Comments and Questions to: John Protevi
Protevi Home Page
LSU French Studies

Class use only. Do not cite w/o permission.



[107-117]: {Section VIII}: five topics: a) intro [107-108]; b) objection 1 [108-109]; c) objection 2 [109-113]; d) exemplarity [113-115]; e) stages of historicity [115-117].


[107-018] The question of the tradition of science is hence the question of origins: to know how things are spaced down, one must zigzag back to an origin-sense, a sending. This is an infinite task, as all sense is culturally traditionally and hence operates by a "universal historicity of the correlative manners of being of humanity and the cultural world" [107].


[108-109] The first objection Husserl faces is that he is merely operating by means of a regression to factual origins. But such a procedure would be only an "illusion of history" [108], because it misses out on the sense of historicity which rules every investigation of the sense of science as tradition and cultural form--that is, every response to crisis.

In lines essential to understanding the conclusion of ITOG, Derrida goes on to explore the temporality of historicity. The sense of historicity is a structure of the genesis of structure: "we know a priori that every cultural present, therefore every scientific present, implicates in its totality the totality of the past" [109]. Such a temporal implication has a form, "the universal Apriori of history" [109]. This universal apriori says that every scientific structure has been generated--the past inhabits its present in a temporal implication--and that such genesis of structure is itself structured--by the form of temporal implication itself. This form of time in historical presence, the form of historicity, is the "historical Present" [HP].

The temporal implication of the HP shows that it is grounded in the LP, for its temporal implication is made possible by the retention of retention discussed at 57-58 and 85-86. Grave consequences will follow from Derrida's discussion of the fact that for Husserl the form of temporality, the LP, which governs the form of historicity, the HP, must infinitely defer the final saturation of its form, for the protentive complement to the retention of retention that enables traditionality and the temporal implication of the HP means that the LP has a unity only as an Idea in the Kantian Sense [IKS].

Derrida now terms the HP "the irreducible and pure place and movement of that totalization and traditionalization" [109]. Thus there are three pairs to be examined here, each one including genesis and structure: irreducible [genesis] and pure [structure]; place [structure] and movement [genesis]; totalization [structure] and traditionalization [genesis]. The HP interweaves genesis and structure--but as we will see Husserl privileges structure always: he searches for the form of historicity, the structure of the genesis of structure.

Derrida finally names the HP the "historical Absolute" and quotes Husserl: "'the vital movement of the coexistence and the interweaving of primoridal formations and sedimentations of sense'" [Husserl 174; quoted by Derrida 109]. This is an absolute for history because it governs every factual investigation into history--and remember that all sense is historical; any historical investigation--that is, any investigation of sense--must proceed by investigating the historicity of sense [its traditionality] governed by the sense of historicity [temporal implication in the HP and ultimately the LP]. This formula: the historicity of sense is governed by the sense of historicity is another example of Husserl's privilege of structure over genesis.


[109113] As Derrida explains it, Husserl now must rescue from historicist relativism "the a priori of historical science itself" from an "ethnologism" that points to the fact of cultural diversity [109]. Husserl gives a two-fold response: a) these diverse forms are merely material a priori under the universal a priori of historicity; b) to be possible as a science ethnological history needed to presuppose historical truth which only the phenomenology that investigates the sense of historicity could establish, not an empirical science of history that takes the sense of such things as "language, tradition, and community" for granted in a "precomprehension of historicity" [110].

Once again, Derrida shows that the universal form of temporality, the LP, grounds historical communication [110-111].

Husserl will concede a relativism of different traditions at a material level, while all the while insisting that only a common horizon of the form of historicity and temporality make such relativism possible--in other words, that the comparison of different traditions is only possible on the horizon of a form of traditionality. Again we see the deep spatiality of form, the space of simultaneity which allows co-appearance or comparison [cf. hama in "Ousia and Gramme"].

The question of relativism on a common horizon is the question of the power of imaginative variation: can one reach the essence of historicity by imaginative variation of historical experience? Merleau-Ponty would hold that facts have the last say, that phenomenology "must learn from the facts" in order to reach the essence of history conceived of as the range of possible human experiences [111-112]. Derrida objects to M-P's interpretation: Husserl was never after a universal table of everything that is possible--this is a nonsensical "deducing of factuality itself a priori--but a universal form structuring any possible historical fact. Thus imaginative variation is saved: it never intended to "exhaust the multiplicity of possible facts" but to isolate an essence; thus the historian could reflect on one example of a historical fact to reach the essence of historicity if his or her consciousness were exemplary/were focused on the exemplarity of this example [conscience d'exemple] [112].

But this rescue of imaginative variation by exemplarity raises the thorny issue of an oscillation of example and exemplar that tends to conflate telos and eidos. This is the next topic.


[113-115] The discussion here concerns the methodology of ethnography, a topic to which Derrida returns in OG. Imaginative variation reaches the essence of culture by reducing the factual content of the culture of the observer; such an essence of culturality grounds the ability to experience different cultures through "empathy" [114].

