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(1992) Understanding origins, Dordrecht, Springer.

A morphogenetic hypothesis on the closure of post-structuralism

Paul Dumouchel

pp. 77-90

Professor McKenna has offered us an attempted conciliation or reconciliation of Girard and Derrida. In his own words his paper sets out "to relate Derrida" s critique of origins to Girard" s originary hypothesis' (p. 46).1 Clearly, as the text unfolds, the reader sees that he is not dealing with an essay on the origin of social order and its relationship to violence but with an essay on Girard and Derrida and their relationship, or rather the relationship between their works. True enough, McKenna" s paper is about violence, but it is not so much about the original violence that founds the social order according to Girard, as it is about another violence, final, terminal, definitive. "Apocalypse" as the title of his paper says, "total and remainderless destruction" as Derrida says (p. 71), nuclear extermination. In short, it is about a violence that founds nothing at all, out of which no social order can emerge. McKenna concludes that this final violence echoes the original violence from which the community was born, and that this resonance transforms, in a sense, the originary hypothesis into "absolute knowledge, being knowledge of the absolute" (p. 74). The absolute being total annihiliation.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-94-015-8054-0_4

Full citation:

Dumouchel, P. (1992)., A morphogenetic hypothesis on the closure of post-structuralism, in F. Varela & J. Dupuy (eds.), Understanding origins, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 77-90.

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