This essay is a comparison between Schelling’s and Blanchot’s conceptions of the night of the imaginary. Schelling is the most romantic of the German idealist philosophers and Blanchot the most extreme of the French “deconstructionists.” Their historical link is actually indirect, but they offer two complementary views on the “same” impersonal nocturnal experience of the imaginary, the approach of which requires a certain self-overcoming of philosophy towards literature.
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:
Derrida thinks technology as a metaphor of writing and not the other way round.
Derrida thinks technique as prosthesis, firstly of memory, then more generally of life.
Derrida’s quasi-technique relies on his peculiar conception of the incorporal materiality of technique.