Two as an Odd Number: On Cumming on Derrida on Shapiro on Heidegger on Van Gogh

Philosophy Research Archives 8:383-392 (1982)

Abstract

This paper attempts to show that Robert Cumming’s effort in a recent article to explain the work of Jacques Derrida to American philosophers fails to present an adequate account of Derrida’s position because Cumming does not take Derrida’s philosophical views (in this case, his critique of Heidegger) seriously enough. By returning to the Heideggerian and Derridian texts, three main points become clear: first, that Cumming fails to present an alternative interpretation of Heidegger on which to base his criticisms of Derrida’s reading; second, that Cumming’s specific criticisms of Derrida often fail because he engages the issues on a relatively superficial level; and, finally, that Cumming has not proven that Derrida’s work does not present a substantial challenge to Heidegger’s position. I conclude that the task of explaining Derrida’s work to American philosophers has yet to be accomplished

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