Difference, Deconstruction, Undecidability: A Derridean interpretation

Janet Mansfield
Vol 24, Number 1-2, p.33
Derrida’s theoretical work in cultural theory and on the philosophy of difference ‘resonates’ in educational philosophy and theory. It reveals a will to reconstitute the humanist subject, which, surpassing the transcendental humanist subject, invites the play of difference in pedagogy and curriculum content knowledge, the nature of knowledge, and a questioning of the notion of universally applied notions of ‘quality’ and the ‘expert’s’ knowledge based upon deference to received wisdom and ‘origins’. Against a background of Derridean philosophy, it is possible to see the danger of such ‘certain’ approaches. Autonomous knowledge that is self-referential and invested with canonical status has represented a challenge to Derrida’s deconstructionist philosophy. Derrida’s thinking has encouraged us to think deeply about inherited canonical versions of epistemological status bestowed on knowledge, and also about the partial and cultural nature of knowledge.