Contexts and Commentary. We often provide contexts in teaching situations because they help orient students when reading texts that are easier to understand if some context is given. The essay is concerned to show that there are conditions that are necessary and more deeply grounded than context for questions about texts, discourses and events, despite the possibility that we might actually care more about context than these other conditions when reading texts. Briefly, for the moment, Derrida will demonstrate that our sense of a context is dependent absolutely on a condition that exceeds all contexts, conventionally considered, and that puts into question not only the value of context but its coherent sense, its meaning. It would be useful to stop here and consider what is meant by the word context. Some examples:.
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Gerald Graff Editor. Samuel Weber Translator. Jeffrey Mehlman Translator. Limited Inc is a major work in the philosophy of language by the celebrated French thinker Jacques Derrida. The book's two essays, "Limited Inc" and "Signature Event Context," constitute key statements of the Derridean theory of deconstruction.
They are the clearest exposition to be found of Derrida's most controversial idea, that linguistic meaning is fundamentally indete Limited Inc is a major work in the philosophy of language by the celebrated French thinker Jacques Derrida.
They are the clearest exposition to be found of Derrida's most controversial idea, that linguistic meaning is fundamentally indeterminate because the contexts that fix meaning are never stable. Limited Inc includes an important new afterword by the author. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. More Details Original Title. Other Editions 5. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Limited Inc , please sign up. Lists with This Book.
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Jul 16, Joshua Stein rated it it was ok Shelves: postmodernism-poststructuralism. The majority, and center, of this book is Derrida's response to John Searle. I have many thoughts on it, and it is the most important and engaging part of the book, for better or for worse. Austin and to make a number of claims bout language that are untenable, unacceptable, and ridiculous.
I'm no The majority, and center, of this book is Derrida's response to John Searle. I'm not going to deal with, here, whether or not I think that Searle is right in making that judgment about SEC. The essay is confusing and, though Derrida defends it well, even on rereading, it is sufficiently obscurantist that it is hard to say that Derrida's defense is totally acceptable, and Searle's misreadings are unjustified. The major problem with the book is in its content.
The extended essay that is Derrida's response to Searle is obnoxious, making jokes at Searle's expense and failing to hold Derrida himself to the same standard of serious reading that he is holding Searle regularly criticizing Searle's use of citation while engaging in the same practices and there is serious reason to be suspicious to whether Derrida understands much at all about the tradition of analytic philosophy of language on which he attempts to comment in this response.
This is a typical critique from analytic philosophers, and the defense from students and followers of Derrida is often to accuse those analytics of not having read Derrida closely enough. Whether or not it is true that analytic critics have not given Derrida a fair shake, it seems also fair to say that Derrida has either not tried or is not equipped to respond to genuine issues in analytic philosophy of language. Derrida's writing moves in interesting patterns connecting concepts, but he seems to take for granted a number of things that he shouldn't given his dispute is with Searle: 1.
I'll add a link to those articles when they are finished at the end of this review. It is also that he presents himself as someone antagonized by the analytic discourse, who is genuinely attempting to engage with figures like Austin, while not acknowledging the substantive differences in what is accepted as functional and methodologically sound. Derrida does acknowledge a difference in the tradition, initially, but then proceeds to ignore that difference as important throughout the essay, which suggests that he doesn't have an intention of engaging Searle so much as an audience who already agrees that Hegel and others were generally correct about things like meaning.
In that tone, Derrida presents himself as having some parity with Searle and co. It is unfair, he seems to think, that a tradition of Anglo-Saxon philosophers has taken over the legacy of J. Austin and claimed exclusive right to interpretation. Derrida maintains that this is unfair and that his understanding of Austin is informed by thorough reading. However, he doesn't acknowledge the role that the aforementioned difference in tradition and background assumption plays in who has a right to interpret Austin.
Because Austin was a part of a group of philosophers who are ideologically very similar to Searle after all, many of the same theorists who were formative for Austin were also formative for Searle; they were part of the same academic environment there is some strength to the claim to interpreting Austin.
At no point does Derrida appear to give a reasoned criticism of this, nor does he appear at any point to take into account the ideological roots of Austin that are formative to his thought. This is the sort of negligence that legitimizes analytic criticisms of Derrida, and which directly fuels the animosity of those criticisms.
I would strongly recommended, for reasons of the philosophical content alone, that folks who read Derrida only attempt this after having familiarized themselves with Austin and the analytic tradition, as well as some of the relevant background literature that informs Derrida, though Derrida does a fine job at staking out his own position; it is the positions of the interlocutors and an account of their backgrounds that suffer for the negligence. This book is a very lopsided account of an incredibly difficult and nuanced issue; it is written in a style which feels at times deliberately difficult when it doesn't need to be especially in the case of SEC, though still sometimes in the course of Limited Inc itself ; and it is problematic in its content.
