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Phenomenology 2005

Volume 4, Issue Part 1, 2007

Selected Essays from Northern Europe Part 1

Agata Bielik-Robson
Pages 67-103

Promises and Excuses
Derrida and the Aporia of Narcissism

The aim of this essay is mainly critical: it intends to demonstrate that despite all the promises to give account of a “deconstructive subjectivity,” Derrida failed to do so. This charge relies on the thesis that Derrida proved unable to rethink critically the concept of narcissism which he himself saw as crucial for the future philosophical understanding of subjectivity. Yet, what Derrida calls the aporia of narcissism is, in fact, not so much the Freudian version of this concept but a deconstructive version of the old Hegelian dilemma of the beautiful soul—and, theoretically speaking, a rather “defunct” one, for it explicitly prohibits any dialectical procedure that could lead us out of this aporetic predicament.

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