Notes on Kamuf P. (Ed.) (1991). A Derrida Reader. Between the Lines. London: Harvester Wheatsheaf

Dave Harris

[Could be a long slog, but this is about the only way I could even approach Derrida, through extracts chosen by an expert commentator.  I begin with my own plain persons's gloss. Skip if you want:

Logocentrism — a plain person's guide

I think the essence of it is that human beings make a lot of judgements in an instant kind of way, imagining that events or concepts somehow present themselves to consciousness directly, or are immediately present. This tendency is enhanced by speech which means that we can immediately utter  a name for what it is we have perceived, and that seems to be direct. Logo might also imply that there is an argument there which has directed our perceptions, that we are predisposed to see something as something because it will fit an argument that we have developed already or are developing. Phallogocentrism is a fairly easy extension of this idea to fit those who will see the phallus at work everywhere, immediately, without qualification — it will seem obvious.

Now this describes an activity that we all know and engage, when we make instant judgements about people or things. We see someone as untrustworthy, or we see a situation is dangerous, without much thought, almost unconsciously, although it has to be present in our consciousness. What Derrida does though, is to identify this process at the heart of a great deal of powerful philosophy, quite often at crucial stages, when the philosophy is to be 'applied'. Thus Hegel pursues extremely clever rigourous and logical analysis of the workings of the dialectic, based on his own considerable philosophical grasp, his critical evaluation of other philosophers and all the rest of it, but he gets logo centric when he is applying the analysis to actual social situations, which have to be seen as embodiments of Spirit. Derrida points to his work on the family [in Glas], where the family is posited conceptually as a site of social reconciliation between opposites, a crucial stage in the development of full social morality. Unfortunately, Hegel also takes as essential characteristics that must have seemed to him to be immediately and apparently obvious — that men were outward facing, while women were domestic, men did reason, and women did emotions, in the struggle between them, they use different weapons and so on. Derrida says Kant was even worse in explaining the dreadful tensions between men and women in the bourgeois family as some kind of eternal struggle between concepts. Colletti once argued, long ago, that Marx saw Hegel as making the same mistake in developing the conceptual notion of the state as the embodiment of Reason, and then identifying it uncritically with the existing Prussian state. Marcuse was to make a similar argument with Heidegger's existentialism, that it generated a state of anxiety that was chronically likely to be relieved by a strong authoritarian leader, and there just happened to be one in the person of Hitler.

it is relatively easy to extend the reach of this critique by covering phallogocentrism, a tendency to see the phallus  at work in everything, somehow always present, and uncriticlly recognisable -- in Lacan, say

There are several implications that follow for me. One is that reading Derrida and other commentaries of Hegel, like Taylor, it struck me as more or less like functionalist sociology, especially of the family, where there are complementary roles, a focus on pattern variables that prepare for life in wider societies and so on. If you take functionalism as a kind of default setting for social analysis by sectors of the middle classes, you have opened the door nicely to Bourdieu as below. And as many people have argued actual empirical families have all sorts of other aspects, of course, not just accidentally dysfunctional ones, but built-in oppressive ones, connected to and reflected in wider social struggles.

Secondly, I am not at all sure that the same charge can be levelled against science. I don't think Derrida includes science, and I think that's because he hints that science is at least corrigible [I think the best bit for this is the section in Of Grammatology where he recommends developing an adequate grammatology by examining empirical cases, certainly not by attempting to find some abstract concept of a language, which is what a philosopher might do. Although scientists are as likely as anyone else to make these intuitive direct judgements — I suppose they might even be Popper's basic statements, where astronomers are dragged out of doors look up into the sky and agree that there is a moon actually there — they can proceed to correct these by more rigorous observation and experiment, although still within limits of course. The limits in this case are provided by positivism, for example, that rules out anything like the kind of clever textual conceptual analysis that Derrida indulges in. Nevertheless, I think this raises all sorts of implications for statements like the one in Barad where she says, notoriously, that quantum erasure experiments provide some sort of empirical proof for Derrida's ontology. It is not at all clear what sort of claim that is, whether it is a recognition forced by wanting to apply Derrida, or a measured observation, grounded in scientific judgements having ruled out all the other possibilities, or indeed just an intuitive or polemical, with a hidden component of 'as if'.

Thirdly, I am reminded of Bourdieu's rebuke of Derrida in Distinction . It leads to Bourdieu's own critique of Kant. I quote from my own notes:

Derrida's real purpose is still to formalise, and he cannot break with the notion of a 'philosophical text', which sits in opposition to all other 'vulgar' discourses (495). Derrida agrees to play the game of trying to pin down some pure pleasure, while remaining indifferent to the conditions of existence of such pleasure. As usual, the more unreal and indifferent the text, the more likely it is to be accepted as philosophy. As a result, Derrida can only arrive at philosophical truths, and he supports the overall game of philosophy, even while performing the occasional transgression --'the philosophical way of talking about philosophy de-realises everything that can be said about philosophy' (495).
For Bourdieu, this logocentrism is not an additional process requiring examination, but a mundane result of the unconscious or habitual exercise of cultural capital. The habitus also generates spontaneous judgements of all kinds of objects and events, and these just seem natural and obvious to those who share it, not even worth discussing, challenged only where there is some social infraction when someone external intrudes — and then they can be dismissed quite easily as not the right sort of chap. In the critique of Kant on judgement, Bourdieu is arguing that Kant is faithfully expressing the habitus of men of his class and occupation in reproducing distinctions between, say, immediate bodily enjoyments, and more rational discriminating intellectualised aesthetic judgement. No doubt sociological critics of Kant would say the same about his conventional views about the family, or his view that autonomous individuals are the proper sources of morality — a must read some one-day. This is much clearer in my view than Derrida's rather odd, and so far rather vague argument that individual named philosophers seem to be capable of these errors, even though he knows it is not individuals who do this but linguistic formations or cultural formations, but these are never identified anywhere except in metaphysical tradition. Of course there are the usual back-covering bits about connections with relations of power. The Bourdieu dig (in the section in Distinction on Kant) says that Derrida hesitates exactly at the moment where philosophy would have to give way to sociology.

While I am here, if logocentrism represents a kind of continual presupposition in Western metaphysics, it's not the only one,or perhaps there are more forms than one. I don't know enough about metaphysics to extend this very far, but I have noticed another key presupposition in a lot of 'deconstructionist' argument, suggested, perhaps by Bourdieu's attack on philosophy in Distinction (see below). I think it might be philogocentrism,a series of ways in which philosophers specifically convince themselves they are at the Truth,using not just intuition but other more specialist sources -- consonance with other philosophers, logical entailment from earlier concepts, an underlying Whiggish sense of progress towards complete philosophy. organizational or publishing success etc

In essence [!] what happens is that all the existing naïvely empirical or idealist categories, oppositions, and especially binaries are rebuked, and shown to be limited, even to be implying something beyond the distinctions themselves. There is a magic substance which transcends or is immanent to normal reality. In Derrida it might be Spirit, in Heidegger it is Being seems to be  in Deleuze it is the immanent and Aion (or indeed, Being). Even in Althusser it seems to be some Spinoza notion of structural causality, some cause that causes itself and constitutes all the normal causes. In Barad, it is the phenomenon, where relations constitute the relata and vice versa. Everything else can be deconstructed and shown to be inadequate, but not this Magic Substance because it contains all critical terms within it and appears just in time to rescue the whole system and prevent it being just entirely negative.

Here is a cracking early example, showing the ways in which the Magic Substance can appear to rescue an immediate crisis say in a direct argument with somebody else. This is a discussion between Hyppolite and Derrida at a conference, cited in Kirby, V (2011), ch. 1, p19. (summarised on the Kirby page) . They were discussing the differences between science and philosophy, and whether the characteristics that interest Derrida could be understood in developments such as information theory, and whether Derrida sees the emergence of human beings as a kind of accident or malformation arising from nature. Specifically, they discuss whether or not Einstein's constants are relevant for grasping social life or not:

JD: '… The Einsteinian constant is not a constant, is not a centre. It is the very concept of variability — it is, finally, the concept of the game. In other words it is not the concept of some thing — of a centre starting from which an observer could master the field — but the very concept of the game which, after all, I was trying to elaborate'

JH: 'Is it a constant in the game?'

JD: It is the constant of the game…

JH It is the rule of the game.

JD 'It is a rule of the game which does not govern the game; it is a rule of the game that does not dominate the game. Now, when the rule of the game is displaced by the game itself we must find something other than the word rule'
Instant judgement, immediate conviction, inspiration and recognition. It just MUST be there or else Hyppolite will be able to unpack Derrida into conventional understandings of his own.

The obvious consequences are apparent, formulated, perhaps, best by Badiou on the problems of the univocity of Being in Deleuze. Being is a magic substance that constitutes everything that we normally perceive and grasp, providing a unified origin for things that seem to be opposed, a common source for what seems to be empirically separate. The same might be said for all the other magic substances.

There are several problems. There is a danger of infinite regress, or the rediscovery of God, if we apply the same transcendental or immanent arguments to the magic substance itself. Being with a B constitutes ordinary being, but what constitutes Being? Who constructed the plane of immanence? Where did the tremendous signifying power of human language come from? Who designed Nature? The chosen magic substance has to be just at the right level of transcendence or immanence, like Goldilocks's porridge. On what grounds do we exclude some even more fundamental magic substance? Recent commentary covers this problem by deconstructing the philosophy of others, while, in some cases, denying the anything positive like this might replace it

There is another problem, especially for the politically committed, because there have to be exemptions to cover things that we don't necessarily approve of politically. Technically, if everything is traceable to the unfolding of Being, that would include Nazi politics [which is maybe the path that Heidegger followed], patriarchy and positivism, Lacanian theory, neoliberal accounts of capital, all the nasty aspects of Nature including aggression and competition, colonialism as well as post-colonialism.

Exemptions have to be found, and the most common way to do this is to pursue some bolt- on politics or ethical commitments. These do not necessarily come from Being,although they might be supported by trends detectable in Being. They are used to enable skilled interpretations of univocity, the best of which argue that these nasty things are earlier forms of manifestation and that we now can and should progress beyond them, perhaps in a utopian way. There is also skilled interpretation of the kind that Derrida specialises in, but which I have also found in Deleuze, where particular texts which seem to lead to uncomfortable conclusions have to be read in a particular way, allegedly a more authentic skilled or complete way. We have to look not only at the published texts of Nietszche, but to his letters, not just Heidegger's main text, but a set of lectures he gave at Marburg, not just Marx's main texts, but the copious marginalia which help us put those in context. Other contexts might include specific struggles or issues which the Chosen One happens to be addressing or which have provided an unfortunate focus — Böhr's residual humanism, Marx's particular struggles with other socialists, Deleuze's attempt to restore neglected philosophical works to the canon, Heidegger keen to address particular critics in his section on the ontic origins of sexuality. Rival interpretations can be dismissed on the same grounds — and my favourite example, Adorno's conclusions arise from the terrible pessimism he experienced during the Nazi era, or Nietszche's from his physical health [in a biography I have just read, his preference for aphorism arose from the fact that his eyes were so bad that he could not really write anything lengthier].

In the last resort, tremendous technical problems with interpretation itself can be identified, which is probably Derrida's speciality. We have translation problems, so we need to grasp the full context of German or Greek words, although there can only ever be hints of other possibilities and/or never enough time to do the required close reading. There is considerable deferral and hesitation surrounding his own interpretations, which covers his back, and also produces the effect of 'prime knowledge' – if a man of his tremendous intellectual power, fluent in German, Greek and English, fully realising all the problems, can still conclude that Heidegger's notion of sexuality was not negative, all we can do is take our hats off and agree. The deferral and hesitation also prevents the difficult issue of what might be positively said. I suppose, at the end of a life criticising and deconstructing the philosophy of others, Derrida might be forgiven for arguing that we cannot know, but that there just might be something at the end of it, for the future, some actual adequate grammatology, for example.

But this runs the risk of being an argument of residues, which haunts [sic] all the transcendental immanent stuff anyway. The discovery of transcendental Being obviously helps close some theoretical issues.It can be defended by philosophical argument, extension or unfolding implications, but is it 'really 'there, if you will pardon a ridiculously naive question? Can we have access to it except through philosophical deduction, which might involve generalising from social science work in some cases. If not,the whole scheme runs the risk of looking circular, as Deleuze once said about arguments based on 'essences' -- we can examine actual cases to get to underlying essences, but there comes a stage, maybe a very early one, where our understanding of essence guides our examination of actual cases in return. That can still be corrigible, if we think of it as a form of abduction, but far too often, the Magic Substance is never questioned again once it has done its work and enabled systematisation -- it attains a status that is beyond any normal test (except, maybe consistency) or process of corrigibility, and there are always ad hoc additions to cover any emerging contradictions.

Naturally, my own account is subject precisely to the same sort of objections, there are considerable translation problems, and I have no time for the necessary detailed reading.

Part one différance at the origin.

Intro: Derrida found it difficult to write a thesis which would be acceptable to the French University at the time, so he gradually reworked it in eventual publications. It turned on 'his preoccupation with philosophy and literature, in all the conjugations of this similarity and difference' (3). He began using the techniques of transcendental phenomenology to examine literature and ask what writing is, and how inscription works as a '"literary ruse"'. He translated Husserl on the origin of geometry and wrote essays on a number of contemporary thinkers, collected as Writing and Difference, Speech and Phenomena, and Of Grammatology. There is one persistent feature — 'the privileging of voice as the medium of meaning' (4). The problems philosophers identified with writing pointed to another issue — that writing is inconsistent with a fundamental notion of philosophy 'truth or meaning as a presence without difference from itself' [that is those moments of intuition where philosophers just identify something that's obvious or common sense, often acting as a basic statement?]. Writing 'always supposes and indicates an absence'. Husserl offered the most systematic account of meaning as self presence and also provided some deconstructive tools. So his critique began within the tradition: as self–presence was further analysed, the distinction between inside and outside which it implies was also challenged. The early work was more conventional, but subsequent writings are more experimental, attempting new relations between theme and form. The first works reveal the key concepts ['semi-– or quasi-– concepts'] that persist — 'trace, différance, archi-writing', designed to illustrate the gaps in classic theories of signification, those gaps which indicate an opening to an outside or other, including absence.

From Speech and Phenomena

This analyses signification in Husserl, focusing on expressions in particular, which are intended to show meaning. This in turn involves a relationship to consciousness and '"solitary mental life"'. In the phenomenological reduction, external support for consciousness is also stripped away. Derrida wants to say that the attempt to exclude external traces involves the logic of presence, both in the sense of 'a non-differentiated present moment, and in a more spatial sense' (7) [self-sufficient, needing no outside support] Derrida says this is an effacement of the sign, removing anything that might interrupt the living present. The indicative functions of language which Husserl downgrades, and which implies an other, can never be avoided, but it indicates a '"process of death at work in signs"', something that is a problem for signification, an impurity, which has to be suspended. This leads to the notion of 'the logic of presence as a logic of pure auto-affection' and also a necessary relation between expression and indication — the trace, 'the logic of repeated inscription without simple origin', which cannot be explained by the logic of presence.

Chapter 4 Meaning and representation

Husserl is arguing that communication is not primarily intended to indicate, but to conduct some internal mental understanding in 'inward speech'. This indicates nothing to oneself and involves only representation and imagination. There is no need for indication — mental activity is 'immediately present to the subject in the present moment' (8) [quote from Husserl follows].

However, representation also means re-representation, repetition or reproduction [traced to German terms] and one representation can occupy the place of another. If we are going to argue that internal monologues are the most important, reality is represented in the usual way, but this presupposes effective communication and thus indication. So  Husserl has to operate with a particular kind of representation, 'a certain fiction… the imaginary representation'. The issue of effective representation is not explored, especially its relationship with reality [not just a reflection model]: connections between language and reality just is language. [One of those assertions?].

A sign can never be an event even for Husserl, 'an irreplaceable and irreversible empirical particular' (10). There must be some repetition, something which persists despite diverse empirical characteristics and other deformations, some or ideal formal identity. Representation does this too, but each signifying event substitutes for the signifier and signified in all signification [I'm not sure I agree with this -- only if the event is unmanageably unique?] . Any effective communication therefore involves 'unlimited representation'.

Can the 'communicative and indicative shell'of language be simply dropped? Husserl wants to distinguish expression and signification in general, but Derrida says the two are always implied together in any sign. Effective speech also becomes more problematic — 'there is every likelihood that [it] is just as imaginary as imaginary speech' (11) and vice versa [breaking any simple reflective relation]. The insistence that there is a difference between reality and language is the key to metaphysics but it really arises from 'the obstinate desire to save presence and to reduce or derive the sign'. The sign itself offers no difference between reality and representation, but this characteristic has to be effaced: one way to do this is to make signs derivative [cf no referent etc] , from the repetitions of a simple presence, and this is such a dominant tendency that it affects the very concept of sign that has developed, which makes criticism difficult. It's easier if we stay within the system, and its interior.

The difference between real and representational presence produces a whole range of other differences — signified and signifier, presentation and re-presentation and so on. However, the two are actually involved — presence is derived from repetition and not the other way about, presentation involves representation. There is also the issue of the 'ideality'of the sign [where it gets its consistency from being an idea], which assumes perfect transparency and univocity of language, but that does not exist in the world [confident!] and is produced only by acts of repetition – indefinite repetition increases the generality of the sign. To call it ideality is to necessarily involve 'a valuation' (13), deriving from Plato. Such ideality is connected to being as presence — it is the ideality that is always present, and the notion of temporality involved assumes that it is the same that is being repeated [all this is quite important for feminist materialists as well], as some pure source, originary presence. That is what is available to intuition, but this installs the present as the universal form of all experience, the only thing that is always there, being itself. Ideality means we can transgress empirical existence as well, our own especially — before and after ourselves 'the present is'. All the empirical content of the world can be kept away, even when I die — [hence all the stuff about the relationship to death, a dissimulation, Derrida says, but one central to the whole understanding of signification]. Even the possibility of death does not change the centrality of the present — I live in the present myself, but my mortality cannot be doubted except by moving to the idea of living involving being a thinking being, and thus immortal. [Is the implication this desire for immortality is what drags all this other stuff about an ideal present?]. This also limits the imagination, which Husserl relies on in other parts of his work, but he still sees this as a kind of representation, reproduction of a presence even if a purely fictitious one, different from memory only in the sense that it does not have the immediate emotional baggage [which might be what is meant by 'neutrality – modification']. This keeps imagination and its ideality grounded, connected to primordial reality.

Expressive phenomena must be imaginative representations. Inner dialogue about these representations, wanting to correct them, is fictitious, however [but still effective?]. Where we are communicating with the same words, implying the same idealisations we can still talk about a distinction between the ideal and the real, as long as we see effectiveness as 'an empirical and exterior cloak to expression, like a body to a soul' (16). Inner speech can be effectively representative or purely fictitious, although this is not a stable distinction, because fiction also applies to the sign in its origin — the implication seems to be that there is no hard and fast distinction between exterior and interior language, despite Husserl's attempt to relegate indication.

Husserl suggest that genuine communication need not involve speech at all, but merely a supposition [a role?] that one is a speaking communicating subject. Again this gives the representation of the self a secondary status, and it also implies repetition in [nonsubjective] language — the subject has to represent his own speaking. Derrida concludes that despite all the manoeuvrings 'speech represents itself; it is its representation' (17). For Husserl, there can be no real distinction between the subject as he is and the subject as he represents himself — the subject as he is is a fiction as we saw, and only consciousness can be the 'self presence of the living' the guarantee of experience. Experience is therefore simple and free evolution, but as soon as we think about speaking to ourselves, we are developing an illusion, some 'secondary consciousness'. Therefore the presence we are given in language is necessarily secondary — for Husserl, experience could ideally even 'reflect its own presence in silence'.

[At this point, I realised I'll never get through this if I stay at this level of detail, so I'm going to cheerfully summarise/vulgarise leaving out the exquisite details of the actual arguments, which move from tentative detailed examination of selected texts towards open assertions or claims of the authority of tradition, and feature claims that philosophical positions have problems; the philosophers acknowledge those themselves, however indirectly, sometimes involving detours into alternative translations; there are no pure concepts since everything has been produced by différance and there are always traces or suppressed archiwriting. Apologies]

This reliance on the self as the source and origin of knowledge of the empirical world is called 'auto- affection', and Derrida wants to extend it by looking at the privilege granted to voice and speech, especially its apparent spontaneity. Speech presents the illusion of 'speaking to oneself' somehow before language and representation are engaged, where there is a primary '"being present"' [its a bit like Descartes on the immediacy and primacy of consciousness?]. Signs are impure, foreign to self presence, and will never fully express this in speech [which is why indicative speech is secondary, and even arbitrary]. Inner speech just seems to appear without prior cause, representing some immediate presence. [Apparently Husserl did modify this when discussing scientific truths which do require separate transcription to fix utterances — although Husserl insists that writing is really an expression of phonemes or original sounds, and this kind of preserves the primacy of voice]

We should develop this instead of using metaphors based on the movements of apparently empirical objects, especially when accounting for time. It might not be possible in fact, says Derrida, to operate with pure self presence, because there is always a nonidentical present retained in the form of a trace. We have to see that trace is still linked to the sense of the living present, however, and this is the basis for Husserl's understanding of the origin of sense [Derrida says this is Husserl's archewriting].

[Making] sense itself is a temporal dimension, a movement, where traces enter lived experience. Husserl prefers to see this as a form of spacing or interval [cf Deleuze on subjectivity as an interval]. We have connected interval and difference. The interval doesn't seem to have anything to do with time initially, but as something outside it. How does this experience square with the notion of 'the pure inwardness of speech, or of the "hearing oneself speak", which has been so important?

 In this way, voice is crucial to grasp objective being by conferring an ideality on it, its 'being – for nonempirical consciousness'. The voice is only heard, and has no other worldly form. The voice can affect the subject himself, appearing to be at our disposition. [The argument can be extended to non-vocal signifiers as well, which also possess a derivative 'inner spatial reference' to experience, including appearing to be outside us]. Voice and monologue remain interior, even when we hear ourselves speak. One implication is that there is a necessary relation between phonics and expressions including those that involve written signifiers.

