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|Title:||Derrida and the Problem of Ethics|
Department of English, NTNU
|Abstract:||An increasing number of literary critics and theorists have come to investigate Derri- da’s contribution to ethics in recent years. This trend both challenges an earlier tendency to attack Derrida for being ethically irrelevant and complicates the discussion of the relationship between deconstruction and ethics. In response to the on-going debates over the ethical significance of Derrida’s works, this paper attempts to trace the relationship between Levinas and Derrida with regard to the thinking or problematizing of ethics: while Levinas foregrounds ethics as “first philosophy,” seeing the ethical relation as a fundamental openness to the other that precedes subjective being, Derrida—seeing de- constructive “reading” as an opening out of the text (of “writing”)—is aware of the danger (and perhaps impossibility) of clearly “naming” that which is “ethics” (or “ethic- al”), as well as the need to be open to its “possibilities.” My contention then is that, if Levinas’s ethics involves moving beyond the totality of being to the infinity of otherness, deconstruction is simultaneously ethical and non-ethical, exceeding incessantly the boundary of the ethical.|
|Appears in Collections:||Concentric: Studies in English Literature and Linguistics|
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