Human Exceptionalism on the Line


Given the advantage of hindsight, it seems fair to say that Jacques Derrida retained an enduring interest in the question of human exceptionalism throughout his career. Since he was a thinker of origins, we should not be surprised by his forensic attention to what is particular about human genesis—those capacities whose unique achievement and comparative complexity are purportedly without precedent. Our analytical interest in this meditation will focus on the radical break that separates human identity from its others. Does it actually exist, and what are the implications if we fail to find an inaugural signature that authorizes this extraordinary status? Derrida will argue that the reasoning that motors all of western metaphysics rests on the belief that human identity is isolated and irreconcilably alienated. It then makes sense to explain human exceptionalism as a special case of perversion, a unique status which is essentially unnatural.

Read Article On Muse