The appearance of an autonomous immediate transcendent voice is obviously linked to the whole idea of consciousness, subjectivity and sense of self, and that in turn affects philosophical ideas of truth as opposed to appearance. Signifiers are immediately present in expression — names look like an immediate phenomenological reduction, managing bodies and exteriority. There is no gap between speaking and hearing one's own voice, providing a sense of 'self presence', no need to consider meanings from further developments of signifiers but remaining with the ideal object. Non-verbal expressions are easily managed as aspects of voice. Any interruptions of this simultaneous speaking and hearing also just seen as accidents, such as deafness. Hearing oneself speak is the classic originary auto affectation. It appears both universal and singular. Nothing else matches its apparent universality — even the other senses are indirect and involve something external. Nothing else is so much available to us to signify. An active [world-constructing] consciousness depends on it.

It can even lead to a particular grasp of otherness. When we speak to someone, we assume that the other can repeat our speech immediately himself, repeating auto affection. Overall, this gives us the illusion of complete power over signifiers since there is nothing external to them in origin. It gives us a form of intuition if the signifier is adjacent to the signified. Distance between them, however is drastically increased with writing.

This seems to manage empirical differences by reducing them to pure differences in the voice and auto affection, but difference of course is still at work even in our self presence. We can get to the issues by thinking of the Derrida concept différance. This is not internal. 'It produces the subject'(24) and sameness and self relation. It manages the nonidentical. The priority of the voice can never be possible. Sense has a temporality of its own, even in Husserl's work. The 'absolute novelty of each now' must be generated by something else, and remaining with pure spontaneity will not lead to a grasp of novelty, or an understanding of how it came to be produced. Husserl has to argue that somehow nows go into the past, only through auto affection, but he cannot avoid 'ontic metaphor' (26), when using terms like time and this must also be originary. [Then there is an odd piece that says that Western metaphysics always knew this, even though it tried to cover it up — time actually revealed both the movement of consciousness but also 'dissimulates'].

So any notion of living present must be impure, containing traces of something other. It can therefore not be originary. The trace is originary. Sense always preserves archewriting. It is not that some inner expression is then subsequently contaminated by an outside indication— their intertwining is also originary we cannot disentangle this subsequent contamination by some clever phenomenological reduction because there is 'an absolute limit' (28). Derrida uses the term 'supplement' to describe the addition of indication and expression, and that is of course originary for him too. Apparently autonomous inner expressions are deficient and must be supplemented: speech 'had already from the start fallen short of itself'.

From Of Grammatology (bits of ch 6)

Kamuf says: This is a critique of logocentrism as the basis of metaphysics [for the reasons given just above]. Writing is seen as derivative, 'as purely phonetic transcription' (31). Speech is better to restore the thing itself via pure intelligibility. Logocentrism has appeared in a number of philosophical positions, especially Heidegger and modern semiotics — that still retains a distinction between signifier and signified, despite them both being combined in the sign, and this is ultimately rooted to 'a pure intelligibility tied to an absolute logos' (32). If we are to grasp writing differently, we might reawaken a paradox in metaphysics, where God or nature writes on the soul, and Derrida wants to determine the literal meaning of this metaphorical writing — '"metaphoricity itself"' as inherent in writing. Writers think they can control meaning, for example in a self-contained book, but this always implies an attempt to control difference. Apparently, the more extended critiques of specific philosophers end with 'undecidability', managed with supplementarity, as with most of his deconstructive readings.

NB Cracking summary from Wikipedia here:

.... in his book Of Grammatology. Derrida aimed to show that writing is not simply a reproduction of speech, but that the way in which thoughts are recorded in writing strongly affects the nature of knowledge. Deconstruction from a grammatological perspective places the history of philosophy in general, and metaphysics in particular, in the context of writing as such. In this perspective metaphysics is understood as a category or classification system relative to the invention of alphabetic writing and its institutionalization in School. Plato's Academy, and Aristotle's Lyceum, are as much a part of the invention of literacy as is the introduction of the vowel to create the Classical Greek alphabet. Gregory Ulmer took up this trajectory, from historical to philosophical grammatology, to add applied grammatology (Applied Grammatology: Post(e)-Pedagogy from Jacques Derrida to Joseph Beuys, Johns Hopkins, 1985). Ulmer coined the term "electracy" to call attention to the fact that digital technologies and their elaboration in new media forms are part of an apparatus that is to these inventions what literacy is to alphabetic and print technologies. Grammatology studies the invention of an apparatus across the spectrum of its manifestations—technology, institutional practices, and identity behaviors

Western metaphysics takes the signified as something parallel to signifiers, while the sign unites them. This assumes that signified and signifier are pure categories, not related, say by trace. The essence of the signified is given by presence, and it is privileged by proximity to speech [=logocentrism in a nutshell] . Concepts like' interpretation, perspective, evaluation, difference' (35) and other empiricist motifs are weak but are reproduced in philosophy, with the possible exception of Nietzsche who wanted to liberate the signifier from the logos and from the notion of something primary being signified, since reading and writing texts were originary operations, having nothing to transcribe or discover, no truth to signify. Some people have interpreted this to mean that there is some intuitive ontology instead, but Derrida says this was an attempt to get out of metaphysics, using some of its own terms. Nietzsche really thinks that writing is not subordinate to logos or truth, although it has been made subordinate in this way. His critique remains dogmatic, and, 'like all reversals, a captive of that metaphysical edifice which it professes to overthrow' [a key passage for Kirby and Schrader].

Heidegger wants to reinstate the old hierarchy, with logos and the truth as the primary thought 'implied by all categories or all determined significations' (36), something universal not affected by specific epochs — 'being nothing before the logos and outside of it'. It was a 'logos of being' itself — '"Thought obeying the Voice of Being"'. There is a transcendental signified linking signifier and signified.

Again, this transcendental signified is demonstrated in the voice which is heard and understood, represented in conscience, pure auto affection [as before], otherworldly and thus idealised. Any other characteristics of the signifier are effaced. This is how we experience being, as an originary word, understood in all language. This is the only way we can get to being in general, which Heidegger finds addressed in the whole history of metaphysics. He insists that we're not just talking about a word nor even a concept, although language must express it or at least its possibility. It is something irreducibly simple. It follows that any modern linguistics attempting to analyse the components of signs would not really be studying language for Heidegger, while his notion of linguistics means language must 'share the presuppositions of metaphysics' (37). If modern linguistics 'deconstructs the unity of the word' or uses it naïvely, it cannot be helpful in addressing the question of being, if that stands for some pre-constituted understanding of the unity of word and being [!] [We have to assume that Heidegger's unity is correct, of course]. The same goes for any rejection of Heidegger's 'founding concept–words of ontology' (38), which could be extended to psychoanalysis [I think Derrida is saying that we have to abandon an awful lot of rival attempts to grasp being]: these sciences have [succesfully] abandoned transcendental phenomenology and fundamental ontology — which makes Heidegger's philosophy nonscientific [I think].

Heidegger's constant thinking about the question of being undermines his own attempt to answer it [I think because if he is suggesting something primordial before all determinate being, he will find it difficult to restore a sense of unity to actual being and the word — primordial being seems to be 'silent, mute, insonorous, wordless, originarily aphonic', something quite different from being revealed by the voice, something that distinguishes some deeper '"call of being"' from actual sounds. [I think he is saying that it is difficult to rigorously separate actual and transcendental being, except in a provisional way, and so Heidegger is forced to confuse being and presence]. With a transcendental concept, everything becomes signified, and even the difference between signifier and signified 'is nothing'.

Heidegger's 'onto theology' will not cope with this. On the one hand, being must be fixed 'in its general syntactic and lexicological forms within linguistics and Western philosophy' [so it might not be primordial after all?]. It is privileged however, by citing this tradition of Western metaphysics. We should really be asking how that history produced transcendental concepts in the first place [I think it goes on to argue that Heidegger is very ambivalent about this — but who knows? It could be the familiar double whammy of philosophical argument --asserting something as self-evidently a prime fact and then appealing to authority?].

We should not try to run all these terms together [being and being as something transcendental?]. What is really underneath is différance, 'the production of differing/deferring' (40); this has a better claim to be originary, although it does not constitute a simple origin, a term which belongs to the old onto-theology designed to manage difference. Instead we must see it as determinate only to destroy the old onto theology as a necessary 'trick of writing'. [He promises to disentangle the relation between différance and writing subsequently].

The problems raised by Nietzsche and Heidegger does not reveal incoherence as such, more 'trembling'(41)  which followed Hegel's system. This makes a more general point that we don't destroy structures from the outside when we deconstruct, but rather we inhabit them, intending to subvert them — although 'the enterprise of deconstruction always in a certain way falls prey to its own work' [infinite regress beckons if we then deconstruct deconstruction etc].

The unity of the signifier and signified might be described fruitfully as a hinge [and a note acknowledges the help of a colleague suggesting this word as a way to express 'difference and articulation' (54)]. It can never be exhausted by presence: there can be no 'full speech', even in psychoanalysis. We have to examine the trace.

Words and concepts 'receive meaning only in sequences of differences', and can be justified only by referring to a topic and a strategy. There is no absolute justification, but rather a particular coalition of forces. Particular discourses impose a choice upon one. The trace refers to these influencing discourses, without accepting them 'totally' (42). The concept can be seen in the work of Levinas which argues that there is no originary presence and therefore no simple distinction between sameness and otherness in any past state. This must undermine an ontology claiming being is presence and language is full speech and question words like 'proximity, immediacy, presence… the proper' which is his 'final intention in this book'. The trace has become irreducible, in philosophy and science.

The trace is an 'arche-phenomenon of "memory"', existing before the opposition of nature and culture, in the actual movement of significations itself. It must imply an exterior element. The possibility of the spoken word — arche- writing — is a first opening to exteriority and otherness, to space and objectivity, even in their familiar senses. None of these would appear to us without différance, revealing nonpresence in the sense of the present, death [here meaning the limits to subjective operations?] as a structure for life. We would not be able to pursue metaphor. Rather than seeing this is an ambiguity, which 'requires the logic of presence' (43), the trace plays and reveals all the problems of signification.

There is a whole history of metaphysics attempting to reduce the trace, and this has led to dualisms and binaries, and monisms, e.g. spiritualist or materialist or dialectic. The trace has to be subordinated to full presence, 'summed up in the logos', speech has to be prioritised over writing. In onto theology we get associated terms such as eschatology, parousia, life without différance 'another name for death' only resisted by God's name. The movement ends with a concept of infinite being capable of reducing or differences in presence [like nature?]. Ironically, then, God becomes a name for indifference, unless we propose some positive powers such as sublimation. This is the basis of theology. Such theologies 'are always logocentrisms, whether they are creationisms or not'. For example Spinoza said that the logos was the immediate mode of the divine, Hegel thought this immediacy would reach completion in the absolute concept, and Saussure uses it to characterise the internal systemic nature of language.

Writing was excluded in favour of images or representations, splits between nature and culture or technics, and above all 'a naturalist, objectivist, and derivative determination of the difference between outside and inside' (44). The same can be said of the vulgar concept of time in Heidegger's terms — 'thought in terms of spatial movement or of the now, and dominating all philosophy'. This conception is intrinsic, at the heart of the unity of metaphysics and technics in the West. It is also associated with linear conceptions of writing and speech [ultimately traced to the priority given to speech]. We see this with Saussure on the linearity of the signifier [a quote talks about unidirectional chains of signifiers]. Jakobson apparently wanted to replace this line with the musical staff so we could also recognise chords.

Apparently Saussure saw linearity of the word as guiding the very notion of truth and reflection, and this is preserved in modern concepts of the sign. The argument first appeared to make coherent scholarly theology. It is no accident that it persists. Originally, the sign always referred to a thing which had been thought and spoken in the divine logos, and a specific sign linked that to human speech. Modern linguistics sees the signifier as a trace, and so does without full intuitive divine consciousness — but the signified is still not seen as a trace, but is seen as self-sufficient, almost having no need of signifiers. Nevertheless, it is impossible to grasp its separateness from signifiers without lapsing into onto theology. We can only do this by thinking about writing which will undermine onto-theology, by arguing that the trace affects the sign in both its aspects, including the signified. The implication is that signifieds and signifiers are always related, 'always already', but this has serious consequences for metaphysics and logocentrism.

This is awful The bloody thing has lost my work. Okay, never trust it again

How can we actually do grammatolgy? If we abandon logocentrism, we have to abandon linguistic sciences too, and develop grammatological knowledge to be developed  by these other 'exorbitant' [excessive? additional?] disciplines. We need to investigate where writing begins, where the trace becomes writing in the normal sense, and how we can develop discourse.

However, there can be no simple origin unless we embrace the metaphysics of presence. Instead questions like where and when should be seen as 'empirical questions' (47), where and when writing first appeared, and we must pursue this by 'the investigation and research of facts'  that is, history in the usual sense. We must not confuse the question of origin with the question of essence. It is true that we must know what writing is and how we can identify it, but only as a guide in principle: once we get started 'empirical investigation quickly activates reflection upon essence' [I think this is where Barad gets it wrong confusing physics with Western metaphysics, rebuking physics for not being philosophical and all the rest of it. Unlike philosophy, this empirical reflection adds a kind of external corrigibility]. We must study examples rather than assume some straight line as suggested by transcendental philosophy, or at the very least, operate with this notion of origins 'under erasure' when we think of the trace as originary. Actually the trace is nothing in essence, and it cannot be grasped by basic philosophical procedures like the opposition of fact and principle.

One history of writing looks at it's development in terms of a relationship between face and hand, and how the hand was slowly transformed in such a way as to allow the development of audio phonic speech and manual writing. We need to avoid any mechanism here, but this is generally impossible anyway. Instead of looking for which one comes first, we have to work with 'the unity of gesture and speech… Body and language' (48) and not in ways which confirm existing systems — we have to exceed them [be 'exorbitant' again].

[Then a  a strange bit about our future development into something 'toothless', with vestigial limbs pressing buttons — the first showing of someone who turns up quite a lot later a certain A Leroi-Gourhan or ALG]

The problem arises because the development of the symbol is seen as linear, just as in the traditional concept of time which it embraces. However, there is a non-linear past for writing, although this has to be constantly managed in the interests of technical success and the growth of 'capitalisation' (49) [that is the development of capital?]. But first, we had multiple dimensions in a unified '"mythogram"' [says ALG]. These were reduced by imposing linear thought in a series of struggles. Conventional [European,not British] history is so bound up with straight lines or circles, that it is hard to grasp this. Even the notion of simultaneity 'coordinates two absolute presents' and remains linear.

The growth of linear models is a better way to classify scripts, such as the transition between pictogram and ideogram. In the original unity, all these elements were present, and it was perfectly possible to write about arts, religion, technics and the economy. However, linear models could never be imposed absolutely, and were constantly threatened by 'discreteness, différance, spacing'. Attempting linearity only emphasises these problems. Linear models were imposed on a 'vast historical scale', but were only ever a particular model. They are so accepted that it is difficult to access their characteristics. Linear language entails and is entailed by the basic 'determining concept of all ontology', the 'vulgar and mundane concept' of homogeneous temporality, dominated by the now, and by the ideal of continuous movement. [This is really the concept at work in positivism, not the peculiar notion of a series of identical presents found in Derrida's critique of Husserl's idealism, and wrongly generalised by feminist materialists].

We could not see the effects of this model even when considering the history of philosophy, at least not until the repression of multi dimensional symbolic thought was relaxed. It is far too likely to 'sterilise [justify? tidy up?]  the technical and scientific economy that it has long favoured', and which give it its very possibility. We can see this in the development of linguistic processes in the formation of ideology — 'thesaurisation, capitalisation, sedentarisation hierarchisation' — introduced 'by the class that writes or rather commands the scribes [still ALG, but also noted by people like Rousseau and Engels says Derrida in a note]. If we reject linear models, we must abandon the book form, at least if we can. Instead, we should reread books looking 'between the lines'. The clash between new and old ways of writing and reading is now common in science, philosophy, and literature, all of which are moving to destroy the linear model, the 'epic model' (51). To use the old linear forms today is just like 'teaching modern mathematics with an abacus' (51). Problems have been realised before, but they are exposed better today. Again we are not advocating going back to some simpler multi dimensional model in the mythogram. Instead, we can now see that the linear model and its associated rationality is just 'another form and another age of mythography'. We are heading towards 'meta-scientificity' through this meditation upon writing, something which leaves behind the old disciplines.

This is 'decentring', not the same as operations within conventional philosophy or science but more one of 'dislocating' existing categories of language and writing, by thinking of another system. We are challenging even the 'grammar of the episteme', unlike conventional theory which tends to repair gaps in it. The breakthrough probably came best in literature and poetry, or in the work of Nietszche. We can see other poets as drawing inspiration from non-Western traditions.

The separation of the different sciences from those of language has only happened via abstraction. We can still use it, but only 'with vigilance' (52). The original complicity 'may be called arche-writing'. It reminds us there is no simple origin, and in particular that speech did not proceed writing.

Writing keeps the notion of the trace alive and thus, 'knowing the general structure of the universe' [!]. It reminds us of the [always – already?] connections between writing and power, whether through clergies or political agents. We can see that the history of the written sign always includes 'strategy, ballistics, diplomacy, agriculture, fiscality, and penal law'. This arises in the most diverse cultures, and appears in complex political and family regulations. For example scribes had already 'laid down the terms of many wars' and constructed other regulations — so writing was never just a means of communication, but linked to power in the very process of idealising meaning and developing symbolic power. 'Economy, monetary or pre-monetary, and graphic calculation were co-originary', but no currently developed abstract science can grasp this.

To combat this incompetence and closure, we do not need to return to something prescientific or pre-philosophical, some suggested common root which is yet another concealment of origin. Instead we have to examine 'this unnameable movement of difference–itself' (53), and use terms that have been 'strategically nicknamed trace, reserve, or différance'. Even if we cannot specify them fully, we can still see something beyond the episteme. Thought itself would become 'a perfectly neutral name… the necessarily indeterminate index… of différance', in a whole new epoch. It would not carry its current contents — 'this thought has no weight' but gets its power from a system. We have not yet even begun to develop this kind of thinking, and even grammatology is still confined within the metaphysics of presence. {so endless deferral of anything positive]

From Différance in Margins of Philosophy

Kamuf's intro says the development of the neologism arises from the context of modern French, which has not developed two separate verbs for differ and defer, unlike English, and there is no 'sense of deferral or deferment' (59). The -ance ending operates in the middle between 'the active and passive voices' thereby implying an ' operation that is not that of the subject or an object'. Derrida thinks he's avoided a major error in philosophy as a result, and that by using the usual word différance, this distinction has been repressed, at least in speech — in writing, we can spell it differently. So différance 'is, therefore another name for writing' (60). The lecture actually makes this point playfully. The piece then goes on to explain how temporalisation and spacing are 'conjoined' and how other philosophers have nearly grasped this and therefore criticisedyo some extent the ontology of presence.

Signs are put in place of things, meanings or referents, absences, so signs offer 'deferred presence' (61), preventing immediate consumption. So temporalisation is implied, especially a moving towards a presence. So attaching a sign involves something that is secondary, but also provisional, necessarily mediating something absent. It's tempting to see this as originary différance, but we have problems with originary and should think instead of the way in which a conventional origin is implied in the present [as in 'appearing' or ' reappearing', representing some telos. Instead of an origin, différance is in the actual concept of the sign, something which must constantly question its authority. Apart from anything else, this will question any philosophy of Being as a matter of presence or absence. [Derrida speculates about the relation with Heidegger who still possesses traditional metaphysical notions of the present].

There is temporalisation in semiology and also spacing, especially in Saussure. He begins with the arbitrary character of the sign, but adds a differential characteristic — signs are arbitrary and are constituted only by the differences in terms, and network of oppositions that distinguishes and relates them. This affects both faces of the sign, both the ideal meaning (signified) and the image or '" psychical imprint" (signifier) ', to use Saussure's terms. For him, difference 'generally implies positive terms' (63) except in language — there are only 'conceptual and phonic differences', and the actual substance of both faces is less important.

In this way, a signified concept can never be present in and of itself, and must always refer to something else, some other link in a chain or system. This type of deferral implied in différance is now 'the possibility of conceptuality' itself. Derrida insists that différance is not a concept yet, but not just an innocent word either, not like the usual word , including 'difference', which implies some 'present and self-referential unity' between concept and (phonic) utterance. [The implication is that Saussure has never been able to quite conceptualise the way différance works, and tends to elide it with the normal word]

Taxonomies can classify the linguistic system, but differences still play. They are still effects, not 'fallen from the sky fully formed' (64), but historical [not in that typical sense as above]. Différance is that play that produces effects, but again we should not see this is a simple origin, and, because the contamination of that word, not really as an origin at all. Nor do the differences in language systems have a cause 'in a subject or a substance'. For Derrida, we need something like the trace, not an effect or  a cause, unable to operate itself to produce a transgression [I think the argument here really is about an account of change in closed systems]. Saussure thought that language was necessary for intelligibility, but that speech came first. Instead, we will define différance as a process which constitutes language 'as a weave of differences' remembering that even still remains in metaphysics. Derrida says he uses concepts like produce or constitute 'only for their strategic convenience and in order to undertake their deconstruction [at the right moment]'. Différance is not a static state, nor genetic, neither structural or historical – none of these classic distinctions are relevant. Instead, différance operates with 'a certain number of non-synonymous substitutions', and this is connected with terms such as reserve, archi-writing,  spacing, hymen or supplement — [even pharmakon, which, as note 5 explains is 'Plato's word for writing… Meaning both remedy and poison' (77). While we are here, the supplement refers to 'Rousseau's word to describe writing… It means both the missing piece and the extra piece', and there is the concept hymen which Derrida found in Mallarmé's reflections on writing, 'referring both to virginity and to consummation ']

Only différance makes the movement of signification possible, because each element has to be 'related to something other than itself', retaining a mark of the past and already suggesting a relation to a future element. The trace is related to the future as well as the past, and both constitute the present [what we mean by the present] there must be an interval separating the present from other times, but this interval also means the present is divided [reminds me a bit of Bergson saying that anticipating the future and remembering the past are both inseparable from the present, and that is what led him to doubt the usual notions of consciousness as well], and so is everything that somewhat on the basis of it, in metaphysics, in being and in 'singularly substance [as opposed to singularities?] or the subject'. What is involved is a process spacing 'the becoming space of time' and temporisation 'the becoming time of space' (66). This constitution of the present is originary, and non-simple [so not really originary in the strict sense, he says]. It demonstrates a synthesis of marks, 'traces of retentions and protentions' that will be called 'archi-writing or différance', which involves simultaneous spacing and temporisation.Actual differences are produced and deferred by différance.

