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Conclusion Throughout this study, I have been concerned with exploring the difference between the thought of Ricoeur and Derrida, which, I have suggested, should be regarded through the prism of improbable encounters rather than a dialogue, a debate, or a confrontation. The first chapter demonstrated that, despite following Husserl in affirming the primacy of temporal continuity over against discontinuity, Ricoeur is dissatisfied with the phenomenological emphasis on a self-sufficient and self-constituting time-consciousness. He taps the resources of Freudian psychoanalysis precisely in order to question the sovereignty of the living present by admitting to the necessity and anteriority of unconscious activity with respect to conscious transparency. The perceptual present is now replaced by a reflective present posited as a task and pursued jointly by the analysand and the analyst. Reflective consciousness, then, arises as a philosophical configuration that admits to an ineluctable non-presence, which it nonetheless places under the service of an anticipated meaningfulness. The continuity between the impossibility of completely appropriating the meaning of unconscious impulses and the possibility of a progressive movement toward a limit-idea depends on the dialectical interpretation of a range of psychoanalytical terms such as perception and memory, consciousness and the unconscious, reality and pleasure, life and death. A similar dialectical teleology was revealed by the exegesis of Ricoeur’s hermeneutics of the self. In the first instance, Ricoeur affirms both the mediation of the speaking subject by language and the singularizing role of the instance of discourse. Subsequently, he discusses other types of mediation, whereby identity is destabilized by various factors such as time, textuality, finitude, and the alterity of other persons. These mediations result in a disappropriated self that has very little in common with the solus ipse of what Ricoeur calls “Husserlian egology.” In the second instance of what turns out to be a twofold process, the reappropriated self, which becomes an ambition rather than a given, is posited as a telos never to be actually attained but regulating a horizon within which an infinite progress may be envisaged. Once again, Ricoeur affirms the possibility of such a progressive movement where one’s thinking and actions ought to be 161 SP_PIR_Conc_161-166.indd 161 SP_PIR_Conc_161-166.indd 161 1/11/10 1:06:21 PM 1/11/10 1:06:21 PM 162 Reading Derrida and Ricoeur guided by the Ideas of a unified history and of the good life with and for others in just institutions. Within this regulated horizon, a number of dialectical relations are said to take place such as that between langue and parole, generality and singularity, idem and ipse, text and reader, and, most importantly, selfhood and otherness. Complete mediation is not possible. Still, some directionality is ensured by the telos from which the whole process receives its meaning. Chapters 2 and 4 indicated that Derrida’s formulations cast doubt upon the hermeneutic belief in dialectics and teleology. As far as Ricoeur’s construal of psychoanalysis is concerned, Derrida convincingly draws attention to specific Freudian motifs that undermine Freud’s sustained commitment to interpretation. The oppositionality and directionality on which Ricoeur’s argument depends are rendered problematic by certain psychoanalytical descriptions that complicate the boundary between the poles of Freud’s distinctions. Both the early neurological account and later metapsychology contain moments that invite one to think these distinctions in terms of a peculiar commingling that robs their poles of a secure identity, thereby debilitating the process of dialecticization. Derrida shows that death and memory, far from functioning as negative and supplementary categories eclipsed by life and perception respectively, constitute positive conditions that remain absolutely irreducible. If he characterizes the role of these conditions as “quasi-transcendental,” it is because the concomitant movement of différance prevents their conception on the basis of a transcendental origin or cause. According to a logic I have sought to explicate on many occasions, the necessary possibility of death and memory give rise to life and perception, whose corollary is that all these terms constitute, in the final analysis, effects structurally prevented from achieving plenitude or actual presence. The same movement is responsible for transforming the relation between singularity and generality into a co-implication of generalizability and the chance of singularity. This co-implication, encapsulated in the word iterability, is an essential feature of all signification, and, by extension, of deixis. It both conditions the possibility of a singular referent and renders any pure singularity impossible. Derrida’s thinking displaces the conventional link between speech, phenomenality...


Subject Headings

  • Deconstruction.
  • Derrida, Jacques.
  • Ricœur, Paul -- Criticism and interpretation.
  • Phenomenology and literature.
  • Hermeneutics.
  • Literature -- Philosophy.
  • Criticism -- History -- 20th century.
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