By Jacques Derrida
A tribute to at least one of the fathers of deconstruction in addition to a longer essay on reminiscence, demise, and friendship.
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I will try to indicate, briefly as the nature of this book requires (for it is an autobiography, not a work on logic), the way in which this notion developed in my mind as I reflected day by day upon the Albert Memorial. I know that what I am going to say is very controversial, and that almost any reader who is already something of a logician will violently disagree with it. But I shall make no attempt to forestall his criticisms. So far as he belongs to any logical school now existing, I think I know already what they will be, and it is because I am not convinced by them that I am writing this chapter.
It is generally held, again, that indicative sentences in a work of fiction, professing to be that and nothing more, do not express propositions. But when these and other qualifications have been made, this can be described as the central doctrine of propositional logic: that there is, or ought to be, or in a well-constructed and well-used language would be,I a one-one correspondence between pro- - Hence that numerous and frightful offspring of propositional logic out of illiteracy, the various attempts at a 'logical language', beginning with the pedantry of the text-books about 'reducing 36 Q U E S T I O N A N D ANSWER positions and indicative sentences, every indicative sentence expressing a proposition, and a proposition being defined as the unit of thought, or that which is true or false.
This is precisely 46 THE DECAY O F REALISM the doctrine which it was the chief aim of the 'realists' to deny. Alexander, whose British Academy paper on The Essence of Realism, one of the earliest and most important documents of the school, had made just that point, did not forget it in Space Time and Deity ;nevertheless, the main body of that noble book consists of ideas borrowed from Kant and Hegel, to which a 'realistic' faqade has been attached. It is none the worse for that. Whitehead's cosmology is constructed on an anti-'realistic' principle; Alexander's is built up of non-'realistic' materials.