movements of post-1968 France that culminated w i t h the issuance of the H a b y Reform (1975). A State proposal for drastic educational restructuring named after the then newly appointed Minister of Education, Rene Haby (who served i n the "Gaullist" [right-wing] government of Giscard d'Estaing), the H a b y Reform promised to reduce the number of classroom hours available for philosophy instruction i n the lycee. Moreover, the imperatives of the "Giscard-Haby" plan very much threatened the future of the discipline i n the university. The consternation that the severity of its edicts bred about the overarching or longer-ranging ramifications of this preemptive intervention on the part of the State into teaching-learning was one of the factors that eventually led to the "official mobilization" of the G R E P H against the H a b y Reform i n January of 1975.  97  Derrida, for his part a founding member and a major force, wished to help move forward the group's avowedly activist involvement i n the public  131  The Ends of Pedagogy debate over "philosophy." In speaking to the G R E P H , "The A g e of Hegel" provides only one illustration of h o w to interrogate the ethico-political "decipherability" of the H a b y Reform through these metastatic fluctuations of the juridical aegis of epistemology before and since Hegel. That the e x a m p l e — t h e exemplarity of the e x a m p l e — i s itself "deconstructive" is incidental (one might also say idiosyncratic) to Derrida's o w n intricate style of reading and writing. The mission of the G R E P H had "defined itself [from the outset] as a locus of work and debate, and not as a center for the broadcasting of slogans or doctrinaire messages" without the benefit of intense research, 98  both empirical and theoretical.  99  To stimulate dialogue that could prove  useful for negotiating a consensus w i t h i n the diversified interests of the group, Derrida did, i n fact, formalize the "Preliminary Proposal for the Constitution of a Research G r o u p on Philosophical Education" (the "AvantProjet")  100  by synthesizing ideas from notes taken at their meetings. But he  was not adamant about, nor interested in, transforming the G R E P H into a "deconstructive machine,"  101  if this were even p o s s i b l e .  102  Derrida has  preferred i n s t e a d — a s he has done i n "The A g e of Hegel" and afterwards—to w a r n of the likely dangers of confronting the State and its (mis)management of the pedagogical institution "head-on" through a levelling of injunctions that are intended to bring-down the structures of the oppressive edifice itself, once and for all. Such a teleologico-eschatological zeal to dismantle a system of education w i t h a view to setting-up its replacement "anew" could only serve to prohibit the advent of appreciable change w i t h i n the general composition of the whole.  132  The Ends of Pedagogy In referring to the archetype of the university as the "onto- and autoencyclopaedic circle of the State/'  103  Derrida counsels that "the deconstruction  of its concepts, of its instruments, of its practices cannot proceed by attacking it immediately and attempting to do away w i t h it without risking the immediate return of other forces equally capable of adapting to it. Immediately to retreat and make w a y for the 'other' of the Universitas might represent a welcome invitation to those very determinate and very determined forces, ready and waiting, close by, to take over the State and the University."  104  The aftermath of this wasted labour w o u l d undoubtedly be to  reaffirm the doxa of precisely those institutional conventions i n question. A n d the casualness of its all-or-nothing mandate w i l l inadvertently fail: given that the totalizing force of the ideal must re-produce the generic organization of standardized forms or models (e.g., utopic, metaphysical, anarchic, etc.) whose limits take shape between the dyad of opposing argumentative guardrails (garde-fous) marking out the space amid the less than agreeable chimeras of nihilism and despair. For example, by either protecting, on the one side, against the fearful responsibility of misdoing by fostering inaction or, on the other, by provoking irresponsible decisionmaking leading to reckless action. Where the premise is to appreciatively alter the formal boundaries of the educational system, to make its performative structures more responsive to the alterior qualities of subjective differences, Derrida is most exact about what k i n d of resistive activity is called for: "In consequence: battling as alway on two fronts, on two scenes and according to two ways (portee), a  133  The Ends of Pedagogy rigorous and efficient deconstruction must at the same time develop the critique (practice) of the current philosophic institution [from w i t h i n the enactment of its aberrations] and to engage i n a positive transformation, rather affirmative, audacious, extensive and intensive, of the teaching called 'philosophic.'"  105  It is the aporiatic space of the educational system i t s e l f — a n  institutionalized inferiority of pouvoir/savoir without pure e x t e r i o r i t y — t h a t licenses the agonistics of a "double science" Derrida has culled, always taking great care to remind us that the field of oppositions deconstruction criticizes "is also a field of non-discursive f o r c e s . "  106  The pragmatic territoriality of this  space, once cleaved open from the intertwining and doubly invaginated folds of its "inside" and its "outside" margins, reveals a deterritorialized non-space where the counter-hegemonic locality and illocality of deconstruction can bring to light the heteronomous autonomy of the excluded at the peripheries of the institutionalized center. Of course, the juridico-political stakes of the ethical struggle for equality of educational opportunities that the G R E P H has pledged to carry on are an important denouement of this redressing of the performative relation of philosophy and pedagogy, formalized as it is i n the praxeological cybernetics of the educational i n s t i t u t i o n .  107  For Derrida, aspiring to rectify the  catachresis of past injustices requires exposing the hidden fallibility and innate fragility of comforting centers of established order that permitted them in the first place. Showing the unpredictability of play w i t h i n the seemingly fixed hierarchical structures of a dominating logics breaks the coherence of its autarchic c o n t r o l .  108  "The Age of Hegel" skillfully orchestrates the schematics  134  The Ends of Pedagogy of this well-known deconstructive compulsion that imminently enables work against the concrete abuses of institutionalized systems of cruel authority or repressive power.  109  By way of reference to the legitimation of  the notorious letter Altenstein received, Derrida advocates an audacious transformation of the normative structures of culture that justify and ascribe the privilege of worth to a subject or object.  What is to be done w i t h this Letter of Hegel's? Where is it to be situated? Where does it take (its) place? Evaluation is inevitable: is it a "major" text or a "minor" one? Is it a "philosophical" text? What status, as they say, do we grant it? What title? One of the tasks of the G R E P H could be a critique (not only formal, but effective and concrete) of all existing hierarachies. . . . Without such a reelaboration, no profound transformation w i l l be possible. The force that dominates the process of classification and the institution of hierarchies allows us to read whatever it is interested i n having us read (which it then labels major texts, or texts of "great import"); and it renders inaccessible whatever it is interested i n underestimating, and w h i c h i n general it cannot read (describing such texts as minor or marginal). A n d this holds true for the discourse of the educator and for all his evaluatory procedures (grading; juries for examinations, competitions, these; socalled supervisory committees; etc.); it is the evaluative standard determining all discourse: from that of the critic and the upholder of tradition to that determining editorial policy, the commercialization of texts, etc. A n d once again, it is not simply a matter of texts i n print or on blackboards, but rather of a general textuality without w h i c h there is no understanding and no a c t i o n . 110  Beginning w i t h the preliminary phases of "a general reelaboration of the entire problematic of hierarchies,"  111  deconstruction unbalances the  deliberate equationing of language and meaning as the only authentic reading and writing of the concept of the truth of education. It challenges and  135  The Ends of Pedagogy disrupts the historical continuity of the institution's capability to re-produce its logic through the nurturing of a "pure[ly] egological s u b j e c t "  112  that has its  codic source for "Truth" i n the systematic stratification of the meaning of signification and the fixed rules of its evaluation or rendering. But unlike more conventional forms of "ideology critique," deconstruction denies recourse to any intuition or conception of reality unmediated by language from w h i c h to glean a glimmer of the "falsity" of consciousness. "II n y a pas de hors-texte"  1 1 3  (There is no outside-text; there is nothing outside of the  [con-]text), Derrida w i l l insist. That is the "marching order" of deconstruction. Derrida therefore also places the premises of the G R E P H "at risk" i n "The Age of H e g e l " through a careful expanding upon of the unavoidable pitfalls of a critique of normativity without the cautious reflectivity of an autocritique of the desire of the self and of the same:  Reread the Preliminary Project of the G R E P H : every sentence demands that the censured or devaluaed [sic] be displayed, that the vast holdings of a more-or-less forbidden library be exhumed from the cellars. A n d that there be a lack of respect for prevailing evaluations: not only to indulge certain perverse bibliographic pleasures (on the other hand, why not?); nor even in order to better understand what links philosophy to its institution, to its institutional underside and recesses (dessous et envers); but rather to transform the very conditions of our effective intervention i n them. Underside or recesses, because it is not a matter of discovering today, belatedly, what has been k n o w n all along: that there is such a thing as a philosophical institution. Indeed, "Philosophy" ("la " philosophic) has always had a dominant concept to take this into account, and institution is at bottom the name it has reserved for this task. Underside and recesses, because we are not satisfied w i t h what the institution reveals about itself: neither w i t h 136  The Ends of Pedagogy what we can perceive empirically, nor with what we can conceive according to the law of the philosophical concept. Underside and recesses w o u l d no longer have a signification dominated by the philosophical opposition that continues to order discourse i n terms of a concealed substance or essence of the institution, hidden beneath its accidents, circumstances, phenomena, or superstructures. Underside and recesses w o u l d designate, rather, that which, while still being situated w i t h i n this venerable (conceptual metaphoric) topos, might begin to extricate itself from this opposition and to constitute it i n a new m a n n e r . 114  A t the bordercrossings of the transhistorical strife over the praxeological intelligibility of the signifier "philosophy" enacted as pedagogy is the discourse of the educational institution, the eternal gatekeeper of the sense of "reason" ordering and translating for the curricular substance of the discipline. Positing an unassailable oikos of language as the order (nomos) of the "house of Being" has safeguarded the particular directions adopted i n the West for the instruction of the subject.  115  A n d what Derrida calls the cure  and poison of this discursive/non-discursive circularity construes the pharmakon of a teaching-learning that one can never escape. Language is the symbolic violence that in-forms the conceptual-metaphorical psyche for dealing w i t h everyday r e a l i t y .  116  schemata of the  It is w i t h i n the mastery of the  rhetoricized heart of the institution's disciplinarity that the in-grained habitus of one's own  subjectivity, is subject to and a subjectification of, the flux of  language expended u p o n the ideology of a f r e e - w i l l .  117  Derrida is succinct:  "There is no neutral or natural place i n education (Venseignement). Here, for example, is not an indifferent p l a c e . "  118  137  The Ends of Pedagogy To be sure, the institutionalization of knowledge consolidating the philosophical lessons of Western epistemology bears the transcription of a logoarchy that intertwines the ontotheological foundations of a metaphysical language w i t h the intellectual backdrop of a pedagogical history inseparable from the truth of its object.  119  The semiotic effectivity of this operative  modelling of learning u p o n a knowledge-centered teaching of closed values is described by Derrida as follows: "Teaching delivers signs, the teaching body produces (shows and puts forth) proofs (enseignes), more precisely signifiers supposing knowledge of a previous signified. Referred to this knowledge, the signifier is structurally second. Every university [or general system of education] puts language i n this position of delay or derivation i n relation to meaning or t r u t h . "  120  A pedagogical method patterned after the  instrumentality of a Platonic-Hegelian mimetologism of the eidos cannot be anything but a laconic dictation of self-obscuring memory. Such an invasive instruction cast of a mechanical repetition that has as its techne a retrospective rather than a prospective function is more apt to valorize the reproduction of knowledge than to create the conditions for discovering or inventing i t  1 2 1  :  A l o n g the stages that are always idiomatic, we are always guided back to the most durable tradition of the philosophical concept of teaching: revelation, unveiling, the discovered truth of the "alreadythere" (deja la) according to the mode of "not-yet" (pas encore), a Socrato-Platonic anamnesis sometimes taken up by the philosophy of psychoanalysis. Throughout these specific determinations may be found, time and time again, the same scheme, the same concept of truth, of a truth linked to the same pedagogical structure. But the  138  The Ends of Pedagogy interpretation of these specificities must not succumb to this determination, as though one had to settle for the discovery of the same beneath all variations. One should never settle for this but also never forget to take its power into account. . . the question at issue is always, as it was for Plato, one of a double metaphoric of inscription: a bad w r i t i n g (une mauvaise ecriture), secondary, artificial, cryptic or hieroglyphic, voiceless, intervenes to obscure good w r i t i n g (la bonne ecriture); it overdetermines, occults, complicates, perverts, makes a travesty of the natural inscription of the truth of the soul. By effacing himself, the teacher (maitre) is also promoting the unlearning of bad writing. But if this motif retains a certain "Platonic" allure, the specificity of its "age" marks itself by a profound "Cartesian" reference. 122  The "teaching b o d y "  1 2 3  Derrida refers to has a regenerative role i n the  educational institution fundamental to an ancillary fulfillment of the dominant pedagogical theme of Western philosophy, the "metaphysics of presence" or "logocentrism."  124  Where teaching characterized by the mere  delivery and reception of signs "has its ideal, w i t h exhaustive translatability, the effacement of language (la langue),"  125  learning is and can b e — n o more,  no l e s s — e q u i v a l e n t i n difficulty to the cognitive capabilities of a minimal technical competence required for the "error-free" exchange of transmitted concepts. It presumes, and Derrida is clear on this, that the living spirit of a w r i t i n g enfleshed of preestablished empirical proofs can be actively etched into the conscious corps of a passified "student body." This positive value of signifier-signified/sign-referent relations that is exhibited and perpetuated as the traditional discourse of a teaching-learning practice (e.g., a positivistic didactics of total cognition) connects thought to expression to bring about the essential possibility of faultlessly duplicating the content of signification i n  139  The Ends of Pedagogy the contours of the mind. Its transcendental inspiration of a "transportable univocality or of formulizable p o l y s e m i a "  126  propagates the illusion of a  correspondence theory of pedagogical truths. W h e n the presuppositions of the well-known teaching-learning model that Derrida describes above are combined w i t h the absolute idealism of speculative dialectics Hegel supplies for supporting the case of a curriculum driven by the fruits of mnemosyne, two things are foreshadowed: the end of pedagogy and the end of philosophy. N o t h i n g remains untheorized outside the oppositional complementarity of this Metaphysical System that could counter the dialectic of its glorious memory, essentially because the conceptualization of "meaning," "truth," and "reality" is sequestered i n the liminal scope of the singular, the finite, and the totalizing. It w i l l follow that the "scene of teaching" alluded to by Derrida via "The Age of Hegel" comprises the student, the teacher, and the institution defined not only i n and of themselves, w i t h respect to their rights, obligations, freedoms, duties, etc., as the entities of a tripartite division of the educational space.  127  Each "body" is more (and conceivably less) than the s u m of its  accumulative parts as the grounding for the synchrony and diachrony of inter-relations between the principal actors of the topos oscillates. Moreover, these educational "entities" are subjectively prone to the "ideological" effects of internally and externally motivated influences u p o n the situated formations of the scene of teaching that create a specific socio-cultural and ethico-political niche for the possibility of pedagogy. Support for the material conditions of the system's structure so crucial to its living on is maintained by  140  The Ends of Pedagogy the hegemonic entrenchment of legitimating metanarratives justifying, and justified by, an ethos of p r a x i s .  128  The applicability of the general principles of  deconstruction to the historical contextuality of the pedagogical institution is due to the fact that the educational bodies comprising the material scene of teaching are themselves mediated by the constructions of discourse. O r of a pervading textuality effectively determinant, as such, of the subjectivation of experience.  The discourse infusing the (inter)disciplinarity of this  educational site is a fertile ethical and political ground for deconstruction because the "actual" circumstances of a particular pedagogy (e.g., a "philosophical" one) implies the institutional privileging of a set of ideological assumptions toward teaching and learning, the logic of w h i c h underlies and guides the prescriptive implementation of a hierarchical frameworking of knowledge i n the concrete form of a curriculum. O n this point, Derrida is concise: "The university [as both Umwelt and schooling organization], is philosophy, a university is always the construction of a philosophy."  129  To destabilize the centrality of a dominant conception of philosophy to the existing disciplinary structure and valuations of the pedagogical institution, one that has done much to annex its positionality, charges neither a destruction of the " o l d system," nor a flat-out denial of the conventionality of episteme inherited from the ages before and after Hegel.  Deconstruction  concedes not to the naive enlightenment of an EITHER/OR, N E I T H E R / N O R propositionality simply to be "on the other side" of Reason i n all situations despite the circumstances.  130  It obliges a patient and unrelenting resistance  141  The Ends of Pedagogy from w i t h i n the system that challenges the arbitrary working-out of its practices through the magnified inconsistencies i n the logic of its discourse:  Following the consistency of its logic, it [deconstruction] attacks not only the internal edifice, both semantic and formal, of philosophemes, but also what one w o u l d be wrong to assign to it as its external housing, its extrinsive conditions of practice: the historical forms of its pedagogy, the social, economic or political structures of this pedagogical institution. It is because deconstruction interferes w i t h solid structures, "material" institutions, and not only w i t h discourses or signifying representations, that it is always distinct from analysis or "critique." A n d i n order to be pertinent, deconstruction works as strictly as possible i n that place where the supposedly "internal" order of the philosophical is articulated by (internal and external) necessity w i t h the institutional conditions and forms of teaching. To the point where the concept of the institution itself w o u l d be subjected to the same deconstructive treatment. 131  As Derrida's deconstruction of the Foucauldian archeology of madness has demonstrated, " a l l history [of the system of the institution, pedagogy included] can only be i n the last analysis, the history of meaning, that is of Reason i n general."  132  A n d if "Reason" and "history" are the only  conceivable ends of the institutional structure of pedagogy as an objectification of philosophy, there is a "double bind," or a bi-directional " f o l d " i n the laws of the system and of its philosophical analysis, impinging u p o n the GREPH's project—as it d i d upon Foucault's—that makes it difficult, if no precautions are taken, to avoid the dual traps of either reinstating the heterology of an "other" monolith while opposing the privilege of an epistemological reduction of meanings or to escape imposing a w i l l f u l silence  142  The Ends of Pedagogy upon the languages of the self while assenting to the "fittingness" of a theoretical posture. The recommendations Derrida makes to the G R E P H regarding a political resistance to the H a b y Reform incorporates these deconstructive principles i n an effort to regulate the "preconditions of a political practice that seeks to be as coherent as possible i n its successive steps, i n the strategy of its alliances and in its discourse."  133  What justifies deconstruction to move through and into  the arena of discourse to the empirical conditions of "real-world" injustices forged b y the architectural "cornerstones" of the ideologico-conceptual thematisms of the pedagogical institution is the ethical nature of sociopolitical effects following any act of criticism:  One first locates, i n an architectonics, i n the art of the system, the "neglected corners" and the "defective cornerstone," that which, from the outset, threatens the coherence and the internal order of the construction. But it is a cornerstone! It is required by the architecture w h i c h it nevertheless, i n advance, deconstructs from within. It assures its coherence while situating i n advance, i n a w a y that is both visible and invisible (that is, corner), the site that lends itself to a deconstruction to come. The best spot for efficiently inserting the deconstructive lever [the raodzZos ] is a cornerstone. There may be other analogous places but this one derives its privilege from the fact that it is indispensable to the completeness of the edifice. A condition of erection, holding up walls of an established edifice, it also can be said to maintain it, to contain it, and be tantamount to the generality of the architectonic system, "of the entire system." 