Continental Philosophy Review

, Volume 44, Issue 4, pp 439–468 | Cite as

Deconstructive aporias: quasi-transcendental and normative



This paper argues that Derrida’s aporetic conclusions regarding moral and political concepts, from hospitality to democracy, can only be understood and accepted if the notion of différance and similar infrastructures are taken into account. This is because it is the infrastructures that expose and commit moral and political practices to a double and conflictual (thus aporetic) future: the conditional future that projects horizonal limits and conditions upon the relation to others, and the unconditional future without horizons of anticipation. The argument thus turns against two kinds of interpretation: The first accepts normative unconditionality in ethics but misses its support by the infrastructures. The second rejects unconditionality as a normative commitment precisely because the infrastructural support for unconditionality seems to rule out that it is normatively required. In conclusion, the article thus reconsiders the relation between a quasi-transcendental argument and its normative implications, suggesting that Derrida avoids the naturalistic fallacy.


Derrida Deconstruction Ethics Morality Politics Aporia 



I am grateful to Samir Haddad, who commented on an earlier version of this paper, and to an anonymous reviewer for this journal. For institutional support during the time of completing the manuscript, I thank the Alexander-von-Humboldt Foundation, Germany.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyConcordia UniversityMontréalCanada

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