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Gadamer and Derrida

Both Gadamer and Derrida have influenced how we read texts in literature and philosophy. A great topic for a literature research paper answers the following questions:
How does Gadamer’s phenomenology of interpreting texts differ from Derrida’s practice of deconstruction of philosophical texts?

Gadamer and Derrida Topics

1) text and historical con/text:

2) unity of meaning vs. the play (plurality) of meanings/the alterity of the text

3) the hermeneutical circle vs. difference (the deferral of meaning)

4) dialog as the model of hermeneutics—a phonocentric bias?

5) why meanings are never purely subjective

3. Compare /contrast Heidegger’s critique (Destruction) of the history of Western Metaphysics with Derrida’s criticism of a Metaphysics of Presence (ousia, eternal, unchanging presence) Introduction to Metaphysics and Difference)

a)Why is difference “older than “the difference between beings and Being?

b)Compare Derrida’s laughter and dance against Heidegger’s nostalgia and hope

c)Does Heidegger succumb to a Metaphysics of Presence?(Being as the transcendental signified)

d) Why is Nietzsche the thinker of differences par excellence?

4. Examine three propositions from Wittgenstein on thinking: (also state them)

a) How does Wittgenstein show with these propositions that language is constitutive of thinking? (We do not have a thought and then put it into words.)

b)Why can a deaf mute not think? P.117) ( a language of gestures(sign language)( vs.language games of spoken speech)

c) Did Helen Keller think before she learned Braille or only after?) Why is asking whether a fish thinks a meaningless question?

Gadamer and Derrida and Justice

5. How does Levinas define the nudity of the face of the Other? How does the nudity of things differ from the nudity of the face of the Other? Why is his description of the face of the Other not a phenomenology? Why does Caputo claim that the Absolutely Other can only be relatively Absolute?

6. ”Deconstruction is Justice… Justice is indeconstructible.”
Why do laws that seek justice always promote injustice?
Why is there a double gesture of deconstructing and constructing new laws?
Why is Justice still to come: a venir, both beyond and beneath the Law?

7. Trace out the development of recent Continental philosophy from Husserl to Heidegger to Derrida to Levinas as a De-centering of Subjectivity as the foundation of knowledge and Being. Why is Husserl ‘s later turn to the Lebenswelt (life world) the ending of foundational philosophy? Why is the ethical first philosophy for Levinas?

A good source is Philosophic Classics - volume v: 20th century philosophy by Baird and Kaufmann.

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