Donald A. Landes is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Université Laval, Québec. He is the author of several books, including Merleau-Ponty and the Paradoxes of Expression and The Merleau-Ponty Dictionary, as well as the translator of Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of Perception. Leonard Lawlor is Sparks Professor of Philosophy at Penn State University. He is the author and editor of many books, including Early Twentieth-Century Continental Philosophy. Peter Gratton is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Memorial University of Newfoundland. He is the author of The State of Sovereignty: Lessons from the Political Fictions of Modernity and the coeditor (with Marie-Eve Morin) of Jean-Luc Nancy and Plural Thinking: Expositions of World, Ontology, Politics, and Sense, both also published by SUNY Press.
What is the nature of the relationship of Jacques Derrida and deconstruction to Edmund Husserl and phenomenology? Is deconstruction a radical departure from phenomenology or does it trace its origins to the phenomenological project? In Derrida and Husserl, Leonard Lawlor illuminates Husserl's influence on the French philosophical tradition that inspired Derrida's thought. Beginning with Eugen Fink's pivotal essay on Husserl's philosophy, Lawlor carefully reconstructs the conceptual context in which Derrida developed his interpretation of Husserl. Lawlor's investigations of the work of Jean CavaillÃ ̈s, Tran-Duc-Thao, and Jean Hyppolite, as well as recent texts by Derrida, reveal the depth of Derrida's relationship to Husserl's phenomenology. Along the way, Lawlor revisits and sheds light on the origin of many important Derridean concepts, such as deconstruction, the metaphysics of presence, diffÃ©rance, intentionality, the trace, and spectrality.
For many, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, and Gilles Deleuze represent one of the greatest movements in French philosophy. But these philosophers and their works did not materialize without a philosophical heritage. In Thinking through French Philosophy, Leonard Lawlor shows how the work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty formed an important current in sustaining the development of structuralism and post-structuralism. Seeking the "point of diffraction," or the specific ideas and concepts that link Derrida, Foucault, and Deleuze, Lawlor discovers differences and convergences in these thinkers who worked the same terrain. Major themes include metaphysics, archaeology, language and documentation, expression and interrogation, and the very experience of thinking. Lawlor’s focus on the experience of the question brings out critical differences in immanence and transcendence. This illuminating and provocative book brings new vitality to debates on contemporary French philosophy.