Derrida as an object of the history of philosophy: the concept of aporia in terms of the universality problem

Keywords: aporia, Other, quasi-transcendentalism, possibility/impossibility, universalism


The idea of aporia, according to the author, leads to the transformation of Derrida’s philosophy on the basis of a new kind of universalism. This new universalism is based on the principles of relation and difference; it involves the concept of“radically Other” (in particular, in the modes of particularity and singularity) into the field of the Universal. As an essential factor of binarism’s deconstruction, an aporia leads to undermine a paradigm of choice. Derrida substitutes this paradigm with an attitude to “impossible” interdependence of concepts, which, according to traditional approach, are treated as incompatible.

The author proves that universalistic potential of Derrida’s thought reveals itself in application of transcendental approach to the problem of universal. Nevertheless, in case of Derrida it is quasi-transcendentalism that unites in itself moments of critics and radicalization of Kantian and Husserlian types of transcendental approach.

The paper proves that the idea of aporia has fundamental significance for constituting quasi-transcendental universalism. Interconnectedness (up to identity) of concepts of aporia and experience is evinced, as well as fundamental link between the concept of aporia and basic quasi-transcendental structure of “conditions of possibility/conditions of impossibility”. Within the problem of aporia, as is shown, inherently transcendental overlap between theoretical and practical dimensions is taken place. As is detected, in the discourse of aporia there appears a rethinking of Universal/Particular (Singular) relation: traditional contraposition is transformed into oscillation and overlapping (this rethinking is proper for the transcendental approach).

The results of the study, set forth in the article, allow historico-philosophical conclusion about presence, significance and peculiarity of the motive of universality in Derrida’s quasi-transcendentalism. Often remaining implicit, this motive, however, appears to be the driving force for deconstructive thinking.

Author Biography

Anna Ilyina, Hr. Skovoroda Institute of Philosophy, NAS Ukraine

PhD in Art Criticism, Junior research fellow of the Department of the History of Foreign Philosophy


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Ilyina, A. (2019). Derrida as an object of the history of philosophy: the concept of aporia in terms of the universality problem. Sententiae, 38(1), 6-26.


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