AbstractThis master’s thesis explores Derrida’s engagement with Plato, primarily in the texts “How to Avoid Speaking: Denials” and On the Name. The themes of participation and performance are examined through the concepts of mystery and metaxy (μεταξύ). The crucial performative aspects of Plato and Derrida’s texts are often under appreciated. Neither author simply says what he means; rather their texts are meant to do something to the reader that surpasses what could be accomplished through straightforward reading comprehension. This enacted dimension of the text underscores a participatory worldview that is not just intellectually formulated, but performed by the text in a way that draws the reader into an event of participation—instead of its mere contemplation. On this basis, I propose a closer alliance between these authors’ projects than has been traditionally considered.

Photograph by Sebastião Salgado