Revolutions That As Yet Have No Model: Derrida’s Limited Inc.

Spivak, Gayatri C.

In 1971, Derrida read a paper entitled Signature evenement contexte
in Montreal. In 1972, it was included in his collection Marges de la
philosophie [Paris: Minuit]. In 1977, in the first issue of Glyph, appeared
its English version "Signature Event Context." The piece was followed by
"Reiterating the Differences: A Reply to Derrida" by John Searle. In
Derrida's essay the limits and implications of the philosophical strategy of
J. L. Austin, the founder of speech act theory, are discussed. In his short
reply Searle, himself a speech act theorist, picks out what in his opinion
are some of Derrida's obvious mistakes and corrects them in a tone of
high disdain. The piece in review is Derrida's response to Searle's "Reply,"
published simultaneously and under the same title in French and English.
In French as a pamphlet, in English as a part of Glyph 2. In it, with a
mocking show of elaborate patience, Derrida exposes Searle's critique to
be off the mark in every way. Whereas Searle's essay is brusque and all too
brief, Derrida's is long and parodistically courteous and painstaking.


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English and Comparative Literature
Johns Hopkins University Press
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March 17, 2015