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Philosopher of the month: Jacques Derrida

This July, the OUP Philosophy team will be honoring Jacques Derrida as their Philosopher of the Month. Jackie (Jacques) Élie Derrida (15 July 1930 – 9 October 2004) was a French philosopher born to an Algerian Jewish family in El-Biar, Algeria. Derrida is widely known as the founder of the Deconstructionist movement.

At the age of 22, Derrida began studying philosophy in Paris at the École Normale Supérieure where phenomenology and Edmund Husserl were influential elements in his training. Derrida’s early research attempted to formulate a phenomenological theory of literature, and his first major publication was a French translation of Edmund Husserl’s The Origin of Geometry in 1962. Derrida is widely celebrated for being the leader of the deconstructionist movement. Deconstruction is a method of criticism that casts doubt upon the possibility of finding definitive meaning within literary and philosophical texts. Deconstructionism attempts to demonstrate how statements about any literary or philosophical text subvert their own meaning. Although Derrida himself has denied that deconstruction was a method or school of philosophy, the term has been used by others to explain Derrida’s technical sense behind criticism. Derrida’s major works include Writing and Difference (1967), Of Grammatology (1967), The Margins of Philosophy (1972), and Spectres of Marx (1994).

Featured image credit: Paris, by Moyan Brenn. CC-BY-2.0 via Flickr.

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