There is a Reason
I should have dug this up sooner.
Here is a petition/memorial for Derrida at the University of California at Irvine. A great many signatures from literature professors…and very few philosophers. That’s fine; no harm in being a literature type, or having a memorial thingy; only he does get called a ‘world-renowned philosopher’ and the like, quite a lot. But mostly only by people in other departments. One can’t help suspecting that all those non-signatory philosophers know something that the literature people don’t quite grasp…
Brian Leiter for example. Here and here and here and here. And Leiter, entirely unlike me, has actually read the guy. So he confirms my suspicions. Yes, there is a reason why it’s literature people and not philosophers who think Derrida was a brilliant and important philosopher. Because they don’t know no better, that’s why.
Alas, he is being referred to as a philosopher.
I am, needless to say, with the vast majority of philosophers in thinking Derrida’s work of a philosophical nature was badly confused and pernicious in its influence, and in the substantial minority within that group who formed that opinion after actually reading his work. His preposterously stupid writings on Nietzsche were, of course, a particular source of annoyance. And even his more apparently scholarly work on, e.g., Husserl turns out to be rather poor, as J. Claude Evans showed more than a dozen years ago. Like the Straussians, Derrida and his followers tend to be willfully bad readers of texts. Fortunately, their influence has already faded from the scene in both North America and Europe.