Derrida and the trouble with metaphysics

According to French philosopher Jacques Derrida, western metaphysics has suffered from a long-standing hung-up. Philosophers from Plato onwards have idealised the present, positing it as an ideal, pure, timeless form of reality, to be contrasted with the messiness of life that exists in time, interconnected with the past and the future. But simply recognising that this pure “now” that philosophers have postulated isn’t anything like the human “now”, always within history and embedded in a web of meaning, doesn’t mean that Derrida was able to overcome metaphysics altogether. To the extent to which our language already carries with it the history of western philosophy, there is no leaving it behind; there is no going beyond metaphysics, writes Peter Salmon.


In January 1954, the philosopher Jacques Derrida, then 24 and just back from a summer in his Algerian home, visited the Husserl Archives in Louvain, Belgium. The archive had been founded in 1938

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