The Passion of Saussure

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Perhaps the best known and most influential of Jacques Derrida's early, linguistically-oriented critiques concerns the relationship between writing and speech. This inquiry is directed towards a certain thread in the history of philosophy in which priority is given to spoken language over the written. It is Saussurean linguistics in particular that allows Derrida to posit the interdependence of phonocentrism, or the privilege of speech over writing, with logocentrism, or the desire for a true and universal experience of the world in the mind prior to the introduction of language. However, a close reading of this engagement suggests that Saussure might be phonocentric but not logocentric, and indeed, that it is possible to be phonocentric but not logocentric.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)240-248
Number of pages9
JournalLanguage and Communication
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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