Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts


Theory and Criticism


Jan Plug


This thesis argues that the understanding of Derrida’s major concepts of différance, trace, and writing requires the reference to the impossible experience of my death as having always already occurred. The thesis tries to make this experience explicit with reference to the work of Blanchot and Heidegger. Having argued that an experience of “I am dead” is the bedrock of Derrida’s early concepts and the deconstruction of the metaphysics of presence, the last chapter shows the centrality of this experience to the undoing of the animal/human binary. Coterminous with an experience of a disjointed temporality, the radical evil and expropriation of the posthumous survival of one’s own death is a kind of suffering that has received innumerable material instantiations in our era. It thereby urgently calls forth an ethical response and forms the condition of the possibility of justice.