Here’s a review in the Guardian of Gary Gutting’s book Thinking the Impossible: French Philosophy Since 1960. An excerpt:
… [Y]ou don’t speak language. Language speaks you. You might think of speech or writing as ways of expressing what’s on your mind or in your heart but all you’re really doing is mouthing the cliches that linguistic structures (and strictures) permit. Marx said man was alienated from his nature. Freud said man was alienated from his desires. But for the post-structuralists, the very idea of man was itself alienating. Had Descartes really had a self, he’d have been kidding it when he said, “I think, therefore I am”. “I think, therefore I am being thought” is nearer to the deconstructionist mark. Or as Derrida more famously put it, “There is nothing outside the text”.
But was there anything inside the texts of Derrida and his fellow deconstructionists? ….