In a 1997 review in First Things, Andrew McKenna suggests that Derrida's most important contribution might ultimately be to deconstruct philosophy so thoroughly that one is left only with theology: "the Sermon on the Mount performs a critique of difference to which any deconstructor can subscribe. Subject to serious misuses, deconstruction is nonetheless, in its right use, not a simple trashing of culture and tradition, but a critique of differences-of the arbitrary semantic and institutional constructs that impose rather than reflect order. Accordingly, it naturally provides a critique of the symbolic violence that orders cultural representation. But, unlike the Sermon on the Mount, deconstructive philosophy provides no antidote. If sacrifice and scandal name the violence of conceptual thought at its extreme, it is fair to ask whether this is just the moment to give up on philosophy altogether, and, with the likes of Pascal, Kierkegaard, and Simone Weil, look elsewhere for the solutions to our problems. Philosophy's self-deconstruction is conceivably Derrida's principal contribution to theology."
posted by Peter J. Leithart on Thursday, November 15, 2007 at 06:40 AM
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