Martine Berenpas: Do you need to translate the untranslatable?

Derrida and Zhuangzi on the deconstruction of language.
Auteur(s): admin | Categorie: Splijtstof Symposium

One of our speakers next week is Martine Berenpas, a PhD candidate at  Universiteit Leiden. In the text below she gives a short introduction of  her lecture next week.


Do you need to translate the untranslatable? Derrida and Zhuangzi on the deconstruction of language.

In this lecture I will reflect on the significance and the challenges of comparative thinking. Through the comparison of Derrida’s deconstruction of the “metaphysics of presence” and Zhuangzi’s mockery of representational language, we will experience what the value is of comparing philosophies separated across time, space, language and culture. We will see that the relationship between thought, speech and writing is as much a part of China’s philosophical tradition as it is that of the West, but we will also see that Derrida and Zhuangzi take different paths when confronted by the limits of logos. In the end, I will point out that for Zhuangzi deconstruction of language is a soteriological strategy to resonate with the spontaneity of Dao (the Way), whereas for Derrida deconstruction is nothing more than a disruption of presence.

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