Massive Deception Masquerading as Information and Communication: A (largely) Derridean Perspective




(mis-)communication, deception, Derrida, Habermas, (mis-)information, pandemic, vaccines


We live in a time of major events in civilisational history, currently centred on the so-called Covid-19 “pandemic.” In this global context, contemporary people are at the mercy, largely, of powerful media companies that disseminate officially sanctioned news and opinion pieces about all aspects pertaining to the “pandemic.” The very same thing that makes this mainstream media hegemony possible, however, namely the Internet, also allows alternative news sources to circulate censored news and critical opinion so that one witnesses an information and communication-divide on a scale never seen before in history. This paper sets out to reconstruct this information and communication chasm with reference to representative instances of each of the adversarial sides in what may be called a “war of information” and attempts to make this intelligible by interpreting these mainly through the theoretical lens of Jacques Derrida, supplemented by a coda enlisting Jürgen Habermas’s work on communication. While the latter does foresee the possibility of authentic communication (“communicative action”) despite the constant spectre of miscommunication (“strategic action”), Derrida is less optimistic about this. Instead, taking his cue from Joyce’s Ulysses, he insists that the very means of “reaching” the other in the act of communicating are also, ineluctably, the means for failing to reach them, and that “receiving” a message from someone can thus either result in a mechanical repetition of the message, or a paradoxical “repeating differently.” Moreover, elsewhere he indicates the paradoxical implications of a change of “context” as far as an utterance is concerned. This difference between these two thinkers allows one to get an intellectual grip on the situation unfolding in the world in 2021–2022; a world of ubiquitous information exchanges, implicitly claiming to be communicational exchanges. More specifically, Derrida and Habermas equip one with the communication-theoretical means to ascertain what this plethora of information exchanges amounts to.


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How to Cite

Olivier, Bert. 2022. “Massive Deception Masquerading As Information and Communication: A (largely) Derridean Perspective”. Phronimon 23:31 pages.



Themed Section 1
Received 2022-03-04
Accepted 2022-04-22
Published 2022-05-30