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Title: Speech, writing and phenomenology : Derrida's reading of Husserl
Author: Stamos, Yannis
ISNI:       0000 0004 2700 4239
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2008
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This thesis is a study of the two major texts of Derrida on Husserl's phenomenology. Engaging in a close reading of Introduction to the Origin of Geometry (1962) and Speech and Phenomena (1967), this thesis tries to bring together, and reconstruct, under the title of speech and writing, those Husserlian questions which never stop occuping, motivating and intriguing Derrida's thought, from his student studies and the Introduction to Rogues (2003) These were the questions or themes of origin and of historicity, of scientific objectivity and truth, of reason and responsibility, as well as of the living present, of living speech, of egological subjectivity and the alter ego. The question that this thesis raises is the following: why are these Husserlian themes of historicity, of the idea of the infinite task, of the living speech, etc., not simply the first objects or targets, subsequently to be abandoned, of Derridean deconstruction? Why is deconstruction, the event, the advent or invention of deconstruction, irreducible to some methodical or theoretical procedure, or to an operation of problematization or delegitimation of transcendental questioning? As we show in the first part of the thesis, these questions were investigated and developed by Husserl as a "responsible" response to the Crisis of the European sciences and humanity. Our investigation into Husserl's teleological discourse of history and responsibility shows that this crisis, which is anything but an empirical accident, threatens the very thing that Husserl wants to keep safe and sound (or to immunize, as Derrida writes in Rogues): the transcendental freedom of an egological subjectivity. For Husserl the possibility of crisis (of the subject) remains linked with the moment of truth, i.e., with the production and tradition of scientific objectitivities, and in fact has an essential link to writing. Husserl's teleological determination of writing as phonetic writing is an attempt to limit, tame and economize the essential ambiguity of writing: it threatens with passivity, forgetfulness and irresponsibility the very thing that makes possible, i.e., the transcendental and ideal community of a we-human-subjects- investigators-responsible-for-the-history-of-truth/reason. In the second part of the thesis, following Derrida's reading of Husserl in Speech and Phenomena, in Form and Meaning, Signature Event Context, and Eating Well, we show that Husserl's phenomenology of language and of phone is also a great philosophy of the transcendental subject. The essential and phenomenological distinctions between nonlinguistic and linguistic signs, sense and meaning, expression and indication, which are at the centre of Husserl's doctrine of signification, have also a teleological character: they are destined to define the limit, the arche and telos of language, as human language or human (i.e., phonetic) writing. In our reading we give great emphasis to Derrida's phenomenological analysis and deconstruction of this unique experience of auto-affection, the experience of hearing oneself speak. This is the experience of the human subject, the experience of a free, voluntary, auto-affecting egological subjectivity conscious of its voice, its speech and its humanity. Denying the possibility of phonic auto-affection of the human subject, in favour of the hetero-affection of writing was never the point of Derridean deconstruction. Deconstruction, the concept of writing or arche-writing, the graphics of differance, of iterability, are not imposed from the outside on Husserl's discourse on the human subject, the zoon logon echon. Rather, phenomenology itself interrupts or deconstructs itself, according to Derrida, as soon as it addresses the question of time and of the other, of the alter ego. Deconstruction was never only a thcoretico-philosophical, or academic affair. In our conclusion, we argue for the right of deconstruction, i.e., the right or demand to deconstruction. This right or demand to deconstruction, to ask questions about truth, consciousness, language, responsibility and so forth - so many powers, capacities or possibilities of which the animal is said to be deprived and poor - and the right or demand to do so performatively, by writing, by transforming and producing new analyses, new events and texts, new events of thought in the history of the concepts of man, of truth, of the subject and of human rights, is according to Derrida, an ethical and political demand.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: B Philosophy (General)