It might be tempting to ask who or what actually differs, but again we have to be careful not to fall back into conventional metaphysics, and think that différance itself has been derived from a state of being, or some subject, acting in the familiar way of operating with conventional consciousness, of presence. Saussure himself has argued that language requires no speaking subject, but operates with its own functions, and that people become subjects only by making this speech conform to a system of rules or principles. We might develop this to argue that différance arises from the play of differences in language and also the way in which speech relates to language, how this scheme art and codes work, although elsewhere, he thinks even this is not enough of a break with conventional notions of speech and language. We have to see the practice of language and the way it plays as not having 'a determined and invariable substance' (67, but rather a development of differences, spacing and temporisation, a play of traces, archi-writing, or perhaps something even before archi–writing, something that heads towards grammatology even before general semiology. Grammatology would offer a central critique of semiology, including its concept of the sign and all the metaphysical presuppositions that are 'incompatible with the motif of différance' (68).

It is true that subjects can only become speaking subjects once they relate to linguistic systems, and that speaking subject would not be present otherwise — but is there an even earlier presence of the subjects, 'before speech or signs'? This would involve 'something like consciousness', but this is a problematic concept. Usually this just means  'the perception of self in presence'. But whether we are talking about consciousness or for that matter 'so-called subjective existence in general', it has the same problems as the category of the subject – it privileges presence, even when heavily modified by people like Husserl. Only the '"living present"' can synthesise and reassemble traces. This is the very 'ether of metaphysics', although Heidegger offers only the possibility of 'ontotheological determination of Being' by means of a special approach.

Heidegger saw consciousness as an effect of Being, produced by a system of différance not presence, not a matter of opposing activity and passivity, or cause and effect [a stranger side seems to admit that this is a strategic effort, but one that can be 'more or less lucidly deliberated and systematically calculated' (69). Nietzsche and Freud also question consciousness and its apparent self certainty, and both 'did so on the basis of the motif of différance'. They almost name it in their texts.

Nietszche stressed the main role of the unconscious in activity, and saw consciousness as an effect of forces which are not internal to it [ I read this as a weak sociology of knowledge] . These forces work by preserving differences in quantity, rather than through any specific content, and there always were differences, never an equality of forces. This led Nietszche to rebuke philosophy as being indifferent to this difference, a repression of it, even while developing it 'thereby blinding itself to the same' (70). We need to see that the same here is not the identical, but as [an effect of?]  différance, 'the displaced and equivocal passage of one different thing to another, from one term of an opposition to the other'. This provides us with a new way to think of the links between the pairs of opposites found in conventional philosophy, especially how 'each of the terms must appear as the difference of the other, as the other different and deferred in the economy of the same'. As examples, we can see 'culture as nature different and deferred', the body as differing and deferring in producing 'all the others'. In Nietszche's terms, 'the sameness of différance and repetition' appears in the notion of the Eternal Return. Agencies are always disguised in their différance, active interpretation to unveil the truth becomes 'the presentation of the thing itself', truth becomes less significant as an independent principal, and more as 'an included, inscribed, circumscribed function'. Différance becomes 'the discord of different forces' beneath apparent metaphysical systems and their grammar

This is also a motive of Freud's thought, covering the figure '(or...' the trace)' and its energetics, again compared to the apparent authority of the conscious. There is differing as 'discernibility, distinction, separation, diastema [wiki gives that as the space between teeth of different functions -- cutting, grinding etc. Presumably the distance  separating the functions of ego, id and superego?] , spacing' and deferment as 'detour, relay, reserve, temporisation'(71). We also find the concept of trace breaching explained in terms of difference, where description of memory and the psyche works by tracing these breaches. 'Freud says so overtly. There is no breach without difference and no difference without trace'. The whole production of the unconscious and the management of its differences through inscription can also be seen as 'moments of différance, in the sense of putting into reserve'. Life makes an effort to protect itself by deferring dangerous investment, constituting a reserve. All of Freud's oppositions relate through 'the economy of différance', deferring, differing as relations to the other. Any other kind of relation is openly discussed as 'a "theoretical fiction"' — for example the difference between pleasure principle and reality principle is really 'only différance as detour': Freud explains [in a quote] that the pleasure principle is replaced by the reality principle which in effect involves the postponement of satisfaction not its abandonment, with moments of unpleasure as steps on an indirect road to pleasure.

This is the central enigma of différance. It is, 'simultaneously'(72)  an economic detour aiming to always come back to pleasure in this case or some other state of deferred presence in consciousness, and some 'relation to an impossible presence', acknowledging a loss of presence, and 'irreversible usage of energy' in the death instinct. How can both be thought together? We have to change our notion of evidence, even in 'the philosophical element of evidentiality'. Apparently, he has address this in his commentary on Bataille — how a restricted economy, operating with reserves relates to a more general notion of economy that does not actually operate with these actualities but which 'keeps in reserve the non-reserve'. This is a link between a 'différance that can make a profit on its investment and a différance that misses its profit' [perhaps to explain the irrational excesses that characterise human activity for Bataille?].

[Somehow this leads us to rethink 'the very project of {Hegelian} philosophy, especially of aufhebung and how this is 'constrained into writing itself {as something} otherwise'. More or less incomprehensible, and referred to an earlier reading of Hegel, where Derrida sees Hegel as a speculator, which the translator says explains all the stuff about economy. The idea is that conventional metaphysics offers a kind of restricted speculative philosophical economy 'in which there is nothing that cannot be made to make sense, in which there is nothing other than meaning', and we need to move instead to a general economy where there is 'an excess of meaning where there can be no speculative profit' (78). Aufhebung apparently literally means lifting up, but implies conservation and negation, and in Hegel, this lifts concepts up to a higher sphere as a way of conserving them, so everything can be put to philosophical profit. For Derrida, however there is 'always an effect of différance', because the same word can have different meanings, sometimes even contradictory ones, and this excess can never be conserved or negated. Derrida apparently uses this to address the ways in which Hegel actually produces writing to cover these possibilities, but says H fails to address the importance of writing in producing double meanings in the first place. Generally, translating words with double meanings shows 'the entire problematics of writing and différance, and aufhebung is generally left untranslated, but sometimes annotated. Derrida wants the term to 'write itself otherwise' (79) and thus offers a new translation —la relève, meaning lifting up, but also relaying or relieving as when soldiers relieve each other on watch. This fully accounts for the 'effect of substitution and difference' in Hegel's term]

[More mystifying stuff]. Deferred presence cannot always be found again. It will not always add value to the original term [maybe]. It 'maintains our relationship with that which we necessarily misconstrue' (73). [Which seems to mean] particular kinds of alterity, like the Freudian unconscious, can never be called upon to show themselves in the present, but remain as a 'hidden, virtual or potential self presence'. So manifestations, 'delegates, representatives, proxies' might never become present or conscious. The Freudian unconscious is radically other.  It always produces delayed after-effects We can never examine its effects in terms of the old metaphysics of presence and absence or by phenomenology [which focuses on consciousness].

This notion of delay also means that there is no 'dialectical complication of the living present', something originary which constantly generates synthesis. Any synthesis still accumulates 'retentional traces and protentional openings'. In this sense, the unconscious represents a past that can never be fully made present ['a past that has never been present and which will never be']. The future is not just reproduction of forms given to presence. Trace is not the same as something retained, something which is now past but which is once present. In general, thinking in terms of the present will never grasp différance.

Apparently this links with Levinas on the absolute Other, so he can be seen to use difference in his general critique of classical ontology. So the concept of trace and differerance appears in all these philosophers, 'the "names of authors" here being only indices' of trends which have characterised the whole current era.

The whole thing can be seen as contributing to the ontology of being. Différance makes the concept 'tremble in entirety', interrogating the idea of Being as presence, and suggesting an irreducible difference between Being and beings [which seems to contradict Deleuze on actuality]. This means that différance is not in present being, and has no authority or control over it. It subverts all the current classifications of being, which is what makes it threatening. It is tempting to try to manage it and   see it as a rival system. [It is difficult to decide if it is compatible with Heidegger or not, but he is intending to have a go].

In some ways, différance can be seeing as the unfolding of Being, stressing process and movement, but this risks staying within the metaphysics of Being. There is something else, an 'unheard-of thought', silent tracing (75) [apparently this is of some significance in terms of whether we accept Heidegger's division of different epochs]. Being only dissimulates itself in beings, implying that différance is actually older than the ontology of Being — its play 'transports and encloses the meaning of Being', while having no meaning in itself. There is a 'bottomless chessboard on which Being is put into play'.

It is difficult to conceive of différance except as a metaphysical name, as a matter of absence and presence, or as the relation between Being and beings [as actualisation]. Something older than Being is unnameable 'because there is no name for it at all', not essence, not Being, not even empirical processes of différance, 'a chain of differing and deferring substitution' (76). It is not unnameable in the sense that God might be. It is the play that produces nominal effects, names, the substitution of names, but must be itself a nominal effect, a 'function of the system', like ' a false entry or a false exit' in a game.
There is nothing else implied, not a prophecy of a new name [there is only endless deconstruction and deferral]. We should welcome this, affirm it as Nietszche does.

On the other side of nostalgia is 'Heideggerian hope', that drove the quest for the unique name, the first word of Being. The hope and 'daring' is found in every attempt to name Being, but Heidegger also thinks that '"Being speaks always and everywhere throughout language"'. Derrida finds that a 'simulated affirmation of différance'.

"Signature Event Context" in Margins of Philosophy

[This is fairly straightforward, unless I'm getting used to it. It is about Austin, and apparently it sparked a whole feud between Derrida and John Searle about Austin in general and 'the performative' in particular].

Kamuf: the key thing is the iterability or citationality of the sign and how this is going to raise questions about context and intentionality in communication, especially in Austin's work. As usual, Austin is going to be accused of logocentrism, especially in the way in which he defines serious and nonserious language. The iterability or repeatability of signs occupies a major place in his work, and we saw it emerging in the critique of Husserl. Derrida's attack on Austin has been seen as a much more general rejection of performativity, but this can turn into 'gross caricatures of deconstructive thought' (81), which suggests that Derrida completely rejected the idea of intentionality [even I know that he never completely rejects anything].

Communication seems to be a simple matter, and usually implies 'a determined content, and identifiable meaning, a describable value' (82), but that is already confining the term. It is a 'polysemic word', and if we treat it just within the field of conventional semantics, we miss that there are other aspects to it, including 'non-semantic movements', and these are apparent even in ordinary language. Clearly, conventional linguistics is also questioned by this. Nor can we say that there are primary or primitive functions of communication. In general, it is hard to say what counts as meaning as such; it is impossible to avoid metaphor when we move to semio-linguistics, and how it manages polysemy.

It might be possible to reduce the complexity by referring to the notion of context — we know that the sort of language deployed in scholarly colloquia will represent all kinds of conventions which attract wide agreement, and of course any natural language has these too. In that case, the possibility of [academic] discourse privileges particular kinds of communication. However, context is not easy to define in a 'rigorous and scientific concept' (84) [so we can see with this is going]: in particular it is not possible to show how it totally 'saturates' communication — [naturally, this is a 'structural non-saturation']. Among the implications that follow are some for writing and how it relates to theories of communication — where it is classically seen as something secondary.

Writing is indeed a means of communication, however which extends beyond oral and gestural forms. This notion of extension itself presupposes 'a kind of homogeneous space of communication' (85) It might still be but an extension of a space established by speech. However, there are clearly different means of communication as well different 'more powerful mediations'; seeing it as an extension of speech offers more confined possibilities for communication and implies ' [that] all affection [would be] is accidental'. Nevertheless this is the notion that appears in most of philosophy, to such an extent that it might be 'the properly philosophical interpretation of writing'.

Derrida at this point discusses Condillac as typical, explicitly treating all 'orders' (86) [all literal or imperative forms, themselves assumed to be basic?] as simple in origin, continuous and homogeneous. Writing appears as a kind of analogy to some more fundamental category of communication. Ideas or thoughts are expressed in communication, initially in oral forms and then, by secondary invention, written forms. Condillac particularly emphasises writing as a mode of communication with absent persons, and Derrida says this already seems quite a serious modification to homogeneous. In this way, articulated language is a 'secondary stage, a... "supplement"' of some primitive gestural or pictorial language, and there is a whole evolutionary  line leading to writing. Writing in particular is driven by 'the law of mechanical economy: to gain the most space and time by means of the most convenient abbreviation', and has no effects of its own on meaning or ideas. The notion of writing as representation persists although the forms  vary.

Let's focus on the idea of absence in particular. It is only the absence of an addressee, although the addressor is also commonly absent from the marks in writing. It is an absence that can be defined best by thinking of presence as a continuous modification, as the key term. Representation is also a supplement of presence, not a break with it, but a 'reparation' (88). There is also a connection with the idea of tracing. For C, tracing means to make something present to represent it, to link to memory and imagination: signs do this through analogy, and present needs structure it. When we retrace, we analyse and decompose to get back to simple sensations and present perceptions, 'original presence' (89).

We can easily see that this analysis is '"ideological"', but not in Althusser's sense as something opposed to science. Instead it relates to the whole background and philosophical tradition which is idealist, and which appeared with the French ideologues, who themselves saw the sign as a representation of the idea, which represents the perceived thing. Communication is but a vehicle to convey this representation of ideal content, including writing. If we return to absence,  however, we can see that every sign supposes a particular kind of absence, but the absence found originally in writing, is special , as central to the specific meaning of the sign [seems to be contradicted by the wish to generalise it to all marks, below, but not so -- all communication involving marks is really writing], It does not extend to every other kind of sign or communication [for C]  or at least not without contradicting concepts as representing meaning and idea — they would be 'non-critical, ill informed' (90).

Written signs compensate for the absence of the addressee, but some absences like this are only 'distant, delayed or… idealised'. Any absolute notion of absence would bring in different kinds of distance and delay — différance — and this makes writing ontologically distinct. Written communications must remain legible despite absolute absence of any addressee, even after the death of the writer. It is iterable [Derrida explains that the word comes from the Sanskrit for 'other', so iterability is logically linked to alterity. Some original presence in that argument?] . There are objections to this common view, however which involves writing as an expression of a code, known only to two persons — Derrida thinks this does not weaken his case because even such a code would imply writing is legible even when the other is not present, marks that could be repeated, potentially decipherable. Writing 'is a break in presence, "death," or the possibility of the "death" of the addressee' (91), shown by the characteristic of the mark [ a particular concrete sign]. This is assumed in any transcendental analysis. More important, it has implications for the notion of context as 'a protocol of a code'.

The marks used in writing are 'a kind of machine' to produce something, to function, even after the writers disappeared, or is non-present. This [looks like] the result of 'my intention–to–signify', but writers themselves might not actually support what is produced subsequently. Writers have the same relation to writing as readers do. Writing displays 'essential drifting' (92) because it is iterable but separated from consciousness and its authority [which apparently is one reason why Plato didn't trust writing]. It does something else than transmit consciousness or meaning, which is why semantic analysis alone, or hermeneutic, is inadequate to grasp this polysemy. Nor can we see written language as somehow empirically saturated by any '"real" or "linguistic" context'. Derrida thinks that this will escalate into a whole critique of the usual notions of experience, presence.

The marks in writing remain and are not exhausted. They are iterable without requiring an empirical subject or context. Breaking with persons and contexts is 'the very structure of the written' (93). Take real contexts, the environment and the writers experience and intentions — the problem here is that we don't know what authors actually mean at the moment that they do their writing because of this 'essential drifting' [even while they are in the context] . Nor are there semiotic or linguistic contexts because pieces of writing can always be detached 'from the interlocking chain in which it is caught… Without making it lose every possibility of functioning'. Sometimes we might even want to graft deliberately to add meanings to other chains.

It is the spacing inherent in writing which separates it from context and from present referents. This is a positive spacing, not a limit [immediate face to face communication is still seen as privileged, as we distance educators know]. Nor is is it just a negative in some dialectical aufhebung. These points extend not just writing in the narrow sense, but are found 'in all language' and experience: we find the same 'grid of erasure and of difference, of unities of iterability, of unity separated from their internal and external context, and separable from themselves' (93 – 4).

A code guides function, but Derrida is not happy with this concept. There does need to be 'a certain self-identity' (94) other mark for it to be recognised and repeated, despite various other empirical variations, such as tone, voice or accent. In this way, a phonic actually becomes a grapheme — for it to work, it also needs to be repeatable, iterable, detached both from referent and from intention. This applies even to oral marks. They have something 'remaining', left over from their circumstances of production. Given that experience also requires presents to be mediated through 'chains of differential marks', it must show the same characteristics.

It is perhaps easiest to see how the referent can be absent, and not just as an empirical possibility. Signs can communicate without referents, as we see with Husserl. Statements can have objects which are impossible, or which do not rely on empirical validation [as in empty signifiers]. Signs can even lack a signified, detectable where there is a 'crisis of meaning' — Husserl had in mind the tendency of mathematical symbols to relate just to themselves in a 'vacuity of mathematical meaning', which is still technically very useful [which implies the importance of writing even for Husserl. This also describes Bohr's approach to quantum theory?]. There are also there are statements which are meaningful but have no objective signification ['"the circle is square"' (95)]: they are meaningful enough to be judged true or false. There are also agrammatical possibilities: Husserl talked about phrases like '"green is or"' (96), and tended to dismiss them as so illogical that they could not even attract judgements about their truth — but if we remove Husserl's teleology and metaphysics, we can disagree with this to come to an even more rigorous notion of how signs detach themselves from signifying, removing themselves 'from all phenomena of communication'.

Husserl thought that universal grammar would be based on logic, how significations based on knowledge are related to objects, driven by 'a will to know'. Even his examples, however can still function as signifying marks — if we translate 'green is or' to French, for example then 'le vert est ou' might be interpreted as something grammatical after all, since the same sounding 'où' can lead to this question referring to where the green has gone, as in where has the green (of the grass) gone. This shows the possibility 'of extraction and of citational grafting'(97), found in every mark, spoken or written [making his point that writing is fundamental to any form of signification]. Every sign can be cited, 'put between quotation marks' and therefore break with its context and relate to new ones. The mark might not always be valid outside of its context, but this does not mean that contexts are absolute in anchoring its meaning. All marks lose their origin and show 'citation, duplication, or duplicity', and this is fully part of 'so-called normal functioning', as every day writing shows [a bit of logocentric generalisation here?].

Let us get onto Austin and the performative, which begins with his emphasis on perlocution [apparently aimed at initiating an action, persuasion] and illocution [a statement which is also an action — ordering or promising] [I must say not what I thought at all]. This means Austin sees discourse as primarily a matter of communication, subdivided into constative utterances [assertions, which might be true or false] with performative utterance ['which allows us to do something by means of speech itself'] (97) No other utterance is destined to communicate, for Austin. The implication is that every communication is a 'speech act' produced by the social context [actually 'total situation'] in which speakers are located. More generally, communication of this kind seems to be based on a theory of action and how effects are produced by language. The performative 'produces or transforms a situation'. Constative utterances also can do this, but this is not their 'manifest function'. There is no classic referent with performatives, and no connection with judgements of truth, although there may be a need to refer to difference of forces [a possible link with Nietszche says Derrida]. In any event, we have moved beyond purely semiotic or linguistic understandings towards communication rather than simple transmission of meaning.

However, the graphematic system affecting locutions needs more emphasis [the source of effective oppositions, say between pertinence and purity]. This is because of the emphasis on context, and the need to relate to it effectively to avoid '"infelicities"'. Consciousness is clearly apart of this, especially the intention of the subject. In effect, the intentional meaning is the referent rather than anything external. Other conscious persons have to participate. There may be no remainder in Austin's 'totalisation' (99), especially no irreducible polysemy, no unintended 'dissemination' [an implication of spreading or inducing new meanings?] . Instead there is a preference for appropriate communication and consensus or reciprocity.

'"Conventionality", "correctness", and "completeness"' are required (100). A graspable context and free consciousness are implied in this production of 'an absolutely full meaning that is master of itself', with intentions central. Failures are possible, but are deemed accidental or exterior to the operation of language ['dysfunctional'] [Derrida calls this {functionalism} 'historically sedimented' (101). Thus conventionality might fail, even in ritual or ceremonial, but that implies that convention only affects the actual production of the statement, not deeper conventions like those regulating the arbitrary sign, which are not like social rituals, but better understood as iterability. If so, failure is always possible, maybe even ' a necessary possibility', which questions the functionalist notion that privileges success.

Instead, there is 'the endless alternation of essence and accident' in any general theory of language, although Austin declines to explore this possibility. It might be that he just wished to clarify the performative, but there is a more general issue — whether every performative utterance,even, 'may be "cited"' (102). [As in drift or grafting above] Austin sees this to as abnormal or 'parasitical' compared with '"ordinary language"'. Thus there might be a particular form of citation in an actors speech, or in other special circumstances, but these can be excluded and we need to focus on '"ordinary circumstances"' [even I can spot the lurking logocentrism in that --another absurd and naive sociology as well]: there is no need for general theory to include special circumstances as well. Derrida says this parasitical notion is the classic way in which 'writing is always been treated by the philosophical tradition'.