134  135  M o r e notably, a "deconstructive" rereading of the discursive archive of pedagogy to locate its institutional inclusions /exclusions, its  143  The Ends of Pedagogy orderings/disorderings, its valuations/ devaluations, and so on, must precede the "reconstructive" phase(s) of a rewriting of the existing subdivisions configuring the disciplinarity of epistemological foundations, for a "critical reelaboration of this hierarchy and of this problematics of hierarchy must not be restricted to new 'theorems' i n the same language (langage)."  136  It requires  the heteroglossia of a fresh writing that inscribes and is inscribed by the rules of an unborrowed code following "an other l o g i c , "  137  one that can self-  consciously evade the conceits of the metaphysical arrangements it is reacting to or may use i n the performance of critique. This w o u l d presuppose: firstly, the inversion of the argumentative logics, the hierarchy of which, privileges a normative arrangement of concepts from a binarization of terms (e.g., good/bad, right/wrong, etc.); and, secondly, a displacement of the epistemological groundwork coordinating the ethical acceptance of the formal structuring of its concepts that organize the "essential" possibilities of thought itself.  Conclusion for an Ending: A Monstrosity for which There is No End  Deconstruction is wary of origins. It does not account for them because it does not believe i n reinstating them nor i n reinforcing their legitimizing value to celebrate their privileging of an immutable foundation. Yet deconstruction derives its critical force from the differential markings of the chains of signification that emanate from the search for a definitive finality;  144  The Ends of Pedagogy that last link, always so near, but forever out of sight, that only a Hegel could foresee i n the absolute knowledge of a dialectical u-topos as the end of meaning and of history, the end of philosophy and of pedagogy. If there can be no end to the situation of deconstruction, it is surely appropriate to ask whether or not the "strategies" discussed i n Chapter Three are not simply promoting a futile and self-defeating task, especially for pedagogical issues that often beg some sort of resolution. Absolute finality is non-identity signifying the death of being: the death of the subject and the death of meaning, not to mention history. To say that something like a pedagogical issue ends, that is to say that it exists no more, is absurd, because then there w o u l d be no remainder, only the space of silence and the silence of space. There w o u l d be nothing left to say that w o u l d not already be known. Discourse w i l l probably never cease to exist until the demise of the last of humanity, but until then we almost certainly w i l l have deconstruction w i t h us, for the expression of ideas initiates responses that seek to understand the complexity of a plethora of motivational factors looming below the surface of any subject position. Identifying what is "right" and what is "wrong" also goes along w i t h discovering how these values are constructed and sometimes, perhaps why. Deconstruction can certainly help us w i t h that. M i n i m i z i n g the dangers of forgetting the past w o u l d inevitably d u l l the passion of memory and of the soul's desire for fulfilling a meaningful regeneration of the human spirit or mind, if not the credibility of exercizing the freedom of a nascent w i l l as a spur from catalyzing thought to emancipatory action. This glimmer of an Archimedean point that is always already unreachable is what  145  The Ends of Pedagogy pedagogy should aim for to extend teaching-learning beyond the tendency to merely imitate a brief scholastic adventurousness as one w o u l d watch the cascading flicker of a fading memory casting empty shadows on a cave wall.  146  The Ends of Pedagogy Notes 1. Jacques Derrida, "The Pit and the Pyramid: Introduction to Hegel's Semiology," trans. A l a n Bass, i n Margins of Philosophy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982), 102. 2. Citation i n Jacques Derrida, "The A g e of Hegel," trans. Susan Winner, i n Demarcating the Disciplines: Philosophy, Literature, Art, ed. Samuel Weber (Minneapolis: U n i v e r s i t y of Minnesota Press, 1986), 3. 3. Ibid., 4. 4. Ibid., 23. 5. See Shlomo A v i n e r i , Hegel's Theory of the Modern State (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1972). 6. Derrida, "The A g e of Hegel," 11. 7. Ibid., 23. 8. Ibid., 23. 9. G . W . F. Hegel, Elements of the Philosophy of Right, trans. H . B. Nisbet, ed. A l l e n W . W o o d (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). 10. Hegel's letter to Duboc, 30 July, 1822 cited in Derrida, "The A g e of Hegel," 15. 11. Derrida, "The A g e of Hegel," 23. 12. Ibid., 23-24. See also the account of this complex situation in A v i n e r i , Hegel's Theory of the Modern  State.  13. Ibid., 15. 14. Ibid., 12. 15. Derrida cites extracts from Hegel's correspondence on the subjects of Bavarian lottery tickets and the matter of contributions to the General F u n d for W i d o w s , a form of institutional life insurance for professors. 16. See Jacques Derrida, Writing and Difference, trans. A l a n Bass (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978) and Jacques Derrida, On the Name, trans. D a v i d W o o d , John P. Leavey Jr., and Ian M c L e o d , ed. Thomas Dutoit (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995). 17. Derrida, "The A g e of Hegel," 17. 18. Ibid., 4. 19. Ibid., 24. 20. Ibid., 15. 21. Altenstein's Letter of 6 June, 1822, cited i n Derrida, "The Age of Hegel," 15. 22. Ibid., 15. 23. Cited i n Derrida, "The A g e of Hegel," 25. 24. Derrida, "The A g e of Hegel," 25. 25. F r o m the letter of G . W . F. Hegel "To the Royal M i n i s t r y of Spiritual, Academic, and M e d i c a l Affairs" ( A p r i l 16, 1822), appended to Jacques Derrida, "The A g e of Hegel,"40. 26. Derrida, "The A g e of Hegel," 25. 27. Ibid., 28. 28. Ibid., 17. 29. Ibid., 26. 30. Ibid., 17-18. 31.  See D a v i d Farrell K r e l l , Of Memory,  Reminiscence,  and Writing:  On the  Verge  (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990), especially Chapter Five and Jacques Derrida, Margins of Philosophy, trans. A l a n Bass (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982).  147  The Ends of Pedagogy  32. Derrida, "The A g e of Hegel," 17. 33. Ibid., 8-9. 34. Ibid., 24. (Emphasis i n the o r i g i n a l ) . 35. See the whole of footnote 1 i n Jacques Derrida "The A g e of Hegel," 34. M o r e thorough discussions on the problem of rethinking the concept of "ideology" i n terms of the "linguistic turn" of intellectual history after poststructuralism and specifically deconstruction that are beyond the scope of analysis conducted here are to be found i n Dominic LaCapra, Rethinking Intellectual History: Texts, Contexts, Language (Ithaca: C o r n e l l U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1983), George Attridge, Geoffrey Bennington, and Robert Young, ed. Poststructuralism and the Question of History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), and H a y d e n White, The Content of the Form: Narrative Discourse and Historical Representation (Baltimore: Johns H o p k i n s University Press, 1987). 36. Derrida, "The A g e of Hegel," 22. 37. Ibid., 22. 38. Ibid., 22. 39. Ibid., 28. 40. Jacques Derrida, "Between Brackets I," trans. P. Kamuf, i n POINTS . . . Interviews, 19741994, ed., Elizabeth Weber (Stanford: Stanford University Press), 26. 41. Ibid., 26. 42. In Jacques D e r r i d a , The Ear of the Other: Otobiography, Transference, Translation, trans. Peggy K a m u f and A v i t a l Ronell, ed. Christie M c D o n a l d (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1988), the question of autobiography and otobiography is interrelated to the problem of the proper name and the signature. Derrida confronts the academic freedom of Nietzschean pedagogy and its reception, interpretation, etc., through a discussion of " h o w one becomes what one is," one of the central themes underlying "The A g e of Hegel." 43. M i c h e l de Certeau, The Writing of History, trans. T o m Conley ( N e w York: C o l u m b i a University Press, 1988). De Certeau has some interesting insights into the limitations of the H e g e l i a n Geistesgeschichte (a " c u l t u r a l " form of intellectual history) for capturing the ideal of the "spirit of the times," but goes further to set d o w n a theory of the w r i t i n g of history that incorporates many Derridean features (e.g., w r i t i n g and death, difference and trace). 44. See D a v i d Ingram, Reason, History, and Politics: The Communitarian Grounds of Legitimation in the Modern Age ( N e w York: State University of N e w Y o r k Press, 1995). 45. Derrida, "The A g e of Hegel," 23. 46. See H a y d e n White, The Content of the Form. 47. Derrida, "The A g e of Hegel," 23. 48. Descombes, Modern French Philosophy, trans. L . Fox-Scott and J. H a r d i n g (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980), 137. 49. Derrida, "The A g e of Hegel," 22-23. 50. Ryan, Marxism and Deconstruction: A Critical Articulation (Baltimore: Johns H o p k i n s University Press, 1982), 118. 51. Ibid., 25. 52. Ibid., 24. 53. Hegel, Elements of the Philosophy of Right, 321. 54. See also G . W . F. Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit, trans. A . V . M i l l e r (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1977).  148  The Ends of Pedagogy  55. Cited i n Jacques Derrida, "The Pit and the Pyramid: Introduction to Hegel's Semiology," trans. A l a n Bass, i n Margins of Philsophy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press), 73. 56. See M a r t i n Heidegger, Questions Concerning Technology and Other Essays, trans. W i l l i a m Lovitt (New York: Harper and R o w , 1977). 57. A n d r e w Vincent, Theories of the State (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1987), 125. 58. Derrida, "The A g e of Hegel," 17. 59. Jacques Derrida, Glas, trans. John P. Leavey Jr., and Richard Rand (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1986), 1. 60. See Ibid. 61. D e r r i d a , The Ear of the Other, 56. 62. Jacques Derrida, Dissemination, trans. Barabara Johnson (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981), 105. 63. See Jacques Derrida,Tfre Ear of the Other. 64. M a r t i n Jay, Downcast Eyes: The Denigration of Vision in Twentieth-Century French Thought (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993). This is an unusual twisting of the Derridean neologism "phallogocentrism" because of the an anti-phenomenological inferences pointed to by the visual focus of the w o r d "ocular." 65. Jacques Derrida, The Truth in Painting, trans. Geoff Bennington and Ian M c L e o d (Chicago: University of Chicago Press), 19. 66. See Manfred Frank, "Is Self-Consiousness a Case of Presence a Soil Towards a MetaCritique of the Recent French Critique of Metaphysics," i n Derrida: A Critical Reader, ed. D a v i d W o o d (Cambridge: Blackwell, 1992), 218-234. 67. In Jacques Derrida, Memoires for Paul de Man, trans. Cecilia Lindsay, Jonathan Culler, and Eduardo C a d a v a (New York: C o l u m b i a University Press, 1986), the experience of memory, subjectivity, and intersubjectivity is probed as the de-facement of autos or prosopopoeia. 68. Derrida, Dissemination, 27. 69. Derrida, "The A g e of Hegel," 18. 70. See Jacques Derrida, Signeponge/Signsponge, trans. Richard R a n d (New York: C o l u m b i a U n i v e r s i t y Press). 71. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, "Speculations on Reading M a r x : After reading Derrida," i n Poststructuralism and the Question of History, eds. George Attridge, Geoffrey Bennington, and Robert Y o u n g (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), 43. 72. See Umberto Eco, The Role of the Reader: Explorations in the Semiotics of Text (Bloomington: University of Indian Press, 1979) and Jacques Derrida, Of Grammatology, trans. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (Baltimore: Johns H o p k i n s University Press, 1976). 73. See Fredric Jameson, The Political Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act (New York: C o r n e l l University Press, 1981) and Samuel Weber, Institutions and Interpretation (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987. 74. Derrida, "The A g e of Hegel," 3-4. 75. See Jean B a u d r i l l a r d , Simulacres et simulation (Paris: Galilee, 1981). 76. Derrida, Dissemination, 105. 77. See Ibid. 78. Derrida, "The A g e of Hegel," 5. 79. See A v i n e r i , Hegel's Theory of the Modern State. 80. Derrida, "The A g e of Hegel," 5.  149  The Ends of Pedagogy  81. C o u s i n cited i n ibid., 9. 82. Ibid., 29. 83. Ibid., 29. 84. Ibid., 22. 85. Hegel cited i n ibid., 26. 86. Ibid., 26. 87. See Jacques Derrida, "The Pit and the Pyramid: Introduction to Hegel's Semiology." 88. Hegel cited i n Jacques Derrida, "The A g e of Hegel," 26. 89. Ibid., 11. 90. Ibid., 33. 91. Ibid., 6. 92. See Jacques Derrida, "Languages and institutions of Philosophy," trans. Sylvia Soderlind, Rebecca C o m a y , Barbara Havercroft, and Joseph A d a m s o n , Recherches Semiotique/Semiotic Inquiry 4, no. 2 (1984): 91-154. 93. Derrida, "The A g e of Hegel," 33. 94. Ibid., 6-7. 95. G R E P H , Qui a peur de la philosophie? (Paris: A u b i e r - F l a m m a r i o n , 1977). 96. Derrida, "The A g e of Hegel," 5. 97. The G R E P H originally banded together i n 1974. See Derrida, Du droit a la philosophie (Paris: Galilee, 1990). 98. Derrida, "The A g e of Hegel," 19. 99. See G R E P H , Qui a peur de la philosophie? 100. Included as appendix i n Jacques Derrida, " O u commence et comment finit u n corps enseignant," i n Du droit a la philosophie (Paris: Galilee, 1990). 101. Personal conversation w i t h Jacques Derrida, Paris, July, 1994. 102. See also Jacques Derrida, "The Time of a Thesis," trans. Kathleen M c L a u g h l i n , i n Philosophy in France Today, ed. A l a n Montefiore (Cambridge: Cambridge U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1983), 34-50. 103. Derrida, "The A g e of Hegel," 33. 104. Ibid., 33. 105. Derrida, " O u commence et comment finit un corps enseignant," 120-121. Cf. Jacques Derrida, Dissemination. 106. D e r r i d a , Margins of Philosophy, 329. 107. O p e n i n g the philosophical door to a possible alliance of the G R E P H w i t h Marxist politics, Derrida writes i n "The A g e of Hegel": "If the current French State is afraid of philosophy, it is because its teaching contributes to the progress of two types of threatening forces: those wanting to change the State (those, let's say, belonging to the left-wing of Hegel) and to wrest it from the control of those forces currently i n power, and those w h i c h , on the other hand or simultaneously, allied or not w i t h the fore-going, tend toward the destruction of the State. These two forces cannot be classified according to the prevailing divisions. They seem to me, for example, to cohabitate today w i t h i n the theoretical and practical field k n o w n as ' M a r x i s m . ' " (33-34) 108. See Jacques Derrida, "Structure, Sign, and Play i n the Discourse of the H u m a n Sciences," i n Writing and Difference.  150  The Ends of Pedagogy  109. See, for example, Thomas E. Wartenberg, ed., Rethinking Power (Albany: State University of N e w Y o r k Press, 1992). 110. Derrida, "The A g e of Hegel," 19-20. 111. Ibid., 19. 112. Derrida, "Mochlos; or, The Conflict of the Faculties," trans. Richard R a n d and A m y Wygant, i n Logomachia: The Conflict of the Faculties, ed. Richard R a n d (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1992), 11. 113. Derrida, Of Grammatology, 158. (The form of the original has been modified.). 114. Derrida, "The A g e of Hegel," 20. 115. Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, trans. Brian M a s s u m i (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987). 116. See Pierre Bourdieu and Jean-Claude Passeron, Reproduction in Education, Society and Culture, trans. Richard Nice (London: Sage Publications, 1977). The violence of writing as the letter of the law of exclusion is the focus of the second half of Jacques Derrida's Of Grammatology. 117. See Pierre Bourdieu, Language and Symbolic Power, trans. G i n o R a y m o n d and Matthew A d a m s o n (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1991). 118. Derrida, " O u commence et comment finit u n corps enseignant," 114. 119. This is the motivating premise of Jacques Derrida's, Of Grammatology. 120. Derrida, " O u commence et comment finit u n corps enseignant," 130. 121. Bourdieu and Passeron, Reproduction in Education, Society and Culture. 122. Derrida, "The A g e of Hegel," 7-8. 123. See Jacques Derrida, " O u commence et comment finit u n corps enseignant" for further elaboration on the role of the teaching body i n the forms of reproduction that saturate and amplify the contradictions of the scene of teaching, its field. 124. See Jacques Derrida, Of Grammatology. 125. Jacques Derrida, " L i v i n g O n : Border Lines," trans. James Hulbert, i n Deconstruction and Criticism, eds. H a r o l d Bloom, P a u l de M a n , Jacques Derrida, Geoffrey Hartman, J. H i l l i s M i l l e r (New York: C o n t i n u u m , 1979), 93-94. 126. Ibid., 93. '; 127. See Gregory U l m e r , Applied Grammatology': Post(e)-Pedagogy from Jacques Derrida to Joseph Beuys (Baltimore: Johns H o p k i n s University Press, 1985). 128. See Jean-Francois Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge, trans. Geoffrey Bennington and Bernard M a s s u m i (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1991). 129. Derrida, " O u commence et comment finit u n corps enseignant," 119. 130. See Jacques Derrida, " O n Colleges and Philosophy," i n Postmodernism: ICA Documents, ed. Lisa A p p i g n a n e s i (London: Free Association Books, 1989), 66-71. 131. D e r r i d a , The Truth in Painting, 19-20. 132. D e r r i d a , Writing and Difference, 308. 133. Derrida, "The A g e of Hegel," 30. 134. See Jacques Derrida, "Mochlos." 135. Derrida, Memoires, 72. 136. Ibid., 20. 137. Derrida, " O u commence et comment finit u n corps enseignant," 121.  151  CHAPTER FOUR Technologies of Reason: The Grounding of Academic Responsibility Beyond the Principle of Reason as the Metaphysical Foundation of the University  W o u l d it not be more "responsible" to try pondering the ground, i n the history of the West, on w h i c h the juridico-egological values of responsibility were determined, attained, imposed? There is perhaps a fund here of "responsibility" that is at once "older" and—to the extent it is conceived anew, through what some w o u l d call a crisis of responsibility i n its juridico-egological form and its ideal of decidability—is yet to come, or, if y o u prefer, "younger." Here, perhaps, w o u l d be a chance for the task of thinking what w i l l have been, up to this point, the representation of university responsibility, of what it is andmight become, i n the wake of upheavals no longer to be concealed from ourselves, even if we still have trouble analyzing them. Is a new type of university responsibility possible? —Jacques Derrida, "Mochlos; or, The Conflict of the Faculties" 1  152  Technologies of Reason Chapter Four extends the range of the "dominant metaphorical register"  2  of the Derridean call for the deconstruction of the institution—after the memorious professing of the pedagogical ends of the dialectical reason of H e g e l i a n i s m — t h r o u g h its attending to the critical presuppositions of "a certain architectural rhetoric" of a post-Kantian type that retranslates the 3  rational ground of the systemic technologies of the classic interdisciplinarity of knowledge constructions w i t h i n the university as the basis for the possibility of the articulation of a "new" ethics of academic responsibility. It presents a reading of "The Principle of Reason: The University i n the Eyes of its Pupils," the text of a public lecture given by Jacques Derrida before an assembly at Cornell University i n A p r i l of 1983. The chapter itself is composed of two parts. The first part engages the reason of the occasion of the discourse itself, the motivation provided for the institutional conventionality of the text-context encounter, that generates the simplicity and the complexity of the "rules of exchange" governing the axiology of the gift-counter-gift logic structuring the reality of the moment, its ethics and its politics. The purpose here is to analyze h o w the l e c t u r e — b e i n g essentially of an inaugural "type" to honour the precise moment of Derrida's symbolic "ascension" to an endowed chair of p h i l o s o p h y — w o r k s both w i t h and against the formal limits of the situation to gauge the epistemic and empirical "values of responsivity" implied or expected from the "participants" involved at the scene. Continuing on this theme of the constation and performativity of academic responsibility, the first part also examines the metaphorical parameters of the topology of Cornell University, h o w the actual landscaping (artificiality) and  153  Technologies  of Reason  setting (naturalistic) of the campus, e.g., the bridges and the abyss, forge the figure and ground of the scopic structures that impress Derrida as being the "literal example" for the oto-bio-graphic stipulations placed i n the discourse on how one should not speak of the university.  The second part deals w i t h  the deconstruction of the metaphysical foundation of the principle of reason. Or, what is the logic of the ground of the being of the modern university itself as the cultural product of the unification of philosophy and technology. The ramifications of the idea of the principle of reason are explored through an extended meditation on its pragmatic and hermeneutic consequences for the instrumental and poietic aims of research. Chapter Four finishes b y w a y of a critical probing of some of the suggestions Derrida makes for "re-awakening" or "re-situating" the ethics of the responsibility of the academic communityat-large.  Performative  Contradictions  In Apologia Quid Juris:  Broaching the Responsibility of Dangerous Confessions  Today, h o w can we not speak of the university? I put m y question i n the negative, for two reasons. O n the one hand, as we all know, it is impossible, n o w more than ever, to disassociate the work we do, w i t h i n one discipline or several, from a reflection on the political and institutional conditions of that work. Such a reflection is unavoidable. It is no longer an external complement to teaching and research; it must make its w a y through the very objects we work with, shaping them as it goes, along w i t h our 154  Technologies of Reason  norms, procedures, and aims. We cannot speak of such things. O n the other hand, the question "how can we not" gives notice of the negative, or perhaps we should say preventative, complexion of the preliminary reflections I should like to put to you. Indeed, since I am seeking to initiate discussion, I shall content myself w i t h h o w one should not speak of the university. Some of the typical risks to be avoided, it seems to me, take the form of a bottomless pit, while others take the form of a protectionist barrier. Does the university, today, have what is called a raison d'etre? —Jacques Derrida, "The Principle of Reason: The University i n the Eyes of its P u p i l s " 4  A l l o w i n g for the temporary suspension of a "false start." We must pause prior to directly engaging these initial, preparatory and vigilant, propositions submitted at the beginning of a lecture addressing the question of the being of the u n i v e r s i t y — t h e reason of its methods of research, teaching and l e a r n i n g — t o remind ourselves of a startling confidence Jacques Derrida permits us access to, "taking the floor [at Cornell University] to speak [for the first time] as an A n d r e w Dickson White Professor-at-Large," : 5  Before preparing the text of a lecture, I find I must prepare myself for the scene I shall encounter as I speak. That is always a painful experience, an occasion for silent, paralytic deliberation. I feel like a hunted animal, looking i n the darkness for a w a y out where none is to be found. Every exit is blocked. 