From Time to Time: Auto-Affection in Derrida’s 1964-65 Heidegger Course


  • Tracy Colony Bard College Berlin



Derrida, Heidegger, Time, Auto-Affection


Derrida always stressed the importance of his engagement with Heidegger and often returned throughout his life to different aspects of Heidegger’s thought. With the recent publication of his 1964-65 course, Heidegger: The Question of Being and History greater insight is now possible into the exact terms of Derrida’s early engagement with Heidegger and the significance he would accord it in the major works of 1967 and beyond. With the reception of this text just beginning, many lines of interpretation are being unfolded. However, one aspect not yet addressed in this early reception which will be crucial for approaching and orienting this work is the theme of auto-affection. The concept of auto-affection is important for assessing Derrida’s Heidegger course for two reasons. Firstly, Derrida understands auto-affection to be Heidegger’s most radical figuration of temporality in the period of Being and Time. Secondly, tracing Derrida’s early focus on auto-affection in Heidegger can provide an important context for understanding the initial development of what would become a prominent theme in Derrida’s own work. My argument in this paper is structured in three sections. In the first, I give a brief introduction to Derrida’s course. I then present the theme of auto-affection in this course and demonstrate its central importance. In conclusion, I show how Derrida’s treatment of this theme in the context of his early Heidegger engagement can be seen to look forward to his employment of auto-affection in Speech and Phenomena.   

Author Biography

Tracy Colony, Bard College Berlin

Professor of philosophy