Volume 64, Issue 3, Summer 2020
Special Topic: Vulnerability
The Inside Story of Derrida’s Of Grammatology
This essay returns to Of Grammatology, Derrida’s seminal work of 1967, in order to demonstrate the key role played by the category of interiority in that work and in deconstruction more generally. The essay show how Derrida traces the values associated with interiority in his readings of Plato, Rousseau, and Levi-Strauss in order to argue that the opposition between interiority and exteriority is not one philosophical opposition among others but the single most powerful and persistent opposition in Western philosophy, organizing everything from the relationship between speech and writing to that between presence and absence, essence and accident, even life and death. We thus come to see through a reading of this early work of Derrida’s that deconstruction will have been from its very inception a deconstruction of any claims to an inside that would come before or exclude its outside, that is, a deconstruction of every phantasm of interiority.