Derrida and Realism

When I wrote my undergrad thesis, I had it clear in my mind what I wanted to write. My thesis was to be on how the two greatest critiques of the Philosophy of the Middle Ages constructed in the Twentieth Century had already been written and solved by Meister Eckhart.

The first of these two critiques was Heidegger’s critique of onto-theo-logy, which became the topic of my thesis. At some point I’ll have a revised edition of my thesis (it will be published as an essay by this time next year) and I’ll share it here.

The second of these critiques was Derrida’s critique of negative theology. My intention when coming out here for grad school was to write this as my MA thesis. At the time, I was hopeful in regards to deconstruction, and I was quite taken by the possibilities held within this school when it came to religion.

Of course, that didn’t last. I quickly became dissatisfied with people like John Caputo (and his Weak Theology), and abandoned my thesis on deconstruction in order to find the “superior empiricism” of Schelling’s early work. I see connections between Schelling’s Naturphilosophie and thinkers like Bergson and Deleuze, who I’ve become quite taken with. This obviously puts me squarely into some sort of realism, whereas deconstruction seems to be some sort of textual idealism, lost in language.

But what do we do with Derrida? There seems to be much of his writing worth working with. I still see his Hauntology as particularly important (although I see proto-hauntological ideas in Schelling’s Clara and his Weltalter). The idea of the spectre, and more importantly, of parts of reality that are missing or incomplete (or even decaying) seem applicable to a new Schellingianism (not that unlike the old Schellingianism. . . ), a realist Schellingianism, but an “imperfect” realism.

So is there room for Derrida in a realist philosophy, or must we abandon him entirely?

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Derrida and Realism

  1. Eric

    Was any of your thesis ever published anywhere? I would be interested in looking at it if it was.

  2. Eric,

    None of my thesis mentioned here has been published, no. I have been busy working on many projects that are quite different than that thesis and so haven’t had the time or the energy to re-invest myself in that area.

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