D. Gregory MacIsaac deposited Platonic Deconstruction: A Review Essay of Stephen Gersh’s Neoplatonism After Derrida in the group Philosophy on Humanities Commons 2 months, 3 weeks ago
Neoplatonism after Derrida is a significant study of the history of philosophy, and covers ground rarely explored before, in an extremely thorough, fruitful, and persuasive manner. However, it poses serious interpretive problems for the reader. It presents an extremely detailed and complex analysis of both Neoplatonism and Derridean deconstruction, and a reader approaching the text without a good training in both these fields will have difficulty understanding the overall argument. The book is intended for specialists, but of course very few scholars are specialists in both these fields. The reader with a good training in only one of the two will find the book very fruitful if they bring with it a patient willingness to use the study itself to become educated in the field with which they are less familiar. In that sense, Gersh’s text can be viewed both as a sustained analysis and comparison of Neoplatonism and deconstruction, and a sort of workbook on the basis of which the reader’s comprehension of both may be enlarged. Given the present author’s own training in Neoplatonism, and the fact that this article appears in a journal devoted to Ancient philosophy, the present writing takes the perspective that the deconstructive elements in the text require the most elucidation. Because the overall argument of the book combines both fields, it will not be possible to present a critical discussion without also presenting a somewhat detailed account of Gersh’s argument. The open ended style of the book, as well as its complexity, dictate that what follows is a sort of guide through the book’s four chapters, drawing conclusions that are often only implied, combined with an analysis of its philosophical importance.