6  It is a generous, but timely, confession of a secret truth. The sudden revelation outlines a course of habit, that i n an unfeigning (heart-felt) rendition of the aporia of the situation of deconstruction, does m u c h to shed  155  Technologies of Reason light on the veiled passion of a writer's craft and a philosopher's life, both of w h i c h are at the least germane, if not crucial, to a rereading of "The Principle of Reason: The University i n the Eyes of its Pupils." The originating source of the "psycho-sensible" discomfiture Derrida describes—as the affectivity of reactions to situational distractors experienced i n advance of the actual process of the writing of the text of this l e c t u r e — i s quite thoroughly based i n the projected reality of having to meet the contextuality of factual circumstances surrounding the empirical event of its enunciation to the Other. So, the disclosure of the personal trauma of these disturbing feelings of disorientation forefronts h o w conceding to the overpowering  "virtuality"  of the limits of comprehending a possible "state-of-affairs" w i t h i n the irreducible specificity of unforeseen conditions can only impede recourse to the freeing-up of a train of thought and language.  7  In other words, to draw-  out the Kantian line of Derrida's description of hesitation, w h e n confronted w i t h this immensity of the magnitude of an Idea (to invoke this suprasensible essence of the "purely rational," the "swr-real") that exceeds the synthetic powers of intuitive estimation, the imagination experiences the inadequacy of this m a x i m u m and, thus, the violence of its o w n stretched limitations, causing it to recoil on itself. For the pain and pleasure of these 8  reasons and those to come, Derrida readily concedes, "In the [then] present case, the task [of writing a lecture 'on the subject—quite properly s u b l i m e — o f the essence of the University,' its reason for being] seemed triply 9  impossible."  10  Let us re-begin here then. A t the edge of possibility.  156  Technologies of Reason 1. To reiterate what has already been noted above, i n passing: "this was not to be just a lecture like any other."  11  But rather, to fulfill the sobering  propriety of a certain "pre-setting" of requirements suitable to the determinative constraints of the occasion, the constative disposition of its written text, as it produces the performativity of itself by speaking "selfreflexively" about the operative value of itself, "had to be ['stylistically' 12  consistent w i t h the general specificity of a genre] something like an inaugural address"  13  i n order to demonstrate a "genuine" appreciation for the  conferment of a venerable title. According to this "academicized" tradition of "meritocracy," of the divisible exchange of the "giving-and-receiving"of prestige, w i t h i n the grander system of the University,  14  the lecture demanded  an ethico-political obligation of the act of speech itself and of the speaker, Derrida. A n d b y extension, I w o u l d also say, of the "work" of deconstruction for the institutional honour of the gift of recognition: regarding the implied pledge of an appropriative reconciliation of the advent of its subjective inscription of expression w i t h the abiding strictness of "standards of adherence" to the conventions of a, more or less, commonly used rhetorical archetype of formal recitation we w o u l d be most tempted to call a "discourse of ingratiation." A manner of presentation, at once, fitting to the hyperstylized decorum of the situation, the "crux" of its ritualism, and not egregiously parasitic o n the conditional g u i d e l i n e s of the delimiting 15  contextuality the philosopher, as w e l l as his interlocutors, must not selfconsciously betray or knowingly abuse to neatly execute the discreet ordinance of tribute to the high seriousness of the moment. So, preceding the actual  157  Technologies  of Reason  instance of the performative re-animation of the written text, there is an unspoken, yet duly acknowledged, "responsibility" expected, i n principle, on the part of D e r r i d a ,  16  for a public re-exhibition of gratitude that, in the equity  of its re-circulation of the exchange of "thankfulness," w o u l d obey, b y both theoretical and practical necessity, the etiquette of the structure of an ethical supplementarity supportive of the unbending logic of the rules of response affecting the co-incidental appropriety of the truth value of the lecture. The 17  covenant of the obligation to reciprocate, qualified as such, distributively structures the symbolic order of the line of credit extended from university to professor, and back again, i n the circular geometry of a prescribed calculability of "rightful" exchange. The "interest" of a fair paying-back of the debt owed (entailed, to be given back, re-turned) the institution by Derrida, while adopting and carrying-out one of the ceremonial functions of "epistemic subjectivity,"  18  in his name before the Other, is accruable out of the bond of  "friendship" and "politeness" for its gracious entitlement of h i m to the duties to come of the chair he w i l l most w i l l i n g l y bear in the name of Another as Other of the Other. The requirement of the writer-speaker, philosopherteacher, individual-scholar can only be the possibility of doing "nothing-butjustice"—in  the sense of being juste or " r i g h t " — t o the self-reaffirming 1 9  " s p i r i t " of the laws of measurable indemnity and "mutual indebtment" constructing the overdetermined stabilizability (saturability) of the situation. N o " f a l l i b i l i t y " or "ineptitude" i n the pre-reading of the occurential determinants of the responsibility of the discourse is tolerable that puts the intention of duty into default.  158  Technologies of Reason Moderating for the potentiality of negative effects arising from what might be perceived as "inopportune" or "ill-judged" comments, Derrida scans over the mutually amicable history of a long association w i t h the institution n o w granting h i m a status of d i s t i n c t i o n — " t h e first American university [he] ever taught f o r " — t o ask the obvious and overwhelming question: "Was this 2 0  inaugural lecture a well-chosen moment to ask whether the University has a reason for being? Wasn't I about to act w i t h all the unseemliness of a stranger who i n return for noble hospitality plays prophet of doom w i t h his hosts, or at best eschatological harbinger, like Elijah denouncing the power of kings or announcing the end of the realm?"  21  Wondering out loud, w i t h a self-  deprecating air of benevolent curiosity, whether the matter of the discourse should be presented to the audience, or not, defuses and heightens the implicit angst of the situation; quelling and accenting the potentially catastrophic violence of its gnawing uncertainty of outcome b y radicalizing the homogeneity of the code of its laws the "saturated" context of the lecture proclaims for its "major" and "minor" participants. D e r r i d a — i n speaking candidly of the ethics of communication and of the deconstructive "sufferance"  22  of a superseding of the responsibility to "say-the-right-thing"—  exhibits a keen awareness of the irrecuperability of the perils to be assumed for exceeding the k n o w n bounds of charity that are allowable "the donee" and "the doner" b y the conditional "ritualizing" of the rules of a faithful exchange of obligation to the Other.  23  Failing to even appear to uphold the promise of  the cycle of restitution threatens to annul the intentionality of the "giftcounter-gift" axiology particular to the pre-comprehension of the situation,  159  Technologies  of  Reason  we have been outlining, b y estranging the solemn temper of the moment. Still, the gesture of forthright non-avoidance Derrida performs b y seizing the chance to complicate the normative insolvency of a "discourse of consensus" unquestioning of the being and function of the university as it sponsors this "gift event" suffices to abate the imminent jeopardy of what could be construed as the non-excusability  of a missed opportunity  position  to the fixed  for the ethical  surrendering  of a subjective  duty of a calculable  exchange  of obligation.  But is that the end of it? Derrida, by admitting to a "hesitance  about speaking without hesitation," while making painstakingly sure to 24  maintain an unqualified humility for the tenor of the situation, manages to arouse feelings of respect or even admiration, i n the Other. "options" of response so easily exhausted, the invention  25  A r e the  of deconstruction so  glibly stifled, w i t h the polite declaration of a collateral awareness of both a transgression of neutrality and a questioning of injunction? I do not think so. The "other side" of the responsibility Derrida more than infers here, participating fully, at this time, i n the topological programmatics of the intrauniversity, inter-institutional event, through the enactment of these irruptive words, is not an irresponsibility posed as a typology of defiance. A "faulty" ingratitude avoiding the debt of restitution that flies i n the face of "good conscience" by flagrantly doing the discourtesy of "violence" to the "logic" of the rendez-vous.  The deconstructive incentive (motivation) of the  discourse, "of such force and desire as it may have [being neither on the side of 'right' nor simply against it], is a certain experience of the impossible," an 26  infinite aporia of the possible that increases the responsibility of the  160  Technologies  of Reason  obligation to the Other as Other. The incalculable anteriority of its ethics of singularity, Derrida has shown often enough,  27  comes to take the  interventive form of a decision to a hazardous commitment of an absolute risk one must make to speak and think, freely and openly, without limits or the necessity of a punctilious abiding to the normative rules or categorical laws of a "proper" (ritual or statutory) responsiveness to the determination of a call to duty i n the deliberate service of a self-regulating, non-critical ego.  28  Pushing the conventionalized borders of/to thought and experience beyond the established frontiers of inherited prohibition is a willingness to step over the compromising edge (arete) of the univeralized "case" of possibility itself. To respond, as Derrida does, for example, to the invitation of the gift, neither i n the "language of ritual and the language of duty,"  30  nor out of obligation to  the jurisprudence of generalized rules of "friendship" and  "politeness."  D o i n g so w o u l d prevent us from cutting ourselves off from a "boundless gratitude" that is the hyper-responsibility of the "subject" (empirical and epistemic) to the value and justice of truth, "the right to say  everything."  31  To ex-pose our discourse to the questioning of the Other, not b y devolving it into a rhetoric of autonomy, but by welcoming its resistances to a dialogue of the Self to the selfsame, is to open oneself to the play of learning through queries and objection that empty the subject to infinitize and to enrich its heteronomy.  32  "One must not be friendly or polite out of d u t y "  33  is but  one  side of the adage, the rule of the non-rule, Derrida obliquely ventures to bring to the fore through this discourse, without exactly saying it, against the regulative decidability of a Kantianist ethics. For a deconstructive re-newing  161  29  Technologies  of Reason  of the infinite responsibility owed the alterity of the Other, the reverse would, at the same time, also be true of a response to obligation, to be just, above all, in the language of the Other. A s Derrida notes elsewhere, "It is insufficient to say that the 'ought' ['ilfaut'] of friendship, like that of politeness, must not be the order of duty."  34  To consider oneself beyond reproach, w i t h frivolity and  arrogance, before all law and all obligation, destroys the possibility of a hope to justice yet to come (a-venir).  35  Recalling the determinate conditions under  w h i c h Derrida has to speak, the horizon of the discourse situated, as it is "in the history" of the institution of the university, "gives voice" to the vouloirdire of the text, its wanting-to-say-something-meaningful,  not as the  realization of intentionality (or the telos of its plenitude), but as the undecidability of what remains to be thought by the Other.  36  A n d at this  dissembled or inverse hinging of the secret of "translation" that pulls apart univocity b y suspending the silence of the speaker's right of decision qua the singularity  of the communicative value of signification, there is heralded  more than a hint of a "double affirmation."  37  The paradox of k n o w i n g what  one must do and its opposites i n the aporia of the desire to do both. What makes us quiver w i t h fear is the dread of "scandal," the ethical danger of "not managing to accede to the [traditional] concept of responsibility i n the process of forming i t . "  3 8  For Derrida, specifically, on the one hand, a wanting-to-say  the "right t h i n g " for the discourse to remain responsibly conducive, accountable, i n answering-for-itself (hence for its speaker) to the specificity of the general demands of that place and time without compromising the singularity of the "impossible" ethics of deconstruction and the multiplicity  162  Technologies  of Reason  of its obligation to the iterative trace of "Otherness" w i t h i n the Same. On the other, to satisfy personal conscience regarding the philosophical exposition of arguments o n matters educational w i t h respect to the founding of the University, its reason for being, and to show the required deference to an academic institution b y neither undermining nor condemning the auto-logic of its existence. We w i l l return to the more immediate implications of this aporetic point of passage again shortly. H o w it is tied to the plethora of meanings issuing forth from the "phrase 'at large,' as i n 'professor at large,'"  39  the descriptor used to discern the unspecified locality of the academic position, the obligations, freedoms, and responsibilities, that Derrida w i l l hold and be held to. 2. Then, there is the mise en scene of the lecture, C o r n e l l University, and the question of the view of its divided self across the bridges spanning the abyss (Abgrund).  A s Derrida surveys the "natural" scene of the performance,  the themes of origin and self-assertion, of being and s p i r i t — i n echo of 4 0  M a r t i n Heidegger's infamous rectoral a d d r e s s — b e c o m e essential to this 41  occasion for reflection o n the interminable obligation of the promise of beginnings:  "A second cause for worry is that I find myself involved already,  quite imprudently, that is, blindly and without foresight, i n an act of dramaturgy, w r i t i n g out the play of that view i n w h i c h Cornell, from its beginnings, has felt so much to be at stake. The question of the view has informed the writing-out of the institutional scene, the landscape of your university, the alternatives of expansion and enclosure, life and death. From the first it was considered vital not to close off the view."  163  42  What is the  Technologies  of Reason  nature of the view, exactly, that so fills the philosopher w i t h "shudders of awe,"  43  making his soul tremble by feeding the fear of mediocrity w i t h an  oppressive sense of "inadequacy," before the glorious void? "Beneath the bridges linking the university to its surroundings, connecting its inside to its outside, lies the abyss."  44  The peculiar "dia-synchrony" of the "tell-tale"  portrait Derrida sketches—its belonging and non-belonging to the tableau vivant of C o r n e l l — e f f u s e s an allegorical radiance, its signs emblazoning o n the surface of reality a spatio-temporal immemoriality always before us. The style of the phraseology is simple, however, not at all unimportant or unremarkable for the coup de theatre, the dramatic twist," of the impression of truth that is to be excavated from the institutional archive made reference to. Even though the physical view is truly magnificent because of the imposing phenomenality of its o w n spectacular attributes (e.g., natural and corporeal placements, "negative" relationships of infinite magnitude), the inspirational sensibilities evoked b y the openness of its chorographic spacing definitively mark, feverishly im-print, the history of the founding of Cornell University.  45  O n the one hand, we know the good reason given for its being  constructed on/across the split-site of a gorge was to secure the availability of room for the expansion inevitably needed to facilitate later growth. O n the other, as Derrida reinforces, quoting James Siegel—whose text, "Academic Work: The V i e w from C o r n e l l , "  46  he is rereading i n this lecture,  " decipher [ing] that parable i n [his] o w n w a y " — t h e acumen of the 4 7  institution's namesake, the primary influence o n the decision taken, was not "simply on the side of l i f e " : "[F]or Ezra Cornell the association of the view 48  164  Technologies of Reason w i t h the university had something to do w i t h death. Indeed Cornell's plan seems to have been shaped b y the thematics of the Romantic sublime, which practically guaranteed that a cultivated m a n [or woman] i n the presence of certain landscapes w o u l d find his [or her] thoughts drifting metonymically through a series of t o p i c s — s o l i t u d e , ambition, melancholy, death, spirituality, 'classical i n s p i r a t i o n ' — w h i c h could lead, by an easy extension, to questions of culture and pedagogy."  49  I w i l l step in verily here to wax psychoanalytic on  the dangerous beauty of these "recollections made i n tranquility" (to paraphrase W i l l i a m Wordsworth) and their significance. Where the inspiration of the view is palliative to the soul's need for terrible musings and self-alienation: the psychic distortion of an unconscious displacement of meaning relations penetrating the movement of the m i n d from word-toword brings o n "the exalting, desperate sense of the s u b l i m e " i n the 50  throwing-hack of Being to reality where, confronting the ever-presentabsence of the gorge, being finds itself "suspended between life and death."  51  Derrida says as much of his o w n ethical predicament of writing and speaking. Where the daemonic substrate.of this compulsion of attraction and repulsion is involuntary and perpetually i n the transference of displaced repetition, the affective delay (Nachtrdglichkeit) inhibiting the sending of being b y eclipsing its thrownness (Geworfenheit) back to the light of the l i v i n g ghost of itself: there is cause to w o r r y .  52  The administration of Cornell University said as  much of their predicament, i n 1977, w h e n it proposed to put up protective railings on the two bridges joining the great divide, "to check thoughts of suicide inspired b y the view of the gorge."  165  53  The scheme, no doubt, brought  Technologies of Reason protest, as the historical record shows us. A n d Derrida offers an anecdote of the defencible basis of this dissension to the very idea of these additions that is key to the interpretability of the debate: "In testimony before the Campus council, one member of the faculty d i d not hesitate to express his opposition to the barriers, those diaphragmatic eyelids, on the grounds that blocking the view w o u l d mean, to use his words, 'destroying the essence of the university.' What d i d he mean? What is the essence of the u n i v e r s i t y ? " What the 54  view portends for the continuity of both an anterior and a future concept of Cornell is inextricable from the institution's vision of its o w n historicity, the reason for its being and the pursuant ambitions of its destination scoping-out the pragmatological parameters of its destiny.  55  philosophico-noematic  For Derrida, the  complexity of the panorama as it relates to the  initiating act of the foundation of the university—e.g., the localized example of Cornell and the greater idea of the Universitas—announces  itself through  the negative form of an affirmation that takes shape i n the abyss (Abgrund), a topos without topos, a place of no discernable grounding of limits, of no reason. H o w are we to read this, justify it? "An event of foundation can never be comprehended merely w i t h i n the logic that it founds."  56  That is, to  search out the essence of the university from the reason of z'fs ground is to avoid questioning the value of the rationality presupposing the organization of the institution. For logic finds only that which it seeks. Putting the ethics of the law of right to the test demands, Derrida w i l l state elsewhere, a "surplus of responsibility." deconstruction.  58  57  Or, as we explained earlier, the double duty of  A n accounting of/for a position from w h i c h to challenge  166  Technologies  of Reason  the single-sided boundaries of a reason of principle and of the principle of reason underlying the tranquil institutionalization of knowledge " w i t h i n " the university and "outside" of it "without renouncing the classical norms of objectivity and responsibility, without menacing the critical idea of science and of philosophy and thus without renouncing 3.  knowledge."  59  Considering the vulnerability of the position Derrida finds himself in,  being an "insider" and an "outsider" to the academic community of the institution n o w paying him homage, it is imperative i n such an atmosphere of "mixed" emotions (not to mention allegiances) to create a bearable space from w i t h i n w h i c h to speak without reservation, and yet, to be able to also leave something behind. The distasteful alternative to not situating these controversial remarks i n the way I have been d r i v i n g a t — t h a t is, b y responding responsibly to the authority of the conventionalized code of citationality, the philosophemes of metaphysics that brought about the possibility of the university, while pursuing a "graphics of iter  ability" —is 60  self-censorhip and self-deception. (Also a potential "byproduct" of the hierarchization of knowledge valuations i n the system of the university. A result of visible/invisible coercion of the disciplines upheld b y the intimidation of a force (Gewalt) w i t h power; the belligerence of authority outweighing and denying the real complexity of such an organization. ) The 61  languishing tone of nostalgia permeating the scattered reflections of the early phases of the discourse helps to establish the precedent (something like a "negative assurance") for the tentative contract of "good faith" between speaker and listener Derrida, no doubt, must have, to say the things he does.  167  Technologies  of Reason  It facilitates for the metalocution of a sense of "blind trust" where one, a philosopher by chosen profession, "unaware of the context, the proper rituals, and the changed environment," has been "given leave to consider matters 62  loftily, from afar."  63  But ethical responsibility is not abdicated as far as the  telling of truth supposes justice. Under the aegis of these friendly ruminations among colleagues and friends (perhaps some enemies also), the discourse emphasizes that the ethico-political and historico-institutional ramifications of the ceremony as a symbolic act of self-renewal and acceptance for both professor and university cannot, could not, should not, be held in abeyance. A n d Derrida does not prove too shy or uncontentious for an efficacious interference: "To ask whether the University has a reason for being is to wonder w h y there is a University, but the question 'why' verges on 'with a view to what'? What is the University's view? What are its views? Or again: what do we see from the University, whether for instance, we are simply i n it, on board; or whether, p u z z l i n g over destinations, we look out from it while i n port or, as French has it, 'au large,' on the open sea, 'at large'?"  