The Gift of Time: The Question of the Death Penalty in Derrida

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Abstract

In this essay, I examine Derrida’s deconstruction (or critique) of the death penalty in his first set of lectures (The Death Penalty, Volume 1). The essay has two parts. First, I reconstruct this deconstruction. I show that the deconstruction depends on the difference between the calculable instant and the incalculable instant. Then, in the second part I show how this difference is based on the deconstruction of temporalization Derrida produced in his 1967 Voice and Phenomenon. The deconstruction of temporalization shows that the calculated instant is impossible, and the future, including the instant of my death, remains incalculable. In the essay’s conclusion, I show that the pardon from the death penalty is only a gift of time, only more time or extra time. The pardon can pardon someone from the condemnation to death, but it cannot pardon anyone from the condemnation to die. The pardon can give only a finite survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSouthern Journal of Philosophy
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Philosophy

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