Topoi

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 187–198 | Cite as

Derrida's language-games

  • Newton Garver
Article

Conclusion

In previous essays (1973, 1975, 1977) I have praised Derrida's contributions to philosophical dialogue and also insisted on their limitations. The considerations raised in this present essay do not lead me to a position that is less ambivalent.

Philosophy is a particular language-game. Like any other, it has its constitutive rules; or, perhaps better: its practice has certain distinctive features by means of which we recognize philosophizing and distinguish it from other linguistic activities. None of this can be set down in the form of necessary and sufficient conditions, and there always will be large areas of controversy about the paradigms themselves. Nonetheless there are philosophers, and they generally acknowledge Plato, Aristotle, Leibniz, Hume, and even some of their colleagues as also being philosophers. This acknowledgement holds even where there is philosophical disagreement - as must inevitably be the case, in view of the dialogical character of philosophical discourse.

Derrida occasionally enters into the dialogue, as do many others - poets, novelists, critics, diplomats, attorneys, cooks, barbers, and babysitters. These occasional contributions to philosophical dialogue differ in focus, in style, and in lack of self-referentiality from the works which constitute the main corpus of philosophy. Some might wish to say, as if the matter were paradoxical, that such contributions are both philosophical and not philosophical, or that they are neither philosophy nor not-philosophy. That might be as good a thing to say as anything. The practice of philosophy is complex and has many levels. Those who are acknowledged as its finest practitioners have a focus, a style, and a respect for where questions begin and end. Derrida does not share these qualities, and does not care to share them. That is no reason to ignore his work, but it is sufficient to explain why philosophers do not recognize it as a contribution to the central corpus of philosophy.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Austin, J. L.: 1955/1975 How to Do Things with Words; The William James Lectures delivered at Harvard University in 1955. J.O. Urmson and Marina Sbisà (eds.), second edition, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  2. Austin, J. L.: 1961, Philosophical Papers, J. O. Urmson and G. J. Warnock (eds.) Clarendon Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  3. Bubner, Rüdiger: 1974, ‘Zur Struktur eines tranzendentalen Argu-Ments” Kantstudien 65 Sonderheft, pp. 15–27. This Sonderheft is the same as G. Funke (ed.), Akten des 4 Internationalen Kant-Kongresses, Mainz, 1974, de Gruyter, Berlin/New York.Google Scholar
  4. Bubner, Rüdiger: 1975, ‘Kant, Transcendental Arguments, and the Problem of the Deduction’, Review of Metaphysics XXVIII, 453–467.Google Scholar
  5. Bubner, Rüdiger: 1981, ‘L'autoréférence comme structure des arguments transcendantaux’, Les études philosophiques 4, 385–398.Google Scholar
  6. Derrida, Jacques: 1967a, La voix et le phénomène, Presses Universitaires de France, Paris. Tr. David Allison, Speech and Phenomena, Northwestern University Press, Evanston, IL, 1973.Google Scholar
  7. Derrida, Jacques: 1967b, De la grammatologie, Minuit, Paris.Google Scholar
  8. Derrida, Jacques: 1967c, L'écriture et la différence, Le Seuil, Paris.Google Scholar
  9. Derrida, Jacques: 1986, Parages, Galilée, Paris.Google Scholar
  10. Derrida, Jacques: 1988, ‘The Politics of Friendship’, Journal of Philosophy LXXXV, 632–644.Google Scholar
  11. Garver, Newton: 1965, ‘Varieties of Use and Mention’, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research XXVI, 230–238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Garver, Newton: 1967, ‘Analyticity and Grammar’, The Monist L, 397–425. Reprinted in L. W. Beck (ed.), Kant Studies Today, Open Court, La Salle, IL, pp. 245–273.Google Scholar
