Jacques Derrida

Date Of Birth:
15 July 1930
Date Of Death:
9 October 2004
pancreatic cancer
Place Of Birth:
El Biar, Algeria
Best Known As:
French philosopher whose deconstructionist books included 'Writing and Difference'
Writer Jacques Derrida was an Algerian-born French thinker whose "deconstructionist" arguments and radical positions made him a celebrity-philosopher in the 1960s and '70s. Derrida grew up outside of Algiers, where he was prohibited from going to public school in the 1940s because he was Jewish. He studied philosophy in Paris, earned a graduate degree in 1954 and entered the world of academia as a philosophy professor. During his career he held many positions outside of France, especially in the United States, where he taught at Yale, John Hopkins and the University of California at Irvine. Derrida made his name with a 1964 essay, "Violence and Metaphysics," and three books, all published in 1967: Writing and Difference; Voice and Phenomenon; and Of Grammatology. Though some academic philosophers criticized Derrida for "semi intelligible attacks on the values of reason, truth and scholarship" when he was awarded a doctorate in 1980, that was his aim -- to deconstruct our system of knowledge by questioning the true value of basic tenets. His influence was largely felt in the areas of language, literature and politics. Derrida published dozens of books in his lifetime, including notable essays on Martin Heidegger in the 1980s. He died of pancreatic cancer in 2004.
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