64  Couched i n the language of the coup d'envoi, the sendoff, the  questions converge toward "the category or the theme of D E S T I N A T I O N " ; 65  in a word, it translates the "unity" of the "topoi" fashioning the philosophical augury of the meditation (as deliberative of "cause, purpose, direction, necessity, justification, meaning and mission" ). The dramatic slide of the 66  subject of the "rite of passage," and its "right," Derrida explicitly refers t o — e.g., changing the focus from the in-corporate location or site of the university to the "travelling mass" of its human alter ego or body politic subsumed i n  168  Technologies the fragile anonymity of the collective pronoun "we" —includes  of Reason a  67  witnessing of departure that bemoans a loss of filiality and the welcoming of arrival that awards the gift of new life. The "promise of destination" is the catalyzing agent for the possibility of a "future-to-come" accompanied as it is by a prophetic omen of the "gift of death" without which one cannot speak about a time after the past and the present of the institution.  68  Playing  metaphorically (metonymically) o n the relational ambivalence of perspectives of affiliation w i t h / i n the "onto-totality" of the university itself and the "ideo-logical" origins of the reason of its systemic model (e.g., its organismic sense of "compartmentality" and "professionalism"), the thematic drift of the discourse displays the ethical undercurrent of the deconstructive resignation of thought about the generative form of a new k i n d of academic responsibility to be negotiated both among the extant community of its scholarly body and w i t h those to w h o m the highly problematic "we" of "higher" education are more or less ultimately accountable: the State and the political constituency of public society. A relentless questioning of the complacency of the tranquil assurances of "so many 'clean consciences'" for 69  the u n f o l d i n g of the being of the institution merges the concerns of "theoretical consciousness (that is also thetic or thematic consciousness) to [those of] 'practical' consciousness (ethical, legal, p o l i t i c a l ) "  70  i n the  complexity of a continually transformative obligation w i t h i n alternate states of a changing field of reality. Subjecting the reason of the university to the "trial of deconstruction," Derrida calls for the anabasis of an affirmation of uncompromising responsibility; "a sort of promise of originary alliance  169  Technologies  of  Reason  [before the language of any and all contracts made, past, present, and future] to w h i c h we must have i n some sense already acquiesced, already said yes, given a pledge [gage], whatever may be the negativity or problematicity of the discourse to f o l l o w . "  71  Still, the apostatic desire of the attempt of  deconstruction to challenge the "rational" foundation of higher education built as it is on the artifacts of an older, "outdated" or somewhat "antiquated," groundwork cannot break completely w i t h the normative laws of epistemic tradition for the potentially rejuvenating act of m o v i n g learning and understanding to other passageways and places waiting to be discovered or explored. A s Derrida has frequently stated, there is no use or sense i n doing without the conceits of metaphysics to critique the "trappings" of metaphysics, and, thereby, irresponsibly arresting avenues to the giving engagement of the subject to t h i n k i n g .  72  The "hyper-responsibility" or the  "ultra-ethics" of a deconstructive intervention into the "reason" a n d "unreason" of the university protects the possibility of its living  on—its  conscious self-renewal of direction, of being and of existence, after "the now"—only  b y a reflective working through of the oppressive restrictions of  the system itself. Bolstering the chances of achieving a restructuring of the general code of the institution and of "institutionality" beyond the solitary rules of a comprehensive " u n i v e r t i c a l i t y "  73  of order means addressing the  open question of the destination of knowledge across the "give-and-take" of existing disciplinary lines and politics. W h y and h o w it is that the historicity of the pyramidic organization of the knowledge hierarchy (e.g., as "science," "technology," "philosophy," "poietics," "theory," "law," "practice," etc.) puts  170  Technologies of Reason  limitations on the extent of the freedom of play i n the latitudes and lassitudes allowable the pursuit of teaching and research. The example I have been occupied w i t h touches, i n an obvious way, on the mutliplirity of the philosophical idioms of the Heideggerian term "Geschick" (often translated by "destiny") to trope on the dispensation of the University Dasein.  7A  The  "post-Cartesian" idea of the reflective structure of the envoi-renvoi, the sending-sending-back, of Being at the root of the "ob-ject" of being translates easily for Derrida to the mis-guided plight of an institution ready to re-present the abyss of the reason of itself (the groundlessness of its grounding) without a meticulous questioning of academic responsibility or ethics, a questioning of the ethics of its ethics.  75  Leveraging the levelling force of the contradictory,  yet reciprocal, dualities of the concept of destination as location/dislocation, orientation/disorientation, departure/arrival, end/beginning, and so on, safeguards against the irresponsibility of securing arbitrary separations of knowledge w i t h i n the collocution of a constative and performative, theoretical and pragmatic space of teaching and learning. Not to resolve the contradictions of a determinant concept of "the University" that is at odds w i t h the reality of itself as it sends itself outside of itself and back again to preserve a n d transmit knowledge [a question of translation) while transforming the sphere around it (a problem of displacement), but to probe the paradoxes of the ur-ground of its idealized structurality, the principle of reason, the metaphysical foundation for the development of the dual obligation of the institution.  171  Technologies of Reason The legitimacy of the opportunity (a chance?) Derrida takes to exercize a right of academic freedom by "speaking his m i n d " on the ethics of academic responsibility for those residing w i t h i n the space of the university is not an unearned privilege: "In my teaching i n Paris [he says] I have devoted a yearlong seminar to the question of the university. Furthermore, I was recently asked [1982, early on] b y the French government to write a proposal for the establishment of an International College of Philosophy, a proposal that for literally hundreds of pages considers all of the difficulties i n v o l v e d . " The 76  text of the lecture we are presently rereading was one of many composed during this intense period of thinking and writing, of praxis, about the arduous enterprise of founding an "autonomous" (e.g., degree-granting and self-regulating) institution of advanced study unlike any other i n the groundbreaking provocation of the initiative of its programs to encourage "inaugural i n c u r s i o n s "  77  into areas foreign to the context of the academic  tradition of research science. While many of us have undertaken the obligation of trying to reform flawed pedagogical infrastructures to better education or to improve the equity of access to it, few of us, like Derrida, have accepted the coresponsibility of thinking and w o r k i n g through the polemos of establishing what is, more or less, comparable i n formal stature to a "University" and yet goes beyond it, b y pushing the practico-conceptual limits of the standard outward toward the reality of inventing new research possibilities. A formidable and risky undertaking to say the least. A s such, these reflections engaging the problems of presiding over the reconceptualization and reconstitution of a scholastic d e s t i n a t i o n — t h e  172  Technologies  of Reason  phantasmagoric coup de force of transforming the metaphysical legacy of the ethico-juridical tradition of agency regulating academic responsibility that Derrida discourses o n — a r e not exclusively theoretical, but are the tangible result of the w i s d o m of personal experiences. achieved through the prism of deconstruction.  A phronesis of deliberation We cannot take this  entwining of thought and action, constation and performativity, that is embedded i n the finely sedimented textures of the lecture's devising at all lightly. H o w then do we resolve the ambiguous con-figurations of the opening citation to the discourse and speak of the university by not speaking of it i n a certain fashion?  It follows from the ethics of deconstruction.  How  can we not?  Toward a Metaphorology of the Sublime: The Uncanny, the University, and the Abyss To return then, once again, to this interrupted beginning anew, though more deliberately now,  and from somewhere near "the top." "Today, how can  we not speak of the university?" "preventative  Derrida draws attention to the "negative" o r  complexion" of the grammatical clause co-ordinating the  syntactic composition of the guiding question serving as the opening of the discourse. G i v e n that the spatio-temporal vista of the presentation so valorizes the mnemonic field of reflection i n preparation for the implicature of the metaphorical grounding of figure i n the tropology of the lecture, the explanation of the rationale behind the schematization organizing the  173  Technologies  of Reason  conceptual network of the argument to be made " i n favour of a new university Enlightenment (Aufklarung)"  78  anticipates both what is lost and  what is gained i n the "tutelary value" of the example (paradeigma). Samuel Weber (having Soren Kierkegaard's Repetition i n mind) explains h o w the "inherent tension" i n the concept of paradeigma is etymologically (historicoideologico-lexically) legible: "What is ex-emplary is taken out of its initial context, and this i n a double sense. It is taken to an extreme and yet, at the same time i n so being transported, it appears to be more itself [and I w o u l d add more than itself] than ever before."  79  The lecture, we should recall, is an  attempt made b y Derrida to en-gage the Other i n the critical promise of an active portrayal of a form of deconstructive (re)reading converging on the question of the university's reason for being, the grounding of its ground. It therefore patently awaits the responsibility of a response to its pedagogical patterning of possibilities of repetition, repeatability. To entice the "viewerlistener" to enter into the reciprocity of an impending dialogue, be it polyphonous or cacophonous, regarding the ground of reason and its location w i t h i n the space of the university, there are figural delimitations imposed on the discourse that obligate an answering-back. A s memory remembers ahead as a living-forward of past experience, this is the " r i s k " involved for Derrida, for deconstruction: H o w to explain h o w one ought not to speak of the University. It implies, no expects, limits to build, at the very least, the shadow of an argument on. For to know what one is or is not teaching, w o r k i n g to avoid or to embrace, requires reflection on the groundedness of one's thought as productive negativity or the reversal of finitude, an instant  174  Technologies  of Reason  of madness. Not to mean, however, that Derrida cannot endeavour to exceed or to collapse those outer frontieres of reason's boundaries into each other. Deconstruction must and w i l l : unhindered as it might be b y "a certain usure [pthora]ot metaphorical force i n philosophical exchange."  80  The tropological  m i l i e u — t h r o u g h w h i c h to deliberate the being of the University and its B e i n g — t h u s enframed, betwixt the phragma and the abyss of reason, fulfills more than the role of "pedagogical ornament."  81  Derrida's serious play  w i t h i n the economy of formal sign-values tracing the empirico-denotative structurality of these figures of closure and non-closure w i l l cause them to incur an essential redefinition and a semantic extension of what they represent compared w i t h what they are for a deconstructive re-thinking of the sense of their differences. But here, at the point of separation, there is predicated a metaphorical fnms-ference of semantic properties from the contrariety of dissimilar "objects" supplied the complementarity  of these  negative forms to the oppositionality of politico-institutional forces occupying the "higher" site of teaching and research. This subjective aspect of value relegation, i n its turn, affects the perception of the "opening"  and  "closure" of knowledge w i t h i n the classical system of the University. So, the tropic horizon inflecting the predicative restatement of the motivating intensions around w h i c h the thematic articulations of the discursive topic itself revolve (how not to speak of the university), isolates the double-handed imperatives of the deconstructive moves that w i l l inform the  "working-out"  of the original purpose of the query. Derrida can then elucidate the critical  175  Technologies  of Reason  responsibility of the prospective line of inquiry to be enacted thereafter (while doing it all along!) i n the "lecture proper":  There is a double gesture here, a double postulation: to ensure professional competence and the most serious tradition of the university even while going as far as possible, theoretically and practically, i n the most directly underground thinking about the abyss beneath the university, to think at one and the same time the entire "Cornellian" landscape—the campus on the heights, the bridges, and if necessary the barriers above the a b y s s — a n d the abyss itself. 82  The occurential significance of the (previously highlighted) imagistic leitmotive carried through the text of the lecture w o u l d surely not be lost o n the audience at Cornell. The referential images of "the abyss, and bridges, and boundaries"  83  situating the proleptic aura of the"propaedeutical r e m a r k s "  put forward "to designate the teaching that comes before teaching"  85  84  are, of  course, very real "signs," or ec-topic indicators recalling the appreciably conspicuous structuration of external formations inhabiting the existing landscape of the campus. The rhetorical flourish of these overt, although furtively suggestive, allusions to easily identifiable features of the physical layout and architectural design of Cornell, purposefully r e g i s t e r s — w i t h i n the spatio-temporal dimensions of an instantly recognizable representation of "empirical f a c t i c i t y " — t h e perlocutionary aspects of this constative discourse that are indispensable to achieving the performativity of its illocutionary presentation. Said another way, the text must needs say what it does and do what it says to counter-act its "wearing-off" or its "giving-way" to the  176  Technologies  of Reason  invasive excrescence of conditional detractors that w o u l d impinge on the residual impact of its expression. The appurtenance of the figuration is uncanny  (Unheimliche),  86  oscillating as it does across the conceptual fluidity of a semiological space (yawning, rift, breach) opened up amid the reverse polarity of complementary and contradictory images of topological features from the reality of Cornell's dwelling that co-ordinate the tropic framework of the lecture. The metaphoricity en-joining and dis-joining the non-mutually exclusive parameters of the antithetical analogues of reason setting-up the "ideality" of the semantico-syntactic axes of the discourse as the inexhaustible formlessness of an abyss and the solid refuge of a barrier intercedes for the pure difference of the substantive meaning of their sensible exteriority. Weaving the texturing of ideas on the being of the University around the elemental propriety and techno-logical aspects of landmark formations prominently visible at C o r n e l l — o b v i o u s images of ocular reference that take in the meanings of these conceptions of rationality defining "how one should not speak of the u n i v e r s i t y " — p r o m o t e s a speculative caesura, a. "pausingthought effect," making the familiar environs of the philosopher's performance seem u n k n o w n and strange. It is the clearing (Lichtung) of a "faint light" shattered.  87  A n appropriative event (Ereignis) of t r u t h  88  where  the intimacy of understanding (entendement) degenerates, withdraws, so as to become ephemerally blurred from the erasure of the distinctions separating the sensory (object) and the non-sensory (idea).  89  Clusters of polyvalent  meaning surrounding the re-presentation of the imagery as it is continued  177  Technologies of Reason during the succeeding sections of the discourse commence to take shape i n the unconcealment of previously unnoticed, hence non-evident, connections made between differing objects v i a a metaphorical trans-lation conducted through "the passage from one existent to another, or from one signified meaning to another, authorized b y the initial submission of Being to the existent, the analogical displacement of Being."  90  The quality of feeling is  comparable to having unearthed something hidden and menacing from what is otherwise "homely" (Heimliche). The quasi-epiphany of this etrangete comes at a time w h e n such morphological considerations of the "bioarchitectural totality, nature and artifact," of a system of institutional 91  organization (the reason of its being) are not only appropriate, but concommitant to a questioning of the governing concept of the Western university (the reason of its being), e.g., h o w the biotechnological rationality of its topological singularity writes out the formulative synthesis of its constitution topographically.  From the doubling power of fabulation not  92  stolen away b y the similitudo of metaphor, the geographical setting of Cornell becomes the "literal example"  93  of the contentions Derrida expounds i n the  lecture, through the writing of language, about the groundless ground of the being of the modern university (the capricious [in]transitoriness of its destination, sending or Being) as it is founded on and instituted through the principle of reason:  To have a raison d'etre, a reason for being, is to have a justification for existence, to have a meaning, an intended purpose, a destination; but also to have a cause, to be explainable according to the "principle of 178  Technologies of Reason reason" or the "law of sufficient reason," as it is sometimes c a l l e d — i n terms of a reason w h i c h is also a cause (a ground, ein Grund), that is to say also a footing and a foundation, ground to stand on. In the phrase raison d'etre, that idea of causality takes o n above all the sense of final cause, i n the wake of Leibniz, the author of the f o r m u l a t i o n — " t h e Principle of Reason." 94  We are n o w ready to be moving more away from metaphor on a transversal trajectory that w i l l get us closer to metaphysics. figure of speech of the other?  95  But is not one a part of the  Nevertheless, we shall circle back on the  reason of philosophy, near the s u n of its origins, amid the situatedness of ontology and the ontic, to see. The question we w i l l have been attempting to answer all along, is the one Derrida asks the congregation at Cornell about (its) institutional " t o p o l i t i c s " — "the exemplary nature of the topology and politics of th[e] university, i n terms of its views and its site," i n sum, its point of view and reason "to be": 96  "What can the University's body see or not see of its o w n destination, of that in view of w h i c h it stands its g r o u n d ? "  97  The query on the opening of the  ethics of the reason of its being and the responsibility to be assumed for it comes, i n the discourse, at the conclusion of a short, but entertaining, rhetorical foray on Aristotle, just before the perspective of that incisive "detour" is closed off "quick as a w i n k and, i n the t w i n k l i n g of an eye."  98  W o r k i n g backwards from there, we find the site of deconstruction to be a segment of an ancient text Derrida is concerned with, again for the purpose of leading to a point of metaphorical illustration, an anatomizing of philosophy and education, spoude/paideia:  179  Technologies of Reason Starting w i t h its first words, Metaphysics associates sight w i t h knowledge, and knowledge w i t h knowing h o w to learn and k n o w i n g how to teach. I am of course referring to Aristotle's Metaphysics. I shall return presently to the political import of its opening lines; for the moment, let us look at the very first sentence: " A l l men, b y nature, have the desire to know." Aristotle thinks he sees a sign of this i n the fact that sensations give pleasure, "even apart from their usefulness." The pleasure of useless sensations explains the desire to k n o w for the sake of knowing, the desire for knowledge w i t h no practical purpose. A n d this is more true of sight than of the other senses. We give preference to sensing "through the eyes" not only for taking action, but even when we have no praxis i n view. This one sense, naturally theoretical and contemplative, goes beyond practical usefulness and provides us w i t h more to know than any other; indeed, it unveils countless differences. We give preference to sight just as we give preference to the uncovering of difference. 99  100  The commentary seems straightforward "theoretically," "deconstructively," almost aloof. Derrida, paralleling the logic of Aristotle, attributes a visual ardour to k n o w i n g that is compatible w i t h the metaphysical rendering of what it is. A n identification of aspect (eidos) achieved through the gleaning of difference among forms (Gestalten). But the conceptual locus for problematizing the totality of the sense of sight is contained i n the passage: the profusion of references to the self-fulfillment of the faculty. "The metaphysical domination of the concept of form," Derrida has shown, "cannot fail to effectuate a certain subjection of the l o o k . "  101  A n ocularcentric  k n o w i n g infers the sticky matter of a physical-noumenal saturation point to the power of s i g h t — t h e "now"  and "not-now" of experience infusing the  present-time of p e r c e p t i o n — t h a t circumscribes the confusion of alterity 102  always already at the origins of the most basic constellations of a visual  180  Technologies of Reason encounter bringing together a subject (hypokeimenon) w i t h an object  (antikeimenon).  What we think we see is not the total reality of what we  think we are looking at. Once the formality of exteriority is "scoped-out" b y a subject i n relative accordance w i t h the functioning of perceptual variables acting on the mechanics of a field of vision and the phenomenology of apperception is absorbed i n the symbolicizing zone of (pure) inferiority, these gaps of presence lacking are multiplied. The Other is not k n o w n as Other but as a sign of a sign of the Other that is not itself. It is a difference doubled and re-doubled again; the sign-impression of an absent presence. A  de-centering  of the subject follows the breakdown of the positive intelligibility of being.  