In the wake of Derrida’s death, Brian Leiter slandered Derrida as being a “bad man” who had had an entirely negative influence on the world and strongly implied that the rise of deconstruction in literature departments had something to do with the rise of Reaganism in American politics. Simon Critchley harshly denounced Leiter’s slander in print. At long last, Leiter has responded, with a lengthy preface slandering Critchley as a total intellectual lightweight with no grasp of philosophy, followed by what amounts to a “guilt by association” argument attempting to discredit Critchley–the “association” in this case being an association with Derrida. That is to say, having done scholarly work on Derrida is here taken as evidence that Critchley’s opinion of Derrida is worthless, since Derrida is intrinsically unworthy of such attention: to properly understand Derrida is to dismiss him. Along the way, we learn that continental philosophy does not exist and that Leiter is proud of his own work as editor of The Oxford Handbook of Continental Philosophy, a volume full of rigorous, scholarly interventions into this non-existent field.
Obviously, Leiter has written a very bad post on virtually every level. My question here is whether it is structurally possible to respond to such a post (in the traditional sense of refuting claims and offering counterclaims). Or is the only possible response simply to repeat what is stated in the post and say something along the lines of “Obviously, Leiter has written a very bad post on virtually every level”?