Sunday, April 29, 2007

surface structure, deep whatever

Days go by.... We live with a world dominated by surface structure, novelty, or “whatever,” among those who can barely explore constructively where surface ends and depth begins, where “It's all about me” can barely think about life and Time realistically. Of course, an Appeal's always a matter of degree, giving way according to some interpretive interest that never comprehends totality.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Habermas vs. Heidegger in ‘Derrida’

Habermas associates Derrida’s performativity with Adorno’s “Praxis” in his remembrance of Derrida, soon after Derrida died: “Derrida’s deconstruction, like Adorno’s negative dialectics, is essentially a performative exercise, a Praxis” [end of paragraph (i.e., passing comment)], Derrida-Habermas Reader, p.307. That seems to me to “essentially” express a misunderstanding of Derrida.

An oddness about Habermas’ comment is that, since all communicative action has a performative component, there seems to be an emptiness to calling negative dialectic “performative,” as if other action is something else. Perhaps, Habermas means by ’performative’: emancipatory efficacy, which is the perlocutionary effect (or unforced force) of critique. Certainly, the best sense of immanent critique (a longstanding value of the Marxian tradition) is exhibited by Derridean deconstruction: framing the self-betraying text, whose enactivity undermines itself in terms of what it enacts. This suggests Habermas’ later notion of performative contradiction.