- Jun 28, 2015
A series of three lectures was given by Professor Masato Goda of Meiji University. The theme of the lectures was "The wandering ellipse: the Derrida-Deleuze struggle (polemos)".
Professor Goda is originally from the island of Shikoku, so it seemed fit that the lectures begin with discussion of the islands of Japan. Japan is made up from over 6,000 islands, with inhabitants and fishermen on each island and in each bay. We then considered the question: when we think about "area" or "territory", where does that boundary (French: limite) exist, and what decides that up till here is Japan, and from here on is Korea, China, Russia...?
This led on to the theme of the lectures, the two philosophers Jacques Derrida (1930-2004) and Gilles Deleuze (1925-1995) and the wandering ellipse between them; that is, the question of where is the limit of their two opinions? Deleuze and Derrida were in fact philosophers active over the same period, and although their thought clashed, they had some points in common. It was Professor Goda who picked up on those points, and was the first to engage in their comparative research.
These two same-generational philosophers, in their own particular ways, delved into things that had never been considered before, forming, as it were, an island in the open sea. To which of them does it belong? It is like asking whether the island belongs to Japan, China, Korea or Russia. Deleuze, under the influence of Jean Hyppolite, read Hegel, and saw a limit in the expressions used by Hegel in particular in his theory of language. Meanwhile Derrida saw a limit in the imagination and signs that Kant identified as the common roots of sensibility and understanding. A limit, in other words, the drawing of a boundary line, can be found in both Deleuze and Derrida.
For the last class, in response to a request by the students from Europe, Professor Goda altered his original lecture plan and kindly gave an introduction to the thought of Japanese philosophers such as Hajime Tanabe (1885-1962), Shunsuke Tsurumi (1922- ) and Yoshimi Takeuchi (1910-1977). Having not learnt about Japanese philosophy before, this lecture provided a new and valuable opportunity for the students from Europe.