The absence of presence as the illusion of plenitude is the downfall of a pedagogy of the gaze. The solipsism of a sheer pleasure enjoyed i n the pursuit of knowledge w i t h no guide or intent beyond satiating the intellect's appetite for finitude: the absolute happiness and blindness of only "the desire to know" and not the passion to learn. For Derrida, the pedagogical urgency of transforming the university, to renew the magnitude of its ethical responsibility to the Other reflecting out of the selfsame difference of itself, arises from the monodimensionality of this self-satisfying aspect of sight:  But is sight enough? For learning and teaching, does it suffice to k n o w h o w to unveil differences? In certain animals, sensation engenders memory, and that makes them more intelligent and capable of learning. But for k n o w i n g h o w to learn, and learning h o w to know, sight, intelligence and memory are not enough. We must also learn how to hear and h o w to listen. I might suggest somewhat playfully  181  Technologies of Reason that we have to know h o w to shut our eyes i n order to be better listeners. 103  Beckoning for a movement away from the metaphysics of vision that nurtures a "state of knowledge" i n and of itself, deconstruction calls not for the end of seeing as some onlookers w o u l d have it, but for a transition to the productive inter-dependence of an oto-scopic sensibility and the beginning of a learning to think, a thinking to learn. A harmonizing of eyes and ears, no less. It is a subjunctive comparison (read metaphoral) that is translated effortlessly to the situation of the University's reason for being:  Opening the eyes to know, closing t h e m — o r at least l i s t e n i n g — i n order to know h o w to learn and to learn h o w to know: here we have the first sketch of the rational animal. If the University is an institution for science and teaching, does it have to go beyond memory and sight? In what rhythm? To hear better and learn better, must it close its eyes or narrow its outlook? In cadence? What cadence? Shutting off sight i n order to learn is of course only a figurative manner of speaking. N o one w i l l take it literally, and I am not proposing to cultivate an art of blinking. 1 0 4  A n d w h y not? Consider the alternative we are presented w i t h as Derrida extends the "figuration a little farther i n Aristotle's company" : 105  In his [Aristotle's] De Anima (421b) he distinguishes between m a n and those animals that have hard, d r y eyes [ton skierophtalmon], the animals lacking eyelids, that sort of sheath or tegumental membrane [phragma] w h i c h serves to protect the eye and permits it, at regular intervals, to close itself off in the darkness of inward thought or sleep.  182  Technologies of Reason What is terrifying about an animal with hard eyes and a dry glance is that it always sees. M a n can lower the sheath, adjust the diaphragm, narrow his sight, the better to listen, remember, and learn. What might the University's diaphragm be? The University must not be a sklerophthalmic animal, a hard-eyed animal; when I asked, a moment ago, h o w it should set its sights and adjust its views, that was another way of asking about its reasons for being and its essence. 106  The description of the "sklerophthalmic u n i v e r s i t y " — a panopticon of bestial p r o p o r t i o n s — m i g h t w e l l be read as a re-translation of sorts, an adaptation made from grotesque caricatures of Nietzschean formulation displaying the devastating results of a disequilibrium of the faculties. Those bizarre, "denatured" (read allegorical) creatures of Thus Spoke  Zarathustra—"inverted  c r i p p l e f s ] " — t h a t satirize obsessive overreliance on a single sense to justify 107  the "right" of claims to knowledge, the truth of "Truth." Before the discourse we are currently reading, i n "Otobiographies: The Teaching of Nietzsche and the Politics of the Proper Name," Derrida referred to one of these monstrous o r g a n i s m s — a giant ear w i t h a body attached—to elaborate the perils of an acroamatic method of education: the preferred technique of the master lectoris, a genius of dictation, unleashing the violence of encrypted words to be replicated by a student body using the uncritical rudiments of a 'stenographic' transcription of the logos tying its listeners to the omphalos of the "paternal belly of the State."  108  Here, the caveat Derrida espouses is less  subtle philosophically, more psychoanalytically arresting: "Dream this umbilicus [to the university, 'the m o t h e r — t h e bad or false mother w h o m the teacher, as functionary of the State, can only simulate' ]: it has you by the 109  183  Technologies of Reason ear."  110  The metathesis of analogy from the sense of hearing i n the earlier  text (similarly a discourse) to the sense of sight and their oto-oratic combination i n the latter, punctuates the contradictions underlying the axiology of both a high-fidelity teaching of the ear and a myopic pedagogy of the eye. Demarcating the essential realm of knowledge to be manifest i n the perfect translatability of a representational axiomatics of teaching and learning, be it visual or aural, lexematic or acoustic, has ethico-political import for pedagogy and the university. A s Derrida clarifies i n " L i v i n g On: Border Lines," the stability of the institutional f i r m a m e n t — t h e metaphysical foundation convening the legitimation of its "inside" and its " o u t s i d e " — i s held together by a tight control over the difference of language and meaning:  What this institution [the university] cannot bear, is for anyone to tamper w i t h [toucher a; also "touch," "change," "concern himself with"] language and meaning both the national language and, paradoxically, an ideal of translatability that neutralizes this national language. Nationalism and universalism. What this institution cannot bear is a transformation that leaves intact neither of these two complementary poles. It can bear more readily the most apparently revolutionary ideological sorts of "content," if only that content does not touch the borders of language [la langue] and of all the juridicopolitical contracts that it guarantees. It is this "intolerable" something that concerns me here. It is related i n an essential w a y to that which, as it is written above, brings about the limits of the concept of [univocal] translation on w h i c h the university is built . . . n i  The symbolic power of the university depends on, subsists and thrives on, an ideological o v e r c o d i n g — a curricular overdetermination, overt and c o v e r t —  184  Technologies of Reason of the intelligibility of concepts w i t h i n the classificatory morphology of its disciplinary configuration, a structural microcosm homologous to the philosophico-scientific and ethico-political struggles of civil society.  112  The careful planning of the institution as a cultural organization of sophisticated, but instantly reproducible qualities of value mediates, i n advance for the meta-communicative possibility of aberrant readings or misinterpretations of the expression of its rationality: wanting to neutralize or significantly reduce the likelihood of resistance to the authority of the system to w h i c h it belongs by internalizing within the structure of a set of w o r k i n g assumptions and goals the "semiotic resources" of a second order violence assaying to ensure the predictability of language forms. A s it is supported by a "rhetoric of naturalism, organicism, or v i t a l i t y "  1 1 3  thematizing the staunch ethics of a post-Kantian posturing for "the complete and interdisciplinary unity of knowledge,"  114  the classical tradition of the  university reduces the figural play of the oppositional markedness of (subjective) difference w i t h i n the non-interpretative enclosure of a decidable frame of reference. The sense of its p e d a g o g y — t h e instituted w a y of its reason for being—is restricted to a regulative stipulation of instrumentalizing procedures that function to occlude, or to subordinate, the dissonance of perceptual effect(s) relative to a universalizable ideal of "truth" revealing only the means to the ends of itself. A priori any conception of the will to knowledge is the model of the "educated" i n d i v i d u a l predicated on the basis of a theory of truth. A subject whose competences do not exceed the limitations of the system of representing and representation. A n orthodoxy  185  Technologies of Reason of teaching and learning dismissive of the negativity of difference (particularity, singularity, otherness) and for the positivity of similarity (homoiosis) ignores the effects of cognitive and affective variance that potentially influence modes of apperception and being. Inculcating, thereupon, i n the inflexible patterning of their pre-calculated interactions the means for conceiving both a unified (centered) subject and a sterile (unmoving) object. The objectification of the value of knowledge/power connections that Pierre Bourdieu has analyzed as the ethico-political transfigurations of the cultural logic of a sign or symbol system to/from the onto-encyclopaedic reason of the university "contributes], i n Weber's terms, to the 'domestication of the dominated.'"  115  Between universalism and  p a r t i c u l a r i t y — t h e overzealousness of the "nationalism" Derrida s p e c i f i e s — i s the injustice of hegemony. The proper name of the seductive state of a dystopic incredulity to reason cast from the e u p h e m i z i n g  116  of an ideology-  based ordering of evaluative relations offering no room for the freedom of difference or a straying from normativity. Flattening-out the authentic "peaks" of the code of responsivity to a monovalent attenuation of standards of responsibility makes possible the institutionalization of a "distinction (Unterscheidung) between friend and enemy,"  117  to use Derrida's quasi-  ethical reaccounting of political oppositionality from the work of Leo Strauss. The L a w of "the Same" is the reason of injustice: for the inclusion of a subject that belongs and the exclusion of an Other that does not. But the autopresent logic of the Idea of the old architecturality of the University cannot defend against the radical re-translatability of the encoded signs of the  186  Technologies of Reason institutional system achieved from the iterability of the difference of interpretative reconstructions of ambiguity.  That is, for the progressive  degradation of the "right" of the meaning of its officious "babble" as it tries to decree the law of the full-form univocity of its reason for being. The institution of the university can account, neither for the ineluctability of the deferred traces of the signs of knowledge differing at the fundamental ontology of the truth of their origin, nor for the explanation of their deconstructability, differance.  Reason Unbound The Principle of Reason: The Institutional Ground of Modern Rationality  The analytic direction that I intend to follow hereafter takes its strategic cues from the meta-reflexive reverberations of a question Derrida asks during the discourse we have been reading closely, letting the critical timbre of its message resound noisily i n the ear of the nameless, faceless Other w i t h i n us : "Is the reason for reason r a t i o n a l ? "  118  Colouring the post-metaphysical  positionality of the attitude expressed therein, a m o d i c u m of ludic indiscretion enhances the deconstructive resonance of the appeal the philosopher makes for a reappraisal of the self-insulated m y t h of the innocuousness of the disarming logic of "ratio sufficiens, ratio efficiens."  119  Derrida, we w i l l have glimpsed earlier, is strikingly clear about the peculiar  187  Technologies of Reason retro-spectivity of the lexico-conceptual lineage leading to the formulation of the principle of reason d u r i n g the seventeenth c e n t u r y — t h e protracted timelag of its epistemic genealogy as it is played out from a looking-back-on the "Aristotelian r e q u i r e m e n t s "  120  of all future science, "of metaphysics, of first  philosophy, of the search for 'roots/ 'principles/ and 'causes'" —that gave 121  rise to the original idea and ideal of the University and its modern day reinstitution i n the revisionist model constructed by W i l h e l m von Humboldt:  A s far as I know, nobody has ever founded a university against reason. So we may reasonably suppose that the University's reason for being has always been reason itself, and some essential connection of reason to being. But what is called the principle of reason is not simply reason. W e cannot for now plunge into the history of reason, its words and concepts, into the enigmatic scene of translation that has shifted logos to ratio to reason, Grund, ground, Vernunft, etc. What for three centuries now has been called the principle of reason was thought out and formulated, several times, by Leibniz. H i s most often quoted statement holds that "Nothing is without reason, no effect is without cause" ("Nihil est sine ratione seu nullus effectus sine causa"). A c c o r d i n g to Heidegger though, the only formulation Leibniz himself considered authentic, authoritative, and rigorous is found i n a late essay, Specimen inventorum: "There are two first principles i n all reasoning, the principle of non-contradiction, of course . . . and the principle of rendering reason." ("Duo sunt prima principia omnium ratiocinationum, principium nempe contradictionis [...] et principium reddendae rationis.") The second principle says that for any t r u t h — f o r any true proposition, that i s — a reasoned account is possible. "Omnis veritatis reddi ratio potest." Or, to translate more literally, for any true 122  proposition, reason can be rendered.  There is a "cost" of economizing due the principle of reason that cannot be left unanalyzed or unheeded. Especially, if we do not w i s h to construe its  188  Technologies of Reason "cardinal" and "secondary" mandates solely as aphorisms for the "rational faculty or p o w e r "  1 2 3  — t h e ability of m i n d and of speech—attributive of the  sacred dignity of the h u m a n animal (zoon logon ekhon) b y Aristotelian metaphysics. Doing so, Derrida warns, w o u l d be an unfortunate mistake: "The principle of reason installs its empire only to the extent that the abyssal question of the being d'etre) that is hiding w i t h i n it remains hidden, and w i t h it the question of the grounding of the ground itself, or of grounding as grunden (to ground, to give or take ground:  Boden-nehmen), as begriinden  (to motivate, justify, authorize) or especially as stiften (to erect or institute, a meaning to which Heidegger [oh whose analysis the interpretation given here relies] accords a certain pre-eminence)."  124  The phoronomy  125  of the  principium rationis demands something more profound of the subject's thought and action than the self-aggrandizing hyper-relativism of the doxa of merely changing "opinion" emboldening itself on the excesses of itself. A n d that is an element of accountability (Rechenschaft) for the "truth-value" of the representation (Vorstellung) of judgements made about "an object [Gegenstand—'that-which-stands-over-against'] a subject,"  126  placed and positioned before  an ego who, n o w more than ever, sure of its self, thinks " I "  (sum). The justification (Rechtfertigen) of the certainty of such a selfgrounding of the ground of knowledge yielded of the cogitabilis rests on the security of demonstrating the proof of the "evident correctness" of an explanation. Or a reversal of the logic of the percipio as it is set back on the source of the response directed to language. Reason is sufficiently rendered, "given back,"  127  and it has to be for the determinacy of the ens rationis  189  Technologies of Reason (intellect) to piece together an idea of reality i n lieu of "esoteric" principle, only if and when a "representation that j u d g e s "  can display the "truth" of  128  its propositional outcomes by re-directing the ground of the "connection" of subject and predicate—the "what" of " i s " — back to a cogitating "I."  129  This  structure of repetition orders the chain of consequence organizing the syntagm of language i n the coming-back of its returning of presence to the "double effigy" of the sign /picture for concept (Begriff). It has the function of "holding" or "keeping" the w o r l d of beings firmly-fixed (fest-gestellt) in the bright light of "objectivity" (Gegenstandlichkeit),  130  over and against, the  underlying filter of the projecting self-consciousness of the "knowing s e l f "  131  as subjectum or hypokeimenon, "that-which-lies-before" (qua prior). The firmament of the truth of experience depicted as such bears an anthropocentric foundation and the unmistakable mark of a metaphysical humanism.  132  For, as Derrida explains, "This relation of representation  [between subject and object]—that i n its whole extension is not merely a relation of k n o w i n g — h a s to be grounded, ensured, protected [by making the subject an object ]: that is what we are told by the principle of reason, the 133  Satz vom Grund."  13A  To expand i n a slightly different way.  O n the one hand,  the productive reflexivity of a presuppositionless egoity sustains the "purity" of the ground of its reasoning by its  "power-of-bringing-back-to-presence"  135  the self-presence of the truth of representation from w i t h i n the abiding swells of an inwardly spectating imago of mind. But this is not enough. O n the other, a collective form of the responsibility to give an account of reason (logon didonai) is co-affirmed outright by the auto-poietic reflexivity of a self-  190  Technologies of Reason consciousness of self and self-hood disengaging of itself from empirical reality to set apart Sub-ject from Ob-ject, Self from Other, i n its subordination of nature to a mortgaging of its fore-closure that is always ready-to-hand (das Zuhanden).  136  Taking these together: the sense of ratio understood i n the  affirmative form of the principle of reason, Omnes ens habet rationem (Every being has a reason), is interpretable as a reckoning to account for the calculability (Berechenbarkeit) of entities (S ein den).  137  Subjectivism thus  precedes objectivism i n and ensuing the Cartesian age of modernity Derrida believes to be a portentous omen of philosophical innovation that prepares the w a y to the development of the University as we know it today. Vouchsafing the ground of the predictable equationing of beings, the principle of reason convenes the primacy of calculation as the fate of Western thought. The techne of this amenability of the ratio reddendae we have outlined is the characterizing feature of the historicity of the evolution of "philosophy" to "science" that after the epistemological trailblazing of the early Greeks (not the pre-Socratics) stimulates the onto-genesis of modern "TECHNO-science" without w h i c h there w o u l d be no contemporary university.  138  The method of its "Reason" as "the structure and closure of  representation"  139  is not, nor could it ever be, outside the scope of  deconstruction, but rather is a precursor of, and, moreover, integral to, the necessity for a critical questioning of the grounding of the foundation of the institutional frameworking of knowledge. M a i n l y because the  metaphysical  (logocentric) assumptions behind the objective setting of the value of truth are reductive, autarchical and protective, of the practical ends of the task of  191  Technologies of Reason thinking.  Reason and the technologies of Reason are not without interest,  not without ground or a grounded grounding that withdraws, refracts, is concealed. A n d i n this solicitation of a "crossing-over" from theoria to praxis where normative levels of the "optimal performance" of ideas have to be met to the utmost satisfaction of "rationality/ there is hidden the opening of the 7  non-ethical violence of the universal. "Beyond all those b i g philosophical w o r d s — r e a s o n , truth, p r i n c i p l e — t h a t generally command attention," Derrida tells us, "the principle of reason also holds that reason must be rendered."  14:0  " D e c o n s t r u c t i o n " — a n d there cannot be just one—is not exempt from the responsibility of answering the obligation of thinking through this obdurate call to grounds in full, albeit i n the profusive singularity of its o w n distinctive ways.  141  But the issue of the "properness" of response becomes more radical  in conjunction w i t h what has become a posf-modern "crisis of representation," a suspiciousness of reference and referentiality formed as a question of the "Question of Reason" and its "must"? H o w are we then to comprehend the ramifications of the ethical a i m of this modal behest unto being Derrida recognizes to be nothing but essential, convoking as it does at the thematic fissures of its deepest openings toward education, the Socratic problem of the "(un)examined life" or how one ought to live? A n d therefrom, to unravel w h y "one cannot think the possibility of the modern university, the one that is re-structured i n the nineteenth century i n all the Western countries, without inquiring into that event, the institution of the principle of reason."  142  The road we w i l l take, to move on, w i t h Derrida and  after h i m (as we have endeavoured to do from the start) w i l l lead us from the  192  Technologies of Reason metaphysical immanence of a ground of decidability to the deconstructive provenance of an abyss of undecidability; Or, from the rectitude of the technoscientific rationalism of (late-)modernity to the amplitude of the limitless responsibility of deconstruction. The " m o r a l i z i n g " disbursement of the rendering of r e a s o n — t h e practical objectives of its empirically conditioned "must" as the volitional basis of the causality of the freedom of b e i n g — D e r r i d a says, "seems to cover the essence of our relationship to principle, it seems to mark out for us requirement, debt, duty, request, command, obligation, law, the imperative."  143  Who would  want to deny this or be w i l l i n g to reject it out of hand? N i h i l i s m and anarchy w o u l d arguably be the negative forms of a plausible repercussion of "unschooled" reactions to opposing the welcoming of a responsibility to reason. G i v e n that, i n all likelihood, the obscuration of intentionality or the meaninglessness of violence can irrevocably dampen the vitality of the human subject i n the abject despairing of its being-in-the-world. But is not an uncritical servility to the principle of reason not also a denial of the liberating statute of its law of right, the right of its law? The regulated "objectiveness" of a prescriptive responsivity is of dubious integrity because it conflates the logic of the universal w i t h that of the particular to override any justification of the heteronomous ground of subjective differences of judgement. Reason lays d o w n the law (Gesetz). Yes. A n d the principle of reason must be "obeyed." N o objection. Yet, can we still respond w i t h responsibility to reason without giving up the right to question to a not so automatically benign thought-less-ness?  144  A n d without duping the natural law of  193  Technologies of Reason j u d g e m e n t — i t s capacity to exercize uncompromising d i s c e r n m e n t — b y relinquishing the free-will of conscience to the power (Macht) and authority of a violent means leading to what could be nothing else but unjust ends? Derrida asks, "Who is more faithful to reason's call, w h o hears it w i t h a keener ear, w h o better sees the difference, the one w h o offers questions i n return and tries to think through the possibility of that summons [of the principle of reason], or the one w h o does not want to hear any question about the reason of r e a s o n ? "  145  The irrationalism of cleaving to hasty assumptions  based on the self-deceiving conviction that we both completely k n o w and agree on what the essence of the axiom is (e.g., its quiddity, "whatness" ), or 146  what it "wants- to-imply," along w i t h what is expected of us, is brought out i n the irresponsibility of a thought-less obedience to decree.  