Deconstruction and Ethics: An (ir)Responsibility

Nicole Anderson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

6 Scopus citations


This chapter outlines the historical reception before arguing that deconstruction entails a paradoxical move; one that enables a simultaneous challenge to, without rejection of, the binary choice-making and decision-taking that has been characteristic of metaphysical ethics. Critics, then, argue that deconstruction is not morally or ethically productive and positive, and is therefore nihilistic and indeterminate. Furthermore, critics have argued that because deconstruction is irreducibly plural, it ends up aestheticising and contextualising language and action through dissolution of the ethical and rational force of meaning and communication. The fact that Derrida argues that there are two equal and imperative duties suggests that deconstruction is not about rejecting universal or metaphysical ethics. It is through this notion of irresponsibilization that deconstruction reveals the potential violence of every ethical decision. The chapter concludes with an explanation of the positive nature of this paradox in and through Derrida's discussion of responsibility and irresponsibility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationJacques Derrida
Subtitle of host publicationKey Concepts
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781317592655
ISBN (Print)9781844655892
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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