chapter  5
13 Pages

Refutation: Beyond Ethical Neutrality

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It is often said that deconstruction is no longer even fashionable among critical and literary theorists and should thus be left to historians of literary theory. I would strongly caution against such a view for two reasons. First, as we have seen above, deconstruction is an interpretative process that has been used for millennia (e.g. Zeno and the PlatoSophist debate) whether consciously or not. In the chapter “The genealogy of postmodernism” (Cullenberg et al., 2001:102-28), McCloskey tells the cyclical story of the longest argument in western civilization between realists and relativists, and argues that postmodernism is the current flavor of the relativist position. My second reason for cautioning against the abandonment of deconstruction is that deconstruction can be confidently regarded as the most important paradigm in postmodern thought: an irreducible view of structure to which most other theories can be readily reduced. There are intriguing new variants of deconstruction and novel approaches in different disciplines, but they all eventually auto-deconstruct like everything else (consciously or not).