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The philosopher's gift

Argyrou, Vassos

Authors

Abstract

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
Journal CRITIQUE OF ANTHROPOLOGY
Print ISSN 0308-275X
Electronic ISSN 1460-3721
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 27
Issue 3
Pages 301-318
Institution Citation Argyrou, V. (2007). The philosopher's gift. Critique of anthropology, 27(3), 301-318. https://doi.org/10.1177/0308275X07080358
DOI https://doi.org/10.1177/0308275X07080358
Keywords Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous); Anthropology