Derrida as Natural Law Theorist

Merold Westphal

in Overcoming Onto-Theology

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print September 2001 | ISBN: 9780823221301
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235483 | DOI:

Series: Perspectives in Continental Philosophy

Derrida as Natural Law Theorist

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This chapter shows Derrida decisively opting for the alternative that no human meanings are ultimate and that there is hermeneutical violence involved in imposing any system of construals, factual and normative. It argues that Derridian deconstruction is rightly perceived as the most sustained critique of metaphysics since logical positivism. It notes that much of contemporary philosophy is the quest for an escape between the dilemma of absolutism and relativism. In terms of ethics in general and of legal theory, more specifically, Derrida's theory of natural law represents a serious contribution to the ongoing conversation. His essay “Force of Law” and the collection of essays published with it deserve the careful attention of those engaged in this pursuit, as well as of those happily perched on one horn of the traditional dilemma.

Keywords: deconstruction; logical positivism; absolutism; natural law; Force of Law

Chapter.  3979 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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