In his concluding remarks to Jacques Derrida and Gianni Vatimo’s Religion (1998), Hans-Georg Gadamer paternalistically refers to Derrida’s commentary on the khora as a kind of “game” that his younger colleague enjoys playing, a harmless pastime that one must not take too seriously. Gadamer’s response recalls Plato’s views in The Phaedrus, where Socrates cautions us that writing is a mere playing around with words, an idle occupation to wile away the time, as opposed to the more serious business of “sowing seeds,” or speaking and teaching in the present. In the same brief response, Gadamer adds that he does not value etymological investigation as much as his younger colleague, or his former teacher Martin Heidegger.1 For Gadamer, deconstructive investigation of a word’s history can also become a matter of mere child’s play, a kind of amusing diversion for the intellectually restless. Gadamer implies that there is no use in further debating the matter, since those who are convinced of these games’ intrinsic value will surely not give them up, just because he feels otherwise. The brevity of Gadamer’s response stands as a warning to all those who enter into the game of deconstruction, yet remain unconvinced by its strange logic.
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