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Neoplatonic Compulsions

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Chapter Summary

The fact that Jacques Derrida cultivated a relationship with Neoplatonism throughout his writing career is indicated by comments made in numerous seminars and interviews. Only a measure of genuine insight could have permitted him to inscribe its so-called "negative theology" within the syntax of différance in such a manner as to provoke irritated response of a prominent modern theologian. Neoplatonism performs conceptual function of reinforcing this analogy and mediating this opposition between Plato and Derrida through its notions of dialectic and emanation. The fact that Derrida's relationship with Neoplatonism is well articulated emerges clearly from a group of works published between that late 1980s and early 1990s. The dialogues between Derrida and Neoplatonism in these two essays will be considered both separately and in their interrelation, while the Neoplatonism of "Negative Theology" and that of "Conversion" will be seen as the specific issues of the first and second essays respectively.

Keywords: Conversion; Jacques Derrida; negative theology; Neoplatonism; Plato



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