The Post

How long will it be, if ever, before we can dispense with the post?  Perhaps the post implies its own removal at some stage--so we can say we are no longer post anything, we are what we are.  But the removal of the post must occur subsequently to the putting into abeyance of that to which the post is prefixed.  Otherwise the old order (e.g., colonialism) would return.  I do not intend to remove the post, nor to reveal perhaps that behind it lies some coherent positive philosophy.  Rather, I want to suggest that what the post disguises perhaps does not exist.  But that this perhaps not, as the supplement to a certain deconstruction, implies a kind of necessity, a necessary undecidability, without which there would be no theory at all.

What follows is an expanded version of the text of a talk, originally presented at a workshop seminar organized by The Centre for Advanced Studies at the National University of Singapore, under the rubric “Experience and Interpretation across Domains.”  I had been specifically asked to talk about deconstruction in the context of theories of postmodernism.  The talk was interrupted early on, partly owing to my invitation for participants to do so, and it degenerated into disjointed discussion, so was not presented in full on the day.  Two weeks of e-mail discussion followed and the present version includes interpolations based upon some of my replies to selected responses.  The argument is an attempt to ward off in advance those responses that may have been determined by expectations based on premature or prejudicial understandings of the term deconstruction, and it begins with an attempt to problematise (easy to do as it happens) the prefix post-.  The paper cannot be regarded as having been a success.  I prefer to see it as a rather good failure.  It takes the form of a series of lemmas.   The menu is on your left.