ABSTRACT

In the last chapter I reviewed several distinct and sometimes conflicting accounts of the ethico-political significance of deconstruction preparatory to revealing the risk involved in submitting Derrida to a reading of this sort. Bearing in mind that Derrida aims to disclose a non-site which would be the other of philosophy, a space indefinable or nonlocatable by means of philosophical language, my concern is that simply to rely on the question of significance (and by extension, meaning) promotes an unnecessarily distorted reading of his work. This can be seen if we recall Derrida’s manner of thinking about context or the general text. Focusing on the ‘unconditionality’ that is prior to and independent of any given context, and which intervenes in the determination of a context nevertheless, I will consider how the question of significance bears upon this. Can it evoke or is it bound only to endanger the thought of this unconditionality? I submit then that if we are not merely to perpetuate the very questioning mode which Derrida seeks to interrupt then our inquiry must proceed otherwise. Rather than proceed via the question of deconstruction’s ethico-political significance therefore, I propose to chart the relation between ethics, politics and deconstruction by recourse to Derrida’s recasting of responsibility. In the final chapter I explore what is involved in assuming this responsibility, and the sense in which this constitutes for Derrida ‘the moment of strategies, rhetorics, ethics, and of politics’ (LI, 152).