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Derrida, an Egyptian

ISBN: 978-0-7456-4639-8
80 pages
August 2009, Polity
Derrida, an Egyptian (0745646395) cover image
Shortly before his death in 2004, Jacques Derrida expressed two paradoxical convictions: he was certain that he would be forgotten the very day he died, yet at the same time certain that something of his work would survive in the cultural memory. This text by Peter Sloterdijk - one of the major figures of contemporary philosophy - makes a contribution of its own to the preservation and continuation of Derrida's unique and powerful work.

In this brief but illuminating text, Sloterdijk offers a series of recontextualizations of Derrida's work by exploring the connections between Derrida and seven major thinkers, including Hegel, Freud and Thomas Mann. The leitmotif of this exploration is the role that Egypt and the Egyptian pyramid plays in the philosophical imagination of the West, from the exodus of Moses and the Jews to the conceptualization of the pyramid as the archetype of the cumbersome objects that cannot be taken along by the spirit on its return to itself.

'Egyptian' is the term for all constructs that can be subjected to deconstruction - except for the pyramind, that most Egyptian of edifices, which stands in its place, unshakeable for all time, because its form is the undeconstructible remainder of a construction that is built to look as it would after its own collapse.

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Acknowledgement

Preliminary Note

1 Luhmann and Derrida

2 Sigmund Freud and Derrida

3 Thomas Mann and Derrida

4 Franz Borkenau and Derrida

5 Régis Debray and Derrida

6 Hegel and Derrida

7 Boris Groys and Derrida

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Peter Sloterdijk is Professor of Philosophy and Aesthetics at the Karlsruhe School of Design.
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"Peter Sloterdijk has a strong claim to being Germany's foremost public philosopher."
The Philosopher's Magazine

"Derrida's debt to German thought is well-known, and he wrote many elegies. Here a contemporary German thinker returns the compliment. A fitting tribute to an important philosopher and, through a sequence of surprising juxtapositions, a powerful work of theory in its own right."
Stuart Elden, Durham University

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