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What if Derrida Was Wrong About Saussure?$
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Russell Daylight

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780748641970

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748641970.001.0001

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(p.172) Conclusion
What if Derrida Was Wrong About Saussure?

Russell Daylight

Edinburgh University Press

One of the principal ambitions of this book is to gather together, from a vantage point somewhere in between Jacques Derrida and Ferdinand de Saussure, all of Derrida's commentary and work upon the Course in General Linguistics. Beginning with the progress of semiology, with the loosening of metaphysics, Saussure is, according to Derrida, the thinker who instituted the field of semiology based on the arbitrary and differential character of the sign. Saussure's originality within the tradition of the concept of the sign is to imagine the signifier and signified as dematerialised and differential entities. In ‘Structure, Sign, and Play’, Derrida considers the ‘event’ of structuralism within the history of the concept of structure. In Of Grammatology, Derrida considers the role of Saussurean phonocentrism in the effort to maintain a mental experience independent of a relationship to language. For Derrida, meaning does not come to rest in a structure, but continues indefinitely in a ‘systematic play of differences’, and he calls this différance. Subject and object, synchrony and diachrony, writing and speech, are utilised by Saussure as already present entities.

Keywords:   Jacques Derrida, Ferdinand de Saussure, sign, différance, semiology, metaphysics, structuralism, phonocentrism, language, speech

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