Derrida’s Avoidance

  • Dror PimentelEmail author


Derrida on Heidegger’s opposition, in Being and Time, to the metaphysics of subjectivity, Heidegger’s notion of man as asking the question of Being, as ek-sistence, as leaping beyond the ontic to the ontological; Heidegger’s rejection of notions, such as consciousness, soul, and spirit, associated with the metaphysics of subjectivity; Derrida on Heidegger’s celebration of spirit in the 1933 “Rectorship Address,” and his ongoing inquiry into spirit from that point on; spirit as the ‘flaming hearth’ of Heideggerian discourse; Heideggerian spirit’s connection to the question of Being, to world, to earth and blood, to resoluteness; Derrida on spirit in Heidegger’s readings of Schelling and Hölderlin; Derrida’s deconstructive reading of spirit in Heidegger’s essay on Trakl; spirit as identified with doubling, difference, and writing; the blurring of Heidegger’s hierarchical distinctions between spirit’s inside and outside, proper and improper spirit, spirit as air and spirit as fire; metaphysical spirit as an ineluctable ghost that haunts Heidegger’s attempts to escape it; spirit as trace, as différance; despite deconstructing the elements of Heidegger’s thought on spirit, Derrida avoids deconstructing its overall logocentric structure; Derrida avoids linking the various steps in Heidegger’s argument for the animality of Germany’s Other; Derrida avoids uncovering the underlying metaphysical structure of Heidegger’s discussion of spirit, and its political consequences; Derrida avoids linking Heidegger to Nazism directly; Derrida avoids acknowledging Heidegger’s guilt; Derrida’s appropriation of Heidegger’s arguments for his own philosophical purposes: to show how Heidegger’s reflections on origin lead to Derrida’s différance; Derrida avoids acknowledging the metaphysical nature, hierarchical structure, and violence, of Heidegger’s thought on difference; Heidegger does, yet doesn’t, transgress metaphysics: his hierarchy of differences retains propriety as a metaphysical value; hierarchical thinking is manifest even in Heidegger’s 1953 essay on Trakl, though couched in eschatological language; failure of Derrida’s putative extrication of the Trakl essay from the racist context of Heidegger’s thought on spirit.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bezalel Academy of Art and DesignJerusalemIsrael

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