In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Reviews215 its relation to notions like faith, knowledge, opinion, feeling, thought is never carefully examined. The wider the field she makes "belief coextensive with — truth, commitment, meaning — the more doubtful it becomes. Indeed, it must be asked why one of the other prestige terms does not far better deserve this position. By the end of the book, it names the whole of worldly being: "Belief is ajudgment, linguistically expressed as having a selfreferent and an object-referent, about a possible world and way ofbeing-in-the-world" (p. 296). This definition pivots on the widely questioned model of consciousness and subjectivity , subject-object metaphysics, expressivist and propositional conceptions of language. It is part of Ricoeur's aim, whether he succeeds, to surmount this model through a hermeneutics of texts and their power to open up a world. Gerhart would like to believe that all the main points in Ricoeur's later hermeneutics can be rephrased in the language of belief. She concedes that Ricoeur himself neglects to explore "belief as a phenomenon ... in its own right" (p. 236), and that what she wants, namely a "discrete phenomenology of belief (p. 252), with some assist from MerleauPonty , goes contra Ricoeur. What appeals to her in Ricoeur's work is the promise of supplying a foundation (p. 143), which is what phenomenology can do (p. 151), and although she acknowledges the hermeneutic shift where language and textuality come to the fore, this shift does not affect "his foundational philosophy" (p. 174). In this, too, of course, she stands opposed to Ricoeur's own explicit claims (pp. 191 , 193). In any case, one thing that this author fails to learn: hermeneutics does not centralize and found the problem of "belief." Its effect is rather to dislocate, split up, and subvert all foundationalisms. A critical study of Ricoeur's recent and arguably most important work has yet to be written. Vassar CollegeMichael Murray Desire in Language, by Julia Kristeva; edited by Leon S. Roudiez; translated by Roudiez, Thomas Gora and AliceJardine; xi & 305 pp. New York: Columbia University Press, 1980, $16.95. The split between Derrida and Tel Quel was widely interpreted as political. Derrida was speaking with the French Communist Party when his colleagues were already looking to China. But there was also a philosophical reason. This was the disagreement between Derrida and Kristeva, the other theoretician of the group, over the feasibility of theoretical discourse. Roudiez's collection in English of early essays culled from S,?µa???? and Polylogue indicates that the argument subsisted from the very beginning. Kristeva begins like Derrida with a critique of referential theories of meaning, particularly the signifier/signified distinction. Their shared belief is that the signified cannot be specified independently of some signifier. So it, and any referent determining the sense of signifying acts, is a "metaphysical" entity which should be dropped from modern thought. Appropriateness of signification is governed by a set of constantly changing rules for the concatenation of signifiers. 216Philosophy and Literature At this point Kristeva and Derrida part ways. Derrida believes that all discourse is nonreferential and that a philosophy aware of this fact would have to give over its univocal status and write in a more "scriptural" (i.e., mythical) way. The most referential of (primarily) philosophical texts can be shown to generate terms not in imitation of some external reality so much as by a sort of metaphor production. Equally, Derrida argues that it is impossible to completely forego a referential core, and texts which claim to have "liberated" the signifier are deluded. He sees this impossibility as a fault of our metaphysical conceptual scheme, which might be overcome if some unforseeable seachange in consciousness were to occur. Kristeva reserves a place for theoretical texts. She alludes to Derrida in speaking of the "post-Heideggerian temptation" of "identifying theoretical discourse with that of art" (p. ix). She argues that expository discourse can accompany the almost pure metaphor of the poetic revolution. Thus she takes care to distinguish the status of her texts from poetic language. The enthusiasm for Derrida in this country was partly motivated by irritation at the excessive scientism the first structuralist wave had brought. Equally, the place Kristeva...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 215-216
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.