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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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The Concept of the Sign

The Concept of the Sign

(p.50) 3 The Concept of the Sign
What if Derrida Was Wrong About Saussure?

Russell Daylight

Edinburgh University Press

Given his efforts to identify logocentric operations in the metaphysics of philosophy, it is curious that Derrida should be so willing to speak of ‘the concept of the sign’ as if it had an identity and a history independent from the names one might assign to it. Such a commitment also seems to override everything in Ferdinand de Saussure's own theory of semiology that rejects the very possibility of concepts with histories. Exactly how does this concept exist through time: as a signified without a signifier, or as a signified which is passed from one signifier to another. Derrida repeatedly states that ‘the concept of the sign’ is defined as the combination of a signifier and signified. He is working towards an insight into Western metaphysics which exceeds the logic and language of the semiology that he has taken as a privileged example. This chapter explores Derrida's paradoxical treatment of the identity and history of the concept of the sign. It also examines his concept of structure.

Keywords:   Jacques Derrida, Ferdinand de Saussure, sign, semiology, metaphysics, signified, signifier, structure

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