• postmodern;
  • nursing;
  • Derrida;
  • culture wars;
  • new humanities

Abstract Jacques Derrida is perhaps the foremost philosopher of the humanities and of its place in the university. Over the long period of his career he has been concerned with the fate, status, place and contribution of the humanities. Through his deconstructive readings and writings he has done much not only to reinvent the western tradition by attending closely to those texts which constitute it but also he has redefined its procedures and protocols. This paper first introduces the notion of postmodern nursing, its relation to the culture wars and some of the main characteristics of so-called poststructuralism, considered as a response to the scientific pretensions of structuralism. Secondly, it provides some background to Derrida, who Althusser believed to be the most important French philosopher of the 20th century. Thirdly, it explores a recent essay where Derrida outlines seven programmatic theses or what he calls ‘seven professions of faith’ for the new humanities. Finally, and very tentatively, it suggests what such a view might contribute to the nursing humanities.