A critical comparison of two influential philosophers' appraches to language
Derrida and Wittgenstein
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Newton Garver and Seung-Chong Lee
Though Derrida and Wittgenstein emerged from vastly different cultural and intellectual traditionsDerrida from the French and Wittgenstein from the Britishboth distrust the "totalizing" concept of metaphysics. In this way, the two belong to the broad contemporary movement of analytical skepticism. Newton Garver and Seung-Chong Lee discuss this commonality, Derrida and Wittgenstein's similar view that language is the key to understanding philosophy, as well as distinguishing the differences between Derrida's style of obscure terminology, long, involved sentences, and multiple meanings, and Wittgenstein's approach to writing, which makes use of simple, familiar analogies and similes.
Looking at Derrida and Wittgenstein's place in the history of philosophy, Garver and Lee assert that while Derrida is playful and witty, this method often obscures his ideas; conversely, Wittgenstein is considered the better philosopher because of his use of naturalism to resolve the problems of Kant's version of critical philosophy. The authors explore structuralism and metaphors as linguistic devices central to the theories and criticism of both Derrida and Wittgenstein.
Working to eschew the often uncritical interpretations given to Derrida's and Wittgenstein's works, the authors seek to further a fundamental understanding of what philosophy is and of how it operates. Toward this end, they explore the role of language, grammar, and logic in relation to metaphysics within the context of Derrida and Wittgenstein's incompatible, but oddly complementary, linguistic theories.
"Derrida and Wittgenstein is civilized and decidedly intelligent and scrupulous. I am aware that all three epithets are usually dismissive. But I mean them as high compliments. You cannot read this book without entering into the joyful business of understanding the philosophical odyssey of the Westor learning that your best discoveries have indeed been tactually prepared for you by the unfolding text."
"This is a fascinating and illuminating work, certain to be controversial. It brings Wittgenstein and Derrida into a common intellectual space shaped by, among other things, structuralism, Husserl, and medieval philosophy. It will be of interest to everyone concerned with Wittgenstein and Derrida, and philosophy of language generally."
2. Structure and Metaphor
3. Logic and Rhetoric
4. Rousseau and Logocentrism
5. Grammar and Metaphysics
6. Style and Philosophy
7. In the Beginning