How to Do Philosophy with Words

Reflections on the Searle-Derrida debate

| Universidad de Sevilla
ISBN 9789027218964 | EUR 105.00 | USD 158.00
ISBN 9789027266040 | EUR 105.00 | USD 158.00
Nowadays philosophy is characterized by such heterogeneous intellectual practices that its very unity and coherence seem endangered. What is especially disconcerting is that most authors manage to largely ignore the very existence of methodological positions radically different from their own. Fortunately, there have been exceptions, and the present volume focuses on one of them: the failed debate that took place between John Searle and Jacques Derrida.

This book thoroughly analyses that exchange, contextualizing it within the respective philosophical traditions of the two thinkers, with the general aim of turning their dispute into what it was not: a respectful, sensible and fruitful controversy. This episode is thus taken as an opportunity to reflect on the peculiar nature of philosophy as an intellectual practice, and to discuss some of its main themes: language as an instrument for communication, the intentionality of consciousness, and difference as a constitutive element of every text.
[Controversies, 12]  2017.  xviii, 225 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
Chapter 1. Austin: Language, truth and force
Chapter 2. Searle: The intentionality of the mental
Chapter 3. Derrida: Suspicion and deconstruction
Chapter 4. Deconstructing Austin
Chapter 5. The indignation of the rightful heir
Chapter 6. Deconstructing S.A.R.L.
Chapter 7. A flawed debate
Chapter 8. When philosophizing is doing
Author index
Subject index
“Jesús Navarro’s fine book stages the non-encounter of Searle and Derrida. With impartiality, care, and precision he explains the misunderstandings and ill will that made this a missed opportunity and reinforced the “analytic/continental divide” that has plagued the professional philosophical scene for decades.

The book proceeds on two levels, a first order recapitulation of theses, and then a second order reflection on the speech acts of the encounter itself, where Navarro, wonderfully, applies speech act theory to see how and why the encounter failed, as each side failed – or refused – to see the philosophical aims for which each side marshaled their theses and arguments.

In so doing it asks whether an encounter on the terrain of “philosophy” in the singular (i.e., without regard to “analytic” and “continental” varieties) would be possible. That is, is there “philosophy” or only “philosophies”? A difficult question which we can thank Navarro for posing.”
“Exploring a small dossier of texts on the legacy and significance of J.L. Austin's philosophy of language, Jesús Navarro navigates one of the most heated and sometimes over-heated debates in recent philosophical literature. Skilfully pursuing discussions which engage with both the fine details of philosophical claims and arguments and the ramifying meta-philosophical implications about what philosophical claims and arguments can and should look like in the first place, Navarro guides the reader through the extraordinary debate between Jacques Derrida and John Searle, a debate that both represents and ultimately challenges preconceived ideas about the analytic/continental division within European philosophy.”
“In revisiting a much publicised disputation between John Searle and Jacques Derrida, Jesús Navarro also examines a methodological blindspot at the heart of philosophy regarding the contested nature of what philosophy is, and/or ought to be, and the methods appropriate to those varied aims. He does so in new and interesting ways, looking at both of their work through the lens of “know-how” and its contamination with “knowledge-that”. His book is a must read for those of us interested in philosophy of philosophy, or metaphilosophy; and there is a case, I think, that that should be all of us.”


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BIC Subject: HPK – Philosophy: epistemology & theory of knowledge
BISAC Subject: PHI004000 – PHILOSOPHY / Epistemology
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2016047950