Jacques Derrida On Kierkegaardian 'Secrecy'

Simon Oswitch
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In his 1992 work 'The Gift of Death' ('Donner la mort'), Derrida examines the ethical/religious writings of Czech philosopher Jan Patočka (1907-1977) as well as Kierkegaard's 'Fear and Tembling' ... in Part Four - 'Tout autre est tout autre' ('Every other [one] is every [bit] other') - there is detailed discussion of Abraham's secret calling by God to sacrifice his son Isaac ... for Kierkegaard this marks absolute 'subjectivity', the incommunicable existential truth of one's being ... Abraham becomes a 'knight of faith' acting solely upon his belief in God's calling, suspending ethical injunction ... in terms of this radical interiority - a subjectivity that actually divests one of usual moral 'selfhood', Derrida writes (the clip's voiceover):

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"How can another see into me, into my most secret self, without my being able to see in there myself and without my being able to see him in me? And if my secret self, that which can be revealed only to the other, to the wholly other, to God if you wish, is a secret that I will never reflect on, that I will never know or experience or possess as my own, then what sense is there in saying that it is "my" secret, or in saying more generally that a secret *belongs*, that it is proper to or belongs to some "one," or to some *other* who remains some*one*? It is perhaps there that we find the secret of secrecy, namely, that it is not a matter of knowing and that it is there for no-one. A secret doesn't belong, it can never be said to be at home or in its place.... The question of the self: "who am I?" not in the sense of "who am I" but "who is this 'I' that can say "who"? What is the "I," and what becomes of the responsibility once the identity of the "I" trembles in secret?"
By Simon Oswitch 3 years ago
('Gift of Death,' p. 92)
By Simon Oswitch 3 years ago