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Reading Derrida and Ricoeur
Improbable Encounters between Deconstruction and Hermeneutics
Reading Derrida and Ricoeur
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Eftichis Pirovolakis - Author
SUNY series, Insinuations: Philosophy, Psychoanalysis, Literature
Price: $95.00 
Hardcover - 238 pages
Release Date: February 2010
ISBN10: 1-4384-2949-5
ISBN13: 978-1-4384-2949-6

Price: $32.95 
Paperback - 238 pages
Release Date: January 2011
ISBN10: 1-4384-2950-9
ISBN13: 978-1-4384-2950-2

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Summary Read First Chapter image missing

Offers a constructive new approach to the debate between hermeneutics and deconstruction.

Written in the aftermath of the deaths of the French philosophers Jacques Derrida (1930–2004) and Paul Ricoeur (1913–2005), this book is an important and innovative study of the contentious relation between deconstruction and hermeneutics. Offering close readings of Derrida’s and Ricoeur’s writings on phenomenology, psychoanalysis, structuralist linguistics, and Levinasian ethics, Eftichis Pirovolakis introduces the motif of “improbable encounters,” and explicates why the two thinkers may be said to be simultaneously close to each other and separated by an unbridgeable abyss. Pirovolakis complicates any facile distinction between these movements, which are two of the most influential streams of continental thought, and questions a certain pathos with respect to the distance separating them. Pirovolakis also translates Derrida’s brief tribute to Ricoeur: “The Word: Giving, Naming, Calling,” which appears here in English for the first time. The book is essential reading for anyone immersed in continental philosophy or literary theory.

“In this sophisticated, nuanced study, Pirovolakis contends that famed French philosophers Jacques Derrida and Paul Ricoeur left behind, amid rich philosophical legacies, a regrettable history of failed attempts and missed opportunities to engage in constructive dialogue … Pirovolakis’s astute analysis shows that the differences between Derrida and Ricoeur are not absolute and that their views intersect in ways that draw them closer to each other than one might initially surmise … Highly recommended.” — CHOICE

“Eftichis Pirovolakis’s book provides an invaluably meticulous, well-documented and even-handed account of the ‘encounters’ between Derrida and Ricoeur. By concentrating carefully on very specific points of difference between them, he explores the disconcerting logic of sameness and difference with great subtlety, and helps us rethink the relation between hermeneutics and deconstruction.” — Geoffrey Bennington, Asa G. Candler Professor of Modern French Thought, Emory University

Reading Derrida and Ricoeur is an excellent book. Pirovolakis takes up not only the issue of language in Derrida and Ricoeur, but also that of alterity. It is a comprehensive and enlightening study. In fact, I think no one has shed more light on the relation between Ricoeur and Derrida than Pirovolakis.” — Leonard Lawlor, Sparks Professor of Philosophy, Penn State University

Eftichis Pirovolakis teaches literature and philosophy at the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom.

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Table of Contents



1. Ricoeur on Husserl and Freud: From a Perceptual to a Reflective Present

Ricoeur Reading Husserl: The Thick Present and Continuity
Freud’s Quantitative Hypothesis and Unconscious Autonomy
From a Perceptual to a Reflective Present

2. Derrida and Rhythmic Discontinuity

Husserl’s Aporia: Discontinuity and Repetition
The Necessary Possibility of Difference and Syncopated Temporality
Freud: Permeability and Impermeability, Life and Death
First Inscription and Nachträglichkeit
Scriptural Metaphorics

3. Ricoeur’s Hermeneutics of the Self

The Singularity of the Speaking Subject
Idem and Ipse: From Narrative Identity to the Ethical Self
Benevolent Selfhood
Oneself as Another
Concluding Remarks

4. Secret Singularities

Spacing, Iterability, Signatures
Secrets of Speech
Originary Mourning: In Memory of the Absolutely Other
An Unexperienced Experience: The Absolute Arrivant


Appendix: “The Word: Giving, Naming, Calling,” by Jacques Derrida


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