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Thomas Library

Honors Thesis Archive

Author Amy L. Humrichouser
Title Deconstruction and the Project of Ethical Consensus: Towards a Middle Ground between Communitarian and Poststructural Aesthetics
Department Philosophy
Advisor Miguel Martinez-Saenz
Year 2005
Honors University Honors
Full Text View Thesis (202 KB)
Abstract I endeavor to show that deconstruction and intentionalist communicative efforts are not mutually exclusive. Deconstruction does not make an effort merely to produce conflict, revealing contradictions in conventional signs' meanings to the end of provoking controversy and advocating an ideology of accepting incommensurability. Rather, the revelation of deep structural inequalities laden in the language we use to communicate unifying ethical solutions challenges us to reformulate a conception of the common good inclusive of marginalized, underrepresented or misrepresented groups at the roots of structural inequality. As an extension to Iris Marion Young's distinction between identity politics and politics of difference, deconstructive artistic utterances and hermeneutics of suspicion provide channels in aesthetics for the expression of group-based structural inequality. Furthermore, deconstructionalist artistic utterances' unique style of presentation reveal flaws in one narrative's understanding of the other in a passive-aggressive manner, motivating the spectator to listen so that she may be persuaded to act upon difference. Not only does a complete dismissal of deconstruction for pragmatic ethical reasons assume a false dichotomy between private representation of interests and the common good, but the employment of both moderate anti-intentionalist and intentionalist interpretation strategies each fulfill a necessary role in creating consensus in an interactive communicative democracy.

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