Now the question of Europe arises. Some "stagnant" societies have modifications of universal historicity such that they are enclosed in their own field and not open to tradition conceived of as the infinite task of an origin-sense to be reactivated as the same no matter the changes. Stagnant societies have a finite capacity for reactivation; perhaps we could say they reactivate as the same only a finite sending, one not open to transformation. Thus it is the comparison with the infinitely flexible sending of European scientific culture that relegates some societies to the appearance of "ahistoricity."

Thus Europe is an exemplary example of a historical culture. In the rigorous sense of imaginative variation, any example will do to reach the essence, but it turns out Europe is the "good example" [115]. We have dealt with the politics of such sliding between telos and eidos before.


[115-117] To examine Husserl's response to the problem of the example/exemplar oscillation of European historicity, Derrida examines Fragment 26 of the Crisis. a) historicity as essence of human existence; b) European culture as the project of theory and philosophy; c) phenomenology. One moves up the ladder by an infinitization that occurs in "the sense-investigation of a hidden intention": one renders infinite the origin-sense of the earlier stage. Nevertheless, these stages are only stages of historicity; as always, Husserl aims at the essential sense of historicity, which he finds in the concrete transcendental of horizon [117]. Transcendental because universal and necessary conditions of possibility, but concrete because description of finite experience as horizonal rather than Kantian deductions of what enables any possible rational subject.

Derrida's last paragraph of VIII describes Husserl's notion of horizon in a way that will pay off in the analysis of the IKS. A horizon is the structure of finite experience in that it is the promise of more [of the same] to come; the promise is present, what is to come is future--thus the horizon structure of finite experience means there is always already a promise of more to come. The horizon is thus the "unity and incompletion" of experience, that which promises that incomplete experience is headed in the right direction, headed toward an always deferred unity.

Take the example of perception of a physical object. We are promised that the object is unified, even though we can never achieve a synthesis of all possible perspectives because we must run through perspectives one at a time: we are temporal, that is finite. Despite this finitude--or better, the very essence of that finitude is that--the implicit horizontality of experience promises us that more of the same object is to come as we extend our investigation by piling up of perspectives. In fact we could be surpised in the course of our investigation, or we could find that we had made an error, only because of this anticipation of more of the same to come.

Thus the horizon-structure of finite experience as Husserl describes it is key to the confrontation with Kant. Kantian possibility could only be an abstract set of static and realized conditions whereby a transcendental object = X is correlated to a transcendental unity of apperception; Husserlian horizontality is the concrete promise inherent in every experience, that which gives a direction to the apriori, heads it toward the telos of unification.


[117-134] {Section IX: Husserl's methodological problems [117-121]}: three topics: a) intro [117-118]; b) delimitation [118c]; c) reduction [119-121].


[117-118] Husserl's third move is back to the specific origin of one science, geometry. Derrida notes Husserl's zigzag methodology: geometry had served as the exemplary guide to discovering the conditions of traditionality in general; now it is to be investigated in its specificity. And just as the object, traditionality or historicity, has been isolated, so has the method of return inquiry: "after having fixed the sense and the method for all questioning of origins, we ask a question about a single origin" [117].

Beyond these generalities, geometry is a tradition of ideal objectivities [ideal = non-empirical and identical through repetitions; objective = intersubjectively verifiable as the same]. We have seen how ideality enters tradition by objectification [= linguistic incarnation]. Objectivity, i.e., historicity, needs the zigzag method for the isolation of the historical Absolute, the HP.

We now narrow the question to that of geometrical ideality. The previous question was how can constituted sense become intersubjective [the second move]. We now inquire, by reducing this constituted sense we have received, into the very constitution of that sense.


[118c] Delimitation of the area of prescientific culture to be examined is tricky, because science tends to throw a "garb of ideas" over the life-world. That is, the constituted objects of science bewitch us into forgetting their subjective origins in "immediate intuition and experience." Despite this bewitchment [compare other decipherings of forgotten genesis: Marx, Nietzsche, Freud; also Heidegger's forgetting of Being], the lifeworld can be unveiled. This unveiling is important, for otherwise, science has a tendency to substitute its methodology for metaphysics, the temptation of positivism: "It is through the garb of ideas that we take for true Being what is actually a method" [Husserl from Experience and Judgment]. Derrida writes in his note that Husserl's "ambiguous attitude" toward science reflects the historicity of sense: origin and sedimentation.


[119-121] The reduction of constituted science to reach the lifeworld has at least three problems: a) any reduction should not be a negation, only a neutralizing or bracketing; b) the reduction of constituted science should not license the abandonment of scientific rigor in analyzing the lifeworld and its own apriori structures; c) the reduction should investigate the relation of lifeworld and science as that of "between" or a "passage." We should see a characteristic Derridian interest in Husserl's mention of such an "interrelation." The passage interrelates two heterogeneities: one might explore Plato's divided line in this context.

