The traditional interpretation of the Sartre-Derrida relationship
follows their own insistence that they are separated by a
certain irreducible distance. Contemporary research has, however,
questioned that assessment, mainly by reassessing the thought of
Sartre to picture him as a precursor to poststructuralism/deconstruction.
This article takes off from this stance to suggest that Sartre and
Derrida are partners against a common enemy—ontological presence—
but develop different paths to overcome it: Sartre affirming
nothingness and Derrida affirming différance. While much work has
been done on these concepts, they have rarely been used as the exclusive
means through which to engage with the Sartre-Derrida relationship.
Focusing on them reveals that while Sartrean nothingness and
Derridean différance are oriented against ontological presence, the
latter entails a radicalization of the former. Their relationship is not
then one of opposition but rather one of disharmonious continuity.