The Question of Supplementarity
—A Quantum Problematic
As I collect my thoughts about what it is that gives my work its special
signature, a signature where ‘‘points in the pattern’’ of its argumentation
reveal a certain focus, an attention, or even obsession about something
whose relevance may well seem obscure, I recall a scene in Berlin nearly
two years ago. I had presented a paper that in preliminary fashion consid-
ered Derrida’s work on the question of the a-human and genetics, and
although my questioner registered no disquiet with the general direction
of my argument it was clear that he had a problem with my vocabulary.
‘‘Writing,’’ ‘‘textuality,’’ ‘‘language in the general sense’’? Given that I was
engaging questions of life, science, biology, and system, why was I still
wedded to Derridean terms? I was aware at the time that I answered the
question poorly, and so I continued to be bothered about what I could have
said that might have explained why I was determined not to ‘‘move on,’’ or
more to the point, why ‘‘moving on’’ demanded that I stubbornly stay put.
The same uneasiness with my working frame of reference, or what was
perceived as its obvious limitations, came up again a few months ago in a
different guise. In this instance it was the relevance of Ferdinand de Saus-
sure’s work for computational or neurological analysis, which was deemed,
quite simply, obsolete: surely we need contemporary theorists to engage
contemporary technological and scientiﬁc complexities, and moreover,
theories that speciﬁcally address the subject matter under review?
These are the sorts of prejudices, seemingly reasonable and straightfor-