Derrida now [120] reminds us of the status of lifeworld in the Crisis: it is not a prepredicative world, which is H's target in EJ, but a cultural world with its own worked up structures.

Derrida takes this point as a departure for discussing the interrelations of the eidetic, transcendental, and historical reductions. The lifeworld is reached by a [historical] "double reduction" of factural culture and constituted science. The lifeworld thus reach can itself be object of a [transcendental] reduction to the constitution of objects in general by transcendental cness having the form of a primordiality temporality. Indeed, Husserl had anticipated in the 1913 Ideas a transcendental reduction of the content of any postulated eidetic science of history, which would concern the essences behind empirical investigations of "men as subjects of history" [121]. Because of this advance bracketing, when Husserl himself comes to investigate historicity, he doesn't use the term "transcendental."

Thus Derrida must defend his use of the term "transcendental historicity," which he uses to distinguish Husserl procedure in OG from empirical history and from the already bracketed eidetic of history conceived of as just another human science. What interests Derrida is the way the eidos of historicity in OG "exceeds the limits" assigned it in the Ideas, since it is now no longer just the object of yet another human science, but the "activity constituting the whole sphere of absolute ideal Objectivity and all the eidetic sciences" [121]. Given his discovery of constituting historicity, Husserl tries to trace it back as the constituted object of a constituting subjectivity, but this attempt "accords badly" with Husserl's admission that historicity "traverses" the ego, which was to have been the last refuge for a philosophy of self-present consciousness. In other words, faced with the universal apriori of historicity, the Absolute of the HP, Husserl's attempt to rein in this constituting activity of historicity by tracing it to a consciousness, to a supposedly self-present LP, will be the final object of ITOG, as Derrida will show that the LP is opened out to protentive indefinition, and thus has a unity only as an IKS.


{Section X: prescientific lifeworld [121-134]}: six topics: a) structures of lifeworld [121-127]; b) idealization as passage to the limit [127b]; c) two types of infinitization [127-130]; d) zigzag and sending [130-131]; e) origin of historicity [131-32]; f) transition to final move [133-134].


[121-127] Derrida now examines Husserl's naming of invariant structures of the lifeworld relevant to the origin of geometry.

He begins with four. Geometry presupposes a cultural world with: 1) things in an anexact space and time; 2) corporeality vs human sprituality; 3) morphology, kinematics, and deformability; 4) qualities related to shapes.

Husserl already had access to these structures in the static analyses of Ideas I, which deal with the already constituted sciences that are to be reduced in OG to find their conditioning structures. Thus, on the basis of Ideas I, Husserl already knew that pure geometry and kinematics, which study these structures, are "abstract material eidetic sciences" singling out certain predicates from the totality of a perceived body.

We also know the status of geometry at this stage of pre-development: it is a pregeometrical descriptive science, a "geography" [recall the issues surrounding "geo-logy" above] dealing with rigorous yet anexact objects and concepts [123].

5) The next condition is that of the perfectability of shapes in development of practical "processes of transformation" [123]. In this increase in practical means of dealing with spatial objects, inexact but pure morphological types like "roundness" can be isolated by imaginative variation. But the pure ideality of roundness is sensible--it is the ideal form of sensible intuition of round objects--and thus must not be confused with the pure geometrical ideality of "circularity" [124]. The implicit teleology of Husserl's account, the placing of nomad vague essences as mere way stations to their completion in royal exactitude is the point of Deleuze and Guattari's analysis at A Thousand Plateaus 367.

With this notion of "imaginative-sensible idealization" we have found the "origin of what precedes and conditions geometry" [125]. We teeter here on the edge of an infinite regress, but the "internal sense of geometry" saves us by giving us a guardrail, which "prescribes that the question of geometry's origin stop at the constituted sense of what has immediately conditioned geometry" [125]. The deferred question of the origin of pregeometrical ideality out of preexact spatiotemporality is located in what Husserl called a new "transcendental aesthetics" in FTL; Derrida uses the phrase in OG to talk about the trace or differance. We should also note that Derrida writes in his footnote that Husserl has characteristically ducked the thematization of the question of imagination, which is both founded and reproductive and radically free and productive. The need to compare with Kant is obvious; Derrida also notes that imagination is the point of departure of Sartre's break with Husserl.

The transition to the next topic comes up at 126 with the notion of measurement, which arises with the need for "just distribution." [Obviously, the Nietzschean questions of justice and exchange in Genealogy of Morals need to be addressed here.] Although Husserl doesn't dwell on measurement in OG, in the Crisis he sees it as an intermediary step toward geometry away from sensible morphology.

Derrida provides a recap of the conditions for geometry at the top of 127 before moving to discuss idealization as passage to the limit, our next topic.


