Conclusion· Choosing Ethics, Affirming Alterity
I do not believe that today there is any question of choosing.
-Jacques Derrida, "Structure, Sign and Play"
Toward the end of Jacques Derrida's "Structure, Sign and Play," the
essay well-known for ushering in a specifically poststructuralist ethos,
he lays out a distinction between two ways of thematizing play: the
nostalgic, guilty ... side of the thinking of play
whose other side would be the Nietzschean
that is the
joyous affirmation of the play of the world and of the innocence of be-
coming" 1292). For Derrida, such a Nietzschean
"affirmation then de-
termines the noncenter otherwise than as loss of the center"
1292). In
other words, such an affirmation of alterity supersedes "the structural-
ist thematic of broken immediacy" 1292): a poststructuralism would
concern itself first and foremost with a gesture other than mourn-
ing for an absence or lack. "There are," Derrida continues, "thus two
interpretations of interpretation, of structure, of sign, of play": one
remains "turned towards the lost or impossible presence of the absent
origin," while "the other, which is no longer turned toward the origin,
affirms play and tries to pass beyond man and humanism" 1292).
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