Hegel and Derrida on the problem of reason and repression

David C Durst

pp. 1-17

In this paper I attempt to question central assumptions of Derrida's strategy of deconstruction by analyzing his critique of Hegel's notion of Aufhebung. Hegel's dialectics claims to sublate conflicting difference between not individuals in reconciled communal relations. Deconstruction exposes, however, how Hegel's dialectics leads not to reconciliation but the violent internment of différance; traces of repression reveal the limits of Hegelian reason. Yet by grasping Hegelian dialectics as a restricting economy involving repression, Derrida has difficulties accounting for the difference Hegel introduces between repressive and productive power. In his early philosophy of ethical life (1801-1803), Hegel differentiates between moral and legal coercion (Zwang) and ethical subjugation (Bezwingen). In Glas, as I seek to show, Derrida reduces the difference between these two economies of power without proper justification. Derrida's deconstructive interpretation of Hegelian dialectics thus takes part in the repressive relève it criticizes by limiting a difference in Hegel's discourse on power.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1023/A:1026410427349

Full citation:

Durst, D.C. (1999). Hegel and Derrida on the problem of reason and repression. Continental Philosophy Review 32 (1), pp. 1-17.

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