[127b] An extremely important point is proposed in the second paragraph of 127. The institution of geometry is philosophical, for science depends on the theoretical attitude, the opening of an infinite task. Only with the establishment of a community pledging allegiance to such an infinite task can "the passage to the limit" that is the idealization of pregeometrical praxis occur. Geometry arises when the factual limits of measurement and dealing with anexact morphology is surpassed toward an ideal limit of infinite exactitude, when roundness is replaced by the circle.


[127-130; cf. 52-56] This initial project of infinitization ensures that subsequent developments are seen as only interior revolutions. It turns out that the first [Greek] infinitization has limits; it restricts itself to what is known as Euclidean geometry. This limited apriori system is overthrown in modernity by new infinitizations, new geometries. But these are recognizable as mathematical geometries within the open horizon of the initial Greek sending that proposed the very idea of the mathematical apriori, the very project of mathematization [128].

This distinction, between the initial Greek project of "mathematical aprioriness" opened up in the limited case of Euclidean geometry and the modern project aimed at all conceivable apriori systems "or rather mathematical systematicity" [130].


[130-131] Geometry is thus reborn to itself in the modern project; however, the question of new births pluralizes the question of origin, even to the point of asking whether geometry is "on the way toward its origin" [131]. Here we see the structure of sending that is historicity, which for Husserl meant that "teleological sense and the sense of origin were always mutually implicated" [131].

This means, of course, that the origin of geometry depends on where you think geometry has arrived and where you think it is headed. If you think that geometry is an infinitely open project, only the "infinite pole of history," where the telos is revealed, will reveal the origin. If the telos is beyond Euclidean geometry, then why pick out pure idealization and exactitude as the origin? Why not its conditions, imaginative-sensible idealization and morphological typology as the origins of a project that moves beyond Euclid?

The question hinges on the relation of geometry as a specific science to the scientific project in general, Reason as such, or as Derrida calls it "a universal Telos" [131]. Husserl thus can speak of both geometry's tradition as a unitary sending--as an "absolutely original sense"--and as only a part of a larger project whose origin lies before geometry's origin--the "relativity" of geometry to Reason, since "a universal teleology of Reason was at work in human history before the Greco-European coming to consciousness" [131].


[131-32] The openness to the infinite which is the establishment of science is not what it might seem at first glance, the access to a nonhistory which is discovered in history. Ideal objects are not eternal in the sense of atemporal; rather they are omnitemporal, the very essence of history, as they can be reactivated as the same as their origin-sense at any time, by any one. Without the project of infinitization, the surpassing of empiricity, history would have nothing ideal to transmit; in truth, empirical passing along of relative facts is "essentially indistinguishable from nonhistory" [132]. Thus the scientific project, the Greek infinitization, is the "origin of historicity" [132], and parallel factual investigations of the origin of science and thus historicity could never replace the phenomenological analyses.


[133-134] Derrida reinforces here the difference of sensible morphological ideality (roundness) and geometrical ideality (circle), which has leapt away from sensible ideality in a discontinuity that manifests a "radical and irruptive freedom" [134]. This process of idealization is a "passage to the limit" which takes advantage of an "anticipatory structure of intentionality" [134], the previously mentioned horizonality that directs experience to a unitary pole, even though it be infinitely removed from empirical experience which is limited to temporally discrete experience slices. This notion of intentional anticipation of unity prepares the way for the fourth and final move of ITOG, the analysis of the Idea in the Kantian sense, which as providing the unity of the LP, serves as the structured genesis and generated structure of all experience. As we will see, Derrida comes to see différance through this analysis.


Three topics in the remainder of Section X [134-141]: a) IKS [134-136]; b) LP [136-137]; c) no phenomenology of the Idea [137-141].


[134-136] The IKS is the idealization of anticipation itself. The IKS is the object of an ideation, a term which includes both idealization and essential intuition. These two are interwoven in geometry's origin, an interweaving of genesis [idealization] and structure [intuition]. Inside constituted geometry, an essential intuition can only operate after the fact of an idealizing genesis. However, the "primordial passage-to-the-limit is possible only if guided by an essence that can always be anticipated and then 'recognized'" [135]. In other words, geometrical idealization produces a truth of a pure shape of pure space, not of some other moment of a region of being; this restriction to the eidetically purified moment of "spatiality" guides the idealization that results in a geometry, while the idealization of, say, a field of not just spatial shapes abstracted from physical nature, but fully material bodies, would be a physics.

Thus geometry is "this extraordinary operation: the creation of an eidetic" [135]. The "of" here must be seen as both objective and subjective: the creation that creates an eidetic, and the creation that belongs to--is guided by--an eidetic. Once again we see our formula: structured genesis and generated structure. The unity of the moment of spatiality guides the infinite history of geometry, so that any idealized space is recognizable as a geometry, or in other words, the continued genesis of geometry is structured by the eidos "spatiality." Conversely, this structure is in turn generated: the unity of spatiality had first to be constituted, and is forever open to change: "it is only the unity of the infinite historical development of the eidetic called geometry" [135].

