Deconstruction of Baudrillard. The “ Unexpected Reversibility” of Discourse

Author: Santrac, Aleksandar
Jean Baudrillard is one of the outstanding representatives both of French poststructuralism and postmodernism. Because of radical criticism it was not possible for him to establish a logically coherent theoretical system; the philosophical aspects of his work are specifically merged, therefore, into a critical asystematic fragmentarism, which is the subject of this work.


“Jean Baudrillard (1929) is a unique, postmodernist philosopher, who developed amid controversies, directly in the contemporary postmodernism of his time and the most important tradition of modernism and premodernism, which, as counterpoints, actually define him … this is the most exhaustive and best scientific philosophical work in Yugoslav territory and one of the most thorough in the world about the most intriguing, living thinker of postmodernism. Therefore, I heartily recommend it to all readers, who are interested in contemporary philosophy and books on philosophy.” – (from the Commendatory Preface) Zdravko Munišic', Professor Emeritus, Belgrade University Belgrade

“Alexander Santrac is a voice coming from the East. His is post-marxist, post-atheistic millieu, where flirting with nihilism threatened to produce a deconstructed economy, and a disoriented ideology that ended up in total collapse. Like a skillful spy, he rightly sensed Baudrillard’s ultimate dependence on modernism which provided him with a structure he set himself to deconstruct. Carefully, Santrac constructs a very effective method of evaluation by turning Baudrillard’s arguments against modernism at Baudrillard himself. For example, Baudrillard advocates that deconstruction is a method. He claims that “every discourse is in danger of that unexpected reversability or the likelihood of becoming sucked into one’s own signs that are completely deprived of meaning.” (SEDG). Santrac responds: “if every discourse, through ‘unexpected reversability’, experiences its own deconstruction, then that is probably the case with Baudrillard’s ‘discourse’”. The first unmistakable contribution of this work is to show that real criticism of postmodernism is lodged in its own method. The second contribution is a clear and lucid presentation of this unique brand of postmodernism to English speaking scholarship. One may only hope for more publications of this kind.” –Dr. Miroslav M. Kiš, Professor of Ethics, Chair of the Theology and Christian Philosophy Department, Andrews University

“ While English speaking philosophers and theologians are familiar with leading postmodern thinkers like, for instance, Wittgenstein, Gadamer, Derrida, Foucault, and, Lyotard, most may not be familiar with the work of French postmodern philosopher Jean Baudrillard. This book will help to correct this oversight by introducing readers to the main notions of Baudrillard’s thought.

We all know the difficulties involved in understanding the inner coherence of new philosophical constructions. Not only scholars but also students and readers interested in the development of postmodern ideas will find Santrac’s clear prose, precise description, and down to earth evaluations, a useful tool to gain access to Baudrillard’s complex writings and “asystematic” approach. We understand authors that present their thought systematically better than authors that work asystematically. Yet, Santrac convincingly argues that underneath Baudrillard’s asystematicity there is a hidden system of ideas. Following this conviction Santrac dares to describe systematically Baudrillard’s asystematic thought. His “systematic” approach will greatly help readers to understand the basic concepts of Baudrillard postmodern proposal.

Readers will enjoy Santrac brief description of philosophical postmodernism, and Baudrillard’s main constructive concepts such us, “simulation,” “hyperrreality,” “seduction,” “the revenge of the object,” “the end of history,” “radical nihilism,” the “illusion of evil,” and “pataphysics.” As promised in the title of the book, Santrac engages in deconstructing Baudrillard thought. For instance, while Baudrillard claims that there is no synthesis between opposite notions, Sanctrac persuasively shows that in his writings there is a built in compatibility of binary opposites that Santrac calls the “Paradox of compatibility.” I highly recommend this book because not only it is an excellent introduction to a constructive postmodern thinker, but also because Baudrillard’s work and Santract’s deconstruction show that, far from being the end of philosophy, postmodernity challenges us to think new philosophical foundations for western civilization.” – Fernando Canale, Professor of Philosophy and Theology, Andrews University

Table of Contents

Baudrillard and Postmodernist Philosophy
1. Postmodernism
2. Critical Postmodernism
Asystemic Fragmentarism
3. The Critique of the Political Economy of the Sign
4. Simulation
5. The Seduction of the Object
6. The End of History
7. Radical Nihilism
8. Evil as an Illusion
9. Pataphysics and God
Critical Criticism
10. Both Simulation and Reality
11. Both the Subject and the Object
12. Both Seduction and Knowledge
13. Both End of Time (History)
14. Both Radical and Traditional Nihilism
15. Both Evil and Good
16. Both Pataphysics and Metaphysics (God)
Selective Bibliography