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Derrida and the Question of Presence

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It has often been considered that the most important part of Derrida's work consisted in the five books published between 1967 and 1972. This paper intends, by way of a re-reading of Derrida's most powerful text from this period, Speech and Phenomena, to bring to light Derrida's specific manner of uniting the question of the disruption of presence to the question of writing. What is therefore questioned is Derrida's emphasis on death, considered as the very condition of possibility of language and writing. As Derrida rightfully shows, Husserl, in spite of the importance he conferred upon writing in the process of idealization, was not aware of the fact that the relationship to death constitutes the concrete structure of the living present. But on the other hand, by still opposing in a too dualistic manner presence and absence, life and death, Derrida himself was not able to see that the condition of language is not so much the death of the subject as the being toward death and the finitude of Dasein.

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