From the questions of idealization we are led to the questions of primordial temporality, the LP by which Husserl desires to give a formal structure of self-presence to all genetic acts. The transition to this discussion comes in the discussion of iteration, which will be become a key Derridean theme.

Mathematical idealization implies an "again and again" movement, an iteration: one must be able to perform over again the same process of idealization to assure the unity of the geometrical field. In this case, protention is the key: the future must be held open not only for the infinite repetition of how we currently conceive an idealized space but also for any and all of its developments [135]. But how can we be sure to be able to repeat a future development? In lived space, the horizon of unity of spatial perspectives is necessarily indefinite: we must always add more perspectives, though we can roughly anticipate the roundness of an object; however, in mathematical idealization we can immediately pass not only to the limit of exactitude of the circle but also to the exactitude of any form of pure spatiality: "the idealized space of mathematics allows us to go immediately to the infinite limit of what is in fact an unfinished movement" [136]. Thus we can be assured of our ability to repeat what we can as yet not conceive (the heart of Hegelianism: the guarantee to be able to recognize ourselves in the absolutely other, because the very structure of knowledge is appropriation): "the developments of mathematical space will never de jure escape us" [136].

But here Derrida inserts the twist of his reading of the LP in terms of the IKS. What most seems our own, the LP, the form that guarantees the appropriation of any future development, is actually possible only through an emptying out, a becoming "more foreign to us" [136]. Husserl had wished the form of temporality to govern our experience of spatiality, a motif that shows up in Heidegger and that is also traceable to Kant, Augustine, Aristotle, and that is implicated in the privilege of interiority and identity over exteriority and difference. Here though, we will see an intrinsic alterity at the heart of the identity of the LP--the theme Derrida will develop at length in SP.

Living Present

[136-137] Derrida focuses in this reading of the LP on Husserl's remark in Ideas I #83 that the LP has the unity of an IKS [cf. the other treatments of the LP in ITOG: 56-57, 85-86, 109, 143-144, 148-153]. Derrida here treats first the familiar retention moment: "The LP ... objective time" [136-137]. But now he emphasizes the protention which is the "very form" of retention in two ways: a) the retained now itself includes a protention; b) the retention is a freezing of the protentive transition to the new now. The LP is then "maintenance" [holding in the now].

But how does Husserl know this? What is the mode of appearing of the LP? And since the LP is ultimate, it must appear to itself, so what is the form of the reception of the LP by itself? If the LP is indefinitely opened up by protention, how can Husserl claim it is a present guaranteeing a consciousness, giving the form of personality to the transcendental field?

The IKS must be the announcement of the unity of the temporal field in the present; it presently announces the promise of the ideal unity of the always factually deferred unity of the LP. Because of this promise of ideal unity, factual dispersion of consciousness--death--is only ever an extrinsic fact, an accident coming from outside to disrupt the interiority of the living Present.


[137-141] Now with Husserl's recourse to the IKS to save the form of consciousness for the transcendental field, Derrida has the lever with which to pry open Husserl's metaphysical commitments--even though, of course, we must be careful to mark such Heideggerian language as an anticipation of SP. What we see now is Derrida exploring the way the guarantee of phenomenology, the LP grounding the principle of all principles, cannot itself be phenomenologically verified, since it never appears as itself--its unity, its full appearance as itself, is always deferred. All we "experience" is the promise of its unity, the IKS. Thus the LP, the light which enables phenomenology, has its origin shrouded in darkness, or better, with the IKS as the unity of the LP forbidding the full appearance of the LP itself, we found ourselves in a situation where "darkness [is] ... the forever nocturnal source of the light itself" [137].

This paradoxical reliance of phenomenology, the science of appearance, on that which doesn't fully appear, explains why Husserl never investigated the evidence provided by the IKS, despite its appearance at crucial points in his philosophy. Evidence for Husserl is always the appearance of the thing itself, the thing within its borders, the finite thing. How could a promise of ideal unity that is factually infinitely deferred ever appear? Derrida emphasizes the tension, the distortion, that thus arises at the heart of phenomenology due to its reliance on the IKS as the promise of unity to the LP grounding the principle of all principles: "Phenomenology would thus be stretched between the finitizing consciousness of its principle and the infinitizing consciousness of its final institution, the Endstiftung indefinitely deferred in its content but always evident in its regulative value" [138]. In other words, phenomenology wants the thing itself, but the thing itself never arrives, only its promise, for the IKS, the ultimate thing itself, is only a promise of the unity of the field of appearance of things themselves.

The IKS thus is not a thing to be seen, but "the possibility of evidence and the openness of 'seeing' itself" [138]. It is nothing determinate, but "only determinability as the horizon for every intuition in general" [138].

