This article aims to analyze the problem of violence, as tackled by Derrida in his dialogue with Levinas. It is asked in particular how it is possible to think critically about violence if we assume that violence constitutes us. In order to do this, it dwells on the diference that Derrida establishes between criticism and deconstruction and on his analysis of the relationship between violence and silence. One of the main theses of this article is that what allows a critique of violence refers to what Derrida calls “trace”, that is, a silence that inhabits language and that does not refer to a previous meaning. In addition, this article focuses on the critic Derrida addresses to Levinas in “Violence and metaphysic”. It shows that far from fitting this critique, Levinas’s analysis of the relation between language and silence implies a radicalization of Derrida’s thesis on what he calls the “worst violence”.
Levinas; Derrida; Silence; Violence; Critic; Deconstruction