On Nachträglichkeit, or a Certain Blindness of the “Now:” Time, Self, and Self-Responsibility in Derrida’s Analyses of the Husserlian ac-count of Temporality

Matthew Coate


Derrida’s analysis of Husserl’s work on time-consciousness has been re-jected by many phenomenologists as a misreading, and as entailing an in-consistent account of temporality. Specifically, Derrida attributes a kind of “nachträglich” to self-presence, and with this, a purported “blindness,” no-tions which are ostensibly antithetical to any adequate phenomenological account. However, an examination of the relevant Derridean and Husser-lian texts makes it clear, firstly, that these notions have to be included in any adequate account of time-consciousness; and secondly, that in his lat-er work on temporality, Husserl himself comes to anticipate Derrida’s ob-jections, and in fact, reworks his account significantly in response. After demonstrating both these points, I conclude by examining the ultimate implications of Derrida’s analysis for our self-understanding as conscious subjects – some of which, but not all of which, Husserl comes to appreci-ate himself.

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Theoria & Praxis: International Journal of Interdisciplinary Thought | ISSN: 2291-1286