David A. White
In Derrida on Formal Logic, David A. White presents a critical analysis of Jacques Derrida's thinking on formal logic derived from Derrida's seminal article on James Joyce's Ulysses. For Derrida, it is incumbent on contemporary philosophical activity to remedy the effects of the unconsidered hegemony of basic logical principles. To assist in accomplishing this deconstructive end, Derrida suggested close reflection on the function of the imagination. This kind of analysis would contribute to greater appreciation and understanding of what the western metaphysical tradition had progressively concealed, especially within its reliance on the formal structures of logical concepts and principles. White attempts to fulfill Derrida's suggestion by tracking the principles of identity and contradiction through major commentators on Derrida, as well as Derrida himself, specifically exploring the apparent formal necessity these two principles exhibit with respect to the practice of rationality.
He presents a critical analysis developing implications resident in this thematically connected body of thought and a provisional account describing the imagination-as generated from the text of Ulysses but based on approaches not considered by Derrida-and applied to identity and contradiction. The purpose of this imaginative variation is to determine to what extent it is possible to reconfigure the conceptual foundations of these logical principles without sacrificing the formal correctness in thinking and reasoning which, according to the western tradition, these principles provide. White presents formal logic as a liberating rather than stultifying element in philosophy's ongoing quest to confront the world and its problems. This treatment is appropriate for scholars of contemporary continental philosophy and comparative literature who are familiar with deconstruction.