5/24/92 at 8:00 PM
"When speculation has done its worst," Samuel Johnson once said, "two and two still make four." Not necessarily at Cambridge University, where, after weeks of acrimony, the faculty awarded an honorary doctorate of letters to Jacques Derrida, the founder of deconstructionism, the school of literary criticism holding that every text is "unstable" and has meanings the writer never intended. Derrida, Cambridge philosopher Hugh Mellor complained, "has to write more and more obscurely to disguise the fact that he has nothing to say." At the dons' last donnybrook, in 1985, Oxford did deny an honorary degree to Margaret Thatcher-but then, Derrida didn't cut funding for universities.