The Originality of Saussure

Russell Daylight

in What if Derrida Was Wrong About Saussure?

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780748641970
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671564 | DOI:
The Originality of Saussure

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This chapter attempts to establish the originality which Jacques Derrida grants to Ferdinand de Saussure within the epoch of the sign. Such originality stands or falls on the status of Saussure's theory of linguistic value. While Derrida never explicitly addresses this theory, his comments on Saussure's maintenance of ‘a transcendental signified’ would seem to neutralise the possibility of such a theory, as Saussure describes it. What is the evidence for determining Derrida's position on the originality of Saussure? From the very first time that Saussure is mentioned in Speech and Phenomena, in which Derrida suggests that the only innovation of the Saussurean signifier is to make it mental, Derrida's engagement with Saussure is frequently punctuated with the question of Saussure's originality. In Speech and Phenomena, Derrida appears to be applying a very Saussurean argument against the text of Edmund Husserl's Logical Investigations. This chapter also looks at Max Weber's views on Saussure's theory of value as well as the impediment and progress of Saussurean linguistics.

Keywords: Jacques Derrida; Ferdinand de Saussure; sign; theory of linguistic value; transcendental signified; Speech and Phenomena; Edmund Husserl; Logical Investigations; Max Weber; linguistics

Chapter.  7458 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics

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