Husserl's only major discussion of the evidence of the IKS, its mode of appearance, occurs in Ideas I, to which Derrida now turns. Here Husserl does not discuss the IKS in terms of the unity of the flux of primordial temporality, the LP, but as the promise of the unity of the givenness of the transcendent thing. The IKS is announced only formally, as a rule dictating: add more content in the promise of future unity. Thus the Idea appears as a finite formal rule, although its content--transcendent thing, or LP--never appears as such. There is always a gap of form and content.

Thus we can see the Idea, not that of which it is the Idea; we see the promise, but never the promised unified object. Thus the Idea is a pure intention, a pure pointing to something which never appears; this pure intention without object thus reveals "intentionality itself," and given Husserl's fundamental commitment to the correlation of act and object, "Objectivity itself" [139].

Derrida remorselessly draws the consequences of the emptying out of the LP by the IKS: "phenomenology cannot be grounded as such in itself, nor can it itself indicated its own proper limits" [140]. Husserl must deny that he can describe a pure intentionality, such as revealed by the IKS, yet he must posit it beneath every concrete intention as its "highest source of value" [140]. The space opened up by the IKS is where transcendental consciousness can recognize itself as transcending empirical existence and attaining the realm of ideality. The IKS functions as the "sign of the infinite," the relay or "interval" between form of promise and promised content [140]. Because this sign offers the promise of unity that allows idealization and hence reactivation of the same sense, it is through a sign that "the historicity of sense and the development of Reason are set free" [140]. These are momentous claims in terms of SP: a signitive structure lies at the heart of the production and passing on of sense, even in its most rigorous scientific tradition. Sense, even when guided by reason, is signitive at its core.

Derrida's last point concerns the relation of phenomenology and philosophy. Phenomenology wants to replace philosophy by fulfilling its primary intention, but phenomenology cannot ground itself. It relies on a logos, the sign structure of the IKS, that allows for seeing but can never be seen, only "heard or understood through the visible" [141]. Here we see clearly the target of SP, the voice as the place where Husserl wants the "phoneme to dominate the phenomenon," but where Derrida shows that the "eye and the world" intrude.

Due to this inability to ground itself, phenomenology must then, ultimately, be a practical philosophy, not a pure theoretical rigorous science. Responsibility and imperative become the keys, no longer pure description, for although the thing itself never gives itself up to an evidence once the IKS has emptied out the LP, the promise of the thing itself is at least announced as that which we must take responsibility for since it grounds transcendental historicity and transcendental intersubjecticity, the very things that will rescue Europe from its crisis [here the imperatives of reactivation and univocity find their ultimate--political {!}--justification]. Thus phenomenology must ultimately start from a "lived anticipation as a radical responsibility" [140].

Section XI: sense of Idea's historicity

Nine topics [141-153]: a) omnitemporality [141-142]; b) Absolute of genetivity [142-144]; c) two precautions [144-145]; d) the sense of being [145-146]; e) the question of the divinity of Logos [146-148]; f) "the Absolute is Passage" [148-150]; g) the question of factuality [150-152]; h) phenomenology and historicity [152-153]; i) the announcement of diffJrance [153].


[141-142] If the Idea of infinite determinability guides idealization and hence historicity (that which is opened up by the possibility of the reactivation of an ideal sense), then to avoid a Platonism of the Idea whereby it would be eternal and guide idealization and historicity from outside history, we must investigate the "sense of the Idea's profound historicity" [141]. The Idea is omnitemporal, existing in and through all moments of the history of its display, that is, whenever the scientific project of a passage to the limit of infinite exactitude guided by the IKS is re-activated by a community of transcendental intersubjectivity.


[142-144] This interweaving of the guiding/structural yet generated IKS and generating yet guided transcendental intersubjectivity means we must rethink the very notion of genesis and genetivity, for it is no longer clear what belongs to what. The IKS neither exists in a Platonic heaven from which it guides intentional historicity, nor is it able to be assimilated to that intentional historicity: rather we have here the "intentional Absolute of Objectivity, the pure relation with an object--a relation in which subject and object are reciprocally engendered and governed" [142]. The IKS as intentionality itself, as the pure promise of a unity, is that which allows both the subject--the LP--and the object both their relative coherence and their correlativity. The IKS as intentionality is the "between," the "Absolute of genetivity itself as the pure possibility of a genetic relation" [142-143].

We have thus gone beyond consciousness--the tying of all experience to the form of subjectivity--to its possibility, which is also the impossibility of its pure completion. Consciousness, and hence phenomenology, is opened out to its outside, activity confounded with passivity. At this point in his career Derrida retains the word "dialectic" for this eviscerating interweaving that his future suspicion of Hegel will force him to give up. We can see however the way Derrida will take to deconstruction as decoding, inversion and reinscription, in the way he states the relations of identity and difference in the LP: it is the dialectical interweaving that forms the third term allowing the interplay of dialectical constituting difference and nondialectical constituted identity. A similar point could be made for activity and passivity in the HP. Nonetheless, it's clear that "unity"--however paradoxical that unity might be--is the key term for Derrida here, as when he describes the "absolute unity of sense's movement, ... maintains itself" [144].


