The alterity of the other (or all I understand about Derrida I learned from TV...)

Jacques Derrida - Conversation on Human Rights with Alan Montfiore- Oxford Amnesty Lecture Series 1992

"Deconstruction of the subject if such a thing is possible which I doubt can in no case lead to dissolution of the subject. Deconstruction doesn't mean, to me, dissolution. Which means that when you deconstruct… anything, you simply do not destroy or dissolve or cancel the logitivity(?) of what you're deconstructing. In that case, deconstructing the subject, if there is such a thing, would mean first to analyze historically, historically in a genealogical way, the formation ad the different layers which have built, so to speak, the concept. Every concept has its own history and the concept of subject has a very very long and complex history."

"Since we are supposed to address here the problem of human rights we face first the problem of language. If there are human rights, which means universally valid human rights, they should be accessible, understandable, to everyone, whatever language they understand or they speak."

"Deconstruction is first, among other things, the genealogical analysis of the trajectory through which the concept has been built, used, legitimized and so forth."

"Now as you know, the human rights, what we call the human rights, is a set of concepts, laws, requirements, which were not given in nature from the beginning… it's in the process of the constitution of the human rights that the concept of subject has been referred to…

"When you hear 'deconstruction of the subject', this is a slogan. Usually it's used by people who want to avoid the what they consider the threat coming from deconstruction. They say well deconstruction is simply negative project which undermines everything and doesn't leave anything in place and we have to reject this… I have constantly insisted on the contrary that deconstruction was mainly affirmation… constant reference to a 'yes'. Yes, I speak to you, I address you, I listen to you, and so its a thinking of the affirmation… it's not a matter of rebuilding, it's a matter of going further, displacing, changing. Changing the world or changing society, changing the state of things in terms of human rights for instance is not simply reconstruction. It's constructing something else. Something other. And deconstruction, if it is an ethics… If you call this an ethics of affirmation it implies that you are attentive to otherness. To the alterity of the other. Something new and other."

"Deconstruction is not destruction."

"the people who say that deconstruction is undermining rationality, first, they don't read. Second, they refer to a certain state a certain set of norms they call reason. Rationality. And in the same way that the subject has a history, reason has a history… I would describe deconstruction as a modern rationalism which tries to incorporate new disciplines, new forms of rationality."

"Once you pay attention to the fact that the subject is not simply a transparent ego, reflexive ego, totally present with self, then you have to transform your approach, transform the very concept of reason."
"It's in the name of a new rationalism that deconstruction is necessary."


Derrida (2002)

"I want to underline rather than efface our surrounding technical conditions and not feign a "naturality" which does not exist. I've already in a way started to respond to your question about deconstruction because one of the gestures of deconstruction is not to naturalize what isn't natural - not to assume that what is conditioned by history, institutions, or society is natural."

"Deconstruction the way I understand it doesn't produce any sitcom. And, if sitcom is this and the people who watch this think that deconstruction is this, the only advice I have to give them is just read, stop watching sitcom and do your homework and read."

"I have an empty head on love in general. And as for the reason philosophy has often spoken of love I either have nothing to say or I would just be reciting cliches."
"One of the first questions one could pose - I'm just searching a bit - is the question of the difference between the who and the what. Is love the love of someone or the love of something? Okay, supposing I love someone. Do I love someone for the absolute singularity of who they are? I love you because you are you. (points) Or do I love your qualities, your beauty, your intelligence? Does one love someone, or does one love something about someone? The difference between the who and the what at the heart of love separates the heart."

"It's impossible for me to have any philosopher as a mother. It's a problem. My mother couldn't be a philosopher. A philosopher couldn't be my mother. That's a very important point. Because the figure of the philosopher is for me always a masculine figure. This is one of the reasons I undertook the deconstruction of philosophy. All the deconstruction of phallogocentrism is the deconstruction of what one calls philosophy which since its inception has always been linked to a paternal figure."