Chapter

The Concept of the Sign

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748641970.003.0004
The Concept of the Sign

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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

Chapter.  5619 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics

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