  13. Garver, Newton: 1973, ‘Preface’, English translation of Derrida 1967a. Reprinted in John Canfield (ed.), The Philosophy of Wittgenstein, Vol. 15, Garland Press, New York, 1986.Google Scholar
  14. Garver, Newton: 1975, ‘Grammar and Metaphysics’, in D. Ihde and R. M. Zaner (eds.), Selected Studies in Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy, vol. 5, Nijhoff, The Hague.Google Scholar
  15. Garver, Newton: 1977, ‘Derrida on Rousseau on Writing’, Journal of Philosophy LXXIV, 663–673.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Garver, Newton: 1990, ‘Wittgenstein and the Critical Tradition’, History of Philosophy Quarterly VII, 227–240.Google Scholar
  17. Grice, Paul and Strawson, Peter F.: 1956, ‘In Defense of a Dogma’, Philosophical Review LXVI, 141–158. Reprinted in Paul Grice, Studies in the Ways of Words, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1989.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hampshire, Stuart: 1989, Innocence and Experience, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  19. Heidegger, Martin: 1962, Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics, tr. James S. Churchill, Indiana University Press, Bloomington/London.Google Scholar
  20. Jacques, Francis: 1979, Dialogiques: Recherches logiques sur le dialogue, Presses Universitaires de France, Paris.Google Scholar
  21. Kant, Immanuel: (KrV) Kritik der reinen Vernunft, in Kant, Werkausgabe, Bände III and IV.Google Scholar
  22. Kant, Immanuel: (Fortschritte) ‘Über die von der königlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin für das Jahr 1791 ausgesetzte Preisfrage: Welche sind die wirklichen Fortschritte, die die Metaphysik seit Leibnizens und Wolffs Zeiten in Deutschland gemacht hat?’, in Werkausgabe, Band VI. Page references are given both to this edition and also to the original edition by Rink (Königsberg, 1804).Google Scholar
  23. Kant, Immanuel: 1968, Werkausgabe, 12 vol., Wilhelm Weischedel (ed.), Suhrkamp, Frankfurt.Google Scholar
  24. Montaigne, Michel: 1962, Essais, two vol., Maurice Rat (ed.), Garnier, Paris.Google Scholar
  25. Quine, Willard van drman: 1951, ‘Two Dogmas of Empiricism’, Philosophical Review LXI. Reprinted in Quine, 1953, pp. 20–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Quine, Willard van Orman: 1953, From a Logical Point of View, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  27. Rorty, Richard: 1989, Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge/New York.Google Scholar
  28. Royce, Josiah: 1969, Basic Writings, two vol., John J. McDermott (ed.), University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
  29. Ryle, Gilbert: 1960, ‘Letters and Syllables in Plato’, Philosophical Review LXIX, 431–451. Reprinted in Ryle, 1971, Vol. I, pp. 54–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Ryle, Gilbert: 1971 Collected Papers, two vol., Hutchinson & Co., London.Google Scholar
  31. Wittgenstein, Ludwig: (LW) Last Writings on the Philosophy of Psychology, Preliminary Studies for Part II of Philosophical Investigations, G. H. von Wright and Heikki Nyman (eds.), tr. C. G. Luckhardt and Maximilian A. E. Aue, Basil Blackwell, Oxford, 1982.Google Scholar
  32. Wittgenstein, Ludwig: (OC) On Certainty, Blackwell, Oxford, 1969. References are to numbered sections.Google Scholar
  33. Wittgenstein, Ludwig: (PI) Philosophical Investigations second edition, tr. G. E. M. Anscombe, Blackwell, Oxford, 1958. References are to numbered sections in Part I.Google Scholar
  34. Wittgenstein, Ludwig: (RF) Remarks on Frazer's Golden Bough, Rush Rhees (ed.), tr. A. C. Miles, Humanities Press, Atlantic Highlands, NJ, 1979.Google Scholar
  35. Wittgenstein, Ludwig: (TLP) Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, tr. David F. Pears/Brian McGuinness, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1961.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Newton Garver
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophySUNY at BuffaloBuffaloUSA

Personalised recommendations