Seminary One Bite at a Time: Derrida on Ethics & Duty

Coco Densmore
2 min readFeb 26, 2024
Jacques Derrida, 1930–2004

Postmodern Theology
Two Minute Speech
February 25, 2024

I focused on this quote from the Gschwandtner article[1]:

“… ethics must be sacrificed in the name of duty. It is a duty not to respect, out of duty, ethical duty.”

This is a story Kamala Harris recently told.

A woman presented in the ER. She was having a miscarriage. The baby had a heartbeat, but the pregnancy was not viable. Because it was against the law to terminate the pregnancy, the woman was sent home without treatment. The woman developed septicemia and returned to the ER and received the lifesaving care she should have received initially.

From my side reading, I found this quote:

“Derrida is pushing us to think how “the ethical is a temptation”, to think about the ways that our very attempts to be ethical, to be responsible, to make the right decision, can themselves directly lead us to be unethical, irresponsible, to avoid a decision.”

In making the “ethical” choice, the ER physician irresponsibly avoided making the best decision, which would have been to provide lifesaving care at the start.



Coco Densmore

Coco Densmore writes about Embracing Her Single, being HSV-2+, living with bipolar mental illness, and overcoming childhood sexual abuse.