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The philosopher's gift

Argyrou, Vassos


Vassos Argyrou


This article considers Derrida's critique of Mauss's The Gift and the philosopher's argument that the gift is impossible. In the spirit of the gift, the article engages Derrida in a potlatch-like manner and subjects his critique to the same sort of critical interrogation to which he subjects the gift. The key question raised is why Derrida should want to give this gift of knowledge, namely, that there is no gift. The article argues that despite, appearances, and the contradictions in his argument aside, Derrida's gift is the same as the anthropologist's gift. It is the gift of human unity and hence purity and innocence, which is (a) given only insofar as there are no giving agencies -'man', for instance, or the West.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2007-09
Print ISSN 0308-275X
Electronic ISSN 1460-3721
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 27
Issue 3
Pages 301-318
APA6 Citation Argyrou, V. (2007). The philosopher's gift. Critique of anthropology, 27(3), 301-318.
Keywords Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous); Anthropology