In this paper, I will argue for and against Derrida’s theory of deconstruction, différance, logocentrism, aporia, as well as post-structuralist ideas that he came up with in his life where he wrote over 40 books on these topics. It is possible to suggest that Derrida’s philosophic activity “gave a new meaning and clarity” (Angus, 2005) to the idea of controversy itself.
Jacques Derrida who a voice of modesty and patience, developed a theory in the mid-1960s that became known as “deconstruction”, which was a way of dismantling one’s excessive loyalty to any idea and learning to see the aspects of truth that were buried in its opposite. It is quite the contrary of structuralism, which sees the structure of the text. In popular usage the term has come to mean a critical dismantling of tradition and traditional modes of thought (“Deconstruction | Criticism”, 2017). He’s in fact been called a post-structuralist because he engaged with the theory of structuralism by Saussure. Saussure (A Course in General Linguistics, 1878) believed that “language is made up of signs”, so it could be the written word or just the image. He believed that what gives signs meaning is the differences between them. Derrida simply took this idea and built upon it. He said that not only were signs dependent on each other, but other signs were always present within the meaning of a single sign by what he called their trace (Then & Now, 2017).
Deconstruction is interested in the fact that although we perceive meaning in a text, sometimes if we look too closely, it doesn’t seem to hold up. Therefore anything communicated to us, is in essence of failure. Derrida talks about how we have to continue to modify our language to get closer to meaning, but no matter how close we get, it’s never going to be perfect. For example; if a person says the word “cat”, each individual hearing this will have a completely different image in mind. (Nance, 2018) So basically, deconstruction is dismantling our excessive loyalty to any idea and learning to see the aspects of truth that lie buried in its opposite.
According to Derrida, Words cannot be pinned down to a single definite meaning which is a statement I wholly believe in considering each person is his own, so there can never be a moment where a person will be thinking the same exact thing any other is. This is known as différance.
Derrida hopes that we could live more intelligently by deconstructing a range of key-binary terms such as; reason vs. passion, masculinity vs. femininity and profit vs. generosity. Derrida wanted the people to see that each side had something to offer and that they both needed one another. He pointed out that some of the best situations we know aren’t exactly traditional; he in fact proposed the assertion that “Equality is always better than inequality” is unstable (5:10, The School Of Life, 2016). He was criticising the people’s idea that behind each problem is a broad solution; he simply wanted people not to rush to conclusions when it came to two sides, such as capitalism and socialism.
Being uncertain about such concepts is the central mark of maturity for Derrida. This is where he brought back into use the Greek word “Aporia” which was mentioned earlier on. This means puzzlement. This was the state that he wanted each person to go through, and which one should visit regularly within themselves. Ultimately, deconstruction isn’t just about searching for multiple meanings but it’s about looking into all the “covert ethical and political ideas” (“Jacques Derrida”, 2008) in the meanings.
From learning all of this, one can see that it prompts an exploration of various oppositions and critical terms; attempting to extract and evaluate a Derrida argument is maddening. Derrida was suspicious of some really basic assumptions in the Western philosophical tradition, so his texts deploy an incredibly complicated philosophical vocabulary in an attempt to move “beyond” the limits of that tradition. Nonetheless, Derrida’s work