This essay explores how, in each of Jacques Derrida’s late encounters with psychoanalysis, he critiques the limit of a certain economic principle of the Freudian death drive, opening up its deterministic logic to a principle of indetermination. The essay draws out three key terms—aneconomy from Archive Fever, indirection from “Psychoanalysis Searches the States of Its Soul,” and undecidability from Glas and The Death Penalty seminars—to show how Derrida suggests a move beyond an “economy of the possible,” thereby showcasing the potentiality of a properly deconstructive psychoanalytic thought. With these three movements, the essay traces the implications of Derrida’s “principled” critique of the economy of the death drive for his consideration of the death penalty.
Aneconomy, Indirection, Undecidability: Derrida’s “Principled” Critique of the Death Drive
azeen khan is an assistant professor in the Department of English and Creative Writing at Dartmouth College and a psychoanalyst with a practice in New York City. Her essay “Lacan and Race” is included in After Lacan: Literature, Theory, and Psychoanalysis in the Twenty-First Century (Cambridge University Press, 2018). Her work also appears in Boundary 2 and Lacanian Ink.
Azeen Khan; Aneconomy, Indirection, Undecidability: Derrida’s “Principled” Critique of the Death Drive. differences 1 May 2020; 31 (1): 135–162. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10407391-8218802
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