Tuesday 17 August 2010

re: "Realism is de rigueur"

If Derrida is truly a realist (and I think that this argument is very interesting) then 99.5% of the scholarship on his work for the past thirty years has completely misinterpreted him.

Certainly I was not taught this particular version of J.D. in grad school. To quote (verbatim) the professor who taught discourse analysis: “language relates only to language”. (Pretty unambiguous!) Perhaps I was misinformed by an oaf who knew nothing? Or perhaps, and I find this rather more plausible, I was taught the overwhelming, mainstream view present in every textbook and seminar syllabus I’ve ever seen. Perhaps this is why whenever anyone in the class was so naive as to suggest that human perception is impacted by non-human objects in fashions irreducible to individual or collective discursive representations of those objects they were swatted down with disdain?

So, why is it only now that the ‘real’ (i.e. ‘realist’) Derrida is there for all to see, so obvious and self-evident? For all those who consider Derrida to be a realist: great! But the first thing you have to do is to explain why almost everybody who has ever read Derrida has gotten the opposite impression.

Secondly: Does language relate to more than language? If there is no REFERENCE between words and worlds (nobody here is arguing that) then is there RELATION between words and worlds and, more importantly, are there worlds even without words?