Roland Theuas D. Pada presented a paper titled “Normativity in Communication and Morality in the conference “45 Years of Jacques Derrida’s Signature Event Context” at the Colegio de San Lorenzo on September 8 and 9, 2016. The conference celebrated the 45th anniversary of Derrida’s landmark essay regarding the problem of context in the process of communication at the Congrès international des Sociétés de philosophie de langue française in August 1971.
Pada presented his take on Normativity in Communication and Morality as a parallel of reading of Jacques Derrida’s concept of context and Axel Honneth’s notion of normativity. He argued that both thinkers presented a similar stance on the stability and instability of norms and context. While Derrida opposed canonical and final readings of texts, Honneth argued against the understanding of ethics and morality under an absolute or “fixed” context. In his presentation, Pada emphasized the dynamics of communication and socialization as a context that has its limitations and margins that allows us to understand the meaning and the context of morality and communication. Pada followed the same line of reasoning that Derrida proposed in his landmark paper, “Signature Event Context,” by stating that the context of morality is neither infinite, nor is it exhaustible.
Aside from Pada, the other Thomasians who attended the conference were Philosophy Department Chair Dr. Paolo Bolaños, who presided over the conference as the acting President of the Philosophical Association of the Philippines, and Franz Joseph Yoshiy, an undergraduate student from the Philosophy department, who presented a paper on Derrida’s notion of Hospitality titled “Discerning a Movement of Jacques Derrida’s Notion of Différance in his Ethics of Hospitality.”
The conference had notable keynote speakers such as Prof. Paul Patton from the University of South Wales, who specializes in French European thinkers such as Foucault, Deleuze, and Derrida. He translated Deleuze’s “Repetition and Difference” from French to English. Also, one of Derrida’s notable translator, Prof. Gayatri Chakraborty Spivak, delivered the first keynote lecture on the anniversary of Derrida’s SEC. Prof. Spivak translated Derrida’s “Of Grammatology” from French to English and provided an elaborate introduction to this work. She is currently a Professor at the Columbia University, and is a foremost Literary Critic, Feminist theorist, and social activist.