Response to Food for Thought on Derrida’s “Deconstruction is Justice”

Food for Thought:

Explain, in your own words, the meaning of Derrida’s claim “Deconstruction is Justice”. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Explain.

In response to this week’s food for thought, Jacques Derrida’s concept of deconstruction considers what is involved when the structure sequence of our languages are disrupted. According to Pavlich (2011), deconstruction does not destroy meanings in a language; it reorganizes the use of language by realigning the oppositions (i.e.- male and female, gay and straight, etc.), thus making room for unexpected meanings and patterns.

To Derrida, law is the element of calculation to decide the here and now. Unlike law, justice is incalculable because it never coterminous with the here and now. The concept of justice is elusive and should not be given a fixed definition. It is not that our languages cannot define and settle the meaning of justice but because “if we formulate justice…is not because of their essential nature…rather, a product of the ways those terms are authorized to relate to other terms.” (Pavlich, 2011, p.170)

Derrida sees law as limited calculation and therefore, deconstructible. Unlike law, justice is without limit and thus undeconstructible; therefore, inseparable from deconstruction. “Deconstruction takes place in the interval that separates the undeconstructibility of justice from the deconstructibility of law; and justice, therefore, enables both law and deconstruction.”

The author of this musing agrees with Derrida’s claim that deconstruction is justice. Throughout history, even in contemporary justice system, we still see cases that demonstrate deconstruction moves between law and justice. New unexpected meanings of law and justice can emerge in cases depends on who is on trial. The author of this musing intends to illustrate this example further in his next musing using Taiwan’s presidential corruption scandal that occurred back in 2006.


Pavlich, G. (2011). Law & Society Redefined. Don Mills, Ontario: Oxford University Press.


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One response to “Response to Food for Thought on Derrida’s “Deconstruction is Justice”

  1. This is a clear, concise, and effective response to the question, and a good set-up for your second post on this topic.