Who's Afraid of Philosophy?: Right to Philosophy 1

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Stanford University Press, 2002 - Philosophy - 208 pages
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This volume reflects Jacques Derrida's engagement in the late 1970s with French political debates on the teaching of philosophy and the reform of the French university system. He was a founding member of the Research Group on the Teaching of Philosophy (Greph), an activist group that mobilized opposition to the Giscard government's proposals to "rationalize" the French educational system in 1975, and a convener of the Estates General of Philosophy, a vast gathering in 1979 of educators from across France.

While addressing specific contemporary political issues on occasion, thus providing insight into the pragmatic deployment of deconstructive analysis, the essays deal mainly with much broader concerns. With his typical rigor and spark, Derrida investigates the genealogy of several central concepts which any debate about teaching and the university must confront.

Thus there are essays on the "teaching body," both the faculty corps and the strange interplay in the French (but not only the French) tradition between the mind and body of the professor; on the question of age in teaching, analyzed through a famous letter of Hegel; on the class, the classroom, and the socio-economic concept of class in education; on language, especially so-called "natural languages" like French; and on the legacy of the revolutionary tradition, the Estates General, in the university. The essays are linked by the extraordinary care and precision with which Derrida undertakes a political intervention into, and a philosophical analysis of, the institutionalization of philosophy in the university.

  

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Contents

Where a Teaching Body Begins and How It Ends
67
The Crisis in the Teaching of Philosophy
99
The Age of Hegel
117
Philosophy and Its Classes
158
Responses to La Nouvelle Critique
164
Philosophy of the Estates General
173
Notes
193
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About the author (2002)

Jacques Derrida was Director of Studies at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris, and Professor of Humanities at the University of California, Irvine. Stanford has published twelve of his books, most recently Without Alibi (2002) and Negotiations: Interventions and Interviews, 1971-2001 (2002).

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