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Identity and differance

Ruthrof, H. (1988) Identity and differance. Poetics, 17 (1-2). pp. 99-112.

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The main aim of this paper is to foreground the relationship between Heidegger's ontic-ontological difference and Derrida's différance, a relationship which remains somewhat obscure in Derrida's seminal paper. Though it is not possible to clarify in any strictly analytical sense how much Derrida has gone beyond Heidegger's distinction between, simply put, Being as potential and the specificity of beings, I believe that it is both feasible and helpful to compare the respective clusters of issues which form the wider semantic fields of the two notions. This paper attempts to do so by drawing especially on Heidegger's later essay Identity and Difference as well as a range of other writings by both philosophers. The conclusion which is drawn from this juxtaposition is that however radically Derrida has advanced the Heideggerian critique of mataphysics by way of turning from ‘thinking’ towards ‘writing’ both the ontic-ontological difference and différance are presented as foundational. It is this feature which makes it difficult to see how Derrida's différance can be claimed to be a less metaphysical ‘principle’ than Heidegger's ‘difference’.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Arts
Publisher: Elsevier BV
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