147  Although  Derrida appropriates the deontological expressionism of a Kantian order of classifications to show how, by the categorical law of universalizability, "pure practical reason continually calls on the principle of reason, o n its 'must,'"  148  the prelude to an aggressively deconstructive questioning of the teleology of the self-accounting ground of reason and of the being of the university the conclusion w i l l later point to, is seriously Heideggerianesque:  A responsibility is involved here, however. We have to respond to the call of the principle of reason. In Der Satz vom Grund [The Principle of Reason], Heidegger names that call Anspruch: requirement, claim, request, demand, command, convocation; it always entails a certain addressing of speech. The w o r d is not seen, it has to be heard and listened to, this apostrophe that enjoins us to respond to the principle of reason.  194  Technologies of Reason A question of responsibility, to be sure. But is answering to the principle of reason the same act as answering for the principle of reason? Is the scene the same? Is the landscape the same? A n d where is the university located w i t h i n this s p a c e ? 149  How  are we to hear and grasp the ethical presumption of the invocation of  the principle of reason? According to Heidegger: by way of the collected awareness of Being to the open realm of language (its "home," "abode," "indwelling"  150  ) through w h i c h the fundamental difference of m i n d and body is  united over time i n the ecstatic broadening of hermeneutical countenance realized e x p e r i e n t i a l l y — v i a the circumspective immediacy of meditative consciousness—as the "piety" of a "gathered h e a r k e n i n g "  151  that composes  the authenticity of itself out of the giving of itself to a listening w i t h a view to the "releasement" (Gelassenheit) of the originary thinking of being toward the mystery of the "letting be" of t h i n g s .  152  A rejection of the epistemological  opposition of "intelligible" and "sensory" knowing deeply undercuts the foundation of the self-legislating self-groundedness of subject centered reason and clears the w a y for the procreative resolve of effectuating a "new autochthony"  1 5 3  out of the past. It is this comportment of fused sensibilities  directed to a future-not-yet-realized that carries w i t h it the hope of building, through the act of thought, a better place to d w e l l (Aufenthalten).  154  This  radical re-positioning of thinking as poiesis (making or producing) and praxis (acting or doing) liberated from the strangle-hold of a modernist theory of representation collapses the "noetic/somatic" duality of the Cartesian problematic of truth at the pre-ontological ("lived") threshold of the ego  195  Technologies of Reason cogito where the material ambiguities of the everyday play of " w o r l d " and "things" are brought together and borne apart. That said: these theoretical premises of Heidegger's that my rereading of the call of the principle of reason hinges on w i l l capacitate Derrida i n the discourse to play the logic of rationality against the method of science while reflecting on the ethics and politics of the w o r k of research w i t h i n the u n i v e r s i t y .  155  A s we shall see.  To provoke the philosophical imagination into judging the merits of reconstituting a fictional interchange between Charles Sanders Peirce and Heidegger on the tehno-rational birth of the modern University from the self-accounting normativity of the principle of reason, Derrida cites a telling excerpt from the American proto-pragmatist, already having begun to refrain from initiating such a tete-a-tete:  . . . discuss [ing] the purpose of [higher] education, without once alluding to the only motive [reason] that animates the genuine sceintific investigator. I am not guiltless i n the matter myself, for i n m y youth I wrote some articles to uphold a doctrine called pragmatism, namely, that the meaning and essence of every conception lies i n the application that is to be made of it. That is all very well, w h e n properly understood. I do not intend to recant it. But the question arises, what is the ultimate application; and at the time I seem to have been inclined to subordinate the conception to the act, k n o w i n g to doing. Subsequent experience of life has taught me that the only thing that is really desirable without a reason for being so, is to render ideas and things reasonable. One cannot well demand a reason for  reasonableness itself.  156  A t first blush, the leap of thought from "application" to "reason," grounded fully i n the interest of-itself, for-itself, seems greatly at odds w i t h the tenets of 196  Technologies of Reason Peircean pragmaticism. However, as Christopher Norris has correctly noted, what distinguished Peirce from his philosophical contemporaries (John Dewey and W i l l i a m James) was the "belief that every intellectual discipline requires some ultimate cognitive faith, some idea (as Peirce expressed it) of 'truth at the end of i n q u i r y . ' "  157  Where one w o u l d expect an altogether  oppositional stance toward the value of reason for the utility and "practicality" of research, it is an "epistemological lapse" that has left Richard Rorty a less than enthused advocate of Pragmaticism.  158  A n d yet, w h y does  Derrida forego the chance of pursuing the matter of this dialogical intercourse of "pragmatism" and "phenomenological hermeneutics" any further i n "The Principle of Reason"? To arbitrarily force (from the shards of what w o u l d be and are admittedly bracketed textual fragments) the sharp discordance of a theory of practice and a practice of theory separating Peirce and Heidegger. Is it simply because the s u m and substance of the suppositious disquisition placed firmly i n question could never really have happened anyway?  There  being, after all, no discernable compulsion for the one to "speak-to" the other in these terms or on these terms of the reasonable ground of the University. The desiderata of this hypothetical repartee are obliquely displayed i n "The Principle of Reason" by Derrida's strategic use of exemplarity that we have dealt w i t h i n the first part of this chapter to show h o w the discourse itself is a praxeology of theory, taking its philosophical inspiration, as it does, somewhat precipitously from the difference between Heidegger and Peirce. What is to be garnered from the suspension of this all-but-chimaerical agon,  197  Technologies of Reason it being, in the last analysis, very much under the cull and sway of a deconstructive (in)direction, if you will? Well, for Derrida, "[t]o bring about such a dialogue between Peirce and Heidegger [around what he describes as 'the compound theme, indeed, of the university and the principle of reason' ], we w o u l d have to go beyond the 159  conceptual oppositions between 'conception' and 'act,' between 'conception' and 'application,' theoretical view and praxis, theory and technique."  160  And  this is what "The Principle of Reason," more or less, does, works at, achieves. But does not a fundamental irreconcilability continue to persist, and so, to inhibit a b r i d g i n g together of the aporias of meditative reflection consuming the unpracticable idea w i t h the apodicticity of habitual determination particularizing the sensible event? The incommensurability between "thinking" and "doing," as such, accentuates a fortiori the methodological differences that both philosophers hold dearly to i n the very heart of their dissatisfactions w i t h the legislations of "pure reason" for the facilitating of educational aspirations.  161  Or, what is,  pace Immanuel Kant, the ground proposition (Grundsatz) of the being of the 162  university  ; where the ideal of a calculable rationality secures the sine qua  non for a motive of a principle of (collective) action undergirding the law of 163  its practical essence and the viability of its autonomy as a public institution.  164  According to Derrida, "What Peirce only outlines," and  willingly takes for granted b y virtue of a theoretical impasse at w o r k w i t h i n the self-professed objectives of his o w n version of pragmatism that cancelsout the fortuitous contingency of even a rudimentary examination of the 198  Technologies of Reason vested interests of Reason's institution, "is the path where Heidegger feels the most to be at stake, especially i n Der Satz vom Grund [The Principle of 165  Reason]."  We have already begun in this journey and are o n the w a y  (Unterwegs) to "fleshing-out" the labyrinth of its trails through the playfulness of a "poetic license" we might w e l l be tempted to refer to here plainly enough, as a basic right of academic freedom. But to return to a familiar crossroads, re-treading it lightly, to go on i n a different direction, we w o u l d have to ask here an important question: What warrants deconstruction to in-vade the space of the university as "an institutional practice for w h i c h the concept of institution remains a p r o b l e m "  166  ? Looking  elswhere for an answer brings us to Heidegger who is — l i k e Derrida was, i n an earlier quotation—succinct:  "The university is grounded on the principle  of reason. H o w are we supposed to conceive this: the university grounded on a principle? M a y we venture such an a s s e r t i o n ? "  167  We may and we  must. For Derrida, and I am paraphrasing here, "institutions are in deconstruction before deconstruction is in institutions." It is that simple  and  that complex. We w o u l d have to forego then, as Derrida does, that: the principle of reason lies positioned, rather awkwardly, between the "strange and necessary 168  dialogue"  of Peirce and Heidegger on the epistemological foundations of  an institution of higher education.  169  Each philosopher, i n his o w n turn,  gives testimony to strong convictions that cleave open the otherwise invisible contours of the chasm of Western thought, a most intractable v o i d waiting to be filled by the "spirit" and "action" of philosophy, b y extending 199  Technologies of Reason the general realm of analysis across the continuum of a conceptual dichotomy pitting "interpretation" against "application." A n d like the paling chiaroscuro of a prophetic abyss, the principium rationis haunts the preoccupations of these, let us call them (for the sake of convenience), "complementary figures" w i t h i n the epistemological ground (Grund) a n d non-ground (Ab-grund) of the history of metaphysics. Their propositions a r e — t o differing degrees—expressive of the need for an assertive questioning of the rationalizing force (Gewalt) that authorizes the systemic organicity of the hierarchization of knowledge w i t h i n the established composition of the modern U n i v e r s i t y .  170  But i n the sublimating of the immediately  "given  phenomena" of being (Seiend) to "abstract concepts" (Verstand) of ideas of Being (Dasein), these proclamations are overtures of nothing less than faithful judgements indicative of deeply divergent philosophical allegiances that have affected the university. Fateful disclosures, consciously or unconsciously, ill-at-ease w i t h the unforgiving dictates of the principle of reason. This is w h y the abrupt un-staging of this extraordinary confrontation (Auseinandersetzung) of Peirce and Heidegger that Derrida suggests must occur, but refrains from illuminating stricto sensu,  171  leaves "us" dangling  precariously, at altogether loose ends, as it were, over a most contested philosophical divide. Drifting freely along the interminable fluctuations of these oppositional limits of epistemic irresolution constructing the khora (literally the "'place,' 'location,' 'region,' 'country'"  172  or metaphorically the  173  provisional movement and ephemeral stases  ) of the truth of reason and  the "untruth" of its other, unreason, w i t h i n the institution. The plus d'une  200  Technologies of Reason langue  of deconstruction, meanwhile, asserts itself amid the unlimited  174  complexity of these tensions and repulsions that only appear to coalesce, however unhappily, toward the ambiguous mediality of a thin line separating "pure theory" from "pure practice" reproduced arbitrarily as the place-holder of techno-scientific interests w i t h i n the interdisciplinary model 175  of the university.  That is, across the paradigmatic interspaces of this  institutional struggle where the differential gamut of a range of "postKantian" philosophizing vies for the justifiable "right" to express a skepticism of the truthfulness of a priori knowledge c l a i m s .  176  Between, on  the one hand, a n idea of "pure reason" from w h i c h the compartmentality synthesizing the form (Bild) of the programmatic structure of the university evolves  1 7 7  and, on the other, an idea of "pure practical reason" from w h i c h  the ethicity orienting the employment of the first principles of a system of scientific knowledge surfaces. H o w can we assert this judgement? Because, as deconstruction has shown, there is no recourse to what w o u l d inevitably have to be the moderating code of a master language capable of bringing together the "inner-world" of the res cogitans w i t h the "outer-world" of the res extensa to mercifully undermine, once and for all, the troubling 178  diffraction of conflicting faculties of "reason." Truth"  1 7 9  A veritable "Purveyor of  whose peremptory capacity for semiotic reductionism could clarify  the inter-phenomenal terms of otherwise unpredictable pronouncements made from the ideolect of "sign-thing" correlations, viz. ideational constructions of a life-world (Lebenswelt) b y and w i t h i n the refracted selfconsciousness a de-centered subject. 201  Technologies of Reason In this respect of the institutionalization of "interpretative finitude" or "hermeneutic universalism" Derridean deconstruction runs counter to, the elocution of the principle of reason codifies the obligation of thinking to the quasi-mystical eschatology of a W i l l to Truth by providing i n itself the expletive outlet through w h i c h to achieve a consolidation of the conditions of the possibility of the course of Western knowledge and pedagogy after the ethical predisposition of that which Plato had specified through the so-called doctrine of Ideas as the quest for the good "beyond being" (epekeina tes ousias).  180  By Law and by Right, the performative dimension of the  ("professional") field of human endeavours (philosophic-scientific-aesthetic) "within" and "without" the university is tied to the necessity of a theoretical justification of the decision supporting actions taken or abstained from. That is, a response or "even a non-response is charged a priori w i t h responsibility"  181  to the principle of reason as & fundamental principle of  Being and beings, and thence of poiesis and praxis, because the effects of the metaphysical exigency of "explaining] effects through their causes, rationally,"  182  are inescapable for the living of the good life. Here, i n the  wake of Heraclitus and the demise of the logos—from  legein (to say), to  w h i c h the W o r d is sent back to its roots i n the apophainesthai, "to bring forward into appearance"—and w i t h this, the shining of a light on Platonism, the first decisive steps are taken toward a calculable rationality that initiates the start of the modern epoch of "representational t h i n k i n g . "  183  What is the  periodic culmination of an epistemological transmigration of philosophy and science away from a basic questioning of the ground of Being (Seinsfrage)  202  Technologies of Reason meta ta physika and toward the intractable manipulation of ends through the mediation of techno-science.  184  The mantle of modernity rests on the  directives of the principle of reason that pave the w a y — t h r o u g h Cartesian representationalism—for the instrumental logic of "purposive rationality" (Zweckrational) because the empire of metaphysics cannot abandon the "destinality" of being to the mystagogy of ill-calculation. There is no safety i n the lack of a well-planned abode, the careful forging of a place for the installing of homo faber to rule as undisputable master "of the totality of what is."  1 8 5  Even i f — i n the challenging forth (Herausfordern) of what is revealed  of the raw materiality of the human w o r l d as "standing-reserve," (Bestand), a resource always present-at-hand (Vorhandenheit) and ready to be u s e d — t h e artificiality of a ready-made "techno-ecology" bringing nature and beings to the order of a stand still by the enframing (Gestell) of a w o r l d picture (Weltbild) contributes to feelings of alienation and homelessness (Unheimlichkeit).  1 8 6  A w i t h d r a w i n g from Being cast i n the spectral  emptiness of a "calculable and representable s u b j e c t i v i t y "  187  allows us to see  into the oblivion of metaphysics, not to dispense w i t h its language or its stratagems, but to accept it for what it is, a violence of light. My  rereading of the "institution of modern technoscience that is the  university Stiftung [foundation]," like Derrida's, relies on the later 188  philosophy of Heidegger after the infamous turn (Kehre). A n d the point is this: "[W]e can no longer dissociate the principle of reason from the very idea of technology i n the realm of their modernity."  189  For the se//-definition and  se//-presencing of the sovereign subject of "metaphysical h u m a n i s m "  203  190  there  Technologies of Reason is no other viable option than the commanding of the power of the W i l l to W i l l . A n d all that that means. W h e n "Man" is the measure (metron) of the reason of the being of all things, metaphysics and technology, it stands, are largely equivalent terms. N o t the same, but interconnected and intertwined, in their refusal to think Being (Dasein).  191  Let us continue to deal w i t h the  question of the institutional re-transcription of the principle of reason Derrida poses, to inquire further into the "the origin of that demand for grounds,"  192  while referring to the general problem of instrumentalism, a  technologizing strand of metaphysics the text of our discourse w i l l have only foreshadowed until now. The significance of "end-oriented t h i n k i n g " to the development of the modern university cannot be underestimated; justifying, as it does, the unity of the rationale for the organizational division of teaching and research among and w i t h i n the disciplines. Inasmuch as the "verbal formulation" of the principle of reason "provides the impetus for a new era of purportedly 'modern' reason, metaphysics and technoscience,"  193  the objectification of its  needs as universalizable goals to be achieved without fail comes to dominate the requirements for the "surety" of the "truths" that pervade the institution. For Derrida, questioning the neutrality of the epistemological foundation of claims to knowledge constrains, but also opens-up, the larger purview of academic responsibility beyond the appeal to rationality. Once the "Originary Ethics" of the call of the principle of reason are entrenched w i t h i n the representational ground of meaning so as to obligate a reproducing of the  204  Technologies of Reason normative value of response, there is the problem of a conflict of self-interest that deconstruction must and can address:  But to answer for the principle of reason, and thus for the university, to answer for this call, to raise questions about the origin or ground of this principle of foundation (Satz vom Grund), is not simply to obey it or to respond in the face of this principle. We do not listen the same w a y w h e n we are resonding to a summons as when we are questioning its meaning, its origin, its possibility, its goal, its limits. Are we obeying the principle of reason when we ask what grounds this principle that is itself a principle of grounding? We are n o t — w h i c h does not mean that we are disobeying it, either. Are we dealing here w i t h a circle or an abyss? The circle w o u l d consist i n seeking to account for reason by reason, to render reason to the principle of reason, i n appealing to the principle i n order to make it speak of itself at the very point where, according to Heidegger, the principle of reason says nothing about itself. The abyss, the hole, the Abgrund, the empty "gorge" w o u l d be the impossibility for a principle of grounding to ground itself. This very grounding, then, like the university, w o u l d have to hold itself suspended above a most peculiar void. A r e we to use reason to account for the principle of r e a s o n ? 194  U p to this point, m y o w n rereading of the "why" and "not-why" (the because) of the response demanded of being for a "proper" answering to the responsibility of the call to reason has turned o n the lexico-hermeneutical axis of a Heideggerian double-shifting of the tonality common to the "popular" phrasing of the dictum, nihil est sine ratione. What Derrida briefly mentions "given the limits of [his] t a l k . "  195  Such a m o v i n g away from the  "cognitive" phase of the principle that places the emphasis put on the first and third words of its abbreviated statement "nothing is w i t h o u t reason" i n contradistinction w i t h the modulated pitch of a newly conjugated register  205  Technologies of Reason stressing "nothing is without reason" brings about the perception of an accord of Being (Sein) and ground (Grund).  1 9 6  Far-reaching conclusions follow  from this. The latter, "transposed," version of the principle of reason as a principle of Being seems to collide w i t h the former as a principle of beings. There is no common denominator of logic or language that can relieve the tension of this ontico-ontological difference i n the magical euphoria of a dialectical synthesis of opposing terms. Leaving reason to account for the principle of reason obviates the problem of the essence of its ground. For it reinforces the metaphysical presupposition of a conceptual u n i t y — t h e redundant movement of a self-authorizing a s c r i p t i o n — s e a l i n g the distance between the proximity of being that has value and Being that has none. Taking the argument one step further, for our purposes, a paradox ensues: if the principle of reason must ground itself on the essence of itself (reason) to have any grounding at all, then it would seem to have no grounding given the tautological structure of the foundation. What does this have to do w i t h the University? Everything and nothing. The University is founded o n the principle of reason and o n "what remains hidden i n that p r i n c i p l e , "  197  the "Other" of reason (not its opposite):  an ungrounded grounding, the place and non-place of the abyss. This is very strange. One might even say that it reveals, already in metaphysics, a certain love of "irrationality." A n d yet, w i t h i n the academic community of the institution, Derrida observes, "nowhere is th[e] [historicity of] this principle [or its 'instrumentality'] thought through, scrutinized, interrogated as to [the  206  Technologies of Reason sources of] its o r i g i n . "  198  N o t h i n g could surprise us less. The University is a  cultural artifact of the principle of reason that we w i l l have always already existed in, ever since and even before the Academy of Plato or the Lyceum of Aristotle. A pleasing f i c t i o n — a k i n to h o w Kant described i t  1 9 9  — o f the  philosophical anthropologism (read "humanism") of the West.  