So do these possible failures surround language at all times, and is there a defence mechanism for conventional locution? For Derrida, risk is the 'internal and positive condition of possibility' (103) of locution, the very reason for its emergence. Austin's ordinary language is a restriction based on teleology and and 'ethical determination', his personal ideal of 'the univocality of the statement'. It implies the usual self presence, transparent intentions, the immediate presence of meaning.

If we examine citation, we can see that it is a form of iterability essential to successful performatives (unless we are to see such speech as an impure form) [Apparently, Austin acknowledges that successful performatives are impure and that there are no pure performatives]. For a positive performative, there must be 'citational doubling', separate from the pure singularity of the utterance. This is a positive reason for his notion of the graphematic, not just that Austin's has problems. Performatives do succeed, '"perhaps"' (104), but not from pure communication but from a process involving iterability.

There must be some coded or iterable statement, recognisable as indicating some 'iterable model'. This follows from the very recognition of citation. Theatrical citation is not the only type, however, and there may be others such as philosophical references [or the repetition of 'common sense'  in popular opinions etc] . But citation follows as one effect 'within a general iterability' we should examine this not against some ideal or against non-iteration,  but against different types of iteration. Intention would still remain, but it would no longer be the central factor defining the whole system.

An examination of types of iteration would lead to a classification of different types of marks or chains, but without always contrasting citational statements only with 'singular and original statement–events' (105). We would have to see that intentions will never actually be completely present, however, that there is a number of possibilities ['an essential dehiscence'] in iteration, not just a split between ordinary language and other forms like nonserious. We should be able to avoid 'the teleological lure of  consciousness' which is unanalysed in Austin. It follows that we will not see contexts as completely saturating the communication either. For Austin's scheme to work, it would first be necessary for conscious intentions to be 'totally present and actually transparent', deducible exhaustively from the context, a clearly metaphysical notion.

Instead, there is a 'general graphematic structure of every "communication"', arising from différance, even in the most plain and descriptive statements. Consciousness may have a specific effect,performative intentions may have a specific effect but these 'do not exclude what is generally opposed to them. Instead they occupy 'the general space of their possibility'.

Writing must produce 'the disruption of presence in the mark', a spacing (106). Austin's problems otherwise are insuperable — the 'floundering' and 'impasse' he cites in his attempt to apply single criteria to distinguish performative from constative statements [Derrida says he is right here in opposing purely linguistic models of language involving codes, which do not survive encounters with actual language]. However, Austin turns to non-linguistic reasons to justify his 'preference... for first person present indicative' forms. He does this by suggesting a privileged source, oral statements. He argues this by discussing the signature — which shows a way of a guaranteed reference to a speaking subject, an origin for utterance. There may be other ways to indicate this presence including expressions in official protocols [apparently the example is the term '" hereby"'].

Derrida thinks he can apply the same critical problems as he would for notions of a subjective origin for utterance or authorship. Signatures imply nonpresence, or at best having been present. They have an effect in the now because of the assumption of some transcendental quality of time, attached to 'present punctuality', 'always evident and always singular'. (107). This gives the signature its 'enigmatic originality' [especially if it includes the 'paraph', which, I learnt, is the flourish attached to signatures to prevent forgery]. It seems to be an example of 'the pure reproducibility of a pure event'.

Signatures do have these effects, but only by granting 'the impossibility of their rigorous purity' [because if they really were original, they would not be legible and have no effect: they must have 'a repeatable, iterable, immutable form']. Signatures must escape their pure singularity and take on a certain 'sameness', just as did the old wax seals.

Overall, writing [which means all communication] does not just transport sense intentions or meanings, transparently. Nor does it just represent a set of immediate social relations. It has a history, with the effect of producing 'system of speech, consciousness, meaning, presence, truth, et cetera', (108) which is misrecognised in logocentrism. Writing offers excessive semantics, dissemination, more than polysemy. It needs to be read and cannot be simply deciphered or decoded. Nevertheless, we can still keep it as a term, and see how it is used in 'an opposition of metaphysical concepts (for example, speech – writing…)' to produce a hierarchy, 'an order of subordination' [so deconstructionist philosophy is going to be politically liberating].

[Sure enough] deconstruction does not just neutralise these oppositions but overturns them, generally displaces the whole system in a 'double gesture, a double science, a double writing' [more inspiration for feminist materialism]. Only then can it effectively intervene in the field, which consists of both discursive and nondiscursive 'forces'. Individual critique of concepts would not work, without taking on the whole 'systematic chain ...[and]... system of predicates'. Deconstruction does not just substitute concepts but attempts to overturn 'a conceptual order, as well as the non-conceptual order with which the conceptual order is articulated'. It is the underlying predicates of classical notions of writing which have to be addressed and liberated. A new form of writing can emerge as a graft, building on what has been seen as resistances to conventional forms of organisation, dismissed as a remainder. Such grafting would provide 'an effective intervention in the constituted historic field' (109) and lead deconstruction back to positive communication.

[Then Derrida seems to admit that all this might be utopian, as his fellow philosophers in the colloquium would quickly argue. It can only be a disseminating operation. His {full graphematic} writing might communicate 'but does not exist, surely. Or barely, hereby in the form of the most improbable signature'. Then he appends his own signature next to a comment explaining, as a joke his own context and intention, to address the colloquium and follow its conventions. The actual signature is still a 'counterfeit', of course, especially in a printed form]

From Plato's Pharmacy in Dissemination

Kamuf says this is an important work showing how philosophy condemned writing in a 'self inaugurating gesture' (112, that is in Plato. The focus is on the example of pharmacy, the pharmakon, which is a drug, either good or bad. This is not only a problem to translate from Greek, but it is difficult to understand it in Greek, because it offers 'the "violent difficulty of the transference of a non-philosopheme into a philosopheme"' [must be a real problem for Barad. In particular, there is a tension between determining writing as pharmakon while maintaining the necessary ambiguity to permit it to engage in dialectical reasoning — the philosopheme in question [again applies particularly well to scientific terms]. It is like a translation problem more generally — passing into philosophy 'requires the reduction of the signed to its signified truth', and its original ambiguity cannot be retained 'except by supplanting it with another sign' [that is a supplement]. This is always a writing, managing difference. A further difficulty is that the origin of writing is described in mythical terms which again offers a problem of translating it as philosophy [moving from mythos to logos] The blessed Kamuf has selected a section from the original.

Plato's philosophy is underpinned by morality, bound up with issues of 'truth, memory, and dialectics' (114). We see this in the debate about writing. There are political considerations as well [Deleuze explains that this involved separating true citizens from those who just claim to be citizens]. There was some disquiet about the activity of sophists and speechwriters. Thus the question of 'propriety and impropriety in writing' is central.

Socrates begins his discussion by referring to rumours or fables, necessary to clarify the confusion that we experience. There is a connection with myth, and an assumed opposition to knowledge. Writing is in error without knowing it. Socrates has himself repeated without knowing [the actual origins] however. The cited myth produces 'a fabulous genealogy of writing', which once established can be criticised from the point of view of logos.

In the Phaedrus, there is a clear argument that the responsibility for logos is given to those who are present, who attend to it. As it is seen as paternal in origin, it is the father who can be blamed. Logos here means '"discourse'… argument, line of reasoning, guiding thread animating the spoken discussion'. It offers an ' organic unity of signification'. The terms of logos are, like children, able to question and respond to their father. Moving beyond the family metaphor, the argument is that logos develops from 'a domain foreign to it, the transmission of life' (119). This makes it not just an effect of an external cause, because we get the necessary [relative autonomy]. Logos occupies in effect a household, which always affects us, whatever the status of us as participant. When we deploy metaphors to explore allied fields, we know what logos is all about [Derrida seems to be implying that we impose family relations on concepts there, dividing them into father's sons or other living creatures]. Again this is not a simple metaphor though because we have components that both speak a language and those that don't, [which lends a strange conditional quality] — 'that what the father claims to be the father of cannot go without the essential possibility of logos' [which I've understood as a condition of relative autonomy, where things are determined in the last instance, but we have to discover that underneath their apparent independence].

Socrates argues that an old Egyptian God, Theuth [T] had already invented numbers and astronomy, but now invented writing. He went off to the king of Egypt to get support, but the King was dubious. T argued that writing would improve the memories of Egyptians, become a recipe or pharmakon for memory and wisdom. Derrida says that this has writing as an accomplished art with some power and value, but the King still has to confirm its general value [he is the origin of value]. The King sees the pharmakon as an external product, and cannot write himself — which accounts for his view there is no need to: he speaks and people act, and any transcription is only a supplement, secondary.

So the King is hostile, watchful and suspicious [and Derrida wants to connect this figure to the father — origin in speech, logos, belongs to the father, a residual gift from Platonism for Western philosophy]. The paternal relation to logos is actually a bit indirect. Logos originates in paternal speech, which is necessarily present, able to comment and answer. The problem with writing therefore turns on the absence of this father, in various ways: Socrates insisted that was always detrimental. The father constantly attends to the needs of logos, gives it power, refreshes it, but  thereby denies it any independence or emancipation. To insist on writing therefore is 'a desire for orphanhood and patricidal subversion' (118). The same might be said for the graphein [apparently meaning an ongoing scratching carving or writing, a mark], which leaves behind its origins, both legally and morally.
The figure of the father represents goodness, and also the definitive 'chief, capital' (120) [same term for each in Greek, apparently], and all these implications should be recognised in adequate translation. We see the benefits when looking at what Socrates says about 'the good in itself'[which is to be understood best by examining the offspring of the good, things that appear in the likeness of the good, the secondary qualities of the good]: the good somehow produces these good things, in 'agriculture... kinship relations.. fiduciary operations'. The same sort of argument then applies to the origins of logos. There is even a use in terms of describing the revenue or return to financial capital [Socrates appears to disapprove of this conception in condemning ruthless '"moneymakers"' (121)]. However, it is not apparently possible to describe this father [and Derrida recommends that we go back and reread Plato's Republic — in the original Greek no doubt].

In an aside, Kamuf says that the myth of Theuth is further developed to describe other mythic origins of gods who construct writing, to show that Plato's account was not just a one-off. Indeed, it might be the result of '"rigorous necessities"… or structural laws', where a fundamental opposition between speech and writing is connected to a whole series of other oppositions like life-and-death, soul and body, inside and outside [see below]. This is justified by referring to the Egyptian God Thoth as a secondary God, son of the Sun God, but also able to act as a supplement, 'both added to and substituted for the father'. This is a challenge to the supremacy of the Sun God, but his actual speech still draws from his father it is 'never absolutely original' and indeed 'introduces difference into languages' including explaining plural languages. Thoth also has powers over life-and-death and time. Together these indicate '"the general problematic of the relations between the mythemes and the philosophemes"' at the very origin of logos in Western philosophy. The Greek account of Theuth is thus 'a figure of pure repetition' of this general problematic.

We have an underlying and original logic as well, where a figure that opposes or supplants its other also supplements it, where repetition also means replacement, extension, opposition. Where this works through taking some of the characteristics of what is opposed, causing it to pass into its other, it is a model for the [dialectical] 'absolute passage between opposites' (122). Any distinction from opposites [slot-rattling] also implies an imitation of them, and replacement is always a bit arbitrary, sometimes requiring violence. Even then, what supplants the original becomes a representative of it. We should see 'the God of writing [as] at once his father, his son, and himself'. It has no definite identity but is rather 'a floating signifier, a wildcard, one who puts play into play'. We see this in the way in which the God of writing also creates numbers — which again can be repeated but also added or supplemented, doubled, containing a certain 'floating indetermination that allows for substitution and play' (123). Plato says that T also invents games like dice. His function is to mediate the dialectic, preserving its openness. Unsurprisingly, the same God presides over the 'occult sciences, astrology and alchemy… magic formulas… hidden texts… cryptography no less than any other –graphy'. And, as a mediation between life and death, he also presides over medicine, both ending life, and healing the sick or even the dead. [So, at the end of all this witty stuff] 'the God of writing is thus also a god of medicine… of the remedy and the poison… The God of the pharmakon', and it is all this that is being presented to the king by T. 
The logos by contrast is alive, with a father standing near it and sustaining it. It cannot commit patricide[ although apparently  Plato has to modify that later]

To develop this context a bit more: back to Plato proper. We now see that 'the word pharmakon is caught in a chain of significations' (124), but this is not just the result of Plato's intentions, more 'the play of language… diverse strata or regions of culture', sometimes recognised by Plato explicitly. It is not so much a voluntary activity by Plato, however as more 'a mode of "submission" to the necessities of a given "language"'. Plato doesn't see all the links but they still 'go on working'. Where this working actually takes place [= how writing actually works in this context?] cannot be answered at present. It might have been that Plato perceived some possibilities but just saw them as impracticable. This is more productive and less 'crude' than working with notions of the unconscious or the involuntary. We can see the relation between speech or writing and language in general in the same way.

The entire chain of significations may never be reconstituted — there is no privileged viewpoint -- but we can produce some effects detectable in Plato. There is already a correspondence between Thoth and Theuth, with its accompanying metaphors and mythemes. One translation says that T specifically argues that wisdom and improved memory will result from writing, as a remedy [hence pharmakon], but we have already seen that that term also implies harm, and this needs to be preserved as well [despite a particular translation which he doesn't like] : 'remedy' also implies some 'transparent rationality' almost scientific technique, thus something that opposes magic and makes it more manipulable.

Plato wants to preserve the occult aspects of writing. He mistrusts magic and recommends the ostracism of magicians [but suggests instead improving memory and dialectical speech]. In the speech, the King worries about the ill effects of the pharmakon, and suspects T of minimising them — a ready-made example of the dangers of writing for reduction of meaning, implying that T is a simpleton or 'flimflam artist', and restoring the full ambiguity. Although the King differs from T, they both 'remain within the unity of the same signifier', though (127), 'whether or not they choose'. This is lost in too literal a translation, where dynamic references to other uses are sometimes missed, especially the '"citational"' relations at work. It is the 'other sense of the same word' which is being cited. Translators can unwittingly neutralise 'anagrammatic writing' [guilty], and miss out on textuality and its effects. Ironically, this will become an effect of '"Platonism"'. However, such reduction of meaning is also perfectly understandable. Textuality operates with 'differences and by differences from differences, it is by nature absolutely heterogeneous' and so it requires composition by the very forces that suppress this.{well yes --otherwise we will be left with endless expositions]

Such composition is the main theme here. Plato wants to manage difference and replace it with notions of 'simple confusion, alternation, or the dialectic of opposites' yet the text itself still 'constitutes the original medium', something that precedes this effort and cannot be reduced to it. This passes into Western metaphysics as 'an effective analysis that violently destroys [full ambiguous meaning]', by reducing it to simple elements. The possibilities are actually provided by textuality itself, though, and these remain, so any interpretive translation is 'as violent as it is impotent' (128), since there can never be complete management.

Plato actually argues that writing is no more valuable as a remedy than as a poison, so that it can never be simply beneficial. In the words of the actual King, T is accused of suppressing the opposite of the real power of writing -- it will also produce forgetfulness, stop people exercising their memories, insist on them using '"external marks that are alien to themselves"' (128 – 9) rather than relying on their own powers. It provides a semblance of wisdom divorced from truth. The full force of [teacherish] instruction will be lost producing an illusory sense of knowledge in readers: readers will be conceited rather than truly wise. Thus has paternal authority defeated the subversive potential of writing. This still implies that the potential is ambiguous, hence Plato's attempt to continue to dominate it, force it into simple oppositions like good and evil, essence and appearance [and 'inside and outside']. Thus writing seems to be a way to improve memory but it is external, and requires belief in appearances. It is almost as if Plato is describing writing as deceitful not just ambiguous.

Writing represents 'opposition as such', where contrary values are not only opposite but 'external to the other'(130) [you can organise any sort of opposition in writing just by contrasting the signs?]. The opposition between inside and outside becomes 'accredited' as the basis of all possible opposition, while only one element permits systematic serial development. [And then a strange speculative bit implying that this will lead to thinking that writing is the source of these oppositions, and cannot be placed under any of them, and thus escapes logic] [one of the terms here is that writing has a 'ghost', some half hidden quality which cannot simply be opposed to reality, but which cannot be ignored either].

This makes Plato's work  ungraspable by normal commentary, structural reconstitution, genealogical analysis, as he argues himself [we are invited to go back and read it for ourselves]. It displays an excess, and it is not enough to think of a quality such as excess as a break with a series. It is a 'folding back' or a 're-mark' (131), preserving opposition, not captured by the opposing simple concept [and Derrida seems to say that this therefore is a hint at the importance of difference].

Writing produces the opposite effect from what is expected. It is external or alien, detached from living logos. People who use writing tend to rely upon it rather than addressing the links with internal thoughts, and can go away and forget them. It even survives death [which seems to lead to an argument that writing has always been involved, perhaps as a way of thinking out questions of life and death]. Written marks are not just surrogates for thought — they are not life, they do not grow, they detach thought from life. The meaning of writing shelters in its crypt [hence cryptogram is a good representative of it, actually a condensed pleonasm, pithy one-word summary of pleonasm, for Derrida].

Writing makes memory fall asleep, fascinated by its own signs, sinking eventually into forgetfulness. Memory loses its connection with truth. Eventually it will lead to 'non-knowledge' (132). It does this because it plays with simulacra, merely miming memory and knowledge, letting people pose as wise. [Then there is an aside about whether or not this continues Plato's struggle with sophists].

The 'alert exercise of memory' is required (133), live memory, not replacing say something 'mechanical, "by heart"' for active knowledge. Writing is separate not only from speech but from memory, especially 're-memoration'. It replaces truth with signs. The external archive supplants the memory. It encourages hypomnesis [the substitution of external devices, including images, for memory]. As a proper resource, memory already relates to the outside, but writing provides a new relation, organises memory differently. Plato knows that memory has limits, in particular that it is finite, and thus requires signs to recall what is not present, but he works with a pure notion of memory with no supplement [which he refers to as a dream in a special way, page 134, leading to a witty aside on Freud below].

Surrogates or supplements are dangerous, by appearing as things. They show 'slidings', somehow neither clearly present nor absent, so they easily pose as the original. This also permits further supplementation [somehow connected to Plato's notion of types]. It offers a kind of vulgar version of the power of ideality to govern repetition. Writing reproduces this unfortunate redoubling [remembering that there is no original to begin with]. Phonetic writing begins this process of producing signs for signs, symbols for phonics — necessarily a further step away from life as active psychic process. Writing encourages this substitution, enlivening external signs or symptoms rather than living processes [and Derrida tells us that 'symptom' in Greek also mean something contingent, superficial]. It encourages us to just address the symptoms, the exterior signs. It's this internal effect that causes the problem — otherwise writing would be very useful. Plato admits that it is very good at 'maleficent penetration' [something like deconstruction?] but sees this as infecting deep lying consciousness, and opening the possibility of still more perversions and replacements [there is some link with Rousseau and Saussure].

There have been attempts to develop a kind of reasoning, to explore the contradictions between inner and outer [this is the link with R and S]  but Derrida thinks that will resemble Freudian '"kettle logic"', the logic of dreams [the kettle arises in the example  in which people defend their actions, say in returning a damaged kettle — it was really brand-new, it already had holes, it never belonged to you in the first place]. Defenders of writing have similar arguments — writing does not damage memory and speech because it is too exterior, writing only infected life because it's susceptible [maybe — 136], living memory is already limited, and has holes.

Nevertheless the opposition between memory and hypomnesis is the basis for all the 'great structural oppositions of Platonism' (136). It is an opposition that informs many subsequent philosophical decisions, those which Institute philosophy itself. However, this opposition is overdrawn. In both cases we are interested in repetition — repetition of the idea, repetition of the truth through recall, discovery of the underlying reality which can be repeated because it has an identity. Truth also displays anamnesia [according to Wikipedia 'The idea is that humans possess innate knowledge (perhaps acquired before birth) and that learning consists of rediscovering that knowledge from within. '], another kind of repetition, apparent in [proper] representation, where the original idea is immediately (re)present, not represented in a sign.

Plato's dialectics and sophistics alike presuppose repetition, although sophists keep to significations and the repetition of the signifier, not of the thing itself, which requires the animation of memory. Writing can repeat itself mechanically by repeating its signifiers, without truth having to be presented anywhere. Nevertheless,  the difference between writing and adequate thinking and speaking is still 'invisible, almost non-existent' (136), no more than the 'leaf between the signifier and the signified' (137). Derrida is aware that choosing the leaf as a metaphor might support writing [on its surface], but he also argues that Plato and his sophist enemies were really inseparable, and Plato's difference between signifier and signified was not to persist [except as a sort of artificial distinction, I think the implication is, to preserve philosophical dialectics].

I then skipped to the bit that is allegedly about sexual difference

Part 4 Sexual Difference in Philosophy

From Glas, Chapter 14

Kamuf's intro says this was originally printed in two columns and three fonts, with the third font interrupting the columns at various stages. 'There are no notes, no chapter headings, no table of contents. Each column begins in what appears to be the middle of a sentence and ends, 283 pages further on, without any final punctuation' (315). Thank God it is rendered much more conventionally in this extract. The idea is to demonstrate 'the borderless condition of texts and their susceptibility to the most unexpected encounters'. Hegel is the subject of a particular column, with Genet sometimes  in the other column as a kind of counterpoint.

This bit appears to be about the moment in Hegel, and briefly in Kant, where nature becomes culture for humans. It is allegedly about sexual difference, love, marriage and the social functions of the family [it looks a bit like Parsons charting the transition from personal and intimate to impersonal and abstractly moral or ethical values]. Apparently, Hegel on the family is a guide to the whole Hegelian system, and appears in several of his major works on the development of Sittlichkeit, which Derrida says means ethical life or objective morality, but which I think crucially operates at the social level, and involves concepts like right or politics. [So I tend to render it as social morality]. You can trace the passage of the dialectic, the movement towards Spirit especially Aufhebung. On p333 Derrida specifies it as 
'positioning: objectification, contradiction, interiorisation, subjectification, idealisation, setting free, relief'— luckily, I read the note in the section above that says that Derrida often renders Akufhebung as a matter of 'relief', which brings all sorts of ironies when discussing sex.

