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Kantian Transpositions

Derrida and the Philosophy of Religion

Eddis N. Miller

Publication Year: 2014

Kantian Transpositions presents an important new reading of Jacques Derrida’s writings on religion and ethics. Eddis Miller argues that Derrida’s late texts on religion constitute an interrogation of the meaning and possibility of a “philosophy of religion.” It is the first book to fully engage Derrida’s claim, in “Faith and Knowledge: The Two Sources of ‘Religion’ at the Limits of Reason Alone” to be transposing the Kantian gesture of thinking religion “within the limits of reason alone.”

Miller outlines the terms of this “transposition” and reads Derrida’s work as an attempt to enact such a transposition. Along the way, he stakes out new ground in the debate over deconstruction and ethics, showing—against recent interpretations of Derrida’s work—that there is an ethical moment in Derrida’s writings that cannot be understood properly without accounting for the decisive role played by Kant’s ethics. The result is the most sustained demonstration yet offered of Kant’s indispensible contribution to Derrida’s thought.      

Published by: Northwestern University Press

Series: Cloth text

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

I would like to thank the two anonymous readers for their helpful comments on the manuscript, as well as the editorial staff at Northwestern University Press for all of their hard work.
I owe a special debt of gratitude to Jean- Michel Rabaté. It was in...

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pp. xi-2

Analytic philosophy of religion has moved along more or less unimpeded by the Kantian critique of speculative theology—and, it could be added, in a state of obliviousness to the Heideggerian destruction of onto- theology. But what goes under the name of “continental philosophy...

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Chapter 1. A Minimum of Theology: Kant’s Spectral God

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pp. 3-20

The philosophy of religion, as Walter Jaeschke argues in Reason in Religion: The Foundations of Hegel’s Philosophy of Religion, has a more difficult task than other disciplines that include the word “religion”—such as the history of religion or the sociology of religion—precisely because they...

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Chapter 2. Parergonality and Fetishism: Deconstructing Kant’s Religion

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pp. 21-38

Derrida’s “Faith and Knowledge” consists of 52 numbered sections, the first 26 of which constitute the first part of the text, which is entitled “Italics.” This portion of the text is italicized, and is indeed the “Italic” portion of the text, which is to say the address Derrida delivered at the seminar...

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Chapter 3. Derrida and Kantian Ethics

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pp. 39-71

Kant is not the first name that comes to mind when one thinks of Derrida’s writings on ethics; Levinas has been, with good reason, the name most associated with Derrida in this connection. As such, the place of Kant in Derrida’s writings on ethics is frequently glossed over. And yet...

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Chapter 4. Faith, Messianicity, and Radical Evil: The “Kantian” Transposition

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pp. 72-100

In “Faith and Knowledge,” Derrida inquires into the very sources of the religious, in an attempt to uncover the fundamental structure of “religiosity.” And yet he proceeds with a sense of caution or “restraint” that is made a theme within text itself. Derrida begins “Faith and Knowledge”...

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pp. 101-104

I would like in conclusion to articulate what I take to be the significance of Derrida’s engagement with Kant’s philosophy of religion. I began this book with the suggestion that continental philosophy of religion in the twentieth century was in an important way a repetition of philosophy of...

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pp. 105-108

In the notes to this volume, works by Jacques Derrida and Immanuel Kant have been cited using the following abbreviations. All references to Kant’s texts are given according to the standard Prussian Academy Edition pagination; quotations are taken from the translations listed below...


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pp. 109-122


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pp. 123-126


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pp. 127-132

E-ISBN-13: 9780810167667
E-ISBN-10: 0810167662
Print-ISBN-13: 9780810129801
Print-ISBN-10: 0810129809

Page Count: 148
Illustrations: 142
Publication Year: 2014

Edition: 1
Series Title: Cloth text

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Subject Headings

  • Religion -- Philosophy.
  • Derrida, Jacques -- Religion.
  • Faith and reason.
  • Kant, Immanuel, 1724-1804 -- Influence.
  • Kant, Immanuel, 1724-1804 -- Religion.
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