Derrida - ENGL 2010 Derrida Platos Pharmacy Sections 4 and...

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ENGL 2010 Derrida, “Plato’s Pharmacy,” Sections 4 and 5 Overview and Study Questions ** NOTE: Change in Reading Assignment for Monday (9/25): please read Jean Baudrillard, from The Precession of Simulacra . We will read the Benjamin later in the semester. Overview: Section 4 First, it is obviously difficult to summarize Derrida’s text, especially since he is both against the idea that you could simply summarize anything as a way of getting at its truth, and since his style—dense wordplay, complex sentence structure, subtle allusions, and the like—actively resists condensation. Nevertheless, with that caveat in place, I’ll give it a go. In this section, Derrida develops the business with “pharmakon” in the Phaedrus and throughout Plato’s works. (Recall from last time we noted the big deal Derrida makes out of the fact that the Greek word “pharmakon” can mean either remedy or poison.) Derrida spells out the theory of language that motivates his emphasis; we’ll discuss this further in class, but the point is that despite Socrates/Plato’s desire to separate these two meanings, they can’t be separated. Regardless of an author’s intention , the opposed meanings are always in play, and the play of language works against whatever the author’s stated intentions might be.
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