The Domestication of Derrida
Rorty, Pragmatism and Deconstruction
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In The Domestication of Derrida, Lorenzo Fabbri argues that Rorty’s powerful reading protocol is motivated by the necessity to contain the risks of Derrida’s critique of Western philosophy and politics. Rorty claims that Derrida reduces philosophy to a production of private fantasies that do not have any political or epistemological relevance. Fabbri challenges such an aberrant appropriation by investigating the two key features of Rorty’s privatization of deconstruction: the reduction of deconstructive writing to an example of merely autobiographical literature; and the idea that Derrida not only dismisses, but also mocks the desire to engage philosophy with political struggle. What is ultimately questioned in The Domestication of Derrida is the legitimacy of labelling deconstruction as a post-modern withdrawal from politics and theory. By discussing Derrida’s resistance against the very possibility of theoretical and political ascetism, Fabbri shows that there is much more politics and philosophy in deconstruction than Rorty is willing to admit.
‘Fabbri’s important book demands serious attention not only from those interested in the relation between Jacques Derrida and Richard Rorty, but from those interested in thinking together a future radical politics.’
– Postmodern Culture
Aaron James Landry, Symposium, January 2010
Fabbri makes a successful case in defending Derrida against Rorty’s criticism… [his] book merits attention as one of the few attempts to mark the interface between pragmatism and deconstruction.
About the Author
Lorenzo Fabbri is a Sage fellow in the department of Romance Studies at Cornell University, USA.