Jacques Derrida has died

by Henry Farrell on October 10, 2004

Jacques Derrida has died; Jack Balkin has a good and nuanced appreciation “here”:http://balkin.blogspot.com/2004/10/jacques-derrida.html, while the New York Times has a somewhat cooler summation of his life “here”:http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/10/obituaries/10derrida.html?pagewanted=3&ei=5094&en=b96653950919a03c&hp&ex=1097380800&partner=homepage.

Update: “Scott McLemee”:http://chronicle.com/temp/email.php?id=fue3ubrlcl0uaqyb8raw5nnupyo3tl44 has the best short summation of Derrida’s intellectual life and influence that I’ve seen so far.



david 10.10.04 at 3:21 am

Cooler’s not the word I’d use.


John Isbell 10.10.04 at 3:49 am

“Jacques Derrida has died.”
How could they tell?


Richard Bellamy 10.10.04 at 4:00 am

Jacques Derrida will always stand at the major crossroads of my life. I had applied, and been accepted at NYU’s PhD program would I would have studied with him(among others). I decided not to go.

One wonders whether or not Derrida now considers himself a dead, white male.


Henry 10.10.04 at 4:48 am

Cooler as in chilly.


Russell Arben Fox 10.10.04 at 6:01 am

Thanks for posting this notice, Henry. I was never a scholar, or much of fan, of Derrida, but his work and ideas intersected with my life and thinking in an important way nonetheless. (More thoughts from me here.)


Clark Goble 10.10.04 at 8:24 am

Just to add my own comments, I blogged about him as well.. Interestingly I was at BYU the same time as Russell, although I was primarily in the physics department. I didn’t encounter Derrida until after I’d graduated from BYU, but he has long been one of my favorite philosophers. I think the problem with Derrida is that most people encounter only his later works, without a thorough grounding in his earlier works which set the stage for the latter ones. Indeed if anyone is interested in understanding Derrida’s “project” I’d heartily recommend Lawlor’s Derrida and Husserl to see just where he is coming from.


Russkie 10.10.04 at 10:28 am

Someone once wrote a poem about J.D. I think it went:

Lemme tell ya bout Jacques Derrida
There ain’t no readuh
And there ain’t no writah

There’s an excellent assessment of Derrida by Mark Lilla in his book “The Reckless Mind” (also available at http://mural.uv.es/isoduart/lilla-derrida.htm )


Tim Rutherford-Johnson 10.10.04 at 12:20 pm

Interestingly, according to Moreover’s obituary feed the NYT’s headline was changed from ‘French Theorist’ to ‘Abstruse Theorist’. Definitely some cooling going on.



xt 10.10.04 at 12:29 pm

Nobody wants to get their hands dirty and defend Jacques Derrida.


Kieran Healy 10.10.04 at 4:42 pm

I think the poem goes:

Do ya wanna know the creeda
Jacques Derrida?
There ain’t no reeda.
And there ain’t no rida,

Of course, the competing versions (and the lack of attribution) would give the man some satisfaction, I think.


mark s 10.10.04 at 5:59 pm

shorter derrida: justice comes out of argument
shorter lilla: no it must be imposed by fiat


Motoko 10.10.04 at 6:15 pm

He wrote brilliantly. I’m not sure about the future of concepts like dissemination, difference and deconstruction, but his style, the play on words, the metaphors that get reworked over and over again, to me that’s really something extraordinary. I think there will always be admirers of his writings, though perhaps in the way people love Pascal without really being interested in the theological intricacies of Jansenism.


david 10.10.04 at 6:20 pm

Yeah, I got chilly from you, I just got shameful from the NYT. Balkin was very good.

XT, what’s to defend?


Russell Arben Fox 10.10.04 at 10:37 pm

XT, both Clark and I defend Derrida, at least insofar our own personal interests and perspectives go. Check out the links.


Chris Stephens 10.10.04 at 11:19 pm

Here’s the version of the Derrida “rap” that I heard as an undergraduate:

This is the creed of Jacques Derrida,
There ain’t no text and there ain’t no reada,
There ain’t no writer, eider.


Amardeep 10.11.04 at 1:55 am

Also see Berube’s intro to “Signature Event Context.” It’s here.


s_bethy 10.11.04 at 3:50 am

Fafblog! is warmer as in breathin.


fafnir 10.12.04 at 3:29 am

Nobody wants to “dirty their hands” to defend Jacques Derrida? Jeez. I don’t really think he needs defendin but we’ll do it if we have to.


Alan K. Henderson 10.12.04 at 6:19 am

I’m going to mark his death by reading a little Alan Sokal.


MC 10.12.04 at 1:36 pm

Scritti Politti Quote: “I’m in love with his heart of steel, Im in love…”

From the song “Jacques Derrida”

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