Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Process and Difference

Here’s an online find: Process and Difference: Between Cosmological and Poststructuralist Postmodernisms (edited by Keller and Deniell, SUNY 2002). An excerpt from Keller’s Introduction:

Some of us within the process trajectory have outgrown the terms and tenor of our own mistrust of “deconstructive postmodernism.” Within Whiteheadian thought the “lure for feeling” that poststructuralism conveys may too readily get dismissed, as though it is nothing but infatuation with modish jargon. Yet if we repress this lure as morally lightweight and philosophically incoherent, do we not caricature deconstruction?

David Ray Griffin’s general argument with deconstruction—that Other in opposition to which the reconstructive alternative constructs itself—introduces his historical account of the postmodernity he prefers…. I will suggest that his analysis suffers from a “fallacy of misplaced opposition.” 

He does not however engage Derrida, who coined the term deconstruction, nor Gilles Deleuze, Michel Foucault, Luce Irigaray, or Julia Kristeva, or indeed any of the French theorists whom one thinks of as originators of the “deconstructive postmodernism” to which this series offers the preferred alternative. Instead, he disputes with U.S. philosophers like Karl Popper, Wilfrid Sellars, and Keith Campbell. They are no doubt worthy opponents. Yet their questions, terms, and analytic methods simply do not represent what is known as “deconstruction.” Indeed there is if anything less tolerance between North American philosophy and French deconstruction than between the latter and process thought. 

For he has mounted the argument against a “deconstruction” of his own invention. Griffin claims, more specifically, that deconstructive postmodernists make a “tacit identification of perception with sense-perception” and thus of the latter with “the given.” Yet the founder of deconstruction proper would, as I will show, reject precisely that identification (2-4).

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