This article addresses a strange investment within ‘continental' philosophy, in asserting the impotence of a Derridean approach when it comes to addressing practical (juridical, political, ethical, economic) issues. Such assertions of impotence regularly stand as the foil for whatever is proposed as a more complex, and therefore powerful, means to make sense of concrete phenomena. Invariably, however, the criticism of a Derridean approach is based on reductive misconceptions of its complex logic, and the proposed correctives repeat the very pattern of thinking that Derrida has consistently adopted throughout his writing. A case in point is Zizek's criticism of what he calls ‘Derrida's operation.' While Zizek's critique is more nuanced and contemporary than the hackneyed charge of ‘textualism,' his reductive conception of the logical structure of Derridean thinking remains open to challenge. Further, his Lacanian corrective, whose logic is represented by the figure of a ‘Borromean knot,' precisely matches the ‘plural logic of the aporia' that underpins a Derridean approach to concrete phenomena. Accordingly, what follows is an attempt to show how Lacanian and Derridean discourses can be brought into alliance as a consequence of their isomorphic logical structure. This attempt is motivated by the conviction that one can do well without the pseudo-antagonism generated by the unjust criticism directed at one another by like-minded thinkers, which, moreover, provides such thinkers with a far too facile excuse for dismissing one another, even before opening texts. I also have a hidden agenda of sorts, which is to outline and, indeed, promote the ‘complexity-thinking' characteristic of both Derridean and Lacanian discourses, as the most viable and appropriate approach to practical issues. South African Journal of Philosophy Vol. 27 (1) 2008 pp. 10-26
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DOI 10.4314/sajpem.v27i1.31498
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