The Lucid Vigil
Deconstruction, Desire and the Politics of Critique
Stella Gaon provides the first fully philosophical account of the critical nature of deconstruction, and she does so by turning in an original way to psychoanalysis. Drawing on close readings of Freud and Laplanche, Gaon argues that Derridean deconstruction is driven by a normative investment in reason’s psychological force. Indeed, deconstruction is more faithful to the principle of reason than the various forms of critical theory prevalent today. For if one pursues the classical demand for rational grounds vigilantly, one finds that claims to ethical or political legitimacy cannot be rationally justified, because they are undone by logical undecidability. Gaon’s argument is borne out in the cases of Kantian deontology, Deweyan pragmatism, progressive pedagogy, Habermasian moral theory, Levinasian ethics and others. What emerges is the groundbreaking demonstration that deconstruction is impelled by a quasi-ethical critical drive, and that to read deconstructively is to radicalize the emancipatory practice of reason as self-critique.
This important volume will be of great value to critical theorists as well as to Derrida scholars and researchers in social and political thought.
Table of Contents
Introduction Part 1: Naming the Stakes 1. The Danger of Rhetoric 2. The Apocalyptic Tone of Philosophy 3. Redefining the "Postmodern" 4. Deconstructing Kantian Critique Part 2: The Ends of Education 5. From "Neo" to "Post": Strategies in Theory 6. Neomodernist Critical Pedagogies 7. Pedagogy without Foundations: Feminism and Anti-Racism 8. The Habermasian Gambit: A Critique of Discourse Ethics Part 3: On Deconstruction and Justice 9. Responsibility as Messianic Injunction 10. Derrida Contra Levinas 11. Conscience and the Aporia of Subjectivity 12. The Desire for Reason Conclusion: The Risk of a Certain Critique
Stella Gaon is Professor of Political Science and Adjunct Professor of Women and Gender Studies at Saint Mary’s University. She is the editor of Democracy in Crisis: Violence, Alterity, Community.