Derrida’s other modus operandi

PHILOSOPHY IN A TIME OF ERROR

Revising an essay on Derrida, I came across this passage, which mirrors formally claims made all the way back in 1963 about Foucault’s History of Madness, where he argued that far from displacing any conceptions of madness, Foucault had to assume an everyday, common understanding of it in order to perform its history. Whatever the validity of this claim, here he is in 1999 discussing Heidegger on death in his Death Penalty lectures (he makes a similar claim in Aporias, but this is much clearer):

My hypothesis today is that all alleged pre-comprehensions [note well, of course, that this is the terminology for how Heidegger enters all hermeneutic circles, such as famously at the beginning of Sein und Zeit] of the meaning of the word “death,” like all refined semantic or ontological analyses that purport to distinguish, for example, the dying (Sterben) of man or of…

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