Edward G. Baring
- Assistant Professor
- Drew University
This is a historical study of Jacques Derrida's work from his early existentialist essays to his later uneasy relationship with structuralism. It places his work both in the intellectual context of postwar France and studies the key institutions that organized philosophical study, especially the École Normale Supérieure and the Agrégation de Philosophie. In doing so, it gives a new concrete perspective on one of the most important periods of intellectual activity in modern times, as well as clarifying and re-figuring Derrida's own philosophy
Of all modern schools of thought, phenomenology has the greatest claim to the title “continental philosophy.” Restricted in the 1910s to a couple of centers in Germany, by the 1950s it had representatives all over Europe. This project examines the ways in which neo-scholastic networks facilitated that expansion. Once German neo-scholastics had identified phenomenology as an ally, they helped raise its prominence elsewhere, and the Church supported the publication of commentaries and translations around Europe. Catholic institutions even rescued Husserl's papers from Nazi Germany in 1938. Moreover, phenomenology became a two-way portal, leading many (like Edith Stein) to convert to Catholicism, while leading others (like Heidegger) away from their faith. In this way the relationship between neo-scholasticism and phenomenology had an impact far beyond Catholic circles and sheds light on the problems of secularization in intellectual and religious history.