Chapter

The Sign as Representation

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/9780748641970.003.0006
The Sign as Representation

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The sign is more commonly understood as the basic unit of general semiology, or semiotics, rather than as a strictly linguistic object. Even Ferdinand de Saussure, as a linguist, indicates that the linguistic sign is merely part, albeit the most important part, of a more inclusive science. And within this field of semiotics, or the science of signs, it is almost universally agreed that the sign conforms to the medieval maxim identified by Roman Jakobson: aliquid stat pro aliquo, or, something that stands for something else. Given the place of Jakobson's testimony within Derrida's conception of the sign, a thorough exploration of the ‘stand-for’ relation is necessary. To what degree does the ‘stand-for’ relation hold true for Saussure, and to what degree for Jacques Derrida? This chapter examines Derrida's view of the ‘stand-for’ relation and of the sign as representation. It first discusses the semiotic work of Charles Sanders Peirce and then looks at Derrida's interpretation of Peirce and Saussure. It also analyses Derrida's critique of Sigmund Freud's advancement of the semiology of dreams.

Keywords: Jacques Derrida; Ferdinand de Saussure; sign; semiology; dreams; Charles Sanders Peirce; Sigmund Freud; representation; stand-for relation; semiotics

Chapter.  9957 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics

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