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The concept of the metaphysics of presence is a key component of deconstruction in Continental philosophy. The deconstructive interpretation holds that the entire history of Western philosophy has emphasized the desire for immediate access to meaning, and thus built a metaphysics around the privileging of presence over absence. Deconstructive thinkers describe their task as the questioning or deconstruction of this metaphysical tendency in philosophy.

This argument is strongly influenced by the work of Martin Heidegger, who made similar claims in essays such as Identity and Difference. Friedrich Nietzsche is a more distant, but clear, influence as well.

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