, Volume 44, Issue 1, pp 81-101
Date: 15 Feb 2011

On morality of speech: Cavell’s critique of Derrida

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Abstract

This article tries to bring out the implication of Cavell’s critical comments on Derrida, clustered around Cavell’s charge that deconstruction entails a flight from the ordinary. Cavell’s and Derrida’s different readings of Austin’s ordinary language philosophy provide a common ground for elaborating their respective positions. Their writings are at once the closest but also the most divergent when addressing the moral implication of speech, or more precisely, when addressing their understanding of responsibility and voice. Employing Derrida’s so-called ‘double reading’ as a leitmotif will not only shed light on the moral dimension of deconstruction, but also bring the central target of Cavell’s critique into the open.