[144-145] We must avoid reification or facultization of the Idea or of Reason--that is, the privilege of presence for either object or subject. Rather than a Platonism of the Idea, for Husserl the Idea is always "beyond being": it is not a being, but that which allows for the finite appearance of beings. [Here of course the question of how to read Plato from beneath the sedimentations of Platonism arises.] Similarly with Reason: it is not an "eternity at work in history" [144], for there is no history w/o Reason, nor any Reason w/o history. In other words, as we should be able to anticipate by now, there is no history w/o reactivation of an ideal sense produced by scientific reason, while there is no science w/o the "concrete and instituting acts of transcendental subjectivity" [145].


[145-146] Being is a "sense," Derrida writes, anticipating his confrontation with Heidegger in "FM" and "OG." This means that the presence of an object--that sense/meaning which reason aims at and which history transmits--is only a promise, a sense-direction indicated for intentionality; full, complete being--the stable presence of object to intuition of a subject--is always deferred, a "teleological ought-to-be which constitutes being as movement" [145].

With this deferral of presence, Reason, that which is oriented to present being as the articulation of the infinite horizon of scientific truth--the carving up and preservation of presence--is similarly rendered a teleological project which recedes into the future beyond our current science and thus extends back before the philosophical determination of reason. Nonetheless, the philosophical project, by awakening reason to itself, is a "radical and creative origin" that calls philosophy to its responsibility [146].


[146-148] But does this structure of self-awakening not deify reason or logos, making transcendental subjectivity the mere theater of God's awakening? The specter of Hegelianism looms. Derrida first articulates the ambiguity of God's place in Husserl's late writings: "the relation of the transcendental Absolute as divinity and the transcendental Absolute as historical subjectivity" [147]. The question is again the historicity of reason and sense: "at times the Logos expresses itself through a transcendental history, at other times it is only the absolute polar authenticity of transcendental historicity itself" [147]. The opposition is the following: either the logos is divine and ahistorical or it is historical in the double genitive sense: reason belongs to by guiding historicity. In other words, either phenomenology is speculative or absolute idealism, the way God speaks, or it is genuine transcendental idealism, which would on occasion borrow the odd metaphysical concept, but only in a "metaphorical and indicative sense" [147].

As we might have suspected, Derrida directs us to the "necessarily single root of every dilemma" [148]. Is God, the name for Reason as infinite determination of objects, arche [speculative metaphysics] or telos [phenomenology]? "The two at once" answers Derrida [148]: God/Reason is beyond constituted history, but he is only the very movement of constituting historicity.


[148-150] So we must think the supratemporality of God/Reason as omnitemporality, and both as the "characteristics of Time itself," the LP [148]. Thus we see that the LP, which articulates supratemporality as above-timeness and omnitemporality as at-all-timeness, is the "unitary ground" of all the reductions: empirical vs transcendental, etc.. The empirical is that which is in time while the transcendental is the access to omnitemporality: how can they be separated, except as different modes of temporality? Separation of course implies a prior unity in the LP, that which encompasses both the in-timeness of the one-after-the-other of new nows and the omnitemporal form of presence in its "dialectical" interweaving of retention/impression/protention. And we have already seen that the LP's emptied out form, the IKS, is "historicity itself" [149].

The consequences here are radical: historicity is the signitive IKS, or as Derrida here calls it, "Speech." Historicity is the direction of sense or "primordial Logos" toward the "polar Telos" of an infinitely deferred yet promised presence. Since logos and telos, sense and presence, are related by this direction sense takes, then "the Absolute is Passage" [149]. Everything takes place as this movement toward deferred presence promised from the beginning in the sending on its way of sense, the directed movement from sensibility to ideality, empiricity to transcendentality, made possible by the uncanny duality of the LP.

Further consequences follow as Derrida rewrites the earlier topics of ITOG in light of the analysis of the IKS and LP as generated structure and structured genesis. First, "traditionality" shows us the zigzag tying together arche and telos, while sedimentation lets us see that "this movement is also l'Absolu d'un Danger" [149]. Derrida then emphasizes the threat of loss in passage: sense only makes sense in this passage, but this means sense can be lost in its worldly exposure. And of course this threat entails the necessity of taking responsibility.

There are also here at 149 a few hints of the topic of SP, the way a voice must preserve sense, but these needn't detain us.

Finally, the topic of intentionality is rewritten in terms of passage: intentionality is the very passage of sense among the "selves" of the LP; as such it is the "root of historicity" [150; cf. 85: "before the 'same' is recognized and communicated among several individuals, it is recognized and communicated within the individual consciousness"]. Thus, as the passage that is the LP, the passage linking and holding apart empiricity and transcendentality, historicity is part of the economy of sense: "In all the significations of this term, historicity is sense" [150], that is, the directed movement from sensibility to ideality.


