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Abstract 2 | Deconstruction | Philosophical Movements

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  Myers 1 Abstract The conflict between good and evil fuels every interaction of value determination in Western Philosophy, from political elections to criminal trials. While the philosophy of presence constructs this conflict from the objectivity of abstractions in individual experience, redefining the binary as a finite institution of  phenomenological reception/ rejection allows the conflict to become a self-sustaining struggle of absences, a morally eccentric deconstruction of ethical standards. Theorists such as Heidegger, Derrida, Satre, and Nietzsche, emphasize the genesis of experience through post-structuralist notions of text-exclusivity and default of srcin, which imply that moral structures are preexisting in the impetus of  binary conflicts, and not, as Aristotle claimed, mimetic representations created so that man can reach “the real.”  For these philosophers, signification is never truly present (as without an “outside of language” meaning can never be achieved) therefore rejecting the logocentric notion of a transcendental srcin of knowledge. This paper will analyze the decentralization of the good/evil conflict binary in Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle and how this relates, through Bokonism, to the pursuit of the deconstructionist morality of absence. The Bokononist good society keeps the “Dynamic T ension ”  between good and evil high at all times (Vonnegut 102) in order that the good is validated by the existence of the evil, demonstrated in the novel by the srcinal binary interdependency between McCabe and Bokonon, by Derrida in On Grammatology  by the deconstructed eccentric center, and through the shift towards individual experience, or “perspectivism , ” by Nietzsche in  Beyond Good and Evil  . The San Lorenzans sing their anthem to this eternal moral conflict,  by which they are absolved of the “foma” (189)  or misconception of all true belief, and made “reverent and free” ( Vonnegut 138). As deconstructionist theory elevates absence as the center of the decentralized imperfect signified, Bokonon claims his own religion as false. Though concordant with deconstructionist tenets, however, the estimation of Bokononism is rather like a reverse nihilism, a  belief not in nothing but in everything, that through the karass , the intangible group generality through which God’s will is done independent of the individual’s desire to do so  (or not), the absence of knowledge becomes the source of virtue, as the anonymity of both the cat and the cradle gives the gesture meaning. Taken further, absence is the vacuum of virtue that provides Bokononism with its own eccentric center, and the author the “end of the world” that comes about through the actions of his karass. With his inability to discover moral presence as such, it is only through the conflict of absence that the protagonist gains perspective, and as he acts through his destiny by the machinations of his karass, propelled along God’s channel, he is absolved of the resolution of the binary opting instead for the “business” o f the eternal binary struggle, realizing, through Bokononist spirituality, total moral deconstruction. Works Cited Derrida, Jacques. Of grammatology . Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976. Print. Heidegger, Martin.  Being and time . New York: Harper, 1962. Print.  Myers 2 Chin-Yi, Chung. The Relation of Derrida's Deconstruction to Heidegger's Destruction . “Join Academia.edu & Share your research with the world. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Nov. 2013. <http://www.academia.edu/183842/The_Relation_of_Derridas_Deconstruction_to_Heideggers_Destruction>.  Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm.  Beyond good and evil; . Chicago: Gateway Editions; distributed by H. Regnery Co., 1955. Print. Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm, and Duncan Large. Twilight of the idols, or, How to philosophize with a hammer  . New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. Print. Ullrich, David W. The Function of “Oubliette in Kurt Vonnegut’s CAT’S CRADLE. “Taylor and Francis Group, LLC. The Explicator, Vol. 70, No. 2, 149  –  152. Print. 2012. Vonnegut, Kurt. Cat's cradle . New York, N.Y.: Delta Trade Paperbacks, 19981963. Print.
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