What Goes Around Comes Around: Derrida and Levinas on the Economy of the Gift and the Gift of Genealogy

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In “Force of Law," Derrida distinguishes between two styles of deconstruction: “One takes on the demonstrative and apparently ahistorical allure of logico-formal paradoxes. The other, more historical or more anamnesic, seems to proceed through readings of texts, meticulous interpretations and genealogies."1 Derrida would surely be the first to insist that these styles, especially insofar as they can be used to characterize his own texts, represent only the dominant tendency in each case. Deconstruction interweaves the two styles. There was a time, perhaps, when the meticulous readings of texts predominated, but recently the exploration of aporias has been given greater prominence. Derrida’s account of the logic of the gift is one of the best examples of interest in logico-formal paradoxes. It provides a good setting in which to examine the very real tension between the “apparently ahistorical" and the “more historical, more anamnesic" as it works itself out in the difference between the two styles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Logic of the Gift
Subtitle of host publicationToward an Ethic of Generosity
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781134714704
ISBN (Print)0415910994, 9780415910996
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities(all)

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