Kamuf says that for Derrida Hegel on the family represents a crucial stage in the move from local to more general morality. In particular sexual difference and its oppositions is transcended [relieved] in the family in such a way as to prepare for the development of full social morality. As a consequence, Kamuf says that the whole argument is 'sexualised', despite its origins in a state of innocence and its termination in Absolute Spirit. Apparently, Derrida can detect unconscious motivations in Hegel here, a classic outside residue or remainder [not dealt with with the metaphysics of presence], and an unacknowledged definition of sexual difference. Derrida proceeds to follow extremely careful and detailed discussion [which is way out of my field].

So....For Hegel, the development of social morality goes through the family as part of the progress of Spirit. Social morality ideally represents the spirit of a whole people. This spirit is manifested variously in memory and language, tools, possessions and families. The family seems to be the 'most immediate and most natural moment' (319) and it retains its importance in Hegel's  later work.

The family transitions to 'the people', through marriage, possession and education, in a moment of relief [Aufhebung], and is thus both relieved and preserved. It is a necessary stage in the development of consciousness, defined as the 'absolute being's return to self'. [a bit clearer below] Absolute spirit re-assumes and reassembles itself, after losing itself in nature and exteriority. The task of philosophy is to see how it is relieved. There is already a series of stages to nature, the mechanical chemical and physical leading to the organic. We see a series of stages of self-destruction and passage to the opposite, relief leading to spiritual life, and these stages include disease and death. Hegel discusses disease as the dissolution of natural life which leads towards the spirit. The life of the spirit is the essence and truth of natural death. We see this with the death of animals — the only way in which they can become spirit and free themselves from natural limits. The spirit returns home, breaking out of its limits in natural forms. We can see this in the sexual behaviour of animals as well as the disease and death, but it appears in animals not as consciousness but more as instinct.

We can see the same relation at work between a genus and a solitary singular subject. Genus is a simple unity appearing in each subject, but it needs to realise its higher state. One aspect of its appearance among species is that it 'provokes war' (321), violent struggle and death [some kind of drive to generic or racial purity?]  Early biologists realised this in the importance assumed by the various weapons which animals possess, like their teeth and claws, and how this could be used to differentiate them.

Humans are also engaged in this war of species as the generic qualities are divided in specific individuals. Ultimately, as before, this singularity will reunify 'within the genus'. It is expressed in human affairs as an experience of lack, representing a gap between individual understandings and generic spirit. This takes the form of a drive to reduce the gap. The most obvious way of the drive is through copulation, both 'generic and generative' (322). So sexual relationships are also designating the relationships of whole species and genuses, as well as of genders.

Hegel discusses sexual difference trying to grasp how sexual separation can still lead to a totality. Because both individuals belong to the genus, they have a potential union which effaces sexual difference, expressed when they copulate, 'at once a part and a whole'. A kind of bisexuality thus appears in human beings, where each recognises the other sex in reproduction, both grasp that there is a male and female couple as well as themselves. Animals can get that far too, but no further.

Human individuals now grasp themselves as a singularity connected to a unity. Sexual difference opposes unity to singularity, in the form of a necessary [empirical] contradiction. Copulation resolves the contradiction while preserving sexual difference. In this way, sexual difference becomes a manifestation of the whole process of [transcendent] relief. We have to remember that it is the lack exposed by the difference that drives this process, and that this really is 'the inadequation between the individual and the genus'. Each individual is looking for '"self feeling" in the other'

Hegel even draws upon anatomical science of the time, which argued that the sexual parts of male and female were of the same type, and there was an underlying bisexual morphology, but that different characteristics were emphasised, becoming essential or dominant. However, this leads to another complexity. In females, the essence 'consists of indifference', and in the male to difference or opposition. In order to overcome these differences, they have to appear as [sexual?] opposition. Anatomical types continually differentiate themselves like this. Animals do not always have such marked distinctions as humans do, however.

Early anatomists looked for some sort of common origin to human sexual parts — seeing the uterus in the scrotum, ovaries in the testicles. When this did not work very well, the uterus was seen as equivalent to the prostate gland, a 'lower' form. The female equivalent was the way in which the testicle remained as an ovary within the body. This teleology [apparently developed by an anatomist called Ackermann] leads to a particular 'speculative conclusion' in Hegel — that the female sexual parts are somehow undeveloped, failing to turn into proper oppositions. In particular, '"the clitoris is inactive feeling in general"'. Males do not have an equal and opposite falling into a lower state.

This inactivity explains sexual hierarchy, with its implications of female passivity. Hegel connects activity to Reason as well, so we have 'the most traditional phallocentrism' connected to the whole system of Hegelianism 'onto–theo–teleology'. It is active differentiation and opposition that drives progress, and that is 'the system of virility'. The clitoral might resemble the penis, but it is passive [and the penis demonstrates all sorts of wonderful activity in the bloodflow of erection, while women only leak blood].

Women are passive and must let themselves be worked, although this is not experienced as negativity. It is not understood in the same way as with men who commonly distinguish between passive and active parts in themselves [for example 'productive brain and...external heart'] (326). Women possess some sort of 'undeveloped unity' and thus seem closer to the origins of nature, while men pursue active opposition, but thereby become secondary. As a further [somehow linked?] paradox, males gain mastery only by 'subjugating [themselves] to the feminine slave'. Generalising as Hegel does, this means that 'man submits dialectically to Femininity and Truth', thus eventually making man 'the subject of woman'. We can consider copulation as a relation between feminine material and male subjective elements. Insemination reduces this to a single point, in a kind of physical demonstration of the abstract notion of 'a single one'.

So Hegel's stuff on sexual difference addresses the whole philosophy of nature, although it excludes lower animals and plants, which have only formal differences between male and female, not dynamic ones which will produce first separate individuals and then totalities. There is still an implication that human females also do not develop individual difference which turns into [internal] opposition as males do, so 'the human female… remains closer to the plant' (327).

Derrida notes that we have still not encountered actual empirical human families but only idealisations, but we might be able to begin an analysis, since any materialisation of spirit can be grasped as an object by consciousness. Hegel begins to do this by talking about various levels of (potential) power and mediating middle terms. The family becomes the third level of power [the third stage on the great project to regain spirit] connecting both to 'people spirit' [coming to think of yourself as members of a people] and social morality.

When consciousness develops after materialisation, it sees itself first in relation to spirit — both an opposition to it yet contained within it as an essential part of the bigger unity. It mediates the relations between material and spirit [and is itself a middle stage]. The different forms of power that it takes reflects an idealised version of  this middling status. It has the same form as ether, offering no resistance, but something still material not entirely spiritual.

The first step in idealising nature is to deny [its self-sufficiency]. This appears in memory and language, and takes more earthly forms in the development of labour and the tool. The family itself is neither ethereal nor earthly, however, but an extra or supplementary complication [able to relate to both forms]. Consciousness can develop a notion of theoretical existence, and retain this notion in memory, 'that is, without solid assistance' (328). This might be some completely self-sufficient memory, operating without language at first, but it can persist only by passing into its opposite, becoming earthly or practical, leading to linguistic products of memory, and eventually labour and tool use. The last two give a certain permanence to practical activity [language does the same with conscious theoretical activity]

The family bridges or 'presupposes' these two forms. It is also organic [based on biology and sexual desire], and this produces permanent products like 'the child and family goods'(329). This has the consequence that 'inorganic nature', both earthly and ethereal, are seen as of 'a universal proprietorship guaranteed by juridical rationality' [they enter into human relations]. The process is not over, however and further stages appear which will eventually make the family disappear, as 'the ether again becomes absolute' and the notion of 'the people – spirit' appears.

Derrida wants to unpack this a bit. Language displaces purely theoretical consciousness [although it doesn't disappear altogether, but persists in 'the punctual instant']. Language seems to become fully free and universal, although it becomes its opposite, 'pure singularity', and lofty freedom becomes 'caprice or hardheadedness'. That actually implies death as 'its proper sense', and theoretical consciousness tries to escape by remaining ethereal and pure — encountering another kind of death. Practical consciousness both negates and relates to theoretical consciousness, as we see in the 'passage from desire to labour'.

Desire is also theoretical but becomes practical through a contradiction. Theoretical consciousness takes as its opposite not practical consciousness but dead things, and this is technically a contradiction 'a relation that relates itself to something that is not related' (330). Desire however relates to living things as a negation of this contradiction, but this implies consciousness, memory and language.

Is desire confined to humans? Hegel does not do so, but talks of moving from animal desire to human desire requiring developed consciousness and language, especially speech. There is a theoretical attitude in the animal, but still relating to dead things, even in an encounter that will inhibit its desire, 'but neither the animal nor the [nonhuman] theoretical can posit itself as such', and thus animals can never move to language and labour. They do possess the capacity to manage the things or others they desire, to not immediately consume them, but to produce a kind of potential consumption. This produces a kind of transcendental quality of consuming and preserving in desire, and that persists among animals. However, it is purely an external matter for animals, where consuming and preserving are separated in time, because there is no present-acting aufhebung, by definition, Derrida says. There is dialectic but only in 'the mode of the not–yet' (331).

Human beings also have this form of animality, but their unique form of desire performs a relief [aufhebung, remember], which goes through a number of simultaneous stages in the present, so annihilation and preservation are present at the same time, part of human enjoyment, part of human desire itself. Clearly this is to be extended to the whole process of idealisation.

Aufhebung is not a single process nor a formal structure. It has a history. It is subject to the law. It gives itself as immediate then as mediated: 'it is subject to the law, to the same law as what it is the law of'. [When it takes material form, it will encounter pressure to develop?] This is what gives Hegelianism philosophy 'a very twisted form'.

Desire becomes labour in human beings, who can control the whole process of ideality, which Derrida says means that ideality or consciousness could be seen as just a supplementary to animal desire. Desire becomes practical in humans [because it does not just attach itself to the contraints exercised by dead objects?]. There are implications which suggest that inhibition of desire, or repression, is central to the whole business of aufhebung. [Derrida thinks that is not yet decidable].

We do see that labour must be a relation of consciousness, following from the movements of desire and necessary inhibition. This means labour is never complete, 'desire is never satisfied' (332), practical consciousness always displays this. It is a kind of mourning for idealised consummation. This is the relation of labour, which elaborates [geddit?] practical consciousness, and mediates between desire and inhibition. It takes on a permanent form, by passing into its opposite, the tool. Tools become a material way to express the practical processes.

Tools become universal in the sense that the labour invested in them is not depleted in subjective use. The tool 'guards {see below} labour from self-destruction' (333). It provides material that will enter into traditions or practical history, and thus the 'history of desire'. Actual desires and labours or deeds are merely 'empiric individuals' and they will disappear over time, but tradition necessarily props up ideality, in the form of the general tool, which is reproducible and perfectible, can lead to accumulating characteristics and so.

In Hegel, this potential power is succeeded by the family as a power. We see the general processes at work again, 'positioning: objectification, contradiction, interiorisation, subjectification, idealisation, setting free, relief'. Somehow, marriage relieves the tool. The solid object serves as an outer constraint. Desire is no longer invested in it, [inhibited by it]. Marriage represents, 'the labour of desire without instrument' (334). The relation with exteriority and enjoyment turns into relations between the two sexes 'in such a way that in the being– for– self of the other, each is itself' [unique to humans?].

We have already dealt with biological sexuality [through the discussion of the animal?] and talked about desire in general, not sexual desire specifically, but we saw there is both preservation and consumption in the operation of that desire, which forbids outright destruction. This leads to Hegel's notion of sexual desire, pleasure in aufhebung itself, a restraint on excess desire in order not to destroy itself or its object, a necessary 'unenjoyment and impotence — that is what Hegel calls love' ,and the unity that results is an idealisation. It is love that limits desire, while sexual relations involve being 'one with the other, in the being of the consciousness of each one'. Desire can free itself from mere enjoyment, and deliver a higher kind of enjoyment in intuiting this sort of self and other form of being. It is mere concubinage that just satisfies the natural impulses. There is more to marriage than mere contract, although there can be factors which affect marriages, even which destroy them, but these are 'inessential'.

[Hegel is just generalising from the bourgeois family  here? He takes monogamy and female jealousy as universal? Cf Colleti noting the premature identification of Reason in the actual Prussian State. But this is not a simple ideological flaw for Derrida --these intuitive leaps follow from the privilege given to 'presence' and speaking immediately --from logocentrism found in all Western metaphysics?]

Love does not remain fixed, but there are further twists in the development relating to children, and these will involve 'the struggle to the death of recognition and possession' (335) [sounds very much like Lacan]. This leads Hegel to a much more general and idealistic approach, compared with say Kant who saw marriage as 'the [routine] struggle for mastery between husband and wife'. Sexual differences are never mentioned again, so the relationships formed are in effect 'bisexual or asexual' (336) as a result of marital aufhebung.

However, Kant has to be dealt with [and I'm going to be really brief. It can be seen as like a simple functionalist sociology of the family]. For Kant, there is always inequality of the sexes and the need for a more pragmatic union. Full equality could not be tolerated by either sex, and nature has to achieve its goals, reproduction, indirectly. Men have to be superior because of their physical force encourage, but women 'have a natural talent for mastering' men, although this depends on certain trends in culture. Kant proposes an 'anthropology' to examine the way in which culture privileges femininity. Femininity borrows from masculinity in the sense that a graft of an apple tree discloses complex inheritance ['multiplicity']. This produces the rather paradoxical power for women in 'only knowing how to submit to man's inclination' (337). More specifically, in this anthropology, women like domestic war but men like domestic peace and will willingly submit to female government of the home. This is contingent, cultural rather than essential, a matter of female secrets, especially in speech — 'the feminine weapon is the tongue', and she triumphs especially in 'chitchat, loquaciousness, verbosity, volubility'. Thus culture reverses primitive hierarchies, although nature still persists 'through ruses and detours'. Both sexes become reconciled to the design of nature, without either of them understanding it. In particular, there is no point trying to analyse feminine sexuality [outside of culture?], any more than ordinary language can grasp the essence of God. The preservation of the species and the improvement of society continues.

However, childbirth adds a complication, because it makes women 'fearful and timid in the face of danger' and requires male protection. This is not cultural, but rather 'nature's or life's fear for itself' [so again you can just decide something is natural or cultural on the basis of some immediate intuition?]. The result is enshrining the equality if not the domination of women in social morality, or at least in custom first. Things like 'modesty, decency, reserve' fetter and enslave males, as the face of some 'invisible morality'. However, there is a chiasm to come.

In nature, for Kant, polygamy is 'nearly natural' for men, who wants to relate to all women without love. Women do the converse, restricting pleasure outside marriage, while still desiring all men. So women are either members of the harem or whores.

As usual, everything depends on the place of the man. Women are never naturally polygamous, but are restrained one way or the other by monogamy or polygamy. The situation might be different 'in truth' [for Derrida rather than Kant?] — for example members of the harem will attempt to impose a monogamous relationship, together with an necessary control over the man. So polygamy is seen as transitional, barbarous, a perversion. There is no marriage in nature, but in 'true culture, it's monogamy'. Derrida thinks he should have investigated polygamy a bit further, and this might challenge the views he has of men and women which remain abstract.

Women establish mastery in the harem, compete with each other, and so never give men the peace that they want. In our bourgeois society, the partners can punish each other for any transgressions, although the emergence of '"gallantry" (the fact for a married woman of having lovers)' (340) permits feminine dominance again, a reversion to her true nature, 'her profound design' to manage men but also be free of them. In all this 'the complex system of phallogocentrism can be read'. However, this formulation is unstable, and Kant apparently can never decide if love in the tongue of women is a cultural ruse or feminine perversion. If the former, there is no moral condemnation. However, for Kant's, nature must always be good, indeed 'a good woman' (341), rising above feminine chatter, engaging in the necessary education of men — in effect 'the good woman is a father'. Men never wish to be women.

There are some natural impulses to explain female reservations about bourgeois monogamy, because men often die young, leaving their wives vulnerable. So her interest in sex is really 'the maternal advice of nature', a way of remaining available for future suitors. Women also constantly wish to be a man, to gain more freedom. Kant never explores what it might mean for a man to be a woman, probably because a woman is herself wanting to be a man. Kant actually says that women want to acquire the attributes of the man in order to 'realise her womanly designs' but paradoxically, man have to be 'a woman in order to remain what [they are]' (342

All this happens quickly and in the shadows, as desire works. Women can only ever be fake men, of course, and never own the essential masculine attributes of 'science, culture, the book'. They can own books, but only for the purposes of display. [Somehow, this ties in with the notion of the unconscious and its role in producing genius].

We see the asymmetry when we consider virginity — infinitely important for men, a relevant for women. For men, the stances ambiguous, 'played out in the gap of a sign that is almost nothing and necessarily describes itself in the subtlety of nuances and of word plays'. While men wish to acquire, women wish to save, men are patient, women tolerant, men sensible, women irritable and sensitive, and permanently jealous.

None of this would suit Hegel, who has no need to operate with unconscious natural drives [maybe this is where unconsciousness comes in?]. The war of the sexes takes place 'in fact' (343), but is resolved in marriage and in the social morality that also emerges. Kant seems to describe a number of accidents, not a structure, and so cannot think the concept of [pure] marriage. He is left with just a number of descriptive traits. He sees marriage only as a formal contract, not an essential unity. The proper dialectics of marriage needs to be restored, as a relief or medium to transcend sexual opposition [by domesticating or regulating it — acknowledging it, but somehow introducing something higher?].

It is the child that is the manifestation of what is higher, what belongs to one consciousness, how the parental differences have been relieved. [Again there is odd language: 'they {parents}  "produce" thus "their own death"' (344) and in some strange way, this is going to have a major influence on the child's consciousness, in ways which you do not find in nature — just a fancy philosophical way of describing socialisation?]. This happens through education, which must be seen as a necessary parental death in the child, not an empirical one, of course. Some reactions among children to their parents could still be seen pragmatically [as in Kant]  as a reaction to possible widowhood, including the love of mothers for sons, and parental love might really be based on an expectation of supporting old age. This is 'derisively empiric' and covers over the real process that is going on — 'mourning' — that continues to relate parents to children. It is most obvious with mother's loving sons after the father's death and the obverse with fathers and their daughters. At least these might provide some more detail for the abstract notions in Hegel, producing 'a chiasmus' [I am not at all sure why].

Education, 'the formation of the child's consciousness' is also the relief of its unconsciousness into ideality. This is not a simple matter of repressing the unconscious, but both education and culture offer violence to it, in an ideal form, developing out from language and labour, and, 'like every formation… It is on the male's side' [again weird stuff, but it seems to amount to the death of the father leading to his idealisation rather than complete annihilation, which helps the child interiorise him], but [proper] education also helps parents see a transcendence in their child's becoming, and this helps them manage ['guard'] their own disappearance. This helps them deal with their own mortality [Derrida likes to play with different emphases in the phrase 'to be dead', emphasising 'to be' and then 'dead', demonstrating the 'oscillation between the presence of being as death and the death of being as presence']. This is the way to retain enjoyment of what is, even if it is what is dead — death is nothing if there is being continuing after it. One may have a 'proper death' [the death of a proper name?] but be able to deny it when thinking of the child [and this may be more powerful because it is somehow more present?]. Derrida extends this cleverly to argue that for Hegel philosophy is only a way of positing death [acknowledging it in thought but resisting it is a reality?] In order to manage it.

Loss is managed in 'child-relief'. The same can be said of labour, the role of the unconscious, the whole process of the economy.  it all 'amortises' [writes off the losses of] death. In economic action and in law for example, in the notion of private property, everything is made familiar/familial and proper, personal. The economic is always linked to the family as a kind of model. Economic laws are fundamentally 'a family concept' (346). The same goes for politics, which seems different from the familial, but really accomplishes it. The economic and the political are just regions of the whole system, so ideality is really an 'onto–economic "concept"'. The general form of philosophy is fundamentally familial, and provides us with notions like 'home, habitation... room... assets'.  People are aware that they need to guard a sense of propriety as well as their property [smart!], and this is the running common unit of meaning ['seme']. Guarding prevents absolute loss, even in death, returning something to itself.  'Spirit is the other name of this repetition'.

Then a bit about how the unconsciousness of the child is articulated from the consciousness of parents after a certain forming or culturing. Parents become 'a presentiment' of the child and can relieve its being. They give it their own consciousness but they die in it. However, this is not a loss without return, because there is an exchange in that parents also partake of the child's consciousness, in a kind of positive opposition which permits 'speculative circulation of the proper' (346). It is like property which is [alienated]. The child is a mirror for the parents to think about their own lives and eventual disappearance — children relieve parents.

However, children also encounter an exterior world, already elaborated, a culture already formed by parental knowledge or inherited knowledge. Children have to somehow overcome any contradiction between the real world and this ideal world, and again education does this. However it involves relieving the family and moving to the 'people- spirit' (347 [it is Parsons!]. However, in the exterior world children are involved in a 'death for recognition', apparently a substantial theme in Hegel. Again this is not personalised but a struggle between consciousnesses. Hegel is apparently specifically guided by the development of Roman law and morality, which apparently explains the particular sequence between family and public morality in one particular text.

The war for recognition involves a combination of individual and family consciousness. It must involve 'the onto-economic labour of the family' (348): there can be no pure consciousness or Husserlian transcendental ego. The family cannot be reduced to some additional appearance of transcendental intersubjectivity. So Hegel's notion of consciousness is grounded in specific social structures with all that that involves, including 'memory, language, desire, labour'. Consciousness has no independent existence and cannot act on itself except through the detour of family or other consciousness. Again this leaves us with two singularities that are also a unity, 'absolute, insoluble contradiction, impossible to live with' which can only end in violence and the abolition of the singularity of one party, abolition of the other. Universal knowledge plays a part in abolishing limited  'being–in–family' (349) [now we are into clashes between different ends of pattern variables in Parsons].

