Types: Doctoral thesis
This thesis takes up the challenge of Jacques Derrida's Glas\ud from an Hegelian perspective and addresses the central question\ud of Derrida's book: "quoi du reste [ ••• ] d'un Hegel?" - "what\ud remain(s) of a Hegel?". Glas construes a Hegel whose system is\ud 'reappropriative' of all alterity and Derrida's efforts are\ud devoted to disclosing the elements of Hegel's system that are\ud not only incapable of reappropriation but which are, for that\ud reason, the system's condition of possibility. Each chapter of\ud the thesis addresses the construction of these 'remain(s), with\ud regard to Hegel's text. The essay considers Derrida's\ud reconstruction of Hegel's conception of Sophocles' Antigone, of\ud the absolute religion and the construal of the Jews, whilst it\ud also addresses the 'general fetishism' that is the method of\ud Glas and is paricularly evident in the portion of the text\ud devoted to Genet. In response, the thesis examines the Hegel\ud of deconstruction and counters this construal with a rereading\ud of the Hegel texts from which the 'remain(s), are collected.\ud The fundamental argument of the thesis is that Glas presupposes\ud and confronts the Hegel-reading of Alexandre Kojeve: a\ud 'reappropriative' Hegel whose system concludes with the selftransparency\ud of the bourgeois subject as citizen of the modern\ud state. The 'remain(s)' represent all that refuses to be\ud subsumed by the law or 'concept' of this state. In parallel,\ud the argument focuses upon Derrida's construal of Hegel's\ud thought as the 'metaphysics of the proper' and the essay\ud thereby conceives of 'differance' as the alienation that\ud constitutes formal identity or 'propriety'. Thus, the\ud inadmissable 'remain(s), supply the formally-universal state\ud and citizen of Kojeve with the moment of 'difference' that it\ud must suppress: the 'remain(s)' collude with the sphere of\ud production and exchange, with civil society and the proprietor.\ud In contrast to the Kojevean Hegel of Glas, the thesis shows\ud that Hegel's thought is not the narrative justification of\ud modern, positive, property law but the determination of the\ud latter's fixed and abstract oppositions. The response to Glas\ud considers the 'remain(s)' to be the moment of alienation that\ud is constitutive of the modern, universal right of private\ud appropriation. Derrida, incapable of thinking otherwise than\ud according to abstract law renders that moment transcendental.\ud Thus, the thesis depicts Hegel as confronting the one-sided\ud conceptuality of Kojevean 'right' and the one-sided emphasis\ud upon non-identity and intuition in Derridean differance. The\ud thesis asserts that Hegel's 'absolute' and the notion of\ud 'ethical life', far from being the justification of positive\ud law, adumbrate the possibility of cognizing this law without\ud imposing the abstract concept anew. In the name of precluding\ud the domination of the concept, however, the 'remain(s), will\ud simultaneously reassert positive law as 'unknowable' whilst\ud maintaining the violence of the law's imposition and its\ud undeterminable oppositions.\ud
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- Christopher Norris, Deconstruction: Theory and Practice (London: Methuen, 1982)
- ---- Derrida (London: Fontana, 1987)
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