Volume 37, Issue 1, Spring 2007
J. Murray Murdoch, Jr.
Deconstruction as Darstellung
Derrida’s Subtle Hegelianism
Derrida is typically taken to be the thinker most antithetical to Hegel, and deconstruction to be the philosophical antithesis to Hegel’s systematic rationality. While I do not dispute the accuracy of this perception, I argue in this paper that it does not offer an adequate or a complete picture. Specifically, much about Derrida and about deconstruction is more similar to Hegel than is typically realized. I argue that Derrida’s deconstruction shares a great affinity to the method of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, so much so that we could identify and articulate a latent Hegelianism in Derrida’s approach. I begin with a description of Derrida’s own project, then offer something of an apologia for his work. Finally, I describe Hegel’s method of exposition [Darstellung] and compare it to deconstruction, pointing out the fundamental similarities between the two thinkers.