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Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy

Volume 10, Issue 2, Spring 2006

An Entrusted Responsibility: Reading and Remembering Jacques Derrida

Gil Anidjar
Pages 287-301
DOI: 10.5840/epoche20061024

Traité de Tous les Noms (What Is Called Naming)

What’s in a name after Derrida? What’s in a name after all? What is a name such that it always already remains, after all is said and done? And who or what is it that one calls name, names, or by name? Is it possible (for anyone or anything) not to have a name of one’s own? Or to have another? The same as another? Is it possible to call and recall, in the name of memory and remembrance, indifference or convention, one name for another, one name for the other? Can the name be, as it were, avoided? Could anyone respond responsibly yet decline or resist, not so much that (or because) names wound, nor to protect oneself from being called names, but instead neither to call nor respond to the name, as it were, to the very same name one is called? To protest against the name, to refuse the name to the point of abandoning this and that name? To invent oneself beyond the name, beyond all names, in the name of the name? “For in order to live oneself truly,” Derrida writes, “it is necessary to elude the law of the name, the familial law made for survival and constantly recalling me to death.” What is called naming? One could say that the name is, to life, at once insult and injury. Or that calling names—mourning.