The Ghosts of Justice

Mirrors are two sided, and Trakl 'saw' reflections on both sides of the mirror. He saw reflections or reflected on both sides because he 'lived' on both sides of the mirror. Trakl lived in both light and in darkness. The mirror is the ...

The Ghosts of Justice

It is not possible to read Heidegger's text without the image of his arm raised in the Nazi salute haunting it. The image compels us to examine Heidegger's philosophy in terms of its susceptibility to Nazi ideology. Heidegger's philosophy was inscribed at the end of the history of philosophy, a time when Nazism was on the rise and on its way to the renewal of German destiny. In paragraph six of Being and Time Heidegger outlined his agenda for the renewal of philosophy. The renewal necessitated the destruction of the errant history of ontology in order to retrieve the pure primordial experiences. The parallels between the forms of two agendas are coincidental. However, my work shows where they overlapped. I explore the consequence of this overlap by soliciting the 'first' text of philosophy, The Anaximander Fragment, that speaks about justice and injustice. Justice is also at issue in the text of Jacques Derrida. Derrida's primary resource is paragraph six of Heidegger's Being and Time, a fact that caused some of his readers to assimilate him to Heidegger. Derrida has tried to distance himself from Heidegger and in a late text he has offered us the prescriptive phrase, "Deconstruction is justice," to guide our reading of his text. The phrase invites us to examine Derrida's work in light of its saying. This is what I try to do. I show that a separation cannot be accomplished without a price, because whether an author intends it or not, justice is something ghostly and it keeps its own account. Heidegger's arm and Derrida's hand caught in the trap of paragraph six tell another story, different from the stories the authors tell. The limbs tell the story about the ghosts of justice.

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