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Jaques Derrida: Logocentrism and Phonocentrism

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Kristine Lauvland Correa

on 22 September 2015

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Transcript of Jaques Derrida: Logocentrism and Phonocentrism

Derrida's reading of Saussure
"(...) Saussure had argued by saying that signs are arbitrary, and that they only signify something because a cultural system has artificially constructed or assigned meaning to them: there is no self-present intrinsic value"
Lane, 2013, p. 74
Logocentrism: Logos, i.e. "the word" in the centre!
Preferably the spoken word
(see e.g. Lane).
Derrida's neologism:
Différance
Literature:
Daylight, R. (2011). What If Derrida Was Wrong about Saussure? Edinburgh, Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland: Edinburgh UP.

Derrida, Jaques. Structure, Sign and Play (1967),pp.94-107, Lane, R. J. ed. (2013). Global Literary Theory, An Anthology. 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon Oxon OX14 4RN, Routeledge.

Derrida, Jacques. Of Grammatology, translated by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1974), p.49.

Lane, R. J. (2013). Global Literary Theory, An Anthology. 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon Oxon OX14 4RN, Routeledge.

Open Yale lecture: Derrida's critique of structuralism structurality (deconstruction), Published on 24 Nov 2012, Accessed: 21.09.2015

Phonocentrism
The sound is the centre! That is, "Speech is superior to writing."
Jaques Derrida, Logocentrism and Phonocentrism
Jaques Derrida's
Of Grammatology
Derrida's main strategic move is to question the metaphysical hierarchy of speech being prioritized and valued more highly than writing,
Lane, 2013, p. 74
Argument (by Aristotles, Saussure, Jean-Jaques Rosseau?): A voice or an inner speech, which structures thought, and is the foundation for the "Metaphysics of present."
Speech and writing as hierarchical binary opposites.
Saussure's sign:


Derrida's play of signification:
Arbor is not just arbor! Everyone has a different mental image of
tree
! E.g.
pine, oak, redwood tree, the tree outside your grandparents home, the smell, the sense of a tree, etc.

Meaning is always on the move! It is always networked and created through the differential play of semiotic systems; it is never fixed in one place.
Lane, 2013, p. 74
Logos
from Greek:
Word, opinion, reason.
(Merriam Webster's)

(From:
Lego
- I say)

That is, both to
differ
and also to defer/postpone (delay) meaning
Derrida deconstructs this binary opposition of speech/writing, to suggest that speech is actually a form of writing, and that both depend upon the play of "différance" to generate meaning.
Lane, 74
Derrida describes logocentrism as a "metaphysics of presence" that is motivated by a desire for a "transcendental signified."
Scott, 2002
The logocentric tradition views writing as a signifier of the spoken signifier.

In other words, a spoken word is "closer" to the "true meaning".
Full transcript