Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Joint Ph.D. Program in Study of Religion

First Advisor

Carl Raschke


Philosophy, Jean-Luc Marion, Jacques Derrida


Of the debates that have taken place in continental/European philosophy over the last 20 years, the methods or styles of deconstruction and phenomenology have proven to be at the center. Amidst those debates, arose the issue of “the gift;” a topic that carries within it the primary tensions between these two styles or methods of thinking, and a theme around which Jean-Luc Marion and Jacques Derrida came to formally engage one another.

Of equal importance to debates that have taken place in continental/European philosophy, within the critical distinctions between phenomenology and deconstruction, and between Marion and Derrida, is the theme of “desire.” Though these two thinkers never debated the topic of “desire” we can see how it also marks an important point of crisis between them, as well as their chosen styles of thought.

This project will illuminate how Derrida calls phenomenology into question, thus leading to his founding of deconstruction, and how Marion seeks to respond to Derrida’s concerns, ultimately returning to phenomenology. We will also show the detailed points of disjunction between these two thinkers on these issues of gift and desire, particularly by reading those two topics alongside one another. Each thinker’s respective understandings of gift and desire are a part of the central tensions between Marion and Derrida, phenomenology and deconstruction.

To be more precise, this project will make and sustain two inter-related arguments: it will be argued that Derrida rejects desire, and claims that “gift” must remain impossible, and thus, deconstruction is marked by the incommensurability between gift and desire. While Marion, who takes his cue and motivation from Derrida, holds an opposite view: desire and gift form a close relationship, and thus, phenomenology is marked by the union between gift and desire. So, while Derrida understands these two topics to be polarized and irreconcilable, gift and desire come to form an inseparable union in Marion’s philosophy.

And secondly, it is argued that these disjunctions in the relationship between Marion and Derrida can play a role in bettering our understanding of the tensions between deconstruction and phenomenology.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. This work may only be accessed by members of the University of Denver community. The work is provided by permission of the author for individual research purposes only and may not be further copied or distributed. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Jason Wesley Alvis


Received from author

File Format




File Size

301 pgs