Nonphenomenality and the Im/Possibility of God: Implications of Jacques Derrida’s “Violence and Metaphysics”

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Using Jacques Derrida’s deconstruction of Levinas’s other, the paper argues that philosophy’s involvement with nonphenomenality necessarily leads to a discussion of the im/possibility of God. Because the nonphenomenal is proper to God, then the theological trap becomes explicit in the study of philosophy. The paper operates within an exposition of Derrida’s “Violence and Metaphysics,” while arguing in three sections. The first section discusses the theological trap implicit in Levinas and the language that he engages. The limitations of this theological language and the negativity involved in the discussion of the other leads us to consider difference as nonphenomenal. The second section investigates the violence that language entails in Derrida’s understanding of Levinas’s Husserl and Heidegger. This is to demonstrate the point made in section one and to bridge the idea to section three, which investigates the limitations of this language and its implications to any understanding of God as the effect of the trace. If anything, the paper utilizes Derrida’s reading of Levinas to argue for the theological trap and the understanding of God as the effect of the trace.