Protocol #1

Seminar - September 13, 2004

CLT 601: Deconstruction and Criticism

Prof. Silverman

Kascha Semon




1. Derrida¹s ³Introduction to The Origin of Geometry²

2. Husserl, Essences, and Phenomenology

3. Phenomenologies: Merleau-Ponty, Heidegger and Sartre

4. Difference in Heidegger¹s ontology influences Derrida

    [Difference in Semiology influence Derrida] (to be discussed next week)

5. Derrida and Différance


1. Derrida¹s ³Introduction to The Origin of Geometry²



1962 Derrida¹s first published work was a translation of Husserl¹s Origin of Geometry.

1967 Published 3 books: Speech and Phenomena,  Of Grammatology, and Writing and Difference

1972 Published 3 more books


³Introduction to The Origin of Geometry²

Derrida distinguishes ³origin² from ³beginning²:

beginning = historical, temporal moment

origin = moment at which history connects to eternal ideas, historicity, eternal

Which aspect of origin is temporal and atemporal is indecideable.


In 1962, the strategy of deconstruction is in place but without the title ³deconstruction.²


2. Husserl, Essences, and Phenomenology

Multiple Sense/sinn/sens  and singular reference/eidoi

e.g. 2 senses: ³Morning Star² and ³Evening Star² but 1 reference,  the planet Venus


What is Phenomenology?

-from Greek phainomena = appearance,  and logos ­ God¹s word, word, language, logic,

-search for essences

-involves bracketing

-a method



In Husserl¹s Phenomenology, the phenomenologist performs 2 reductions:

1. eidetic- find a phenomena¹s essence/meaning/sinn

                e.g. what makes this object essentially and eraser and not something else?

                -Can also perform an eidetic variation to determine essential aspects.

2. transcendental ­ bracketing and leave aside presuppositions.  Possible without object.


The Transcendental

Transcendent ­ the particularity that allows a phenomena to transcend everything else

Transcendental  - when experienced by a subject as an essence


Husserl¹s essences differ from Platonic ideas in that Husserl¹s essences are given in an experiential act while the Platonic forms are independent of experience.


All consciousness is consciousness of something.


The Ego can direct itself at the world or direct itself at consciousness; the latter leads to descriptive reflection on a transcendental level


4 Transcendental Objects:

1.        Transcendental Ego ­ ego in the transcendental realm of consciousness that directs itself outside itself

2.        Meaning /Essence/Noema = meaning given in act of directed consciousness

3.        Noesis ­ the meaning giving act of directing consciousness

4.        Hylé /hyletic data ­ material elements of an object that show through at transcendental level




3. Phenomenologies: Merleau-Ponty, Heidegger and Sartre


Husserl 1859 ­ 1938                             Transcendetal philosophy


Merleau-Ponty 1908- 61                      Existential philosophies




E.g. of differences among these phenomenologists:

- Husserl might have wondered what happened to the transcendental reduction in Heidegger

- Heidegger could not ignore the existence of phenomena in order to reflect on them.

- Sartre claimed that existence precedes essence; there is an undifferentiated existence and differentiated essences.  We become nauseous while contemplating existence. 


4. Difference in Heidegger¹s ontology influences Derrida

In Being and Time, Heidegger differentiates

beings² that which is from, Seiende             ontic

-  ³Being² ³to be,² l¹etre, Sein                         ontological


relation between the two B/beings = the ontico-ontological difference


The being that can inquire into the relation between beings and Being, the difference, is Dasein.

-          this an impersonal category, differing from other phenomenologies which were philosophies of consciousness


5. Derrida and Différance

Derrida takes from Heidegger the idea of différance.

Q: ³What is the difference between différence and différance?²

A: Writing


-Many ³beings² differ from each other but are also Different from Being/Sein

- Similarly, the difference between the words ³différence² and ³différance² is different from the difference between speaking and writing


Strategy of deconstruction:

Start with a binary pair. Begin with the priority, conventional area and move to the marginal, less common and re-prioritize, naming the difference after the margin.

E.g. move from speech to writing and re-name it  ³writing².

E.g. go from host to parasite and inquire into difference


SEE         L¹Ecriture et La différance

hear     L¹Ecriture est La différance