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Class 14 Notes

Page history last edited by Alan Liu 10 years ago






A. Critique of the Sign



  • From Positions (1972), pp. 19-20:
    • "The maintenance of the rigorous distinction--an essential and juridical distinction--between the signans and the signatum, the equation of the signatum and the concept, inherently leaves open the possibility of thinking a concept signified in and of itself, a concept simply present for thought, independent of a relationship to language, that is of a relationship to a system of signifiers.  By leaving open this possibility--and it is inherent even in the opposition signifier/signified, that is in the sign--Saussure contradicts the critical acquisitions of which we were just speaking.  He accedes to the classical exigency of what I have proposed to call a 'transcendental signified,' which in and of itself, in its essence, would refer to no signifier, would exceed the chain of signs, and would no longer function as a signifier.  On the contrary, though, from the moment that one questions the possibility of such a transcendental signified, and that one recognizes that every signified is also in the position of a signifier, the distinction between signified and signifier becomes problematical at its root."


Diagram of the Saussurean idea of the "sign" Sassurean Sign as Imagined by Derrida




  • Some important terms used by Derrida and deconstruction:
    • "Center" / "Decentered"
    • "Presence" / "Absence"
    • "Trace"
    • "Supplement"
    • "Différance"
    • "Catachresis"
    • "mise en abyme"
    • "Intertextuality"


B. Critique of Structure


Levi-Strauss, Totemic Operator 

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