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Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 10, 2018

Contemporary Philosophy

William Schultz
Pages 153-162

Progress in Contemporary Continental or Speculative Philosophy
Lyotard’s Criticism and Development of Derrida’s Philosophy

Contemporary French philosopher, Jean-Francois Lyotard, claims to have developed a new system based on the ideas of Jacques Derrida. I present Derrida’s three main dialectical a priori concepts structuring his phi-losophy, following the patterns that I call canonical, classical, or traditional.” Each of these three concepts is a model for any object of knowledge, and they are related in an increasing development of his theory of knowledge. Although the third dialectical a priori concept (the supplement) does guarantee the con-sistency of his previous concepts, it leads to a dilemma that is unsolvable on the basis of an implicit faulty presupposition. The only way for philosophy to progress, in Lyotard’s view, is to transform the faulty presupposition into a new hypothesis about knowledge. I present all three of Derrida’s dialectical a priori concepts because the new start by Lyotard is a change of Derrida’s philosophy as a whole, and even of all of the history of philosophy. I present the passage in which Lyotard claims that epistemology should be based on the idea of figurality in discourse; in Discourse, Figure (1971) he also calls this the “figure image,” which in a general way is analogous to the start of Derrida’s philosophy: both (Derrida’s difference and Lyotard’s figurality in discourse) are new beginnings in philosophy; both are dialectical a priori concepts; and both lead to a philosophical system having a tripartite structure. This paper, thus, focuses on Lyotard’s new idea of figurality in discourse as a transforma-tion of Derrida’s supplement.

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