This is a struggle to the death, but it is regulated. Death here means the annihilation of singularity and concreteness. It is self-defeating because 'nothing' remains when singularity is abolished, Derrida thinks that this is Hegel's intention to leaders here, although he thinks that normal human discourse disguises this nothingness. Nevertheless, desire leads to death, is the desire for death. Luckily, actual concrete families and individuals are not to be seen as pure singularity, nor pure ideality. Secondly, the struggle to death always involves relief — aufhebung is not just abolition or cancellation, not simple death, but more a recognition of a larger totality in which singularities appear. Indeed, this is a necessary recognition [it is necessary when you've struggled against your family for a while, but then you realise that their way of doing things is perfectly feasible, just not the only way to do things and not your way. If you've done sociology, you might use terms like functional to describe family patterns that you don't particularly like? This takes the immediate sting out of rejecting the family you grew up with].

This sort of transition must take place to get full recognition of individual consciousness. Other people must be persuaded to see consciousness like this. A narrow 'empiric singularity'(350) might have died, but the dialectic goes on. Empiric singularity must be completely destroyed, and this can be wounding for others [family members who are not philosophers]. This outrage and offence lasts infinitely, so even the rebellious philosophising offspring must realise that they cannot totally dominate relations with their others. Desire to do so remains, but at the risk of [real social] death.

The war is not just fought at the level of language, but 'played out between bodies' and also 'economic forces, goods, real possessions, first of all the family's'. Language comes along afterwards to idealise what has happened, as an effect of the struggle. There must be 'actual expropriations' (351) over bodies and possessions, and language alone will not do this with sufficient power. Linguistic idealism always appears again to try and sweeten the injury, but words can never provide sufficient resolution or assurance — it is 'only the ideal existence of consciousness', whereas struggle is actual and practical. The parties 'must injure one another', and struggle until real singularity becomes actual: 'the violation… is necessary'. So violent actual struggle is essential to the development of consciousness and desire.

However, there are still contradictions, the main one being 'in the thing itself'. The notion of private property leads to contradiction, because exterior things can never be totally grasped as personal property. This contradiction again has to be resolved, but just transferring or redistributing rights to property is not enough and would only transfer the contradiction. In the end, the very concept of singularity has to be 'put to death'  (352), but again not in a simple way but relieved, the contradiction must be contradicted and unified with non-contradiction [sounds suspiciously philosophical and neat]. In effect, what this means is that people must end the singularity of others only by risking [accepting] their own, as a result of engagement with others. Ending the singularity of others means it is no longer possible to claim singularity for yourself. Hegel sees it as a kind of investment necessary to produce a profit. Immediate mastery over the other has to be postponed, and death actually risked, although success can never be guaranteed, life can never be secure with the 'incessant imminence of death' and it is possible to 'lose every time' [that is, it must be a genuine risk. It reminds me of Guattari arguing that a genuine politics must also always risk being wrong or redundant. In this case, it makes heroes out of entrepreneurs including radical philosophers?]

Spurs: Nietszche's styles

Kamuf says that it addresses the 'woman subject', especially in Nietszche, where women appear 'in many guises' (353), coming to opposite conclusions. It is connected to a broader issue about the history of an idea as it moves from original platonic to take on extra meanings such as Christian ones, and, somehow, this suggests becoming-woman [I see clear parallels with the discussion in D and G, although Derrida does not use terms like virtual and actual to distinguish concrete women from 'woman']. There is also commentary about castration. The more affirmative remarks about women are more rare, and Derrida links these to the ambiguities of terms like pharmakon or hymen [which means both something that separates out virgins and something that unites married couples when they consummate, the latter being an archaic meaning, of course]. Finally, the irreducible 'plurality of Nietszche's styles' (354) leads our man to doubt the possibility of any simple interpretation of plural texts, with their never-ending differences: apparently even Nietszche did not realise the full horrors, and so it would be quite wrong to see him as some anchoring point. [For me, there is such an acute attention to ambiguity, difference and deferred meanings, that any interpretation becomes impossible, which means that Derrida himself fizzles out in silence]

A style may be described as a feather, or a dagger, leaving its mark on some text, while guarding against more 'menacing' (355) possibilities. Derrida's explored this in his work on the veils and sails [same word, voiles, different genders in French"]. The same might be said of the spur which can also mean the ram of a sailing ship, used in attack and also to cleave the resisting surface. Style can protect against something which obstinately appears — 'presence, the content, the thing itself, meaning, truth', which itself leaves a mark and must be taken into account. Other ambiguities for the term spur include a connection to 'spurn' in English, again emphasising the ability to ward off or parry, connected to the concept of an umbrella [one of Nietszche's own metaphors, apparently].

If we look at how women are discussed, we can see the same play, including 'apotropaic [designed to ward off evil] anxiety' (356) Thus one section in Joyful Wisdom has the think are threatened by a labyrinth, a howling storm, a great ship passing over a dark sea of existence. Nietszche thinks he can stay calm in the middle of all this '"hubbub"' (357) and introduces '"calm enchanting beings… Women"', as if women offer some better self or refuge. The same section warns that loving women also carries a risk of death, sublimation, and these effects work at a necessary distance. This distance is partly indicated by Nietszche imitating conventional philosophical style.

So seduction operates at a distance and we must keep our distance, not only to protect ourselves but to experience this in the first place. The implication is that '"woman" is not [a] determinable identity' (358), that her distance implies a deeper notion of distance, spacing itself [a particularly pseudy and witty section links this to Heidegger, 358 –9]. Somehow, this spacing also 'gives rise to truth' (359). However, 'there is no essence of woman'[possibly because women keep a distance from themselves as well] and philosophical discourse fails. Paradoxically [what else?] 'This non-truth is the "truth"', and 'woman' is its name.

Nietszche argues this in several ways [and there is some close textual analysis]. One extract says that there is some kind of veil to be found in life over '"lovely potentialities… Yes, life is a woman"'. We failed to grasp this if we stick with notions of essential truth. The whole point about a woman is that they do 'not believe in truth, thus in what she is, in what she is believed to be, which therefore she is not' (360) [women are aware that they do not conform to the classic stereotyped identities on offer. Generalised a bit, this is like Irigaray saying that women are not just 'not – man', not a single thing]. Philosophical dilemmas ensue — Nietszche thinks that philosophers of never understood women, especially if they are dogmatists, that their clumsy approaches to truth have been inept [this is actually put in a rather sexualised way about 'winning a wench', even one of easy virtue].

Women are not taken in by these notions of truth, especially by the underlying category of 'feminine' which tends to be essentialised and used to explain women, their sexuality and other characteristics, in some 'feminine "operation"' (361).. Philosophers as well as 'the inexperienced seducer' failed to grasp this. Nietszche indicates his doubts towards this kind of accepted truth by sticking it in quotation marks. Derrida, women offer 'writing' as opposed to fixed symbolism such as when the penis becomes the prototype of the fetish. This kind of conception of women is perfectly congruent with feminism, despite some of Nietszche's specific phrases, [a make sense if we attend to Nietszche's more general approach — this seems to be an argument that becoming woman is some kind of demonstration of virtuality, to put it in D and G terms, even though actual women might not themselves be able to do this demonstration because they have accepted all sorts of limitations and external definitions]. Derrida says there might even be a tactical shifting between these definitions in the struggle between the sexes [maybe].

We see the connection in Nietszche's discussing scepticism, especially that practised by women, which includes 'veiling dissimulation'. This scepticism leads them to see that existence, including virtue, is on the whole pretty superficial, a way to disguise sexual activity, cover it in decency and modesty. [Normally accepted notions of] truth is only a surface, attractive only because it is veiled. Women can see through it.

Why does it generate such fear, and generate such practices as insisting on modesty? Fear of castration is at work. This sort of superficiality [and the interest of women in it] helps suspend it, or make it indecisive. The usual account of castration and its consequences belongs to one of those superficial truths. Men have to deal with it. Women are more sceptical. Men are so credulous that they castrate themselves [this account of castration as superficial credulity has implications for Lacan and his phallocentrism, says Derrida, 362].

Women do not operate with simple binaries between castration and phallicism. If they were to accept the mail solution, they would be deprived 'of any possible recourse to simulacra', and leave her in phallogocentrism. [This is the first of several examples where binary reversals leave the system intact, where phallogocentrism has a crony which is self castration, where pupils are only seen as undisciplined forms of masters]. Women need castration anxiety and it helps people seduce or desire them, but they do not believe in it, they laugh at it, they know that actually castration never takes place, despite male anxieties.

Unpacking this a bit, it means that we cannot assign such a determinate place to castration, that it remains undecidable and with incalculable consequences, including binaries relating affirmation and negation of castration. Apparently there is a link to Freud on 'the argument of the girdle' which appears in his work on fetishism — note 15 says this is developed in Glas and 'concerns a certain structure of restriction that reverses opposites' (376)]. [We have to remember that the castration complex is central to the development of human culture for some Freudians]. If it is now undecidable, we no longer have any kind of standard against which to judge discourses, and it loses its social functions, becoming 'the throw for nothing, the waste of time'. This is the main effect of 'women's scepticism' in Nietzsche [which seems to have a particular emphasis].

Men believe that their discourse applies to women. Those who do believe it are in effect men, and it is their feminism that attracted scorn from Nietszche [demanding equality?]. Those feminists wanted to resemble dogmatic philosophers with their notions of science and objectivity — 'demanding the whole virile illusion' together with castration anxiety. This criticism takes the place of a lack of style, that it's distasteful when women try to be scientific or to philosophise in the place of men. Men of science are often 'mediocre' themselves, just going through the motions, actually creating nothing: these are likened to 'an old maid' (364). For Nietszche, the point was to be pregnant [with ideas], whether you are man or woman [note 16, 376, cites a chunk where Nietszche talks about pregnancy making females gentler, and expecting the same effects with 'intellectual pregnancy'. He has little support for maternal love. He says that the conventional characteristics of women 'are determined by the mother's image']. Women pursuing enlightenment is little more than women going for '"self adornment"', domination, anything but truth because that is alien to women — '"her great art is the lie, her supreme concern is appearance… And beauty"' [still about ordinary women then, or those who want to be like men]

It looks like women are both praised and condemned for this stance. Responses by them can assume the shape of the logic of the kettle [again]. Women are able to maintain themselves as objects of the search for truth, but they themselves do 'not believe in truth' (365). Women can therefore play at adornment or dissimulation. If we condemn them for this, this is to adopt a male viewpoint and fail to see it as affirmative [affirming the deeper idea of truth].

We come to Jews [I thought we must, because this defensive Nietszche is similar to those defending him from anti-Semitism or German supremacy. He does criticise actual Jews and actual Germans, but sees a great power in a kind of virtual Jewishness or in virtual Aryanism, and sees anti-Semites as too stupid to perceive this contradictory dualism]. Jews are also good at dissimulation, at histrionics[melodramatic attention seeking]. The clot sites '"doctors who have hypnotised women"', all men who have loved them enough to realise that they give themselves airs, even when they give themselves [to men]. The nature, the artist is always divided, however, displaying both histrionics, 'the affirmative dissimulation' and hysterics 'the reactive dissimulation' found in modern art. So criticising modern artists again misses the contradiction. Apparently, Nietszche also offers a parody of Aristotle to abuse small women in particular.

So art and style and truth are clearly implicated in any attempt to understand women, but at the same time, the feminine remains ungraspable 'by any known mode of thought or learning'(366).

Both Nietzsche and Heidegger refer to 'the becoming – woman of the idea', although Heidegger has not developed this argument in Nietszche, hence he has been able to 'see without reading or to read without seeing' (367). It is not a case of picking up something mythological to pursue, but rather to look at the 'inscription of woman'. In practice, this is neither a matter of metaphor, nor showing how some pure concept is being embodied.

What becomes woman is the idea, or the process of the idea, a form of the self presentation of truth. Women are not just identified with the truth by this stage, there is a history for this process. Philosophy emerges in the same process and so it can never really understand. In platonic philosophy, the idea was seen as just inscribed in the person of Plato himself. But philosophers became separated from the truth, no longer directly manifesting it, studying only its traces — hence the concrete history of philosophy begins. The idea becomes 'transcendent, inaccessible, seductive'— in other words feminine ['it is woman' is how Nietszche puts it] (367). This account actually is in error, but produces the whole apparatus of seductive distance, veiled promise, and transcendence linked to desire.

Nietszche also sees a connection with Christianity. Women submit to Christian notions, castrate themselves, or at least pretend to, in order to manage desire and sexuality ['master the master from afar, to produce desire, and with the same stroke... To kill him'], a necessary circumlocution [periphrasis] for what normally counts as the history of both truth and women. Christianity is the same as castration for Nietszche, seen best in the old formulae like 'if thine eye offend thee pluck it out'. No one takes this literally these days — it just seems stupid [to remedy causes with tackling symptoms]. Derrida says the same argument could be made about the way in which passion become spiritual, although Nietszche does not pursue the castration theme.

Nevertheless, the early church, 'truth of the woman – idea' (369) proceeds to discipline and excise, castrate this original passion, in the form of disciplining sensuality, pride or avarice etc. This only takes away its roots in life, turning the church against life and against women, a form of castrating women as well as regulating men. Castration is the answer for those who cannot regulate themselves. Ascetics have always attacked the senses. They replace love with spiritualised sensuality, and develops spiritualised hostility towards useful enemies [hinting that the church actually needs anti-Christians].

The text remains heterogeneous. There is no solution, but rather analysis of a delusion. It is not enough to just oppose doctrines of castration [for the same reason that a reversal of the binary does not break the system]. Instead, Nietszche's solution is to develop 'discreet parody' and other subversions — 'the grand style' (370).

We can nevertheless codify the different propositions concerning women into three types, three positions: (1) women are debased and despised, rebuked on the basis of 'dogmatic metaphysics' based on the possession of truth and the phallus — hence the numerous phallogocentric texts; (2) women are seen as expressing the truth, but in a playful or manipulative way, still within phallogocentrism, still a mere inversion [of male sincerity in seeking the truth]; (3) women are seen as a power of affirmation, as artists, requiring no affirmation by men, but therefore appearing as [not a proper woman? Or maybe the argument is that she can still be functionally integrated as somehow completing men?].

Nietszche weaves these three types together in a style that displays 'parodic heterogeneity' (371). No more progress towards decide ability is possible, because we would need a binary contrast to these values. Instead, Nietszche operates with notions like the pharmakon or the hymen, resisting final reduction of meaning to a code.

It is tricky because if we value the heterogeneous and the parodic, we are in danger of reducing them once again. Nor should we see in Nietszche some implicit total mastery, a godlike manipulation of 'infinite calculus' (372), a full understanding of the undecidable. This would still imply an underlying intention to master in the service of truth or castration, it would be a new religion, 'the cult of Nietszche' and produce a new priesthood of interpreters. Instead, Nietszche's parody always supposes some naivete [some limit to knowledge], possibly traced to the notion of an unconscious, or some deliberate pursuit of the lack of consciousness.

What this means is that we cannot reconcile all the aphorisms on women, partly because Nietszche 'did not see his way too clearly there' nor could he grasp it all at once. There is a 'regular, rhythmic blindness', a loss inevitable with using contradictory or ambiguous concepts. Nietszche himself gets lost in the text, as have others.Probably, he dreaded the castrated woman, dreaded the castrating woman, and loved the affirming woman, 'simultaneously or successively', according to the places in which he found himself and the actual women with whom he dealt [of whom there were many].

He certainly thought that there was no single 'woman' and no single truth about women, hence his 'highly diverse typology:… Mothers, daughters, sisters, old maids , wives, governesses, prostitutes, virgins, grandmothers, big and little girls' (373 [all a bit phallogocentric for me]. He was open that the revelations in his work were '"only — my truths"', which occurs prominently in a paragraph on women. They may be truths, but these are multiple and contradictory, there is no one truth [which is a claimed truth, of course]. This is argued in a particular paragraph about Oedipus [! — apparently he had no time for metaphysical certainties or fixed identities] and in a section on '"the eternal feminine," of "woman as such"', which covered all sorts of famous women and deplored their bad taste [note 24 explains that he also said that women were a higher type of humanity, but this is not a contradiction, but rather a confirmation of Derrida's reading].

There can be no underlying truth of sexual difference, despite all the efforts to solidify sexual identity. There remains only undecidability. Nietszche's work can be read as 'irreducibly plural'. Partly this is a result of 'biographical desire', his understanding of his own spiritual fate, as predetermined responses to predetermined questions — a double sense of the remarks about 'only my truths', [not implying mere subjectivity at all, but the dictates of Fate, almost of Providence]. Nietszche argues that you need a number of styles in order to display what he knows about women or femininity, almost the claim that he can penetrate to the eternal feminine, that he was admired by women, apart from a few resentful ones.

By this serious attempt to question the stability of the concept woman, Nietszche calls into question the whole series of concepts connected to philosophical decidability. He undermines the whole conventional hermeneutic search for the eternal truth of the text, with reading as an attempt to discover this meaning, irrespective of 'the values of production of the product or the values of presence of the present' (374). The issue of style become central to writing, as a spurring operation, with style used to traverse the veil, tear it and oppose all the conventional oppositions. This will 'see or produce the thing itself', no longer see it as constrained or veiled in some eternal opposition. Nietszche style 'neither raises nor lets fall the veil'. The operation is akin to destroying the fetish, and it risks complete and failing. The tension between these intentions, between logos and the theoretical impulse 'remains, interminably'(375)..;

In another useful section for feminist materialism, note 22, 376 –7, starts by saying 'as soon as sexual differences determined as an opposition, the image of each term is inverted into the other', encouraged by the notion of formal logical contradiction. Nietszche's account of traditional divisions between men and women is ambivalent about this simple reversion. For example in Human,Too Human, understanding and mastery is originally attributed to women, and sensitivity and passion to men. The reversal is explained in terms of how love involves taking the other as a model based on an ideal self: 'desire is narcissistic, passivity loves itself as passivity in the other, projects it as "ideal"'. The active/ passive opposition might actually be based on some original homosexual attraction, but this is reversed into an idealised version which is then subject to desire. Specifically, Nietszche remarks that women are often rather surprised at being pursued by men for their character, 'intelligence, brilliance or presence of mind', but this is really because 'men seek for the ideal man, and women for the ideal woman', that sexual difference is really seeking completion rather than complementary pairing.

 Geslescht: Sexual Difference, Ontological Difference

[This one is going to defend Heidegger against the charge that he is not interested in sexual difference or sexual politics. The defence takes a general form, that I've come across elsewhere — basically, he doesn't rate sexual difference at the actual concrete or ontic level of everyday reality, and thinks it does not reflect anything essential. Human sexuality can be traced back to the virtual level, of course, but there we find positive multiplicity and plurality. {Thus Heidegger is propelled from being an unrepentant patriarch to a place in the forward thinking of sexual difference!] This two-level trick has also led to him being able to explain Nazi concrete reality as somehow related to Being as well, Marcuse has argued, no doubt also a perfectly viable option. It also reminds me of Deleuze discussing with Parnet the embarrassing persistence of binary divisions in his work, like tree/rhizome: again it is not so much as Deleuze being inconsistent, as him operating really at two levels. At the concrete level of course there are binaries, but at the virtual level there is a multiplicity of options, and, unfortunately, binary ones seem to have condensed out, although we never quite know why].

Kamuf says that Heidegger played a major part for Derrida, especially the way he developed the philosophical legacy [the old two-level trick?], But of course, he wants to criticise aspects of Heidegger, and to pursue deconstruction, which might actually have been suggested by Heidegger himself. Of course it is not complete, and we see this best with the discussion of sexual difference. Heidegger has already ignored relevant bits in Nietszche, as we saw. Luckily there is a great deal of ambiguity in the actual German terms in the discussion, including multiple meanings for Geslescht, which can mean differences between masculine and feminine, implying differences between ontological and ontic [I had to look up that term in Wikipedia to get the particular meaning that in Heidegger it describes ordinary mundane reality]. Heidegger does talk about neutralising sexual difference, however, but luckily this does not carry exclusively negative implications, and is indeed an essential first step in deconstructing existing binary distinctions. Heidegger's discussion of dispersion and multiplication supports Derrida's reading.

[On to the actual text]. Heidegger does indeed speak little about sexuality, nothing about sexual politics, despite it concerning so many modern commentators. Does this imply that he is not interested in sexual difference at all, or that there's nothing wrong with patriarchy? Sexual difference clearly has no ontological status, and occupies the same space as lots of other mundane differences, so it can clearly be left to lesser disciplines such as anthropology or sociology, or morality.

Derrida insists there is no value judgement here, luckily, because of course lots of modern thinkers think that sexuality is at the heart of modern knowledge and politics. He doesn't think Heidegger is simply distancing himself from popular discussions either. He does seem to ignore the topic in other philosophers. Of course it is still possible that he might have discussed it somewhere, [maybe not literally, as we shall see] but that still leaves the problem of how to define it exactly. It's not just his problem  — too many of us are just nonchalant about sexual difference, and we define it far too glibly. It would be far too easy to accuse him of 'omission, repression, denial, foreclosure, even the unthought' (382). Yet the very silence is worth exploring, especially since we think these days that sexual identity  is so central.

One problem is that in Being and Time, Dasein can look like it is describing just ordinary anthropological reality, despite the differences between being in the world and being with others. The characteristic of Dasein that it does care also adds to this confusion. As a result, the absence of sexuality explicitly in the discussion of Dasein and its 'existential structure' looks like a serious omission. Dasein is presented as 'exemplary being', which implies all sorts of social relations and patterns, including care.

Heidegger himself felt the need to explain this apparent omission, in a course of lectures given at the University of Marburg in 1928. [Isn't Derrida using a supplement here though?] Dasein does require a fundamental ontology, and is not just anthropology, even though we might use anthropology as something '"preparatory"'  to philosophy (383). Can we investigate Dasein to get to sexual difference?

