Derrida’s Quasi-Technique

In: Research in Phenomenology
Susanna Lindberg Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense

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The article’s aim is to measure the potential of Derrida’s work for a philosophy of technique. It shows why Derrida does not present a positive philosophy of technology but rather describes technique as a quasi-technique, as if a technique. The article inquires into the potential of such a quasi-technique for a contemporary philosophy of technology: it is suggested that it can function as a salutary “deconstruction” of mainstream philosophy of technology (that “knows” the “essence of technology”) because it shows how to think technique in the absence of essence and as the absence of essence.

The article begins with a survey of the machines that figure in Derrida’s texts. It then examines three propositions concerning technology in Derrida’s work:

  1. Derrida thinks technology as a metaphor of writing and not the other way round.

  2. Derrida thinks technique as prosthesis, firstly of memory, then more generally of life.

  3. Derrida’s quasi-technique relies on his peculiar conception of the incorporal materiality of technique.

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