Symbolizing  the "place" where all knowledge and non-knowledge can be found or is housed, the Panepistemion is an enigmatic construct of both imaginary concord and very real resiliance indistinguishing of the difference between an appearance of totality and an idea of i n f i n i t y .  200  A flexibly self-correcting  system of persistent re- and de-orchestrations that have overcome the shortsighted density of h u m a n t i m e .  201  As the reason for its being objectifies the  valuation of an idealized vision of "the good life" that self-validates the autonomic "Right" of the institution through the indispensable lie of an intersubjective sharing of common interests among its collective rank and file,  2 0 2  the "archive of its a r c h i v e s "  203  remains haunted from the start by a  specter of the past and a dream of the future. A daimon of multiple eyes and ears and hearts more at war than at peace w i t h the rational essence of the University. O r the "ethico-ideologico-philosophical" grounding of its knowledge politics and the technocratizing subdivisions of its interdisciplinarity. "The university is a (finished) product," Derrida has said elsewhere, "I w o u l d almost call it the child of an inseparable couple, metaphysics and technology."  204  207  Technologies of Reason  The Ethics of Science and/as Research Deconstruction and the (Dis)Orientation of a New Responsibility  The principle of reason "as principle of grounding, foundation or institution,"  205  tends to guide the science of research to techno-practical ends.  The politics of academic w o r k and the role "the ['modern'] university may play"  2 0 6  i n helping to construct the arena experiencing the application of  results or the "pay o f f "  2 0 7  of pre-directed outcomes of inquiry is fed by  competing interests situated outside of the rationale of the institution itself or the ideals of the 'nation-state.' The "orientation" of research "programmed, focused, o r g a n i z e d "  208  on the expectation of its future utilization, Derrida  insists, is "centered instead o n [the desires of] multinational militaryindustrial complexes of techno-economic networks, or rather international technomilitary networks that are apparently multi-or trans-national i n form."  209  Forces w i e l d i n g the power of "investment"—not necessarily  m o n e t a r y — a r e always wanting to control the mechanisms of creative production to commodify knowledge. A n d w i t h these "external" influences affecting and reflecting the purposes of the university that are found more and more i n not obvious but strategic areas w i t h i n the confines of the institution thanks to the "channel of private f o u n d a t i o n s "  210  sustaining the  direction of research through the irresistable lure of funding and  other  incentives (power, status, career advancement, etc.), the "pragmatic" interests of an "applied science" are set adroitly i n opposition to the "disinterestedness" of "fundamental" (basic) inquiry. A distinction of "real  208  Technologies of Reason but limited r e l e v a n c e "  211  given the defered dividends of the "detours, delays  and relays of 'orientation,' its more random aspects,"  212  that are either  incalculable or go unrecognized until a suitable situation of advantageous use presents itself. For Derrida, it is naive to believe there are some "basic disciplines ['philosophy,' 'theoretical physics,' and 'pure mathematics' are the examples he gives] shielded from power, inaccessible to programming by the pressures of the State or, under cover of the State, by civil society or capital interests."  213  That thought has now been unthinkable for some time since  the dawning of the "post-critical" age of nuclear politics and the wake of the informativizing function of science as research "[a]t the service of war."  214  What is at stake concerning the "control" of knowledge pivots around the "higher p r i o r i t y " issue of protecting "national and international s e c u r i t y "  215  interests. However heterogeneous the calculation of a plan of insurance or the lack of it is to the logic of "peace" or "democracy." The differentiation of the aims of research, Derrida contends, is not that discreet an indicator of its "use-value" so as to clearly distinguish between the profitability of application and the destructive effects of misappropriation, despite the usual "factoringi n " of "reasonable" margins of error:  . . . research programs have to [in the sense of are made to] encompass the entire field of information, the stockpiling of knowledge, the workings and thus also the essence of language and of all semiotic systems, translation, coding and decoding, the play of presence and absence, hermeneutics, semantics, structural and generative linguistics, pragmatics, rhetoric. I am accumulating all these disciplines i n a haphazard way, on purpose, but I shall end w i t h literature, poetry, the arts, fiction i n general: the theory that has all these discipline as its 209  Technologies of Reason object may be just as useful i n ideological warfare as it is i n experimentation w i t h variables i n all-too-familiar perversions of the referential function. Such a theory may always be put to work i n communications strategy, the theory of commands, the most refined military pragmatics of jussive utterances (by what token, for example, w i l l it be clear that an utterance is to be taken as a command i n the new technology of telecommunications? H o w are the new resources of simulation and simulacrum to be controlled? A n d so on . . .) Furthermore, w h e n certain random consequences of research are taken into account, it is always possible to have i n view some eventual benefit that may ensue from an apparently useless research project (in philosophy or the humanities, for example). The history of the sciences encourages researchers to integrate that margin of randomness into their centralized calculation. They then proceed to adjust the means at their disposal, the available financial support, and the distribution of credits. A State power or forces that it represents no longer need to prohibit research or to censor discourse, especially i n the West. It is enough that they can limit the means, can regulate support for production, transmission, d i f f u s i o n . 216  W i t h i n the "concept of information or i n f o r m a t i z a t i o n "  217  the ethics and the  politics of research take shape as the conservative ideal of "science" the university stands on is overtaken b y a sacrificing of the autonomy of its o w n self-regulating measures of knowledge advancement to the real-world pressures of securing a future for itself. A n d that is understandable, although it may not be acceptable to even those unquestioning defenders of the dominant (or onto-teleological) interpretation of the principle of reason and its "integrat[ing of] the basic to the oriented, the purely rational to the technical, thus bearing witness to that original intermingling of the metaphysical and the t e c h n i c a l . "  218  210  Technologies of Reason The "responsibility" Derrida wishes to "awaken or r e s i t u a t e "  219  is " i n the  university or before (devant) the university, whether one belongs to it or  not."  220  Its double gesture bridges the ungrounded space of the conditions of  possibility over which positions on ethics and responsibility, reason and rationality are thought-out and taken. Derrida begins to elaborate the difficulty of this "new responsibility" b y opposing the "prohibiting limitations" media"  2 2 2  221  that "presses, [public and private] foundations, mass  and other "interest groups" place on the act of research w i t h i n the  institution: "The unacceptability of a discourse, the non-certification of a research project, the illegitimacy of a course offering are declared b y evaluative actions: studying such evaluations is, it seems to me [he emphasizes], one of the tasks most indispensable to the exercize of academic responsibility, most urgent for the maintenance of its d i g n i t y . "  223  To  intervene decisively i n the business of the university is to appeal (to) reason, to ask for the concession of reasons out of w h i c h to judge judgements. The m e d i u m i n question that relates the obligation and responsibility of ethics to politics and the practices of the institution is language and two ways of thinking about the value of language. Derrida defines these i n relation to the principle of reason as "instrumental" (informative) and "poetic" (creative) by associating their contrasting methods of semiological effect (e.g., representation/undecidability) w i t h research-type, end-oriented and fundamental. A n d o n the basis of the difference of values of finitude that must not proceed from knowledge but always head toward the possibility of its invention is grounded the deconstructive attempt to define a new  211  Technologies of Reason academic responsibility " i n the face of the university's total subjection to the technologies of i n f o r m a t i z a t i o n . "  224  The cross-contamination between the  "instrumental" and the "poietic" aims of research science is obvious "at the outer limits of the authority and power of the principle of r e a s o n "  225  where  the specificity of goals or purposes is blurred by the shared logic of praxis. Derrida situates this antinomic r e s p o n s i b i l i t y — o f "the experience and experiment of the aporia,"  226  more or l e s s — w i t h i n the general domain a  hypothetical "community of t h o u g h t " [of] a call to practice i t . "  2 2 8  227  that is commited to the "sounding  The "group-at-large" refered to is not one "of  research, of science, of philosophy, since these values [of 'professionalism' and 'disciplinarity' no matter h o w 'radical'] are most often subjected to the unquestioned authority of the principle of r e a s o n "  229  and can be absorbed  into the homogeneous magma of infra-institutional discourse (e.g., the standardization of M a r x i s m and psychoanalysis). Elsewhere Derrida has named this loosely gathered consortium a "community of the q u e s t i o n "  230  after the death of philosophy, a chance for safekeeping the possibility of the question of the violence of metaphysics, onto-theo-logical a n d proto-ethical. H o w w o u l d it function? Derrida explains as follows:  Such a community w o u l d interrogate the essence of reason and of the principle of reason, the values of the basic, of the principial, of radicality, of the arkhe i n general, and it w o u l d attempt to draw out all the possible consequences of this questioning. It is not certain that such a thinking can bring together a community or found an institution i n the traditional sense of these words. What is meant b y community and institution must be rethought. This thinking must also u n m a s k — a n infinite t a s k — a l l the ruses of end-orienting reason, the paths b y w h i c h  212  Technologies of Reason apparently disinterested research can find itself indirectly reappropriated, reinvested by programs of all sorts. That does not mean that "orientation" is bad i n itself and that it must be combatted, far from it. Rather, I am defining the necessity for a new w a y of educating students that w i l l prepare them to undertake new analyses in order to evaluate these ends and choose, w h e n possible, among them a l l . 2 3 1  Less than a year after this lecture on the principle of reason, the College Internationale de Philosophie (CIPH) w o u l d open its doors to students and scholars (during January of 1984), p r o v i d i n g perhaps a much anticipated answer to the b i d i n g question of a "community of thought" and the suggestion of a rethinking of the institution of "higher" education.  232  Derrida was its first "Acting Director," to be followed by Jean-Francois Lyotard and others i n a succession of one year appointments. The international make-up of the C I P H was and is reflected by the composition of the membership of its "governing bodies," the result of an open letter reprinted on the French M i n i s t r y of Research and Industry letterhead and circulated around the w o r l d i n M a y 1982, to invite the participation of interested parties in its planning and operation  2 3 3  There were more than 750 replies to the  epistle Derrida drafted on behalf of the Socialist government of Francois Mitterand, who, on the eve of his election to office, had promised the G R E P H to protect the discipline of Philosophy w i t h i n the organization of the public school and university curricula. A l l responses were evaluated and the four members of the mission (Derrida, Francois Chatelet, Jean-Pierre Faye, and D o m i n i q u e Lecourt) issued the lengthy Rapport pour le College  213  Technologies Internationale de Philosophic  234  of Reason  The expressed intention or "regulating  idea" of that document was to interrogate and displace "the ontological encyclopaedic model b y w h i c h the philosophical concept of the universitas has been guided for the last two c e n t u r i e s "  235  as was originally stated i n the  letter:  The International College of Philosophy is to give (doit donner) priority to themes, problems, experiences that do not yet find a legitimate or sufficient place i n other institutions, whether they concern philosophy or the relations between philosophy, sciences, techniques, and artistic productions. Beyond simple interdisciplinarity, it w i l l be oriented toward new intersections and w i l l w o r k to open (frayer) other paths between constituted or compartmentalized disciplines (savoirs). In order to undo traditional isolations, the college w i l l be broadly open, according to new modes, to exchanges from abroad. 236  That the institution was to be a "College of Philosophy" is not incidental, secondary or superfluous, to the context of this lecture we are rereading on the principle of reason and the being of the university. The semiologicosymbolic inter-ground of any and all potential articulations of academic responsibility is, for Derrida, an irreducible dimension of "thought"  and  "thinking" analogous w i t h the poststructural meta-criticality of deconstruction. A n intellectual practice of grafting, confrontation, and productive interference that transgresses the fixed borders of "the arts" and "the sciences" for the transformative redistribution of knowledge values and the founding of new fields of research at the inter-spaces of philosophy and  214  Technologies of Reason science. This is made explicit by Derrida's (quasi-)deconstruction of the interdisciplinary schematicism of the Kantian university model:  One can no longer distinguish between technology o n the one hand and theory, science and rationality on the other. . . . [A]n essential affinity ties together objective knowledge, the principle of reason, and a certain metaphysical determination of the relation to truth. . . . One can no longer maintain the boundary that Kant, for example, sought to establish between the schema that he called "technical" and the one he called "architectonic" i n the systematic organization of k n o w l e d g e — w h i c h was also to ground a systematic organization of the university. The architectonic is the art of systems. "Under the government of reason, our knowledge i n general," Kant says, "should not form a rhapsody, but it must form a system i n w h i c h alone it can support and favour the essential aims of reason." To that pure rationality of the architectonic, Kant opposes the scheme of the merely technical unity that is empirically oriented, according to views and ends that are incidental, not essential. It is thus a limit between two aims that Kant seeks to define, the essential and noble end of reason that gave rise to fundamental science versus the incidental and empirical ends that can be systematized only i n terms of technical schemas and necessities. 237  Kant had observed i n The Conflict of the Faculties (Der Streit der Fakultaten, 1798),  2 3 8  that the University was created b y the enactment of an  idea. A n objectivation of the W i l l to Reason as ceded, i n principle, from what is de jure a metaphysical incipit a priori the inscription of being. O r afatum of the time-less-ness of Being, the ground and abyss of its infinity. That is, the principle of reason. Kant, as only he could, attempted to re-theorize the insights and shortcomings of such a novel idea as the university i n an architectonic division of intellectual labour pure and practical. A uni-form system of knowledge designations starting from "the idea of the whole field  215  Technologies  of Reason  of what is presently teachable (das game gegenwartige Feld der Gelehrsamkeit)."  239  But the irony is that owing to the "artificiality"  (Kunstliche) of the institutional architecture "one w o u l d [have to] treat knowledge a little like an industry (gleichsam fabrikenmassig)"  240  and be  commited to reproducing the rigid partitions of unsurpassable limits of separation between disciplines. A development related to the themes of "profession," "professionalism" or "professionalization," Derrida views as "regulat[ing] university life [and research] according to the supply and demand of the marketplace [not excluding the institution itself] and according to a purely technical idea of competence."  241  A n y "sociology or p o l i t o l o g y "  policing these border lines of the Academy—regardless  242  of method (e.g.,  "Marxist or neo-Marxist, Weberian or neo-Weberian, Mannheimian, some combination of these or something else e n t i r e l y "  2 4 3  ) — i n responding to the  necessity of justifying the value of its o w n existence and acceptance to the structural logic of the organic whole "never touches u p o n that which, i n themselves, continues to be based on the principle of reason and thus on the essential foundation of the modern u n i v e r s i t y . "  244  Even the most  underground t h i n k i n g — " d e c o n s t r u c t i o n " — c a n be rehabilitated or reappropriated to serve a "highly traditional politics of k n o w l e d g e "  245  if the  conditions of exposition ("historical, techno-economic, politico-institutional, and l i n g u i s t i c " ) are not analyzed w i t h a vigilant wariness, a radical 246  suspicion. Rather than encouraging the open harmony of higher and lower level orders of theory and practice Kant envisions, wants, or presumes, the attempt to separate and compartmentalize interests is the source of the  216  Technologies  of Reason  conflict of the faculties itself and an omen of the history of canonical battles, among and w i t h i n them, for control over the charted and uncharted territory grounding the "economy and e c o l o g y "  247  of the institution.  Insofar as "no experience i n the present allows for an adequate grasp of that present, presentable totality of doctrine, of teachable theory,"  248  Derrida,  i n rereading these idealist presuppositions of this seminal text o n the straining inter-relations of the disciplines, argues elsewhere that: " A n i n s t i t u t i o n — t h i s is not merely a few walls or some outer structure surrounding, protecting, guaranteeing or restricting the freedom of out work; it is also and already the structure of our interpretation."  249  The ethics of the  ground of that edifice of the university is what is being questioned here, i n "The Principle of Reason," along w i t h the responsibility to be taken for it. A n d w h o this "our" does or can refer to exactly. This is not to aver, as Kant w o u l d have it, that p h i l o s o p h y — t h e faculty from w h i c h the "Great M o d e l of the University" acquires the academic legitimacy of its ideal a u t o n o m y — is completely "outside" and "above" any hierachization of knowledge due to a "higher" responsibility it claims to answer for/to Reason and Truth. There is another side to i t .  2 5 0  Concurrently, philosophy (unlike other disciplines)  w o u l d also need to be "inside" and "below" the structure of the institution, filling-out the reason of the lower ground on w h i c h its being stands. But what of the originary violence of a faculty of Right? Is the "mystical foundation of its authority" as a legislator of "Reason" and "Truth" for the university assuaged by an inverted mirroring of its stature? C o u l d it be?  217  Technologies of Reason  Even if we choose to believe Kant, there is a minimal security, if any at all, to the tautological notion of "the essence of knowledge as knowledge of knowledge"  251  : the stolid (meta-philosophical) ground of university  autonomy. It is "justified [Derrida stresses] by the axiom stating that scholars alone can judge other scholars." ] But this still says nothing of academic 252  responsibility. A n d by this we do not mean the obligation of the institution, a mere husk or shell, a clever figment of a living entity. It goes deeper. The responsibility we are speaking of is that of the teaching body (le corps enseignant), the soul of the university. O n both the personal (I/me) and the communal (us/we) planes of the ethico-juridical strata of the norms of responsibility epistemic or empirical subjectivity submit to, the first and final law of being is preserved by the ground of reason as the fundamental logic of an institution, the right of its Right. But the founding and conserving violence complicit w i t h the historicity of the university does not wholly ensnare the inspirited bodies of "those w h o t e a c h "  253  either. Derrida explains h o w an uncomplicated  philosophy of language is the cause for the ambiguity Kant is blind to:  Kant defines a university that is as much a safeguard for the most totalitarian of social forms as a place for the most intransigently liberal resistance to any abuse of power, resistance that can be judged i n turns as most rigorous or most impotent. In effect, its power is confined to a power-to-think-and-judge, a power-to-say, though not necessarily to say in public, since this w o u l d involve an action, an executive power denied the university. H o w is the combination of such contradictory evaluations possible for a model of the university? What must be such a model, to lend itself thus to this? I can only sketch out an answer to  218  Technologies  of Reason  this enormous question. Presuppositions i n the Kantian delimitation could be glimpsed from the very start, but today they have become massively apparent. Kant needs, as he says, to trace between a responsibility concerning truth and a responsibility concerning action, a linear frontier, an indivisible and rigorously uncrossable line. To do so he has to submit language to a particular treatment. Language is an element common to both spheres of responsibility, and one that deprives us of any rigorous distinction between the two spaces that Kant at all costs wanted to dissociate. It is an element that opens a passage to all parasiting and s i m u l a c r a . 254  The radical breakdown of the architectonic system of the ethical reference of knowledge arising from w i t h i n the Kantian conception of the L a w and the Right of Reason's institution becomes perceptible when the philosophical endowment of the limit of its Truth is projected outside of itself "between [the chain of] language and something other than i t s e l f . "  255  That, for  deconstruction, is but one measure of the injustice of the universality of the university.  The inconsistency of the supplication of reason to its g r o u n d —  the accounting of justification itself—surpasses the metaphysical fastidiousness of what Kant presents as an uncorrupted p h i l o s o p h y — o f the Idea of R e a s o n — a l w a y s w i l l i n g to aid the judgement of a subject "capable of deciding [as it] tries to limit the effects of confusion, simulacrum, parasiting, equivocality and undecidability produced b y language."  