Translation of: Interview with Jacques Derrida: The western question of "forgiveness" and the intercultural relation

Comparative and Continental Philosophy 12 (1):5-16 (2020)
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These two interviews with Jacques Derrida were conducted by Ning Zhang in 1999 and 2000, respectively, in preparation for the publication of his book Writing and Difference in Chinese and his first academic trip to China in 2001. In the first interview, Jacques Derrida tries to clarify the ethical concerns with regard to his deconstructive analysis of Western traditions, through his critical reading of the concept of forgiveness. In this interview he gives us a clearer insight into his ideas about the problem of intercultural exchange, especially concerning questions of translation, translatability, and untranslatability, as central issues of his work. In the second interview, which has been transformed into the preface of the Chinese translation of Writing and Difference, several key comparative ideas were discussed. We have chosen to translate the part in which Derrida expresses clearly his views on the relation between philosophy and thinking, and this clarifies his by-now infamous statement that there is no such thing as “Chinese Philosophy.” Zhang and Derrida also discuss the relation of his work to China. For these reasons, both of these interviews offer a rare and fascinating opportunity to better understand how Derrida perceived himself in relation to philosophy or thinking from different cultures.



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Steven Burik
Singapore Management University

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