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Reason, Derrida, and Postmodern Deconstruction

A Tract Book

By

Anthony J. Fejfar

© Copyright 2006 by Anthony J. Fejfar

The Postmodern thought of philosopher Jacques Derrida is most

often related to deconstruction. Linguistic deconstruction is interesting.

The idea is that we find some word that some find politically objectionable,

and then we engage in a process of linguistic deconstruction which reduces

the idea in question to the least common denominator.

For example, let us suppose that Derrida wishes to deconstruct

the word “reason.” First of all it should be noted that reason is a word that

is only used in a particular context. What does it mean? This is unclear.

Perhaps reason simply is a word which passes for the subjective preferences

of the author or thinker. Perhaps reason is simply a label which is

assigned to word to enforce political hegemony over those who are simpliste

enough to grant it some power over them. Perhaps reason is simply white

male prejudice.

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Throughout this whole deconstruction process it is evident that a

particular bias or prejudice is present. The particular bias involved is the

philosophy of idealism. Idealism suggests that all of reality is based upon

words or ideas. Everything, including God, can be reduced to an idea, and

then deconstructed. But what if reality is more complex than Idealism

suggests. What if critical realism is the appropriate philosophy. Critical

realism suggests that reality is more complex than just words. Process also

counts. Developmental Psychologist Erik Erikson, suggested in his work,

for example, that reason is based upon an integration of love and logic.

Is it possible to deconstruct love. I doubt it. Only a rationalist

idealist of the worst sort would suggest that love is simply an idea or word.

No, love is a feeling tone. Love has depth beyond words. Love is present

in the heart even when I am not thinking about the word “love.” Now, it is

true that love exists independent of language and linguistic analysis, then

perhaps too Being, exists as a metaphysical quiddity independent of

language and linguistic analysis. Perhaps Being is an Existant which can

be labeled with a word, but is not reducible to a word. Perhaps language is

full of ideas or concepts which represent “quiddities” which are not simply

reducible to a mere word. This is, of course what realism, as a philosophy

has always asserted. Reality, or at least a lot of reality exists independent of

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language. A grown, real, oak tree would still be a solid, grown, real, oak

tree, even if someone did not come along and give it the label of being a

“tree.” In fact this is precisely what phenomenology asserts. Through the

use of the epoche one can “intuitively” know reality in an immediate way

while dispensing with language. Do we want to do away with language or

meaning? No. But this does not mean that all of reality is reducible to

linguistic meaning. Additionally, perhaps it is the case that “Being” is

based upon the reality of Being, not simply linguistic cultural convention.

Referring once again to reason. If reason is a cognitive capability

or a faculty of faculty psychology, then it simply cannot be linguistically

deconstructed and reduced to a culturally relativist or arbitrary linguistic

category. Logic, at least includes the causal syllogism, “If A, then B, A ,

therefore, B.” There is no reason to assume that causality is false. If I will

myself to pick up a soft drink, and then drink it, this is an example of

rudimentary causality. Quantum Physics still leaves room for free will, and

some type of causality. Even the double slit experiment of Quantum

Physics still involves directional light of some sort.

THE END