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Desire and Language in Derrida's Force of Law

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In this article the author proposes a reading of Force of Law from two angles: boundless desire and the 'law' of language. The author contends that an analysis from these perspectives casts new light on the notion of the 'mystical', as well as repetition, singularity and good/evil as they appear in Derrida's text. In exploring the 'notion' of desire, the article focuses specifically on Derrida's analysis of Freud's Beyond the Pleasure Principle in To Speculate – On Freud where the death drive is explored. The author shows the importance of this essay for an understanding of the relation between justice and law. The mystical and justice, the author contends, is to be understood with reference to the death drive, and repetition or law enforcement as its return. Law enforcement could also be viewed in terms of the 'notion' of iterability in Derrida's texts on language. These perspectives furthermore allow for an understanding of singularity in terms of unconditionality and of justice as beyond good and evil.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2010

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  • Archiv für Rechts- und Sozialphilosophie, edited by authorisation of the International Association for Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy (IVR), is an international, peer-reviewed journal, first published in 1907. It features original articles on philosophical research on legal and social questions, covering all aspects of social and legal life.
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