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What's the buzz?

If you struggled like I did with the numerous terms Derrida uses in his essay, this blog entry is for you. The following is a list explaining buzz words and vocab words that pop up in his essay "Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences."

episteme: (354, column 1) a system of understanding or a body of ideas which give shape to the knowledge of that time (note: the link here references the concepts of Foucault, not Derrida, but I feel it is still helpful. Foucault was a French post-structuralist as well. Without going into too much detail, he argues that we are stuck in a box (intellectually), and, should we escape from this box, we must realize that we are only now in a different box that encompassed the one we were in earlier.)

interdict: (354, column 1) to forbid; prohibit

arche: (354, column 2) "the origin"

telos: (354, column 2) "the end"

eschatology: (354, column 2) any system of doctrines concerning last, or final, matters, as death, the Judgment, the future state, etc

elliptical: (354, column 2) (of a style of speaking or writing) tending to be ambiguous, cryptic, or obscure

"universal problematic": (355, column 1) in reference to the "event" or "rupture" in which our inability to identify the "transcendental signified" or the center was realized (see this brief explanatory essay for further help)

"the concept of the sign": (355, column 2) "determined through opposition" but not through the strict schema of signifier--signified. Instead, there is no constant/original signifier; one signifier leads to another which leads to another, and so on. (see section 2.2.1 of this webpage for more explanation)

bricolage: (358, column 1) (in literature) a piece created from diverse resources

mythopoetic: (358, column 1) of or pertaining to the making of myths; causing, producing, or giving rise to myths

anaclastic: (359, column 1) of or pertaining to refraction (of light)

freeplay: (360, column 2) all that is left in the absence of a center, "a field of infinite substitutions in teh closure of a finite ensemble"

supplement: (360, column 2) added to complete or make up a deficiency

etymology: (351, column 2) an account of the history of a particular word or element of a word


While this is not an all an exhaustive list of terms present in Derrida's work, I hope this helps. All definitions were taken from dictionary.com.

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Comments (4)

A helpful list, Ellen.

I'd say telos is closer to "your goal" or "your purpose." It means "the end" the way you'd use it if you said "The ends do (or do not) justify the means."

Angela Palumbo:

Wow Ellen! Good job. You put a lot of effort into this. I think you deserve a pat on the back (they're hard to come by these days). I'm glad to see you understand Derrida's article. You'll do great on your presentation!

You're right, I should've explained "telos" further. "The end" is how Derrida explains it briefly in the text. Good clarification, Dr. Jerz. Thanks.

Awesome list Ellen. This is going above and beyond. Thanks this is incredibly helpful.

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