Derrida & Wittgenstein

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Temple University Press, 1994 - Philosophy - 242 pages
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Though Jacques Derrida and Ludwig Wittgenstein emerged from vastly different cultural and intellectual traditions - Derrida from the French and Wittgenstein from the British - both distrust the "totalizing" concept of metaphysics. In this way, the two belong to the broad contemporary movement of analytical skepticism. Newton Garver and Seung-Chong Lee discuss this commonality, Derrida and Wittgenstein's similar view that language is the key to understanding philosophy. They distinguish the differences between Derrida's style of obscure terminology, long, involved sentences, and multiple meanings, and Wittgenstein's approach to writing, which makes use of simple, familiar analogies and similes. Looking at Derrida and Wittgenstein's place in the history of philosophy, Garver and Lee assert that while Derrida is playful and witty, this method often obscures his ideas; conversely, Wittgenstein is considered the better philosopher because of his use of naturalism to resolve the problems of Kant's version of critical philosophy. The authors explore structuralism and metaphors as linguistic devices central to the theories and criticism of both Derrida and Wittgenstein. Using the themes found in Derrida's texts as a structure for their discussion, the authors incorporate Wittgenstein for contrast or corroboration. Working to eschew the often uncritical interpretations given to Derrida's and Wittgenstein's works, the authors seek to further a fundamental understanding of what philosophy is and of how it operates through their exploration of the role of language, grammar, and logic in relation to metaphysics within the context of Derrida's and Wittgenstein's incompatible, but oddly complementary, linguistic theories.

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About the author (1994)

Newton Garver (Buffalo, NY), SUNY Distinguished Service Professor and Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo, is the author of "This Complicated Form of Life and "Derrida and Wittgenstein and the editor (with James Brady) of "Justice, Law, and Violence and (with Peter Hare) of "Naturalism and Rationality.

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