Deconstructive Turn of Ethics: Subversion of Self-identity in Derrida and Levinas
Keywords:Post Structuralism, Self-Identity, Otherness, Ontology, Alterity, Text
Differing from the mainstream notion about deconstruction as a differential reading of texts, the paper views it primarily as a process of subversion of self-identity of a person who faces the ‘alterity’ of the other in a concrete ethical situation. Thus it is seen more as an existential experience of the individual rather than a socio-political process. It seeks a pathway from Derrida’s deconstruction of texts to Emmanuel Levinas’s trial of individuality by the ‘face’ of the other. The face of the other that calls for the ethical responsibility of the ‘I’, challenges his autonomy. As human self-identities are unreal constructs produced by ontology through the integration of multiple experiences of phenomena into a uniform apperception of consciousness, its rupture alone will guarantee a passage to the realm of ‘otherness’. ‘Otherness’ manifested in the deconstruction of self-identity in ethics is viewed as more intense and radical than the subversion of identity that takes place in textual experience.
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