Positing and iterability: Jacques Derrida's thought of the performative

Senatore, Mauro (2012) Positing and iterability: Jacques Derrida's thought of the performative. (PhD thesis), Kingston University, uk.bl.ethos.579134.

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Abstract

In Memoires for Paul de Man (1986) Derrida acknowledges the urgency, for any rigorous deconstruction, of closely confronting Austin's notion of the performative. This study aims to countersign Derrida' s acknowledgement by elaborating a certain deconstructive tradition of thinking the performativity of the performative and, thus, of retracing the performative (as auto-performative) back to the modem philosophical tradition of (self- )positing. In particular, it focuses on Derrida's thought of the iterability of the (auto-)performative, as the speech act of self-positing. The chapters investigate Derrida's elaboration of the notion of positing by bringing to light his engagement with a certain French and continental tradition of the Hegelian concepts of recognition and mastery, as they are exposed in the Phenomenology's chapter on self-consciousness. My argument is that Derrida understands positing as always caught up in a struggle for recognition, what he calls war in the infinite and among finite ipseities (drawing on Lévinas's concept of war), as the self's positing itself as such or imposing itself and, thus, as making itself recognized, mastery, ipseity, etc. This positing always admits iterability (or, enforceability, as Derrida will suggest, for instance, in 'A Number of Yes' or in 'Force of Law') to the extent that it calls for repetition. It originally allows the movement that replaces and supplements it (the very concept of différance) by granting to it the possibility of repetition. This movement is understood by Derrida as the text of the recognition that the self posits or gives to itself and, therefore, as the text that the self writes or posts to itself. In fact, this text accounts for the slave or the representative of self-positing, for those who have given up the desire for recognition, but also for the other to come, for the absolutely other, for the unconditioned risk of death or non-sense. As I will attempt to demonstrate by following Derrida's reading of the master/slave dialectic and of its tradition, he understands the relation between the master and the slave as the structural relation between positing and iterability. It is from this perspective that I propose looking at Derrida's elaboration of the performative as the speech act of (self- )positing, mastery and ipseity. It can be described as the engagement that the self takes with itself, as the act of faith toward the representative, as the appeal for credit and preservation addressed to others. Therefore, as Derrida suggests, it is always threatening or making itself fear by necessarily admitting its enforceability.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Physical Location: This item is held in stock at Kingston University library.
Research Area: Philosophy
Faculty, School or Research Centre: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (until 2017) > School of Humanities
Depositing User: Niki Wilson
Date Deposited: 16 Sep 2013 08:18
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2018 10:14
DOI: uk.bl.ethos.579134
URI: http://eprints.kingston.ac.uk/id/eprint/26279

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