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The Constitutive Outside

Source: Website of Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

Source: Website of Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

I was reading M. Peters, M. Olssen, C. Lankshear, „Futures of Critical Theory. Dreams of Difference. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2003, and specifically the work: Gert J. J. Biesta, „Jacques Derrida: Deconstruction = Justice“ in that book.

This is about the nonpresent making the presence of what is present possible (and at the same time impossible). Indeed, in the decisionmaking, only the nonpresent can contest the legality of a decision that excluded it. (In the human relations, the idea may be terrifying (- In my opinion, the less harmful appearance could be something like: „Thank You for Your unpresence having made my present possible!“), but the justice-makers know that justice is an illusion in the sense of self-sufficient presence due to the subjectively constrained human nature.)

From a bit different angle, Biesta refers to the critique of the metaphysics of presence – Any suggestion of presence is only possible because that what makes presence possible is itself made invisible. As an example has been brought the situation, where the King is highly visible, but the work of many that makes the visibility of the King possible, is invisible (impossible?).

In order to understand, what (more or less) exactly is present, one has to use critical method. Having been born into the Western thought, where the major universal theories of Plato, Aristotle, Kant, etc., dominate, one is perhaps not used to think much of critique, although also the major and most well-known theories consist of language and definitions.

A form of critical philosophy is deconstruction. Biesta refers to Derrida’s statement „deconstruction is justice“, and claims that the statement, firstly, reveals the „hyper-political“ character of justice, and secondly, raises the question: „What is the status of deconstruction in critical philosophy?“ Biesta concludes that although deconstruction is critical, deconstruction differs by the object of its critique, and by its method. (What may also be important is that Derrida does not consider deconstruction itself being a method.)

What else caught my eye in the text: “The society we live in is a self-critical society, where experts are dethroned by counter-experts” (- Too roughly said, but that way improvements and developments are made possible, and “dethroned” does not mean “beheaded”).

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