Derrida writing and difference routledge journals

References and Further Reading 1. When exactly the philosopher Nancy emerged is difficult to ascertain, but it is clear that his first philosophical interests began to arise during his youth in the catholic environment of Bergerac. Shortly after he obtained his graduate in philosophy in in Paris, Nancy began to write explicitly philosophical texts. This engagement with various different types of thinkers also came to be characteristic of his later work, which is renowned for its versatility.

Derrida writing and difference routledge journals

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Early anthropologists attempted to apply evolutionary theory within the human species, focusing on physical differences between different human sub-species or racial groups see Eriksen and the perceived intellectual differences that followed.

The philosophical assumptions of these anthropologists were, to a great extent, the same assumptions which have been argued to underpin science itself. This is the positivism, rooted in Empiricism, which argued that knowledge could only be reached through the empirical method and statements were meaningful only if they could be empirically justified, though it should be noted that Darwin should not necessarily be termed a positivist.

Science needed to be solely empirical, systematic and exploratory, logical, theoretical and thus focused on answering questions. It needed to attempt to make predictions which are open to testing and falsification and it needed to be epistemologically optimistic assuming that the world can be understood.

Equally, positivism argues that truth-statements are value-neutral, something disputed by the postmodern school. Philosophers of Science, such as Karl Popper for example Popperhave also stressed that science must be self-critical, prepared to abandon long-held models as new information arises, and thus characterized by falsification rather than verification though this point was also earlier suggested by Herbert Spencer for example Spencer Nevertheless, the philosophy of early physical anthropologists included a belief in empiricism, the fundamentals of logic and epistemological optimism.

This philosophy has been criticized by anthropologists such as Risjord who has argued that it is not self-aware — because values, he claims, are always involved in science — and non-neutral scholarship can be useful in science because it forces scientists to better contemplate their ideas.

Race and Eugenics in Nineteenth Century Anthropology During the mid-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, derrida writing and difference routledge journals began to systematically examine the issue of racial differences, something which became even more researched after the acceptance of evolutionary theory see Darwin That said, it should be noted that Darwin himself did not specifically advocate eugenics or theories of progress.

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The concept has also been criticized on ethical grounds, because racial analysis is seen to promote racial violence and discrimination and uphold a certain hierarchy, and some have suggested its rejection because of its connotations with such regimes as National Socialism or Apartheid, meaning that it is not a neutral category for example Wilson Racial beliefs constitute myths about the diversity in the human species and about the abilities and behavior of people homogenized into "racial" categories.

In terms of philosophy, some aspects of nineteenth century racial anthropology might be seen to reflect the theories of progress that developed in the nineteenth century, such as those of G.

Hegel see below. In addition, though we will argue that Herderian nationalism is more influential in Eastern Europe, we should not regard it as having no influence at all in British anthropology.

However, as we will discuss, the influence is stronger in Eastern Europe. The interest in race in anthropology developed alongside a broader interest in heredity and eugenics. Influenced by positivism, scholars such as Herbert Spencer applied evolutionary theory as a means of understanding differences between different societies.

derrida writing and difference routledge journals

Spencer was also seemingly influenced, on some level, by theories of progress of the kind advocated by Hegel and even found in Christian theology.

For him, evolution logically led to eugenics. Spencer argued that evolution involved a progression through stages of ever increasing complexity — from lower forms to higher forms - to an end-point at which humanity was highly advanced and was in a state of equilibrium with nature.

For this perfected humanity to be reached, humans needed to engage in self-improvement through selective breeding. American anthropologist Madison Grant Grantfor example, reflected a significant anthropological view in when he argued that humans, and therefore human societies, were essentially reflections of their biological inheritance and that environmental differences had almost no impact on societal differences.

Grant, as with other influential anthropologists of the time, advocated a program of eugenics in order to improve the human stock. According to this program, efforts would be made to encourage breeding among the supposedly superior races and social classes and to discourage it amongst the inferior races and classes see also Galton This form of anthropology has been criticized for having a motivation other than the pursuit of truth, which has been argued to be the only appropriate motivation for any scientist.

It has also been criticized for basing its arguments on disputed system of categories — race — and for uncritically holding certain assumptions about what is good for humanity for example Kuznar It should be emphasized that though eugenics was widely accepted among anthropologists in the nineteenth century, there were also those who criticized it and its assumptions for example Boas See Stocking for a detailed discussion.

As noted, some scholars stress the utility of ideologically-based scholarship. A further criticism of eugenics is that it fails to recognize the supposed inherent worth of all individual humans for example Pichot We will note possible problems with this perspective in our discussion of ethics.

Although ostensibly an anthropology journal, it also publishes psychological research. A prominent example of such an anthropologist is Roger Pearson b. But such a perspective is highly marginal in current anthropology.

They also shared with other evolutionists an acceptance of a modal human nature which reflected evolution to a specific environment. However, some, such as E. Tylor Tylorargued that human nature was the same everywhere, moving away from the focus on human intellectual differences according to race.

Defenders have countered that without attempting to understand the evolution of societies, social anthropology has no scientific aim and can turn into a political project or simply description of perceived oddities for example HallpikeJACQUES DERRIDA.

ROUTLEDGE CRITICAL THINKERS essential guides for literary studies Series Editor: Robert Eaglestone, Royal Holloway, University of London Routledge Critical Thinkers is a series of accessible introductions to key figures in contemporary critical thought.

derrida writing and difference routledge journals

without permission in writing from the publishers. Derrida, Jacques (b) `Structure, Sign and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences', in Jacques Derrida () Writing and Difference.

London: . First published in , Writing and Difference, a collection of Jacques Derrida's essays written between and , has become a landmark of contemporary French thought. In it we find Derrida at work on his systematic deconstruction of Western metaphysics.4/5.

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