Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Disclosure and inscription: Heidegger, Derrida, and the technological difference

By Tom Paul Barker

Abstract

The relationship of Jacques Derrida and Martin Heidegger has always been complex, encompassing an entanglement of two already immense networks and suspended between proximities and distances from infinitesimal to radical. Its peculiarity is evident in the way in which Derrida strategically inscribes his own text at the margin of Heidegger's thought via a double or cl6tural gesture which articulates the paradox that Derrida writes with Heidegger against Heidegger. One of the most decisive aspects of this gesture is Derrida's deconstruction of Heidegger's claims regarding the relation between technology and philosophy. In "The Question Concerning Technology" and accompanying essays Heidegger opens up a way of reflecting upon the essence of technology moves against its metaphysical determination specifying, moreover, the sense of modern technology as a mode of disclosure. These reflections are, however, ambiguous. Heidegger is one of the first thinkers to confront technology in philosophical terms, and yet he wishes to purify thinking of originary technicity. Technology remains a question, and as a question asked by thinking, thinking is not technical. In other words, thinking for Heidegger, is constituted in its very difference from technology. This is the move that must be deconstructed. In simultaneously repeating and displacing the Heideggerian scheme, Derrida elaborates an infinitesimal and decisive différance between the thinking of Being and his own notion of "writing" (Vecriture) or generalized inscription. What is crucial is that as against Heidegger's Being, the general text is not an essence of technics nor is it a proper thinking opposed to technology. On the contrary, Derrida's main point, among other things, against Heidegger, is that technology has always already begun, that it is originary with respect to the history of Being and thinking. In this study I examine the stakes and implications of Derrida's move along with a possible Heideggerian response. To begin with, I develop a reading of Heidegger's text that shows the import of technology to his work as a whole and its centrality to the thinking of Being as difference. I then take up the question of Derrida's deconstruction of Heidegger's analysis of the history of Being and its technological completion as this is played out in The Post Card and related texts. Following this I revert back to Derrida's now "classic" writings of the late 1960s and early 1970s and explore the arguments that relate contemporary developments in technology, science, and the media to the problematic of writing and to the closure of logocentric metaphysics. The preceding chapters lay the groundwork for me to then offer a critical reading of Derrida's text that locates in the articulations and assumptions of deconstruction certain indications of its belonging, within the horizon of Heidegger's thinking of technology. Finally, I offer a reading of some of Derrida's later texts with the aim of showing that and how deconstruction emerges as an affirmative technology

Topics: T1, B1
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:2326

Suggested articles


To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.