Feb 01, Maksym Karpovets rated it liked it Shelves: , philosophy , poststructuralism , postmodernism. Jul 15, Francisca rated it liked it Shelves: theory. Feb 28, surfurbian rated it liked it. I have not been able to think straight since I read this. My scores from years ago on the GRE tell the tale the clearest.
I can now grasp the implications of what I read while completely missing the main idea. Dec 05, Jenny rated it really liked it Shelves: philosophy. If you're interested in the development of the concept of performativity from Austin through Searle and on, this is the next place to go.
Jul 06, Eric rated it it was amazing Shelves: theory , philosophy , rhet-comp , field-exam , diss , hedging. He argues no, but claims that the "ambiguous field" of its meaning can be "massively reduced by the limits of what is called a context. Thus all communication is a form of writing—not vice versa. Apr 11, Spoust1 rated it it was amazing.
I was looking at some of the other reviews of this book, about how it "is a great introduction to," or "shows the basic schematics" of "deconstruction. His texts cannot be reduced to anything called "deconstruction," there is no "thing" called deconstruction, which might be excavated from reading this or any other book by Derrida.
He never attempts to sum up his own work like that; the notion of describing in writing some idea, some I was looking at some of the other reviews of this book, about how it "is a great introduction to," or "shows the basic schematics" of "deconstruction. He never attempts to sum up his own work like that; the notion of describing in writing some idea, some fragment of logos, called "deconstruction," is contrary to how Derrida conceives of writing.
To read Derrida to understand "deconstruction" is absolutely the wrong way to read him; it isn't a faux pas as much as it is, as Derrida himself shows, an impossible and absurd task. I had to say that. The first, "Signature Event Context," is an essay problematizing the idea of "intention," arguing that it is impossible for some notion of "intention" to govern the meaning of any sign system, flesh of text, for text is by its own nature full of undecidabilities, is constituted by the possibility of meaning.
Derrida also traces the ripples, the ruptures, this has for speech acts theory and the notion of communication. In addition it is a complex, rich, literary text - still structured, unlike some of his later work, but also charged with ambiguities.
It includes a brief summary of Searle's essay, "Reiterating the Differences," which Searle refused to allow be published in the collection, and Derrida ends up quoting almost the entire thing in his length response. As I understand it, Searle missed the point of Derrida's critique and ended up making the same argument Derrida deconstructed, the argument Austin made, again, with different words. Derrida's response is polemical - in a mischievous way; he takes plenty of detours, using this as an opportunity to show how "the author" is an arbitrary label and an ideology, among other things; and using this as an excuse to do - again, among other things - amusing things with Searle's name.
His response is serious intellectually, however. Derrida shows not only that Searle's logic is no different than Austin's, that Derrida had already done away with it; he also shows that the possibility Searle misunderstood Derrida in fact is an example of one of the things he showed in "Signature Event Context": how we can never be sure communication can or will take place.
The third part is an interview with Derrida, which I have heard is "a good introduction to deconstruction" - I will not comment.
Aug 04, David Griffiths rated it it was amazing. I came to this exchange already a fan of Derrida and of Austin with a slight expectation that I may have my loyalties conflicted. The expectation was unwarranted. Derrida establishes a number of important criticisms centred on the unsupportable binary categories upon which much of the analysis of language descending from Austin rests upon. Many of the other reviews here charge Derrida with obscurantism, and while Derrida's writing is sometimes, necessarily, difficult I find the charge in relation I came to this exchange already a fan of Derrida and of Austin with a slight expectation that I may have my loyalties conflicted.
Many of the other reviews here charge Derrida with obscurantism, and while Derrida's writing is sometimes, necessarily, difficult I find the charge in relation to this text specifically to be grossly unfair. I suspect people often find Derrida's writing to be obscure simply because they expect it to be.
Then comes a summary of a response written by Searle. I tried very hard to give it a fair chance, to explore its context and find a copy but Searle's version of Derrida bears no similarity to the one I had just read. He frequently criticises Derrida for not taking in to account things that clearly were taken into account, or often simply ignores key parts of concepts seemingly merely to support his own prejudices about what he wants Derrida to mean.
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Limited Inc is a book by the French philosopher Jacques Derrida , containing two essays and an interview. The first essay, "Signature Event Context," is about J. The book concludes with a letter by Derrida, written in response to questions posed by Gerald Graff in "Afterword: Toward an Ethic of Discussion". Searle's essay is not itself included: he denied Northwestern University Press permission to reprint it. A summary is included between the two Derrida essays, and Derrida quotes the essay extensively. It first appeared in English translation in the inaugural issue of the journal Glyph in and was followed in the same issue by Searle's "Reply to Derrida: Reiterating the Differences".