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Continental Realism and Its Discontents$
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Marie-Eve Morin

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781474421140

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474421140.001.0001

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The Realist Challenge: Thinking the Reality of Language after Deconstruction

The Realist Challenge: Thinking the Reality of Language after Deconstruction

(p.175) Chapter 9 The Realist Challenge: Thinking the Reality of Language after Deconstruction
Continental Realism and Its Discontents

Peter Gratton

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter shows that realism and linguisticism are but two sides of the same medal. Naïve realism takes an entity, such as ‘matter’, ‘objects’, or ‘numbers’, to be simply given, thus constituting a kind of origin. While linguisticism presents an updated version of Kant’s critique of realism, it also asserts either that we cannot speak to an extra-linguistic real or that language is determined by the real, of which it cannot speak but toward which it nevertheless tends. While the first option seals us within linguistic idealism, the second tends to think of language in terms of a medieval semiology and a negative theology of the real. This chapter shows how speculative realists share in this negative theology and then turns to deconstruction and to Derrida’s engagement with Pierce’s semiology to develop a thinking of the reality of the sign.

Keywords:   Derrida, deconstruction, Pierce, semiology, sign, linguisticism, realism, idealism, negative theology

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