[150-152] The moment marked by the announcement that historicity is sense is crucial, for far from mixing phenomenology with speculative metaphysics--the dogmatic assertion of a passage toward ideality as a factual event of cosmic history--we are here brought to the point of the question of Being or History: in other words, the relation of Husserl's and Heidegger's projects, the question of the priority of sense and fact, essence and existence.

For Derrida, of course, the answer is interweaving, not priority. One can never oppose facticity of existence to phenomenology, or put it before the question of phenomenology, for only when we have the phenomenology of the appearance of historical factuality--the historicity of fact, in other words--can we ask about factuality. And since the phenomenological preparation to asking the question of factuality is infinite--we are always on the way to knowing the sense of historical facts, such as geometry--the moment in which we decide our answer as to the sense of fact remains phenomenological.

Only a conclusion to the preparatory question of the historicity of sense [double genitive] allows us to ask the interrelated questions: "Is there, and why is there, any historical factuality?" [150]. The factual ["metaphysical or ontological"] possibility of nonbeing conditions the question "why is there something rather than nothing?"; however, the phenomenological possibility of nonbeing as nonhistory--pure loss of sense--is a teleological consciousness that allows us to see the value implications of the "why." The only answer to "why" must be phenomenological: there is factuality so that sense can be transmitted.

We can now, knowing the sense of fact and the sense of sense, ask the non-phenomenological question: "What is the primordial unity of sense and fact, a unity for which, by themselves alone, neither can account?" [151]. This brings us to a factuality that would not be the province of a mere nonphilosophical empiricism, but would be the completion of philosophy, what Derrida calls in "VM," a "pure heterology," a discourse on the alterity of fact that would respect its alterity.

To ask the question of the alterity of fact is to ask "question of the origin of Being as History" [151]: how does one think always deferred presence? Ontology can only ask the question; only phenomenology has the right of response. In the space of this question, deferred presence can only appear to phenomenology as the negative, the unbounded. In an important and fascinatingly-worded footnote, Derrida calls the always receding and deferred presence of "pure existential factuality" --the sheer thatness of things--"wild singularity [singularité sauvage]" or the "upsurge of stark fact" [151n184], and notes for Husserl that as the apeiron it is the very limit of phenomenology, its self-confinement to the sense of fact. But in this self-confinement, phenomenology abandons the project of a pure heterology. We must be resigned to the fact that for phenomenolgoy, fact "can no longer be exhausted and reduced to its sense"; fact then is "always more or always less" than its sense [152n184].


[152-153] But all is not lost for phenomenology. Only its focus on the historical appearing of Being allows it to appreciate the essential "delay" of discourse: the fact of zigzag, the fact that we must wait until history produces sense-laden facts in order to reduce [partially] fact to sense. And only through the phenomenological zigzag can we see "infinite historicity": the infinite sending of sense as the direction through which sensibility passes into ideality. In a sentence that opens his entire philosophical project, Derrida writes of "infinite discourse and infinite dialectalness as the pure possibility and the very essence of Being in manifestation" [152]. Here we see the thought of the text or differance--the differing and deferring of presence--announced as clearly as possible. And in a sentence that prefigures SP, Derrida writes of phenomenology's ability to make "absolute transcendental subjectivity appear ... as pure passive-active temporality, as pure auto-temporalization of the Living Present--i.e., as we already saw, as intersubjectivity" [152].

With these discoveries of phenomenology--that alterity is the very condition of identity--Derrida can come to the very brink of naming différance: "delay is the philosophical absolute" [152]. Why delay? Why must we wait for presence? Because when we see intersubjectivity as the structure of subjectivity--the LP as the dialectic of other selves "within" and "without" personal identity--when we see "this alterity of the absolute origin" [153], delay then comes into its "own": but of course by now identity and propriety must be completely rethought.


[153] The announcement of différance should be read in its entirety: "The impossibility ... nothing would appear" [153]. We should note Derrida's use of phenomenological language, which he will come to abandon, in the phrase, "a primordial and pure consciousness of Difference." But this phrase already announces the escape route, for we should know by now that the genitive should be doubled: consciousness that has difference as its object, but also consciousness that is inhabited by, constituted by--and hence emptied out by--difference.

Derrida concludes with a brief sketch of a transcendental difference (and here we must remember that the "quasi-transcendental" will be Derrida's later formulation). The difference of fact and sense, of arche and telos rooted in the IKS dispersed LP--the "primordial Difference of the Absolute Origin" [153]--ensures once again delay, for with the "certainty" of the thought of a transcendental difference or the differing-deferral of presence, "such a certainty never had to learn that Thought would always be to come" [153]. And this is what Derrida shows we are to learn from OG.