By Scott Cutler Shershow
The right-to-die debate has long gone on for hundreds of years, taking part in out such a lot lately as a spectacle of protest surrounding figures reminiscent of Terry Schiavo. In Deconstructing Dignity, Scott Cutler Shershow deals a robust new mind set approximately it philosophically. targeting the recommendations of human dignity and the sanctity of existence, he employs Derridean deconstruction to discover self-contradictory and destructive assumptions that underlie either side of the debate.
Shershow examines texts from Cicero’s De Officiis to Kant’s foundation of the Metaphysics of Morals to court docket judgements and spiritual declarations. via them he finds how arguments either helping and denying the perfect to die undermine their very own unconditional ideas of human dignity and the sanctity of lifestyles with a hidden conditional good judgment, one usually tied to useful fiscal issues and the shortage or unequal distribution of scientific assets. He is going directly to study the phenomenal case of self-sacrifice, last with a imaginative and prescient of a society—one whose stipulations we're faraway from meeting—in which the talk can eventually be resolved. a worldly research of a heated subject, Deconstructing Dignity can also be a masterful instance of deconstructionist equipment at paintings.
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Extra info for Deconstructing Dignity: A Critique of the Right-to-Die Debate
This would therefore seem to be a “justice” conceived, this time, as a mode of incalculability that always and absolutely exceeds the law, and that therefore encompasses a kind of force or sovereignty just as the “arche-trace” encompasses the disseminative and supplementary qualities ascribed to writing in a logocentric model of signification. Indeed, when we read further in the pages from “Force of Law” from which this invocation of twin temptations is taken, doesn’t Derrida seem to be, if I can put it this way, especially tempted by the second one, by the possibility of a deconstruction that wholly destroys the conceptual system from which it comes?
The schema in question here is therefore what Derrida calls “a triangle open on its fourth side” (25). Although here again we come close to something at which laughter might laugh, Derrida’s strange figure is more than a joke or a quibble: it is the emblem or mark of a strategy that “loosens up the obsidionality of the triangle and the circle which in their ternary rhythm (Oedipus, Trinity, Dialectics) have always governed metaphysics” (25)4—and, as we might add, with an eye on his parenthetical examples, not only metaphysics, but also everything that might be called lives, communities, and histories.
The same thing happens when we put our second opposition into play with “force” taken as privileged. ” Law becomes the name for the recognition that every “act,” every “decision,” every possible manifestation of sovereignty, is always-already haunted by iterability and the mark, by a différance which here denotes, so to speak, the inevitable becoming-law of force (cf. “Force of Law” 277–78). Sovereignty, envisioned in its classical form as a kind of inviolable supremacy, one and indivisible, cannot exercise itself at all without compromising and dividing itself.