256  Wanting to close-  off the University's inside from its outside (and what this means i n a larger context) is a Utopian flight of fancy. A fearful withdrawal from responsibility to the Other. A s is the dream Kant had for a universal language of philosophy uncorrupted b y a natural tongue. A wish to keep reason pure. But the freedom of decision to choose among manifold options of 219  Technologies of Reason undecidible possibilities is not responsibility abdicated nor obligation ignored; it is responsibility multiplied, obligation intensified. Ethics is crystallized i n the education of experience manifest of a subjective "trial of passage" wrought from the difficulty of knowledge. A decision without the possibility of choice, i n this sense of achieving an informed optation spurring to performance, can be no decision at all. A n d that also implies a political dimension adducible of the laws of right and Right. For D e r r i d a — l i k e Kierkegaard before h i m — t h e ordeal of decision is an instant of madness, it "always risks the worst,"  257  especially, as concerns us here, i n relation to the  ungrounding of the pre-conditions of the violence of an existing foundation like the idea of the university's reason for being by defining a new educational problematics:  It is not a matter simply of questions that one formulates while submitting oneself, as I am doing here [in the discourse], to the principle of reason, but also of preparing oneself thereby to transform the modes of writing, approaches to pedagogy, the procedures of academic exchange, the relation to languages, to other disciplines, to the institution i n general, to its inside and its outside. Those w h o venture forth along this path, it seems to me, need not set themselves up i n opposition to the principle of reason, nor give w a y to "irrationalism." They may continue to assusme within the university, along w i t h its memory and and tradition, the imperative of professional rigour and competence. 258  The meta-logic of deconstruction—the double-sided responsibility of its "to" and "for" p e r i p a t e t i c — a i m s at a Verwindung of the principle of reason, a "going-beyond that is both an acceptance and a d e e p e n i n g "  220  259  as Gianni  Technologies  of  Reason  Vattimo has argued of the postmodern experience, not to get over, overcome, or to distort the principle by outbidding it into submission, but to resign the compliance of thought to a rethinking of i t .  2 6 0  A n d thus to effectuate a  change i n the thinking of the being of the University. To avoid reproducing the classical architectonic of the Kantian institution, thereby entrenching it still further, Derrida asserts, "'Thought' requires both the principle of reason and what is beyond the principle of reason, the arkhe and an-archy."  261  The  creation of a chance for the future by keeping the memory of the past alive. It is at the inter-spaces of knowledge constructions beyond the grasp of "meaning" or "reason" that risks are taken by endeavouring to put what may appear to be the grounded or static system of a multi-stratified and interlocking hierarchy of disciplinary subdivisions into motion, play, kinesis. The institutional meeting place of a deconstructive ethics and politics w o u l d be where the undecidability of interpretative links are forged between those faculties speaking a constative (theoretical) language of a Kantian type and others w h o make performative (interventive) statements of an Austinian type. Like a bridge across an abyss of reason.  A Doubled Closure  There is no ambivalence about the threat of resistance deconstruction poses to reason. For some, the analytical situation Derrida annotates, we could say "of deconstruction," is an equivocatory non-sense of selfcancellations, a being-on-both-sides of the issue betraying a lack of ethical or  221  Technologies of Reason political resolve; for others, its complexity consigns the "coups nouveau" of a postmodern responsivity to an ineffectual rejection of the totality of what has come before i n the hopes of improving what w i l l come after. Few concerned w i l l have no appraisement to offer. The gamut of judgements arising from w i t h i n the general distinctions of perspective I have made begs the question of the "Other of Reason" depicted as "irrationality" without classifiably reducing the content or the ma/content of arguments under the qualitative dichotomy of a "good" versus "bad" opposition. That is because the open obligation of the academic reponsibility of deconstruction is of the order of rationality, but not of the metaphysical standards of "critique." For as reason internalizes the difference of its Other w i t h i n the subjectivism of itself, steadfastly determining the rules of its o w n activation, its delimitations, and its ends, we are, or at the least we should be, compelled to inquire about the ground of its objectivism. The immanent force of a deconstructive questioning succeeds i n collapsing the oppositional logics of metaphysical self-substantiation that excludes, sui generis, the relative independence of the subalterned voice of an overlooked middle. A n d this is where the politics of ethics and ontology, of "first philosophy," lies. Submitting the principle of reason to the hermeneutical conundrum of its o w n in-itself for-itself structurality so as to interrogate the grounds of its meaning, its origin, its possibility, its goal, its limits, yields tensions commanding neither an obeyance to its unforgiving precepts nor a rejection of them. A n d here we w i l l give the last w o r d to Derrida:  222  Technologies of Reason The time of reflection is also the chance for turning back on the very conditions of reflection, i n a l l the sense of that word, as if w i t h the help of a new optical device one could finally see sight, could not only view the natural landscape, the city, the bridge and the abyss, but could view viewing. A s if through an acoustical device one could hear hearing, i n other words, seize the inaudible i n a sort of poetic telephony. The time of reflection is also another time, it is heterogeneous w i t h what it reflects and perhaps gives time for what calls for and is called thought. 262  223  Technologies  of Reason  Notes 1. Jacques Derrida, "Mochlos; or, The Conflict of the Faculties," trans. Richard R a n d and A m y Wygant, i n Logomachia: The Conflict of the Faculties, ed. R i c h a r d R a n d (Lincoln: University of Nebrasca Press, 1992), 11. (Original translation has been modified.). 2. Jacques Derrida, Memoires for Paul de Man, trans. Cecilia Lindsay, Jonathan Culler, and Eduardo C a v a v a (New York: C o l u m b i a University Press, 1986), 72. 3. Ibid., 72. 4. Jacques Derrida, "The Principle of Reason: The University i n the Eyes of Its P u p i l s , " Diacritics 13, no. 3 (fall 1983): 3. 5. Ibid., 5. 6. Ibid., 5. 7. See Jacques Derrida, Limited Inc., trans. Samuel Weber and Jeffrey M e h l m a n , ed. Gerald Graff (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1988), especially the first "chapter," "Signature Event Context," on the constative and performative dimensions of discourse and the ethical i n v o l u b i l i t y of the speech act and the irreconcilability of indication w i t h the expressive intentionality of consciousness. A theme also approached—in a different manner— i n Jacques D e r r i d a , Speech and Phenomena: And Other Essays on Husserl's Theory of Signs, trans. D a v i d B. A l l i s o n (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1973). 8. See Immanuel Kant, Critique of Aesthetic Judgement, trans. James Creed M e r e d i t h (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1911). 9. Derrida, "The Principle of Reason," 6. 10. Ibid., 5. 11. Ibid., 5. 12. See Jacques Derrida, "Psyche: Inventions of the Other," trans. Catherine Porter i n Reading De Man Reading, eds. L i n d s a y Waters and W l a d G o d z i c k (Minneapolis: University of Minnestota Press, 1989), 25-66. 13. Derrida, "The Principle of Reason," 5. 14. See Jacques Derrida, Given Time: I. Counterfeit Money, trans. Peggy K a m u f (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991). 15. See Jacques Derrida, Aporias, trans. Thomas Dutoit (Stanford: Stanford Univesity Press, 1993) for the themes of ritual, gift, death i n the "trans-cultural-specificity" of their law. 16. O n the obligation "to speak," see Jacques Derrida, " H o w to A v o i d Speaking: Denials," trans. K e n Frieden, i n Derrida and Negative Theology, eds. H a r o l d C o w a r d and Toby Foshay (Albany: State University of N e w Y o r k Press, 1992), 73-142. 17. See Jacques Derrida, "Psyche: Inventions of the Other"; Jacques Derrida, Memoires for Paul de Man; Jacques D e r r i d a , The Gift of Death, trans. D a v i d W i l l s (Chicago: U n i v e r s i t y of Chicago Press, 1995). 18. See Pierre Bourdieu, Homo Academicus, trans. Peter Collier (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1988) for the concept of "epistemic subjectivity" i n relation to "empirical subjectivity." 19. Jacques Derrida, "Force of L a w : The 'Mystical Foundation of A u t h o r i t y , ' " trans. M a r y Quaintance, i n Deconstruction and the Possibility of Justice, eds. D r u c i l l a C o r n e l l , M i c h a e l Rosenfeld, and D a v i d Gray Carlson (New York: Routledge, 1992), 27. 20. Derrida, "The Principle of Reason," 5. 21. Ibid., 5. Elijah is Derrida's Hebrew name.  224  Technologies  of Reason  22. I am using this w o r d deliberately to call up the risk of deconstruction. See Jacques Derrida, "Force of L a w " for an expansion of the subject of responsibility, sufferance, and the violence of translation, addressing the w o r k of Walter Benjamin. 23. See Jacques Derrida, Given Time I. 24. Simon Critchley, The Ethics of Deconstruction: Derrida and Levinas (Cambridge, Mass.: B l a c k w e l l , 1992), 42. 25. For an ethical perspective of Heidegger's notion of Mitsein, "Being-for-others," see Steven Connor, Theory and Cultural Value (Cambridge, Mass.: Blackwell, 1992), 198. 26. Derrida, "Psyche: Inventions of the Other," 36. 27. See Richard Kearney, "Derrida's Ethical Re-Turn," i n Working Through Derrida, ed. G a r y B. M a d i s o n (Evanston: Northwestern University, Press, 1993), 28-50. 28. See Jacques Derrida, The Other Heading: Reflections of Today's Europe, trans. PascaleA n n e Brault and M i c h a e l Naas (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992). 29. Every border has two sides, and inside and an outside. One is both separate and part of the other. See Jacques Derrida, Aporias. 30. Jacques Derrida, "Passions: ' A n Oblique Offering,'" trans. D a v i d W o o d , i n Derrida: A Critical Reader, ed. D a v i d W o o d (Cambridge, Mass.: Blackwell, 1992), 8. 31. Ibid., 23. 32. See E m m a n u e l Levinas, Totality and Infinity: An Essay on Exteriority, trans. A l p h o n s o Lingis (Boston: Martinus Nijoff Publishers, 1979). 33. Derrida, "Passions," 8. 34. Ibid., 9. 35. This is the general focus of Rodolphe Gasche, Inventions of Difference: On Jacques Derrida (Cambridge, Mass.: H a r v a r d University Press, 1994). 36. See Jacques Derrida, Limited Inc. 37. See Jacques Derrida, "Force of L a w . " 38. D e r r i d a The Gift of Death, 61. 39. Derrida, "The Principle of Reason," 6. 40. See Jacques Derrida, Of Spirit: Heidegger and the Question, trans. Geoffrey Bennington and Rachel B o w l b y (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987). 41. M a r t i n Heidegger, "The Self-Assertion of the German University: Address, Delivered on the Solemn A s s u m p t i o n of the Rectorate of the University of Freiberg; The Rectorate 1933/34: Facts and Thoughts," translated w i t h an introdduction by Kartsen Harries, Review of Metaphysics 38 (March 1985): 467-502. 42. Derrida, "The Principle of Reason," 5. 43. Ibid., 6. 44. Ibid., 6. 45. See Gregory L . U l m e r , Heuretics: The Logic of Invention (Baltimore: Johns H o p k i n s University Press, 1994). 46. James Siegel, "Academic Work: The V i e w from Cornell," Diacritics 11, n o . l (Spring 1981): 68-83. 47. Derrida, "The Principle of Reason," 4. 48. Ibid., 6. 49. Ibid., 6. 50. Ibid., 6. 51. Ibid., 6.  225  Technologies of Reason  52. See the discussion of S i g m u n d Freud's, Beyond the Pleasure Principal and "The Uncanny" i n Jacques D e r r i d a , The Post Card: From Socrates to Freud and Beyond, trans. A l a n Bass (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987). 53. Derrida, "The Principle of Reason," 6. 54. Ibid., 6. 55. See Jacques Derrida, "Sendoffs," trans. Thomas Pepper, Yale French Studies 77 (1990): 7-43. 56. Derrida, M o c h l o s , " 30. 57. Jacques.Derrida, "Canons and Metonymies: A n Interview w i t h Jacques Derrida," trans. R i c h a r d R a n d and A m y Wygant, i n Logomachia: The Conflict of the Faculties, ed. Richard Rand (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1992), 202. 58. See Jacques Derrida, Aporias. 59. Jacques D e r r i d a , Du droit a la philosophie (Paris: Galilee, 1990), 107. ( A l l translations from this text are m y own.). 60. Ibid., 88. 61. See Jacques Derrida, "Languages and Institutions of Philosophy," trans. Sylvia Soderlind, Rebecca C o m a y , Barbara Havercroft, and Joseph A d a m s o n , Recherches Semiotique/Semiotic Inquiry 4, no. 2 (1984): 91-154. 62. Derrida, "The Principle of Reason," 6. 63. Ibid., 6. 64. Derrida, "The Principle of Reason," 3. 65. Derrida, "Sendoffs," 14. 66. Derrida, "The Principle of Reason," 3. 67. See Jacques Derrida, "Mochlos," on the rationality of the pronoun "we." 68. See Jacques Derrida, The Gift of Death, especially Chapter Three, " W h o m to G i v e to (Knowing N o t to K n o w ) . " 69. Ibid., 25. See also Jacques Derrida, "Canons and Metonymies" for a more animated discussion of deconstruction, ethics, and responsibility i n light of the discovery of the war time writings of P a u l de M a n . 70. Ibid., 25. (Original translation has been modified.). 71. Derrida, Of Spirit, 129. See footnote 5. 72. See M a r t i n Heidegger, On Time and Being, trans. Joan Stambaugh (New York: Harper & R o w , 1972), especially the "chapter" entitled "The E n d of Philosophy and the Task of Thinking." 73. Derrida, "Sendoffs," 16. 74. See ibid. The larger version of the proposal i n w h i c h "Sendoffs" is included is called "The Blue Report" by D e r r i d a and those at the International College of Philosophy. Approximately 245 pages (with the table of contents), it is worth consulting of these issues of institutional direction and destination. 75. See Jacques Derrida, "Sending: O n Representation," trans. Peter C a w s and M a r y A n n Caws, Social Research 49, no. 2 (1982): 295-326 and Jacques Derrida, "Violence and Metaphysics: A n Essay on the Thought of E m m a n u e l Levinas," trans. A l a n Bass, i n Writing and Difference (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978), 79-153. 76. Derrida, "The Principle of Reason," 6. 77. Derrida, "Sendoffs," 13. 78. Derrida, "The Principle of Reason," 5.  226  Technologies of Reason  79. Samuel Weber, " U p p i n g the Ante: Deconstruction as Parodic Practice," i n Deconstruction is/in America, ed. A n s e l m H a v e r k a m p (New York: N e w Y o r k University Press, 1995), 63. 80. Jacques Derrida, "White M y t h o l o g y : Metaphor i n the Text of Philosophy," trans. A l a n Bass, i n Margins of Philosophy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982), 209. 81. Ibid., 221. 82. Derrida, "The Principle of Reason," 17. 83. Ibid., 6. 84. Ibid., 6. 85. Ibid., 6. 86. See the discussion of the Freudian uncanny i n the chapter on Jacques Lacan, "Le Facteur de la Verite," i n Jacques D e r r i d a , The Post Card. 87. See M a r t i n Heidegger, Poetry, Language, Thought, trans. Albert Hofstader (New York: Harper C o l o p h o n Book, 1971). 88. See M a r t i n Heidegger, The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays, trans. W i l l i a m Lovitt ( N e w York: Harper & R o w Publishers, 1977). 89. The transference of the invisible to an image unveils the invisible visible. 90. Jacques D e r r i d a , "Force and Signification," i n Writing and Difference, 27. 91. Derrida, "Languages and Instituions of Philosophy," 134. 92. Ibid.,134. 93. I am using this idea of the "literal example" i n the sense of B i l l M a r t i n , Humanism and Its Aftermath: The Shared Fate of Deconstruction and Politics ( N e w Jersey: H u m a n i t i e s Press, 1995). 94. Derrida, "The Principle of Reason," 3. 95. See Jacques Derrida, "White M y t h o l o g y " about the "photo-dia-logico-synthetics" of Western metaphysics, its imagery of light and darkness equated w i t h k n o w i n g . 96. Derrida, "The Principle of Reason," 4. 97. Ibid., 5. 98. Ibid., 5. 99. See French version of Jacques Derrida, "Le principe de raison et Videe de I'Universite" i n Du droit a la philosophic (Paris: Galilee, 1990), 463. The Aristotelien expression is: "pantes anthropoi tou eidenai oregontai phusei." D e r r i d a translates it as "tons les hommes, par nature, ont le desir du savoir." 100. Derrida, "The Principle of Reason," 4. 101. D e r r i d a , Speech and Phenomena, 108. 102. D e r r i d a has dealt w i t h the problem extensively i n Speech and Phenomena. 103. Derrida, "The Principle of Reason," 4. 104. Ibid., 5. 105. Ibid., 5. 106. Ibid., 5. (Translation has been modified.). 107. Jacques D e r r i d a , The Ear of the Other: Otobiography, Transference, Translation, trans. Peggy K a m u f and A v i t a l Ronnel, ed. Christie M c D o n a l d (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1988), 35. 108. Ibid., 96. 109. Ibid., 35-36. 110. Ibid., 35. s  227  Technologies of Reason  111. Jacques Derrida, " L i v i n g on: Border lines," trans. James Hulbert, i n Deconstruction and Criticism, eds. H a r o l d Bloom, P a u l de M a n , Jacques Derrida, Geoffrey Hartman, J. H i l l i s M i l l e r (New York: C o n t i n u u m , 1979), 94-96. 112. See Pierre Bourdieu, Language and Symbolic Power, trans. G i n o R a y m o n d and Matthew A d a m s o n (Great Britain: Polity Press, 1991). 113. Derrida, "The Principle of Reason," 4. 114. Ibid., 4. 115. Bourdieu, Language and Symbolic Power, 167. 116. See ibid. 117. Jacques Derrida, "Politics of Friendship," trans. Gabriel M o t z k i n , M i c h a e l Syrotinski, and Thomas Keenan, American Imago 50, no. 3 (1993): 355. 118. Derrida, "The Principle of Reason," 9. 119. John D . Caputo, Radical Hermeneutics: Repetition, Deconstruction, and the Hermeneutic Project (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987), 231. 120. Derrida, "The Principle of Reason," 8. 121. Ibid., 8. 122. Derrida, "The Principle of Reason," 7. (Translation has been modified.). 123. Ibid., 8. 124. Ibid., 10. 125. See Jacques Derrida, "Languages and Institutions of Philosophy." 126. Derrida, "The Principle of Reason," 10. 127. Ibid., 8. 128. M a r t i n Heidegger, The Principle of Reason, trans. Reginald L i l l y (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1991), 119. 129. See Jacques Derrida, "Sending: O n Representation." 130. See M a r t i n Heidegger, The Question Concerning Technology. 131. Derrida, "The Principle of Reason," 10. 132. See M a r t i n Heidegger, The Question Concerning Technology. 133. See ibid. 134. Derrida, "The Principle of Reason," 10. (Translation has been modified.). 135. Derrida, "Sending: O n Representation," 307. 136. See M a r t i n Heidegger, The Principle of Reason. 137. See ibid. 138. See M a r t i n Heidegger, The Question Concerning Technology. 139. Derrida, "Sending: O n Representation," 304. 140. Derrida, "The Principle of Reason," 8. 141. See Jacques Derrida "Force of L a w " for the two "types" of deconstructive approaches—the one following the trails of an idea or concept, the other using a text as a springboard to reading and w r i t i n g — and the "whole subjectal axiomatic of responsibility" (25). 142. Derrida, "The Principle of Reason," 8. 143. Derrida, "The Principle of Reason," 8. 144. See M a r t i n Heidegger, Discourse on Thinking, trans.John M . A n d e r s o n and E. Hans Freund (New York: Harper & R o w Publishers, 1966). 145. Derrida, "The Principle of Reason," 9. 146. See M a r t i n Heidegger, The Question Concerning Technology. 147. See M a r t i n Heidegger, Discourse on Thinking.  228  Technologies  of Reason  148. Derrida, "The Principle of Reason," 8. 149. Ibid., 8. 150. See M a r t i n Heidegger, Poetry, Language, Thought. 151. Heidegger, Discourse on Thinking, 65.\ 152. O n this aspect of Gelassenheit, see Jacques Derrida, "Heidegger's Ear: Philopolemology (Geschlecht IV), trans. John P. Leavey, Jr., i n Reading Heidegger: Commemorations, ed. John Sallis (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993) 163-218. 153. Heidegger, Discourse on Thinking, 55. 154. See M a r t i n Heidegger, Poetry, Language, Thought. 155. See M a r t i n Heidegger, The Question Concerning Technology. 156. Cited i n Derrida, "The Principle of Reason," 9. 157. Christopher N o r r i s , Derrida (Great Britain: Fontana Press, 1987), 160. 158. The preference Richard Rorty has for John Dewey is stated i n The Consequences of Pragmatism (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1982): "To l u m p D e w e y w i t h Peirce, James, and Quine is to forget that he was swept off his feet, and into a new intellectual w o r l d , by Hegel's and Compte's visions of our past." (46) 159. Derrida, "The Principle of Reason," 9. 160. Ibid., 9. 161. See Jacques Derrida, "Force of L a w . " 162. See Jacques Derrid, "Mochlos." 163. See Immanuel Kant, Critique of Practical Reason, trans. L e w i s White Beck ( N e w York: M a c m i l l a n P u b l i s h i n g C o m p a n y , 1956) and Immanuel Kant, The Conflict of the Faculties/Der Streit der Fakultaten, trans. M a r y J. Gregor (New York: A b a r i s Books, 1979). 164. See Jacques Derrida "Mochlos." 165. Derrida, "The Principle of Reason," 9. 166. D e r r i d a , Du droit a la philosophic, 88. (Translation is m y own.). 167. Heidegger, The Principle of Reason, 24. A l s o included i n a slightly different tranlation i n a footnote to Derridas text. 168. Derrida, "The Principle of Reason," 9. 169. Derrida, "Languages and Institutions of Philosophy," 134. 170. See ibid. 171. See the comments on ghosts, specters, apparitions, etc i n Jacques Derrida, "Passions." A n on-running theme that appears i n other texts such as The Gift of Death, "The Force of L a w , " Specters of Marx: The State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning, & the New International, trans. Peggy K a m u f (New York: Routledge, 1994). 172. Jacques Derrida, On the Name, trans. D a v i d W o o d , John P. Leavey, Jr., and Ian M c L e o d , ed. Thomas Dutoit (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995), 93. 173. The semiotic facet of the khora as an aspect of the theory of poetic language and the psychoanalytic drives of the subject is found i n Julia Kristeva, Revolution in Poetic Language, trans. Margaret Waller ( N e w York: C o l u m b i a University Press, 1978). 174. See the chapter entitled " M n e m o s y n e " i n Jacques Derrida, Memoires for Paul de Man. 175. See Jacques Derrida, "Sendoffs." 176. O n guarding against the trans-lation of skepticism to mystagogy see Jacques Derrida, " O n a N e w l y A r i s e n Apocalytic Tone i n Philosophy," trans. John P. Leavey, Jr., i n Raising the Tone of Philosophy: Late Essays by Immanuel Kant, Transformative Critique by Jacques Derrida, ed. Peter Fenves (Baltimore: Johns H o p k i n s University Press, 1993), 117-171.  229  Technologies  of Reason  177. Derrida, "Languages and Institutions of Philosophy," 132. 178. See Jacques Derrida, Speech and Phenomena. 179. See Jacques Derrida, The Post Card. 180. See Jacques Derri