Derrida and the contradiction of the Gift

  • Wellington José Santana Ryerson University


The present article grapples a critical analysis of the philosophical query about the gift raised by Marcel Mauss and implemented by Jacques Derrida. A gift as such can never be given and has an internal contradiction that forces it towards annihilation, cancelling it when in the very moment it’s acknowledged. Therefore the article analyzes the condition of possibility of the gift as well as the condition of impossibility. Despite of being a paradox, we shall ask why the philosophical approach of the gift ends up being a burden for the common sense.

Key words: Gift, paradox, Derrida, common sense




O presente artigo busca fazer uma análise crítica sobre a questão filosófica do dom iniciado pelo sociólogo francês Marcel Mauss e posteriormente implementado por Jacques Derrida. O dom, segundo Derrida, nunca pode ser dado e encerra uma contradição interna que o força para o nada, cancelando-o no momento em que é reconhecido como tal. O artigo analisa as condições de possibilidade e impossibilidade do dom. Apesar de ser um paradoxo, analisar-se-á por que um cuidadoso exame filosófico do dom acaba por torná-lo um pesadelo para o seu significado no senso comum.

Palavras chave: Dom, paradoxo, Derrida, senso comum  



Emmanuel Lévinas. Totality and Infinite. 1979. Boston: Kluwer Boston
_______________. Ethics and Infinity:1985. Duquesne: Duquesne University Press
_______________. Basic philosophical writings. 1996. Bloomington: Indiana University Press
Gerard F. O'Hanlon. The Immutability of God in the Theology of Hans Urs von Balthasar. 1990, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Gottfried W. Leibniz. Discourse on metaphysics and other writings. 2012. Peterborough, Ont: Broadview Press
Guttorm Floistad. Philosophy of Religion. 2010. New York: Springer Pub
Harold Coward and Toby Forshat. Derrida and Negative Theology – original text by Derrida. 2001. Albany: State University of New York Press
Immanuel Kant. Critique of pure reason, 2006. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Irene E. Harvey, Derrida and the economy of différance. 1985. Bloomington: Indiana University Press
Ludwig Wittgenstein. Tractatus Logico Philosophicus. 2002. New York, Taylor and Francis
Mark A, Wrathall. Religion after metaphysics. 2003. New York: Cambridge University Press
Mark, Mclnroy. Balthasar on the spiritual senses: perceiving splendor. 2014. (Oxford: Oxford University Press
Kevin, Hart. Counter experiences: reading Jean-Luc Marion 2007. (Notre Dame, Indiana University of Notre Dame Press
Mauss, Marcel. The Gift, the Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies. 1990. London: Routledge
Michael P. Murphy. A theology of criticism: Balthasar, postmodernism, and the Catholic imagination. 2008. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Michael Watts, Kierkegaard 2007. Oxford, Oneworld Publications
Jacques Derrida. The Gift of Death. 2007. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press
Jacques Derrida. Given Time I: Counterfeit Money. 2007. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press
James Ferreira. Kierkegaard, thinking Christianity in Existential Mode. 2009. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell
Jean-Luc Marion. In Excess, studies of Saturated Phenomena. 1992. New York: Fordham University Press
_____________. The erotic phenomenon. 2007. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2007
_____________. Being Given. 2002. Stanford: Stanford University Press
_____________. God without Being. 1995. Chicago: University of Chicago Press
_____________. In excess: studies of saturated phenomena. 2004. New York: Fordham University Press
_____________. Prolegomena to charity phenomena. 2002. New York: Fordham University Press
_____________. The visible and the revealed. 2008. New York: Fordham University Press
_____________. On the ego and on God: further Cartesian questions. 2008.(New York: Fordham University Press
_____________. The Idol and the distance. 2001. New York: Fordham University Press
_____________. The crossing of the visible. 2004. Stanford: Stanford University Press
Joana Hodge. Derrida on Time. 2007. New York: Routledge
John D. Caputo and Michael J. Scanlon, God, the gift and post modernism. 1999. (Indianapolis: Indiana University Press
John Milbank. Can a gift be given? 1995. Oxford, Blackwell Publishing
Maria Duffy. Paul Ricoer’s pedagogy of Pardon: a narrative theory of memory and forgetting. 2009. New York: continuum
Paul Copan and Chad Meister. Philosophy of religion: Classic and contemporary issues. 2008. Malden: Blackwell Publications
Como Citar
Santana, W. J. (2020). Derrida and the contradiction of the Gift. Fundamento, (14), 17-32. Recuperado de