Derrida and Asian Thought

Comparative and Continental Philosophy 12 (1):2-4 (2020)
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ABSTRACTThis paper draws a comparison between Derrida’s “trace” and the idea of dao in classical Daoism. It is argued that if dao is read in a non-metaphysical way, then the Derridean idea of “trace” will show large overlaps with dao. I then show how, despite some obvious differences, a “trace” reading of dao enables a clearer understanding of dao that would see it not as a metaphysical principle, ineffable but transcendent nonetheless, but rather as an immanent working of the patterned processes that makes up both the natural and human world. I also argue that the notion of trace in classical Daoism or other characters denoting trace, are most often used in a more traditional way and hence are not useful for understanding what Derrida means with his notion of “trace.”



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Steven Burik
Singapore Management University

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