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Derrida's Voice and Phenomenon

Vernon W. Cisney

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The essential toolkit for anyone reading this seminal Derrida text for the first time

Published in 1967, Voice and Phenomenon marked a crucial turning point in Derrida’s thinking: the culmination of a 15-year-long engagement with the phenomenological tradition. It also introduced the concepts and themes that would become deconstruction.

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About the Author

Vernon W. Cisney Vernon W. Cisney is a visiting assistant professor of philosophy at Gettysburg College. He is the author of Derrida’s Voice and Phenomenon: An Edinburgh Philosophical Guide (Edinburgh University Press, 2014), as well as Deleuze and Derrida: Difference and the Power of the Negative (Edinburgh University Press, 2017).

Reviews

Cisney responds well to the challenge of making a very difficult and controversial thinker accessible to beginners, and of offering them the means to follow Derrida’s own advice to the neophyte to 'always, always "venture beyond the beginning"' (Derrida 2000, 108). Perhaps most importantly, by avoiding both the adulation and the scorn with which Derrida’s thought has been received in the Anglo-American world, Cisney also opposes the caricature of deconstruction that both extremes seem to legitimate in treating it as a series of interpretive 'techniques' that are voluntarily applied ad hoc to written texts in order to make them mean anything whatsoever. By taking Derridean deconstruction seriously as a philosophical position, Cisney’s commentary on Voice and Phenomenon presents a refreshing alternative to this image of Derrida’s thought.

- Matthew Wood, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Symposium: The Canadian Journal of Philosophy

A masterful guide… Nothing about VP [Voice and Phenomenon] is 'easy' reading, but with Cisney's help it at least becomes manageable for the first-time reader… As a scholar in the field, I found the book helpful and at times even enlightening. But more importantly, while I can't say that my students found the book (or VP) easy, I can confidently say that, after reading Cisney, they understood the general argument of VP, something I do not think they would have been able to do without his guidance.

- Neal De Roo, Dordt College, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

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