Importantly, deconstruction is not destruction. The concept or object is still there at the end. In fact, for Derrida, what was fascinating was not just the multiple factors that went into constructing a concept, but the actual final act of construction itself; the faith or belief we have that any concept is coherent and enduring. One of the tricks of thinking is to convince us that a word, or a concept, or a text, has a single, fixed meaning. And that this meaning is true, pure, unconstructed – natural, rather than cultural. Derrida called this the ‘metaphysics of presence’: the belief that coherence is a measure of truth.

Rory King