By specifying 'exemplary being', Heidegger says we can leave out various other modes of being which are empirically determined [at the concrete level], but this seems a matter of decree [we might even suspect logocentrism?] . Dasein is the being which we are ourselves, which involves possibilities arising from 'being – there' [located in the actual world?] . But this division still implies a declaration that omits sexuality. The lectures at Marburg are apparently designed to explain this a bit more. For example, apparently he chose the term Dasein because the term 'man' was not neutral enough.

This notion of neutrality is designed to exclude anything anthropological or ethical, keeping only 'a relation to itself, bare relation to the Being of its being' (384). We do not reproduce normal notions of an ego or self or individual [it looks like Dasein also implies an original questioning of Being]. Yet neutrality is specifically applied to sexual difference, and the emphasis 'is surprising', because lots of other empirical characteristics could have been chosen to be neutralised. Sexual difference is privileged here, the very thing that the concept of Dasein should start by neutralising, before anything else.

Luckily that, there is some [exploitable] 'polysemic richness' in the actual term Geslescht, so we can follow implications for things like family, genre, lineage. We only really see these 'path openings' in the original German, though [H's own metaphor, of course]. The same might be said of the term neutrality, which is introduced first, although followed immediately by the application to sexuality [maybe directly after he has explained why he dropped the term 'man'], so at first there is an exclusion of the term 'man' [so that's good for we moderns]. But there is a clear intention to neutralise first of all sexual difference among all the other possibilities relating to humanity. It is not just that we passed from a masculine noun Mann to a neutral one Dasein. We have also moved to the transcendental level [Heidegger apparently does use the term transcendental], and at that level, Being does not have the usual human characteristics. Nevertheless, the omission of sexual difference is a part of the very 'existential structure of Dasein' (386), explicitly connected [in the lectures?] to the neutrality of the term Dasein itself.

Luckily again, the German term for neutrality 'induces a reference to binarity' (386) that is does not permit any binary partitions, in this case, in sexual difference. 'Being there' does not mean support for the ordinary divisions between men and women, but even so, why stress it so hard [so there must be a positive reason]? Perhaps there is an implication that mundane sexual difference is more than just as it is defined in anthropology or earlier metaphysics, or any 'ontic knowledge' including biology or zoology. Dasein cannot be reduced to normal humans, egos, consciousness, even unconsciousness, and certainly not 'to an animal rationale'. Yet nor can other things — why is sexual difference so privileged? Why did Heidegger proceed straight away to take sexual difference as the example? Perhaps it was because he was really addressing at the time particular  people operating 'within anthropological space' (387)?

However, it is the negativity of Heidegger's remarks that cause problems [again detectable in the original German], and it will be hard work to find positivity or richness, or even power in asexuality or non-sexuality [although that's what Derrida tries to do]. However, at least sexual difference is so tied up with the ontic, that the ontological negativity discussed in the general philosophy does not apply. The argument is really directed against mundane sexuality, sexual duality, the conventional binary, and the absence of ontological negativity implies that there will be some '"originary positivity… and power of essence"' in 'sexuality itself' (387).

Dasein transcends sexual difference, but it might still imply 'a pre-differential' sexuality, not at all unitary or homogenous, but positive and powerful. Heidegger did not call that sexual because that would risk the binary again, but it is no more negative than 'alatheia' [the pursuit of truth, philosophical disclosure] [So sexuality appears as an early version of unfocused desire?]

Then there is a bit that requires special interpretation [sic], involving a 'strange and quite necessary displacement' (388). Somehow, sexual division itself leads to negativity, so neutralisation [here meaning political neutralisation as well,making it seem obvious and uncontroversial?] is an effect of it, but this is effaced, and thus a proper object of philosophical analysis, promising some original positivity. It is binarity itself that provides discrimination and negativity, and even 'a certain "impotence"'. We can overcome this if we go back to the level of Dasein, where binaries dissolve even though there is still sexual difference [of a non-binary kind].

[Derrida then worries that 'this interpretation be too violent', and so he has to justify it with close textual references]. Heidegger talks about positivity and power without referring to sexual difference. In fact he never 'directly associate[s] the predicate "sexual" with the word "power,"' (389). However, if we switch from adjectives to nouns, as Heidegger does, we can 'more easily radiate towards other semantic zones. Later we will follow there some other parts of thought'. At least the passages in question remove any negativity from neutrality, and use neutrality to point to the origin. 'Dasein, in its neutrality, must not be confused with the existent [and its silly claims of self-sufficiency] '. It has 'an originary source' and some internal possibilities, which can be analysed without any reference to the existent. There is thus no practical philosophy of existence based on metaphysics or some privileged worldview, no '"philosophy of life"'. Discussing concrete forms of sexuality would fall short, because all current ones belong to the existent.

We can interpret other sections to suggest that sexuality is cited in connection to a particularly isolated notion of Dasein, implying that 'sexuality must be neutralised a fortiori' (390). Heidegger emphasises this to stress the particular 'ipseity of Dasein', the way in which it becomes being with a self. Again this is not the normal human notions of self as consciousness or egoism, but something that can even bridge egoism and altruism, '"being – I" and "being – you"'. This self is therefore neutral compared to the usual human distinctions and divisions, and this must obviously include sexuality. There might still be a problem in that we can see the connection between sexuality and Dasein [a formal derivation of sexuality from Dasein — something that is assured or made possible by the definition]. Yet there is still a suspicion that sexuality is not derivative,  that actually the origin, 'an ontological structure of ipseity itself', is already there, in which case neutralisation would indeed be a violent operation. Derrida thinks it's significant that Heidegger often puts the term in speech marks, as a citation rather than an unproblematic use, and there his general concern was to separate analysis of Dasein from anthropology or any other sciences. There may be some genuinely fundamental notion of sexuality to be detected nonetheless, but Derrida will 'leave this question suspended' (391).

Dasein appearing in human beings need not take an egoistic or isolated individual form. There may be some original isolation of a metaphysical kind, however, and again this will lead to sexual difference and sexual duality. As usual, there is a translation problem, including 'the very subtle differentiation of a certain lexicon', a 'lexical hive' linking together terms like '"dissociation," "distraction," "dissemination," "division," "dispersion"'. Some of these have a negative sense, some a more neutral one.

If we attempt to pin this down, Dasein is clearly connected to the possibility of 'a factual dispersion or dissemination' shown in its own body and therefore in sexuality. So every proper body is sexed, and there is no Dasein without a body. But the implication is that the multiplicity that is dispersed is not derivative from the sexuality of the body but 'is its own body itself, the flesh' (392), [a kind of inherent tendency toward dispersion in Dasein], implying that sexualised bodies are to some extent contingent, and certainly secondary.

We have to remember that dispersion is not necessarily negative. Neutrality at the metaphysical level is not drawn from the ontic either, not just an abstraction from it. It belongs not to a fundamental binary, but the notion of 'the "not yet"'. The being that results is not some kind of fall or decline, but produced by an 'originary structure of Dasein'. That produces a body and 'hence sexual difference', but multiplicity and lack of strict determination are still implied in the analysis of dissemination. When it manifests in a body, Dasein become separated, subject to further dispersion and parcelling out, including being divided by sexuality, taking on a determinate sex. Again these might have a negative resonance, but only from their association with the ontic.

The real emphasis lies with the suggestion of a 'fold of a mani-fold "multiplication"'. This is still recognisable even in factual and isolated forms of Dasein. It is not a simple multiplicity, a diversity, nor does it emanate from 'a grand original being' (393) producing various singularities [so what's left?]. Multiplicity is an internal possibility, belonging to Being, and thus to Dasein [so a bit of interlocking definition here?] . There is an 'originary dissemination', subtly different in the original from a determined dispersion. The latter demonstrates [in skilled hands]  a structure of originary dissemination, the potential for it, 'disseminality' in Derrida's neologism. Heidegger still risks being contaminated by negativity and with various associations, like religious notions of the fall, and he needs to address the possibility of such contamination. [His explanation consists of entirely abstract processes of masking etc. Never political, of course, another reason for his naivety with Hitler?]

To elaborate the discussion though, dispersion never refers to Dasein as a single object, except as an abstraction or generalisation ['abstention', almost implying transcendence?]. But the presence of other beings which 'always co-appear at the same time' indicates this underlying 'originary disseminal structure'[that is it is not the result of induction from plural cases]. This argument is supported by further adventures in translation suggesting that Heidegger saw the originary structure as coextensive with historicity itself. Dasein appears in extension [in material space], but this is not an independent dimension as it might be for some philosophers [such as Descartes]. It implies instead a spacing or stretching of Being, leaving some 'between', some 'intervallic movement' (394). Dasein 'affects itself with this movement', and that is the ontological structure of historicity. The between is not just a temporal interval or spatial one, but 'a kind of distension', a relation [he even calls it a '"between – two"'!], Something already intertwined between stages, something which both disperses and and unbinds. It constitutes the links between stages, which 'could not take place' otherwise. It is clear that these are not be seen just as negative forces, unless one wishes to impose some prior interpretation, say in the name of a commitment to dialectic.

A further implication is that this betweenness is a necessary component of dispersion, impossible without it, and yet not the sole factor involved. There is also temporality and historicity. Dasein possesses an 'originary spatiality' (395), as we see, 'for instance, in language' and its fundamental spatial significations. It is not secondary, but essential and irreducibly part of Dasein, and this notion affects all the words that Heidegger actually uses to explain concrete manifestations of Dasein, including terms like dispersion or dissemination.

There is some '"transcendental dispersion" (as Heidegger still names it)', something belonging to Dasein and its neutrality [indifference to content], and this was to emerge as a 'metaphysical ontology of Dasein' following its analysis. Every concrete dissociation and splitting in factual existence is seen as a 'possibility' of transcendental dispersion, rooted in Dasein. Again, there are translation difficulties with Heidegger's term for this transcendental component of the originary character of Dasein, which also implies other usages like 'dereliction, being thrown'. The analysis of sexual difference which follows this discussion in the text should therefore be seen as preserving some of these meanings. Dissemination always supposes a throw, the da of Dasein, something projected, implicit in more concrete modes of throwing associated with 'project, subject, object, abject, trajectory, dejection'. Dasein is throwing itself, a 'being-thrown'  which precedes concrete activity or passivity, and the split into subjects and objects. If we interpret it as simply passivity, we will get back to the problem of subjectivity. Instead, being thrown appears before appearances themselves before a thought of throwing or any activity. It is not a throw in space, but rather 'the originary speciality of Dasein depends on the throw' (396) [almost a performative notion here — again lots of parallels with Barad on relations constituting phenomena].

At last we get to sexual difference. First we have to remember that 'Dasein is Mitsein [being – with] with Dasein'. Implications for sexuality follow, and Heidegger pursues them as his main philosophical task [having to deduce it somehow from this performative-ish characteristic of Dasein which he has specified]. Being-with is not just ontic either, nor does it have some origin in a generic being which has later been partitioned. It is the other way around for Heidegger, that there is 'a certain generic drive of gathering together', also implied in Dasein as a '"metaphysical presupposition"'. It produces the existential or empirical relations of being with others, but does not derive from it.

Having rejected any empirical scientific account of sexuality, and turned instead to metaphysics, sexuality has to be explained. It is not originary, it cannot be derived only by using existing 'traditional philosophemes' [what did he have in mind — some naturalism or Christian theology?]. At the same time, negative implications of derivation have to be avoided, and that includes those attached to the notions of dissemination and dispersion cited earlier, even if it is a transcendental dispersion.

The mystery remains, and we have to acknowledge that Heidegger has argued, in the Marburg lectures, that we need to consider neutralisation, negativity, and dispersion, but there are also sections in Being and Time relating to these terms, even if sexuality is not discussed explicitly. Being and Time connects neutralisation to something called '"privative interpretation"' (397) which is almost a methodological procedure leading to an ontology. Somehow it leads to the necessary a prioris of ontology. However, psychology and biology also seem to be implicated because they study 'an ontology of being – there', in order to get to life as a mode of being.

Here, Heidegger sees life as requiring privative interpretation [still no clearer -- Wiki gives privative as meaning depriving or negating the term that comes after it like 'in-excusable'. Is 'interpretation' privated,or the object, life? Can also mean indicating something which is not, something which only seems to be, which might imply stripping off misleading appearances, uncovering what is not apparent -- see below] , a special form because life is neither ontic nor a matter of Dasein — which remains puzzling [why is it not another of these originary structures in Dasein?] and never elaborated or linked into the other categories. It seems to follow the argument that positive forms of knowledge are linked to 'regional ontologies, and these to fundamental ontology' which we get to by analysing Dasein in its existential forms. The particular being of the living or the animated raises a general problem with the whole scheme. Derrida says that 'sexual difference cannot be dissociated from it' but 'we cannot go into this matter here' (398).

Heidegger seems to discuss privativation as some way of gaining 'a priori access to the ontological structure of the living'. It will help us understand why negative determinations are so common. Not by chance, but because something has dissembled or disfigured the original phenomena --  Verstellung [can mean both translation and masquerading] and  Verdeckungen [masking effects eg of types of vision] [both universal human limitations, nothing ideological etc?].  So no wonder things look incomplete or unclear. We have to be negative about those processes in turn, but methodically so, because both Vs are necessary [ah!] in the unfolding and interpretation of Being. They can't be avoided. There are not some original sin any more than inauthenticity is. Yet Heidegger could be even more negative about these processes, but he wants to avoid claiming some superior scheme, a dialectic or a religious or ethical program. Any road up, the neutral is not inherently ontologically negative, but that can appear in dispersion, and in ontic neutrality.

Dispersion is a general characteristic of Dasein. It's factitious, that means it is 'always already dispersed', all parcelled out into determinate modes. At the same time, these modes reveal 'irreducible multiplicity'. There is also a kind of inauthentic dispersion and distraction, and inauthentic selfness of Dasein [which might involve attributing these dispersions and distractions to human activity alone?]. [Derrida says the actual analysis is too well-known to be repeated].

Heidegger talks about various 'modes of falling' of Dasein to become every day being, and uses terms like downfall or alienation. Again these are not meant to be moralising, however nor to imply some original condition for human kind which has been corrupted. He goes on in another section to discuss sexuality as conventionally understood as a kind of 'inscription, stamp, and imprint'. We see at work two stages of dispersion — one inherent in Dasein, and one as a process of inauthenticity [and for Derrida, Heidegger doesn't always distinguish the two?].

It is all a matter of a sequence of implications for Heidegger, and that might account for the actual 'predicates used by all discourse on sexuality'. There is no 'properly sexual predicate', none traceable to the general discussion of Dasein, so we have to explain it in terms of the general analytic of Dasein [how it manifests itself in concrete forms of being, via neutralisation, dispersion, the two Vs etc?]. At least we can argue that it is not as simple as seeing sexual connotations at the heart of all discourse, common to all discourses. Instead they all really show [general characteroitics of being] 'farness… the inside and the outside, dispersion and proximity, the here and that there, birth and death, the between–birth–and–death, being–with and discourse' (401).

We can come finally to see sexuality is not exhausted by a dualistic difference. It is this [ontic] mark which has been neutralised. We have traced it back to dispersion and multiplication, and this might help us 'begin to think a sexual difference (without negativity, let us clarify) not sealed by a two', but open to 'the control and inspection of reason' [perhaps the way in which it manifests itself in dualism?]. Instead of some primary dualism, we may have to ask questions such as 'how did difference get deposited in the two… How does multiplication get arrested in difference? And in sexual difference [specifically]?'. Derrida thinks that eventually the current connection between sexuality and opposition or duality will change and be seen instead as 'decomposition'.

From 'At This Very Moment in This Work Here I Am'', in Psyché: inventions de l' autre

Kamuf says this is a critical reaction to Levinas. Derrida had already compared Levinas on the trace as some 'past that has never been present, an absolute alterity' (403), but he also sees some , and in this piece, he is focusing on sexual difference. This is a polyvocal essay and includes a 'feminine interlocutor' [a real one or just Derrida ventriloquising?] There seems to be several themes: Levinas on the absolute other which contradicts his own 'language of presence' and essence, and his claims to be a single author: there are still traces of the other. The feminine interlocutor represents some other that 'overflows the present writing' by being able to dictate what the main speaker addresses. This leads to Levinas on the trace, especially on the pronoun 'il' which means both he and it, and which apparently marks any sort of name. It is this masculine/neuter pronoun which is being addressed by the feminine interlocutor, and it leads her to ask what the relation is between people of other sexes and people as altogether others, beyond sexual difference. Perhaps it is that Levinas sees the former as secondary to the latter — if so, a certain masculinity is preserved even when trying to discuss the difference between masculine and feminine [ie neutrality and objectivity is a masculine concept] . Somehow, this is linked to the idea of some perfect or sacred pronoun ('the pro-noun of God') which claims to be neutral and to guard 'jealously' [which confirms Kamuf's argument for the centrality of this concept] its neutrality against any contaminating determined being or [empirical] sexual difference.

[So we are into full-blown Derrida at last, with all its ridiculous wordplay, puns, allusions to words in other languages, and eternal deferral while he thinks about what thinking is. I can only offer a plain man's fillet]

Let's consider the statement [found in Levinas?] 'He will have obligated'. I think the weird discussion that follows suggests that people can hear and understand events referred to, even if they are not aware of the context. People hear and understand, by repeating the words for themselves, but there is always an unknown surrounding for this phrase, no definite limits. But something has happened. It's just that we have 'distanced… from all context' (406). This implies not complete separation or absence, but some relation to context which should be negotiated. [As usual, this is far too simple a rendition. Derrida says things like 'distanced, which does not forbid, on the contrary proximity' and 'One must even negotiate what is nonnegotiable and which overflows all context']. The phrase might just seem indeterminate, but there is still a certain intelligible 'inside of what is said' which 'overflows at a stroke all possible context'. Somehow this has to do with how we grasp something that is 'wholly other', perhaps by looking at how the other attaches a context? 'You must find me enigmatic' [dick!].

Certainly the phrase can be repeated, which is interesting. It should not be seen as purely formal, because there is some event implied, and there is some sort of implied affection, some necessary reception. There is a risk in that the other may 'ill receive what is thus otherwise said', and the risk is inherent.

There is a context, evident from using it in this particular work, which is somehow connected specifically to the work of Levinas. Indeed, the 'he' might be Levinas. This leads us to the question of how individuals acquire proper names [maybe] while ordinary pronouns can be substituted. The point seems to be 'to renounce the anonymous neutrality of the discourse' (408) which seems to be addressed to anyone, to an anonymous reader. Readers are not anonymous, but are anticipated in an address.

Is it possible to address and genuinely give something to Levinas, especially when he seems to suggest that any movement towards the Other requires 'ingratitude' [which might be connected to the symbolic violence of the gift in Mauss, which does sort of appear later on]. Certainly to give something to someone implies some conformity to what they want and thus a 'circle of debt and restitution' which somehow has to be negotiated. It might be that debts are always 'anachronic' and show 'dissymetry' (409). [This might be linked to the notion of obligation?] [I think Derrida then overdoes it and says that some sort of complete conformity is necessary if we wish to give something to a {person's} work]. Faults are endemic.

There may even be an injunction not to return a gift, but merely receive one, and this involves the receiver in a gift of compliance, paradoxically enough. This sort of paradox apparently is '"anterior" to all logic', and there is no way to escape. 'Nothing is more difficult than to accept a gift' (410) because it means a necessary conformity to receive and reaffirm it. Generalising, 'the gift of the other' has the same characteristics, implying some prior conformity. The term gift itself embodies this paradox [implying something freely given as well as something carrying an obligation?]. It is possible to conceive of 'radical ingratitude' that rejects the whole system. We have to be clear what we mean when we say that we want to give something back to Levinas — does that mean a gift within the normal system of exchange and commerce, or a radical kind of giving, something that necessarily breaks with the normal notion of presence because that is dominated by economic logic, and not something merely impersonal, implied by using infinitives. Radical giving must imply a genuine other. In this argument we see how language contains an overflowing excess if it is to work, although that still implies linearity.

What if the other evokes the desire for the gift in the first place, but without implying an obligation [this might happen if it is a gift given to 'anyone', or to someone so unique that obligation does not apply to them]. This might be at stake in Levinas's notion of sincerity [implying someone unique and therefore detached from social obligation?]. There might still be a fault implied in such giving. [Somehow we ramble on to people dictating to others what to give, and how this would also severely affect social obligations, not least by confusing who would count as the actual giver and whether this is a proper kind of gift].

[Turning to the problem of criticising Levinas -- giving him something] How are works created? How do people write in the present while alluding to things that are not present, something that is produced by an excess, something anachronous [in other words how can we write about something that is wholly other?]. What is not present always leaves a trace, but the problem is to indicate something which must be absolutely foreign [this is what I once tried to say about the impossibility of Absolute Otherness?]. Can language be open to the wholly other? Can otherness be negotiated without compromising otherness , rendering it as the same after all? This is Levinas's major theme, and he seems to recommend that we try to respond 'to the Other', prioritise otherness not the conventions of the situation. This would be a responsible response, but this can also be interrogated.

[The speaker then reads a long section from Levinas about responsibility which involves exposure of self to the other '"prior to every decision"' (413). This will alienate the subject from his own identity. At the moment, people seem to act as a me not an ego, which implies an assigned identity, requiring continual confirmation — even in phrases like "here I am", the I is actually still an accusative. This is a passive subjectivity, more passive than just an effect of a cause, because it is incorporated into the very notion of 'I think'. Subjects only achieve identities by '"restlessness that drives me outside of the nucleus of my substantiality"'. This sounds a bit like Lacan and the deadly permanent and never satisfied entanglement with the other].

