Derrida’s Performative Justice
This chapter is about the theme of prayer, where the isolation of Robinson Crusoe on the island is seen as an involvement and apprenticeship in prayer. Because of this metaphor, Derrida's “The Beast and the Sovereign” seminar can be viewed as a meditation on prayer. The special performative function of prayer and again, the question of distinction between man and animal is raised. Sovereignty is raised in the process through the person of Robinson Crusoe. If Crusoe reinvented the wheel because he needed and wanted to, there is also a relationship that praying became a turn of the wheel, an automatic response, without his full intention, toward an unknown other. Derrida surmises that if prayer is authentic, not because of some genuineness and sincerity of intention, or to some God, then it has to be authentic because of its conditions of performativity. This chapter concludes that “The Beast and the Sovereign” has not only analyzed prayer in the context of Heidegger and Crusoe but has also manifested the law of prayer.
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