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184Philosophy and Literature the human realm as a "common inherence in Being" (p. 124), as Weltlichkeit or Weltmöglichkeit, world possibility. Sonia Kruks suggests in her conclusion that the ideas offered by these authors stand as an invaluable set oftools for reformulating the poststructuralist agenda in the wake of the "immanent critique" (Adorno) of anti-humanism. Her book certainly makes a readable contribution to this effort and stands as a sort of mini-toolbox with special relevance for those interested in existential social theory. Readers concerned with literary issuesperse will have to look elsewhere, but can still use Situation and Human Existence as a guide to the socio-philosophic backgrounds of the existential writers. Pennsylvania State UniversityC. S. Schreiner Strategies of Deconstruction: Derrida and the Myth of the Voice, byJ. Claude Evans; 205 pp. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1991, $39.95 cloth, $14.95 paper. Some continental philosophers are converted by the ethos of rigorism associated with "close reading" to a style of technical argument obscurely similar to analytic philosophy. A link between the early Husserl and Frege-influenced analytic school has long encouraged seminars on Husserl which never invoke Heidegger or for that matter Sartre, Lévinas, and Merleau-Ponty, all of whom carry out the undeveloped implications of Husserl's work in their pursuit of the concrete Sachen of worldbound existence. The evocative and narrative modes which "described" these Sachen had their own persuasive rigor which was genuinely literary. Derrida has said that he turned early from this existential legacy towards linguistic critique. One cannot ignore the consequences of this choice and commitment which, regardless of his literary persona, places Derrida in the technical forum of his Oxbridge adversaries to his own chagrin and theirs. Bertrand Russell's criticism of Bergson, which at first glance seems to anticipate the book under review, is more like an allegory of conflict within Derrida's own thought. Claude Evans, a philosopher who has written on Wilfrid Sellars (1984) and who translated the correspondence between Alfred Schutz and Aron Gurwitsch (1989), contests Derrida's arguments for their lack of rigor. Through careful readings of the primary Husserlian texts which Derrida critiques in Speech and Reviews185 Phenomena and Of Grammatology, Evans finds that Derrida's reading has been peremptory and, well, unrigorous. According to Evans, Derrida has mythologized the "phenomenological voice" of auto-affection and presence, exaggeraring the metaphysical bias of Husserl's work for a generation of scholars. AU the problems deconstructed by the early Derrida are re-evaluated: the concept of the sign and ideality, the primacy of consciousness, the suppression of "indication " and writing by a theory of expressive life which describes a prepredicative stream of experience behind which language cannot go. For Evans the motive for checking Derrida's work issues from Husserl's own concept of rigor, and his concluding chapter is titled "The Rigor and Ethics of Reading." There is no question that Derrida twists certain issues to suit his own agenda. But for Husserl rigor never meant the careful or scientific reading of texts or theories, as it does for Evans. In fact Husserl claimed that other philosophies were so many half-read noveh whose primary function was to inspire his own writing and research. Evans would have gotten closer to the truth by writing a book on inspiration in philosophy. By what then would rigor be oriented, or inspired? "The impulse to research," Husserl said in Philosophy as Rigorous Science, "must proceed not from philosophies, but from things and from the problems connected with them." The enigma of living things, which when pressed admit as much about stark contact as about metaphor, escapes both Evans and Derrida. In a climate adjusted by Barthes and de Man they too evince a hauteur before concrete existence which comes back to haunt one. Evans does smart and necessary work, but in only taking logical argument as Derrida's Achilles heel he grants him, by default, a victory in literature which he doesn't deserve. Derrida's work remains a brilliant philosophy in spite of its Joycean ambitions. The pursuit of the concrete which sealed a compact between the existential and the literary is abjured by a mode...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 184-185
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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