Derrida's Reinvention of Philosophical Writing in ‘Plato's Pharmacy’
This chapter demonstrates through a close reading of Derrida's crucial 1968 work ‘Plato's Pharmacy’ how Derrida's early engagement with Plato's theory of language came to be reflected in Derrida's own practice of reading and writing. The essay shows how Derrida in his reading of Plato's Phaedrus and other dialogues opposes a Platonic hermeneutics of polysemy and analogy, one that subordinates writing to speech and the signifier to a univocal signified, to a hermeneutics of dissemination that invents new possibilities for philosophical writing. When understood in this light, many of the more ‘playful’ elements of Derrida's writing must be considered not as merely contingent, rhetorical embellishments of philosophical works but as essential components of what Derrida called in his final interview in 2004 ‘a pedagogy aimed at forming its reader’.
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