Transcendental Deconstruction, Transcendent Justice

A meaningful encounter between two parties does not change only the weaker or the stronger party, but both at once. We should expect the same from any encounter between deconstruction and justice. It might be tempting for advocates of deconstruction to hope that deconstruction would offer new insights into problems of justice, or, more boldly, to assert that “the question of justice” can never be the same after the assimilation of deconstructive insights. But, as a deconstructionist myself, I am naturally skeptical of all such blanket pronouncements, even – or perhaps especially – pronouncements about the necessary utility and goodness of deconstructive practice. Instead, in true deconstructive fashion, I would rather examine how deconstructionists’ claims of what they are doing – which are often refused the name of “theory” or “method” – are uncannily altered by their encounter with questions of justice. In fact, as I hope to show, when deconstruction focuses on specific and concrete questions of justice, we will discover that deconstruction has always been something quite different from what most people thought it to be.