Jacques Derrida, 1930-2004

Jacques Derrida died on Friday of pancreatic cancer at the age of 74. The progenitor of deconstruction, the man who delivery the elegy for structuralism, and author of Of Grammatology, Derrida was probably France’s most-famous living philosopher, albeit a very controversial one.


“Derrida, who was born into a Jewish family in Algeria, published his ground-breaking work in the 1960s and went on to achieve enormous influence in academic circles, especially in America.

But in 1992, staff at Cambridge University in the UK protested against plans to award him an honorary degree, denouncing his writings as ‘absurd doctrines that deny the distinction between reality and fiction’.

Derrida also campaigned for the rights of immigrants in France, against apartheid in South Africa, and in support of dissidents in communist Czechoslovakia.

He was so influential that last year a film was made about his life – a biographical documentary.”

Here is the Le Monde obituary (in French). Here’s one of his last interviews (also from Le Monde and in French).

UPDATE: The New York Times has a long and interesting obituary.