JPIL Vol 2 Issue 1 2007 - A2

DEATH OF THE LAYMAN:  THE LEGACY OF DECONSTRUCTION AND THE PHILOSOPHY OF INTERNATIONAL LAW

Veijo Heiskanen*

 

 

In what would become his last interview, Jacques Derrida posed the question of the legacy of his work.[1]  What would happen to deconstruction after his death?  Derrida offered two contradictory hypotheses:

 

ai simultanment, je vous prie de me croire, le double sentiment, dun c, pour le dire en souriant et immodestement, on a pas commenc me lire, que sil y a, certes, beaucoup de trs bons lecteurs (quelques dizaines au monde, peut-tre), au fond, cest plus tard que tout cela a une chance apparatre ; mais aussi bien que, un autre c, quinze jours ou un mois aprs ma mort, il ne restera plus rien. Sauf ce qui est gard par le ptgal en biblioque.  Je vous le jure, je crois sinrement et simultanment  ces deux hypothses.[2]

 

How does one begin to read these two hypotheses?  That there are two principal strategies for dealing with one’s intellectual legacy or, in economic terms, one’s accumulated intellectual capital?  That just as this capital may be re-invested in a new undertaking that over time may produce interesting intellectual gains, it may also be simply conserved as such by depositing it on a savings account – a dépôt légal – where it remains secure but is bound to attract only limited (legal) interest?  In other words, that one may adopt an entrepreneurial or a conservative investment strategy, aware that one is riskier than the other.



* Docent of International Law, University of Helsinki.  An earlier version of this paper was published in 1 Fin. Y.B. Int’l L. 233 (2004).  The kind permission of Koninklijke Brill NV to publish the revised version is gratefully acknowledged.

[1] Le Monde, 18 Aug. 2004.

[2] Id.


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