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Title: Phenomenology and deconstruction
Keywords: Deconstruction, Phenomenology, Transcendental, Empirical, Metaphysics, Quasi-transcendental
Issue Date: 4-Aug-2010
Citation: CHUNG CHIN-YI (2010-08-04). Phenomenology and deconstruction. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: This thesis argues that Derrida democratizes phenomenology in demonstrating that transcendental and empirical difference is an illusion. By demonstrating that transcendental empirical difference is an illusion, Derrida shows that the struggle over claims for truth or the primacy of the transcendental or empirical have been sustained over illusory hierarchies and that this presents a false dichotomy and conflict. Phenomenology is not hierarchy but exchangeability, and the implication of transcendental-empirical difference being an illusion is that truth is not localizable to either transcendental or empirical, but translates as paradox, aporia and the quasi-transcendental. The transcendental and empirical are the same and the transcendental is nothing outside the empirical, just as the empirical is the trace of the transcendental through iterability. Phenomenology is rather determined by aporia- the third space of the quasi-transcendental which produces both transcendental and empirical through the distinguishing movement of the trace. Aporia, the third space, the quasi-transcendental and differance as the interval between the transcendental and empirical that determines both are shown to be the meta-conditions that govern metaphysics. This thesis thus posits the space of the third and between, namely the quasi-transcendental, as the root condition that governs metaphysics and allows it to function. Where phenomenology has historically defined truth as either transcendental or empirical, this thesis will proceed to demonstrate that truth is rather quasi-transcendental, neither transcendental nor empirical but a space between that enables the thinking of both. Against current scholarship that defines the quasi-transcendental as immanence and contamination, I will argue that the quasi-transcendental is a relation of paradox. The quasi-transcendental relates the transcendental and empirical in simultaneous identity and difference, identity in non-identity, sameness in difference. Paradoxically, distinctions translate into non-distinctions because the difference between the transcendental and empirical translates as a nothingness, an a priori difference which is not a difference. Death thus lies at the heart of phenomenology and constitutes it as a priori difference, differance, distinguishes and separates nothing. Derrida reconfigures phenomenology through his discovery of the quasi-transcendental, the space of the third, paradox, aporia and the between, that which is neither transcendental nor empirical, as the conditionality of thinking both transcendental and empirical. This quasi-transcendental determines metaphysics by being prior to transcendental and empirical and conditions its production and functioning. Derrida thus democratizes philosophy in demonstrating that its distinctions, its privilege of transcendental or empirical and its divide into materialism and idealism is based on illusion and myth of origin. Phenomenology is thus determined by its other and its unthought, true phenomenology acknowledges that which has escaped its structure in transcendental and empirical determination, or the third space, between, aporia and interval of the quasi-transcendental, as the true condition that governs, produces, and upholds metaphysics. Derrida thus inscribes phenomenology in a more powerful form by bringing it to terms with its condition of possibility as the quasi-transcendental.
Appears in Collections:Ph.D Theses (Open)

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