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.
This article considers the remote meeting technologies that have become the unavoidable framework of (academic) work during the COVID-19 epidemic. I analyze them with the help of Jacques Derrida’s concepts, thus also illustrating the reach of the latter. The article presents four “transcendental illusions” as supporting the digital world and, according to Derrida, experience. The illusion of proximity: digitality relies on a haptocentric illusion but it also reveals the distance at the heart of touching. The illusion of presence: digitality functions under the illusion of presence, but it also reveals the spectrality of digital presence. The illusion of a complete memory: although the Internet appears to be a total memory, it is really an archive, that is, a finite set of traces. The illusion of worldwide community: teletechnologies pretend to constitute a universal place, but they only generate a finite dis-place of common alienation.