Even so, Levinas seems to exempt himself – [Derrida seems to argue that anyone who claims a proper name, a signature, is making this claim]. L quotes people saying 'here I am', cites them. [NB Levinas is addessed from now on as E.L, permitting a clever pun, said someone I read -- sounds like 'elle'] The implication is that the self presence of subject [for everybody else?] is illusory, that there is this prior passivity [just like Althusser and hailing?].

Does it matter if the subject in this case is male or female?. Levinas is noting the ambiguities and paradoxes suggests that these haunt [sic, 414] ordinary language. He likes to imply the presence of the other without ever actually letting it appear, in the form of a response, which can even be rhetorical,[token acceptance of others,but still only if they are in our image?]  intended to be communicated, implying an accusative [illustrated with a chunk of Song of Songs where someone realises that love is also necessary loss?]. But that is spoken by a woman — why is this not developed?

Sexual difference must be secondary [to the philosophical interest in abstract formal implications of forms of address, with all its anachronistic and paradoxical tendencies, and 'normative constraints' (415)].  [Very easy charge to make of anyone not putting sexual difference at the very centre of their work ie not a feminist]. Levinas recognises the necessity of contact with the stranger, but promptly incorporates that, manages it. Implications are lost when the 'agrammaticality of the gift' (416) is expressed in traditional grammar, as when I is not nominative but actually accusative. Language carries on as before, even if it is interrupted and disconcerted now and then. Sometimes this disruption is managed by incorporating quotations as a kind of witness but also as an accused, [something which cannot act on its own but is spoken or written about?]. These gifts are indispensable to logos and vice versa [maybe].

Levinas constantly talks about 'this book' or 'this work', and for that matter, 'this moment', but also refers to himself in a series of '"one musts"', a constant slide between active and passive, constant reversion to quotations  [this is then illustrated with reference to one of Levinas's books — it seems to be describing the strange moment at which academics speak in the first person, and then pretend that they are describing something objective, something which controls them?] Derrida notes that this always implies some outside context for a book. He also refers to the 'code of the University community' (417) as responsible for these manoeuvres, lending a necessary presence to '"present work"'.

Levinas apparently sees subjectivity as a form of hostage-taking or substitution. Somehow, this is open to being called utopian [which seems to involve claiming to be a simple subject, even though modern man's 'modernity explodes as an impossibility of staying at home']. Levinas tries to cover himself by saying that humanity has never been able to stay in its place. This somehow leads to responsibility for the other [because even claiming to be a self-sufficient subject in the here and now still does not shut out the other?]. This works only by accepting a certain level of equivocation and contamination as necessary, and by thinking of the outside as ungraspable, even by dialectic.[Probably citing Levinas again] Individuality means a state of election, being called forth from the self, from the people, and involves responding to responsibility, in effect saying 'here I am for the others'. Necessarily involves a certain hypocrisy, contamination by equivocation. This is a necessary part of being [also seems to imply violence]. Preserving humanity means deregulating the essence of being, leading to concepts like the just war, military honour, a certain 'relaxing virility without cowardice' (419), as a compensation for everyday cruelty, and for never being able to fully 'consummate' the union with the other.

Derrida comments that this conveys upon 'this book' a certain singularity, seriality and rigour, even virility. It provides a radical critique of philosophical items [philosophemes], undermining all the existing 'formulas', as Levinas calls them, and he includes those he has used. In his own work, he says he is not out to restore any concepts, including the subject, now held hostage [to others?], including the subject of this book: no proper names are adequate, only pronouns, implied names, the possibility of any actual signatures. This explains the ambiguity of the opening phrase about he is obligated, and the difficulty of simply replacing 'he' with the name, Levinas. [Very heavy weather to make of this ambiguity where the pronouns mean specific people on the one hand, but also any people on the other?]

The interlocutor points out that this leaves them with a problem of how to read any work, and asks whether pronouns can be substituted for any other name. Does it hint at absolute otherness?. The problem is to know what to do with 'the network of quotation marks' (421) inevitably involved in reading: a particular work in effect quotes the whole language which is is written in, and signatures only fix the problem temporarily. If the claim is that there is something indicated by a pronoun outside quotation, it would be impossible to say anything about him. The very process of seriality turns things into conventional languages.

We need to address the whole operation producing specific works, how some technical and productive operation is alluded to by the specific arguments of work. There can be no hermeneutic circling, because Levinas denies any circularity, and refers instead to dislocation as language opens itself to otherness. Yet, by stressing the infinite operation of quotation, how can anything outside be referenced?

There must be some particular obligation involved here, something without constraint, something 'anterior to any engagement' (422). We have ended the relations of contract and gift and are left only with 'dissymmetrical responsibility', which might have implications for sexual difference.

It is clearly difficult, perhaps impossible to write like this, however, explaining Levinas's work [without buying absolute otherness]. How do we perform [sic] such a writing that would respond adequately, without reintroducing all the stuff about presence and essence. We might accept that our writing is specific, a specific calling forth, in the most banal way, 'the condition of the least virtuoso writing'. The may be problems with seeing this as performative as a result, so Derrida proposes that we abandon the classic definitions. He is really talking about the performative as a prior structure, presupposed in every proposition, acknowledging the inevitable traces of speaking in the present.

Technically, every written word in a series could be replaced and rethought, establishing an absolute difference with conventional meanings. But some attachment must also remain to the actual words and expressions, at least in the sense that not all replacements would be acceptable [very confused, I think].Not all replacements can be seen as equivalent, and none absolute. Instead, they might be thought of as faulty. Syntax comes to the rescue here, because it can help pronouns appear to be active subjects and authors, agents. This is not the responsibility of individuals, however, merely that possibilities might appear or disappear, at least in language, but not in the sense of a real border. Nevertheless, the absolute other 'he' appears only 'by means of a series of words that are all faulty, and that I have, as it were, erased in passing… While leaving to them the force of their tracing' (424). It is this trace that opens the possibility of the other.

This is a gripping process, involving a series as 'a stringed sequence of enlaced erasures [and] interruptions… Hiatuses [which open to normal social relations with others]'. This is what D means by seriasure. This process ends with the other, who is not granted the status of subject or signer of the work, but rather 'a "he" without authority', a pronoun, something which precedes a signature. Such pronouns might then be given a personal name, although still not claiming full authority as a subject or agent, not so much a creator of the work rather someone who 'lets the work work', not as a simple passivity, but as something more profound. It moves beyond essence [as well as beyond normal understandings of authorship?], But not not just as a [gestural] transgression. It arises from the provocation of the absolute Other.

As the syntax indicates [in skilled hands] there is also an implied future, a further step in the seriasure, some notion that this work 'will have obligated'. There might be a hint of Hegelian teleology here, which is also echoed in the usual interpretation of the phrase [that this revelation will be produced as some kind of historical necessity?].  However, again, something novel is being implied, something without philosophical teleology, something that [denies the conventional links between past present and future, and thus moves beyond conventional ontology {and may be presupposed by it}].

This implied future does not depend on the action of a subject in the present. Obligation of this kind can perform within the seriasure, following on from an originally a anonymous subject, which remains as a trace. Levinas here talks about superimposition, where even effacing traces leaves 'a traced wake' (426), form of contamination. [There are also lots of gripping implications, apparently for signs as traces, 426].

One contamination, between the anonymous 'he' and the specific one is not entirely negative. It is a positive trace, it makes possible our  producing work and also examining its actual performance, and the operation of saying something in the first place [maybe]. [Anonymity, implying an outside, always leaves a trace in personal subjectivity expressed in personal language?]. This is an forced, but appears in any reading, distinguishing an argument as a work, but also attending to what it specifically says and what it could have said otherwise. That is the fundamental 'dislocation' (427), and it provides a kind of constant opening of meaning, which we can understand as 'a performance [of the] wholly other'. We cannot just read a work as subjective expression. That's why we must read it and respond to it, and when we do, we will encounter otherness, or in Levinas's terms '"the Other can dispossess me of my work… I am not fully aware what I want to do"'.

Works like this, [with the W, as in Barthes?] are not reducible to the same, nor are they just an exercise within an agreed game. Instead, they show '"ethics itself", beyond even thinking and the thinkable'. They offer a 'liturgy' [a paticularly public eg religioius form of speaking or writing?], something which is not purely instrumental, and is thus beyond normal thinking and calculation. This is what Levinas obligates us to consider, this fundamental dissymetry, and we cannot refuse it unless we wish to resort to ordinary thought again [I think in the specific context of sexual difference].

[The female interlocutor says] — does this work comprehend me? Is it not already sexed by referring to 'he' which is then glossed to refer to anybody's? The work apparently comes from the other not the same, but returns to the same nonetheless. This unique seriasure returns to conventionality, even though Levinas might have refused to acknowledge the usual notions of subjectivity. This leads to further criticisms, like whether Works are not contaminated by normal works. In one of Levinas's pieces, he refers to the son as work, for example, but also implies that it is Work. Abandoning conventional sense and reference seems to be justified by claiming there is some other link to sense and reference, but this stuff about sons and paternity [in Totality and Infinity] looks really conventional. Did he mean to refer to a child of either sex? Is he suggesting that daughters can't play a similar role? Even if really meaning child of either sex ,why did he choose the term son? Is he indifferent to sexual difference?

What is the relation between the Other and the other sex?, Is the Other beyond sexual difference? Why does Levinas still refer to himself with masculine pronouns, especially if he really means all others [another commentator has noticed this too, apparently, so note 6 says — Derrida himself in another essay on Levinas!]. Other bits of Levinas do seem to separate the feminine from the Other, and surrender sexual difference secondary and derivative compared to the 'sexually non-marked wholly other' (430). This always delivers the mark of masculinity as something before all other distinctions: the Other is masculine. Elsewhere, Levinas seems to imply that the feminine fits nicely into his schema as a category of [empirical] being, while feminists occasionally want to ask whether this is domesticating them.

In a passage on Judaism, Levinas says that femininity is an attribute, fully conformable with its '"human essence"' (431), as in Hebrew where the word woman implies that she comes from man, and thus grammatical expression reflects ontological expression. Man and woman are both natural and equal but sexual life, because it is personal, is a subordination of that equality. This is an ancient truth regardless of current fights the female emancipation. Men are the prototype of human being. And more recently, Levinas argues that human being was dichotomised, but that femininity is '"a secondary matter"', not women themselves, but associated only with relationships with a man, as a '"primordial human plan"'. Man accomplishes that plan. Levinas acknowledges that this displaces feminine specificity from the '"height of the oppositions constitutive of Spirit"' and argues that the further problem is to show how a demand for equality of the sexes could proceed from masculine dominance. His own solution is to say that women and femininity have come after men, and that this constitutes their sameness, although women are still only '"an appendix to the human"'.

The female interlocutors says that each step in this argument can be questioned, especially the way in which the masculine becomes the dominant term in each statement of difference, why it is the prior form while sexual difference only appears secondarily. Of course, it might be that Levinas is commenting upon others 'at this very moment' as he says, without taking sides. However, neutrality will not do because it is still consistent with 'a whole network of affirmations' associated with masculinity. Further, neutral commentary is a political choice, not to contest what is written in the text being commented upon.

[Then there is a little play on the way in which E.L alludes to 'elle']. Sexual alterity is secondary and not addressed in the great Work, and this is a way of mastering sexual difference, 'the very thing that ought not to have been mastered' (433).Sexual difference is the very thing that should not have been traced to some original neutral state, which will inevitably be a masculine one. Sexual difference of sexual difference is the thing that cannot be domesticated within communities, or economies. Levinas's omission makes the wholly other in his schema other itself, and other for Levinas's otherness. The otherness of femininity is not accounted for but remains as 'a secret or as a symptomatic mutism' (433). As it is, remains in the same, just in a particular region of it, not even one with potential, or immanence like the crypt. Not only is sexual difference itself secondary, but femininity specifically, as an affirmation, is secondary. Levinas can be put in the same campus psychoanalysis here, a 'complicity more profound than the abyss he wishes to put' between the two.

Female sexuality is somehow outside the series, and can only be understood as He. This desire to exclude would be the inspiration behind the Work, and readers would have to try to understand it from their place as dependent or hostage, not able to actually dominate or sign the Work for themselves. We can see female heteronomy as in effect writing the text 'from its other side' (434). While she is here, she objects to the metaphor of weaving a text because she says this is always been connected to 'feminine specificity', in Freud, for example.

This seems to threaten violence to Levinas's text, by reopening a 'non-symbolisable wound' always implied by the other ['from the past anterior of the other']. A proper notion of femininity cannot be found by modifying his seriasure. At least Levinas offers a rare example in philosophy of not simply effacing sexual marks, and perhaps would not be surprised by feminist critique suggesting, say, that the other is female. This critique might also be guilty of just reversing perspectives 'while leaving the schema intact' (435).

Language is inevitably contaminated and ungrateful, and this always has to be negotiated. That extends to the language of the female interlocutor as well. She does insist that she is not criticising him, but rather Him. She is almost inviting someone to find the faults in her own arguments.

The problems with Levinas can be also detected in his discussion, intended to be neutral, of the characteristics of the name of God. For believers, it is forbidden to efface the names of God, and even if a mistake occurs, the thing has to be completely destroyed. Levinas's manoeuvres around proper names have not completely destroyed the implications of the male pronoun or proper name, and it will return, appearing perhaps as introjection or some other pathology, something that wounds, something that it is impossible to utter.

What Levinas says about the names of God could be said 'analogically for every proper name' (436), implying all proper names are analogous among themselves. We see the problems if we transfer the proper name of man or woman into this discussion. Levinas himself does not imply a simple analogy 'between the face of God and the face of man' [in other work], however, and insists that the proper name of God means something which is not reducible to ordinary knowledge and understanding, but implies something immanent. Yet the discussion of epiphany refreshes the analogy. Believers trace their lives to a past that is 'absolutely anterior to any memory', inaccessible, and argue that language itself can never get to the revealed Name, because it is so open to human error and development. Yet for Levinas, only man can manage this fundamental uncertainty, producing his '"unparalleled straightforwardness"' (437). At the same time, all human language risks contamination and abuse of the Name.

So back to a discourse which applies empirical differences to absolute otherness [maybe]. The course are problems or faults, 'always, already'. As a critic, she has thematised something which is beyond Levinas's own themes, and enclosed his work in a different seriasure. It is clear that he could not sign this himself. Therefore it is a contamination, not only an inevitable one, a general necessity, but one specifically traceable to her status as a woman. This is being unfaithful to Levinas, but in a way, this ingratitude helps her 'give myself up to what is work says of the Work'.

It is also true that 'in everything I'm talking about, jealousy is at stake' [a big plus for Kamuf's own theme]. In Levinas, there is a specific discussion of the relation between God and jealousy. He is exempt from any jealousy, for any desire any need to guard, and when we relate to him we must also purify ourselves of jealousy. But this stance itself 'cannot not guard itself jealously' (438). As some eternal past of humanity, 'is the very possibility of all jealousy' Seriasuare is thus a jalousie [Venetian blind] which guards or preserves the state of being without jealousy, something which partly conceals itself, with jealousy appearing and then retreating.

Overall, if she has succeeded in limiting Levinas's notion of the other after all, then she herself has obligated with the same force as him.

Derrida returns to say that he is not sure about all this, whether her interpretation is what he is actually saying or something contrary to it, probably because he has 'the difficulty distinguishing [your voice] from mine', so he can't grasp the specific feminine obligation and fault after all.

Kamuf's Preface and Intro develops this theme of the centrality of jealousy as a way of finding a thread through Derrida's work without particularly distorting or imposing themes of her own. We are to read it through the blinds, fully acknowledging that Derrida resists easy translation, And resisting herself tendencies to speak of a single theory or method of deconstruction. The trick is not to betray the text, while making it accessible, but without turning into a manual. She comes to think of jealousy as a term pointing to some way out of inevitable betrayal of either kind. She means 'a web of relations that all pass through jealousy' (xxi). She remembers the phrase in the section above that jealousy is at stake in everything. It is worth addressing what Derrida meant by jealousy, thematisng it.

Jealousy invokes movement both for and against, something which provokes movement of this kind [when encountering others?], and this is why it is at stake in everything. The fact that it appears as a feminine voice in the above implies that it 'took shape through a kind of silent dictation', that the interlocutor put it on the agenda. She thinks there is a jealous movement detectable in this [ventriloquism]. It might even be that Derrida jealously guards his absence of a full discussion of jealousy.

So what is at stake? Jealousy is always doubled, and can become jealous of itself. It is not just a simple attribute attached to a subject, but is always 'jealousy of the other'. It will be too simple to ask whose jealousy is at stake. We know that at one level it is the jealousy of God, which Derrida cites a few times, where God demands devotion but refuses to manifest himself, or offer any kind of substitute — he 'cannot tolerate a double, a replacement, a representative' (xxiii). This seems to stand outside divine reason, being contrary to reason — Moses sees the burning bush as a metaphor for jealousy, as an appearance actually produced by the movement of jealousy, jealousy appearing but without a specific name and face.

Derrida follows this theme through in several places, such as where God displays jealousy towards the Tower of Babel [because Babel is also one of his names in the language of the Shemites]. God's jealousy is reacting to the jealousy of the people who built the Tower, who wanted to appropriate the name of God. However, God had to in some way manifest himself, whatever the risk 'in order to reach men's ears and constrain them to hear His name above all others', an original example of 'difference from itself' (xxv). While we are here, jealousy and zealotry have the same route, and both implies some excess. [but above all, some attempt to regulate the other and their use of what is ours?]

It is all very fanciful and literary and wonderful, and also appears in the discussion of the signature [Derrida refers to a 'seign', an archaism, which sounds like the word for breast, which implies the jealousy that God might feel for the mythical originating mother, linking to Freud's discussion saying that the mother's milk was the source of all jealousy, especially feminine jealousy, misnamed as penis envy. By a marvellously contorted argument, Kamuf links the French term deja as a way of routinising jealousy [maybe]. Derrida even talks about 'dejalouser', meaning to de-jealousise, which further means opening yourself to the other.

All sorts of other clever reading shows the increasing theme of jealousy in all the selections that she is chosen. For example the commentary on Freud 'is all about jealousy', seeing Freud speculations as constantly marked or pushed along by 'a jealous devil who keeps interrupting the representation whenever it has the audacity to replace him with a counterfeit'.  Derrida speculates about what the devil might be that keeps Freud writing, the drive behind the speculation, whether it is or not a death drive, or something combining desire and a death drive, a kind of 'deferred suicide'.

Generally, wherever otherness is involved 'there is force, drive, movement — jealousy' (xxviii). It informs writing and its movement, and is shown in the contradiction between wanting to extend a particular 'logic of the proper'[conventional attempts to theorise and to keep consistent concepts?] with a more powerful 'hetero logic', resisting enclosure. Jealousy here is 'the drive of the proper', and it must always be defeated, hence maintained, because the other can never be fully appropriated, nor left beyond reach.

This might lead to political irresponsibility, especially if connected to sexual relations, or seen as some natural component of all social relations. This might itself be a reaction 'on the part of jealous watchdogs of "right thinking"' (xxix), or might itself be produced by jealousy. Feminist politics might just be a response to male attempts to possess their own women, a real cause for resentment, a matter of real sexual and economic oppression, but, in danger of appearing therefore as merely contingent, not structural as, say, penis envy is, implying in turn that women are or could be without jealousy.

There is as usual a problem of linking Derrida's wonderfully abstract notion of jealousy with the real actual jealousies. But there is no single solution. It might be simply down to an excess of zeal for notions of individuality, as in the signature, one which is shared in a pathological way.

[Then there is an extended commentary on the discussion of jealousy in the extract above]. Jealousy should be seen as a positive force, 'remarking a difference' (xxxvi). It might be inherent in any difference, even in, say, philosophical debate. There will be 'multiple motifs of jealousy', probably which can never be exhaustively pinned down. It is not just that philosophers are influenced by mundane jealousies, more that jealousy produces [all?] desire and is found in every difference, quite often veiled or curtained, even covered by a Venetian blind. Veils and curtains are big themes in Derrida.

Perhaps, [in the middle of a lengthy discussion of parts of the body] the discussion of the hymen illustrates motifs of jealousy particularly well. It is inherently ambiguous, and the source of many metaphors, and differences, and thus a particularly good location defining jealousy between people. It is both a way of separating out the virginal, but also an old term for marriage which consummates itself by rupturing the hymen — it is something between, something dividing, something that marks sexual difference, and also something between people. In that way, it takes on a much more general meaning, and can become 'a more general name for all these jealous partitionings' (xxxvix). It's another way in which sexual differences marked by jealousy, but not that produced by straightforward appropriation [perhaps more a frustration when subjective categories and certainties are challenged by otherness?].

That possessive jealousy still persists, although it is often veiled or held in reserve. The frequent mention of veiling implies that sexual jealousy is an important stage in showing the complications of straightforward mimetic models of reality [in drama in this case], because it harbours some opening to an outside, even to absolute otherness. Derrida thinks that jealousy mostly has to do with traces, rather than something actually present [phrased as usual in terms of pasts and futures not absolutely separated from the present etc], some way of managing others, even if it means killing them. It is thus something that emerges between pasts and futures again. It is a wonderful topic for illustrating that there can be no philosophical appeal to underlying truth behind the veils, and that philosophers who aim for that are behaving 'like a jealous husband', trying to fix the characteristics of what they want to possess.

In this way, we've connected jealousy to the metaphysics of presence, and why metaphysics can never account for jealousy. We can deconstruct jealousy as a result, although there is no claim that we can destroy it. We can abstract jealousy from the 'all too human incarnations' in which it appears [and most of the empirically available alternatives offer simple inversions as before]. There  might well be some beyond jealousy, but we would have to go beyond these mundane jealousies.

It is possible that philosophers and writers want to stick with their web of jealousies not open them up, but they can be presented as [genuine] gifts, open discussion of the jealousies of other writers or disputants. Writing can openly offer a Venetian blind structure and invite people to read between them. There is always the problem of translation, and that can also include jealousy as a filtering device, but the possibility of openness remains, perhaps even as a matter of play and laughter.

That's enough Derrida for now. Back to social theory