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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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Classical Semiology

Classical Semiology

(p.19) 1 Classical Semiology
What if Derrida Was Wrong About Saussure?

Russell Daylight

Edinburgh University Press

Jacques Derrida first uses the expression ‘classical semiology’ in ‘Différance’, to name the metaphysical system in which a sign takes the place of the thing in its absence. According to Derrida, ‘the original and essential link to the phonè has never been broken. It would be easy enough to demonstrate this and I shall attempt such a demonstration later’. At times, Ferdinand de Saussure seems to be merely caught up in this demonstration. This chapter explores the relationship that Derrida wants to establish between classical metaphysics and the semiology of Saussure. It starts with part one of Derrida's Of Grammatology and then looks at how a semiology of a Saussurean kind remains within a heritage of that logocentrism which is also a phonocentrism. Derrida's interrogation of classical metaphysics and its presuppositions begins with a quotation from the opening few lines of Aristotle's On Interpretation. This chapter also discusses the role of medieval theology in phonocentrism and logocentrism, as well as Roman Jakobson's interpretation of Saussure.

Keywords:   Jacques Derrida, Ferdinand de Saussure, classical semiology, sign, classical metaphysics, Of Grammatology, logocentrism, phonocentrism, Roman Jakobson, medieval theology

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