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A Confusing bit of Theory

"This moment was that in which language invaded the universal problematic; that in which, in the absence of a center or origin, everything became discourse--provided we can agree on this word--that is to say, when everything became a system where the central signified, the original or transcendental signified, is never absolute present outside a system of differences. The absence of the transcendental signified extends the domain and the interplay of signification ad infinitum." (Derrida 355)


Okay, I had a really hard time with this essay. The constant repitition of wording, though I understood his reasons for doing so, was a constant distraction and made it difficult to read. I got lost quite a bit, that is to say, I'm not sure if I read this correctly. Derrida's constant interjections of, that is to say, andthat in which, and if we can agree upon this word or that word, etc, was nerve wracking.

If anyone could help me out with this essay I would appreciate it. This will definitly be my muddy point for the week. And I think it is only because I got lost in all the distraction caused by his wording and phrasing.

Comments (4)

Derek Tickle:

I also noticed the reptition of words throughout the essay which I found interesting. I think the good explanation will have to wait until Ellen gives her presentation in class. Overall, I found it Derrida's statements and phrases to be amazing and very complex. Is this because he wants us to criticize his essay while reading it. Good Quote!

I've posted this on a few other blogs as well. Hope it helps:
While there is much I still don't understand about Derrida, I think his main point is simply to prove that every text, every argument we might come up with, every symbol we might create, can be deconstructed (even his own!). This ability arises from the nature of language: as humans, we are completely dependent upon language--we cannot express our thoughts in any other way; however, the system of language is inconstant, and this inconsistency undermines any center we might try to create within the system. Instead, all we are left with is a "field of freeplay" where there is no finite meaning, no determined "center". Thus, in the absence of a solid foundation, we cannot create texts with a sturdy meaning, we cannot ever really know the truth, for we don't have a sound starting point for our search; all we have is language, which is faulted, thus our answers will be faulted as well.

If you find this depressing, please see Greta's blog and the comments below http://blogs.setonhill.edu/GretaCarroll/2009/03/use_the_tool_that_works_best.html.
Also, I highly suggest taking a look at Angela's blog + comments http://blogs.setonhill.edu/AngelaPalumbo/2009/03/the_terrible_terribleness_that.html --there's a good discussion going on there about Derrida's wordiness, that you, and I'm sure the rest of the class, had trouble with.

Thanks Ellen, that helped alot. I'm looking forward to your presentation.

james lohr:

You are not alone, i had no idea most of the time what this man was talking about, or why i should be influenced...or even ponder what he was trying to tell me.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 31, 2009 9:41 AM.

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