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Studia Phaenomenologica

Volume 9, 2009

Michel Henry's Radical Phenomenology

Sébastien Laoureux
Pages 237-246

Material phenomenology to the test of Deconstruction
Michel Henry and Derrida

What would be the result of reading Derrida from the standpoint of material phenomenology? And what would be the result of reading material phenomenology on the basis of the requirements of Derridean thought? These are the questions that this article endeavours to tackle by focusing on the two philosophers’ readings of Husserl’s Lectures on the Consciousness of Internal Time. At first strangely similar, these two readings soon display marked differences. Whereas Derrida, in his approach, is keen to demonstrate that there is never any pure presence, Michel Henry brings out an “Archi-presence” which he attempts to safeguard from any deconstruction. So perhaps material phenomenology functions as “quasi-deconstruction”, having the same relationship with Derridean thought as “negative theology” has with deconstruction.