Erinnerung, Retrait, Absolute Reflection: Hegel and Derrida
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In this essay I show that Jacques Derrida not only mistakenly reads the Hegelian text in terms of reflection, but that his own way of thinking could be characterized from a Hegelian perspective as itself reflective. For this I will not focus upon those writings of Derrida's which are explicitly "about" Hegel, nor will I compare those places in both the Derridian and Hegelian corpora which seem to present a contiguity in an at least superficial resemblance between concepts, such as Hegelian difference(Unterschied) vis a vis Derridian difference.1 Rather, I will focus upon one of Derrida's texts which indicate his own contributions to the field of thinking and writing and the directions for inquiry initiated in his work, as well as his engagement with Hegel. Such a text is his masterful essay White Mythology: Metaphor in the Text of Philosophy,2 a writing overtly concerned with the difficulties posed by metaphoricity in the text of philosophy and the attempt in the latter to domesticate and "interiorize" its tropic reserve or condition of possibility within the concept of metaphor itself, which turns out to be a philosopheme. The problems of philosophy are posed in terms of such mastery and interiorization. Since my concern in this essay is to problematize this kind of reading by showing that it trades off of reflective distinctions, I will not here attempt a positive philosophical account of metaphoricity per se. Indeed, Derrida will indicate what he takes to be the conditions of the impossibility of such an account, but it is precisely his reasons for this impossibility that I find problematic in terms of reflection.