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Derrida and the Aporia of the Political, or the Theologico-Political Dimension of Deconstruction

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Jacques Derrida's insistence on submitting politics to the test of undecidability elicits the common accusation that an aporetic form of thought can only end in dubious conclusions concerning the pressing matter of politics and that no normative claims can emerge from a thought of radical undecidability. In this paper, I articulate the structural undecidability (aporia) that constitutes politics according to Derrida, the manner in which this structural undecidability elicits judgments, and the importance for critique of not ignoring it. In particular, this structural undecidability is articulated within the event of foundation of any state or set of social relations by way of a declarative act. In addition, the aporetic structure of the political renders visible the essential relationship between (revealed) religion and politics. Ultimately, due to a necessary reference to an ultimate authority at any event of foundation, the political is always already theologico-political in character.

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