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The Understanding of Difference in Heidegger and Derrida


Douglas Donkel

This study examines the complex relationship between Martin Heidegger's concept of Difference and Jacques Derrida's neologism Différance in light of the problem of Being. Set in a theological context, it argues that Derrida's reflections call into question Heidegger's account of Difference, thus problematizing the Seinsfrage and forestalling any theological appropriation of Being. Further, it argues that Derrida's discourse on Différance is itself paradoxical, indicating its status is logically undecidable. Inspired by Heidegger's charge to think the Difference, this work characterizes Derrida's thought as a response to this mandate, and takes as its own task the further thinking through of the problematics of Difference in these thinkers.
Contents: An investigation of Heidegger's question of Being and the concept of Difference; Derrida's notion of Différance as it weights on the problem of Being; and the problematic understanding of Différance in current philosophical discussion.