5.4 Application of Deconstruction-4

Application of Deconstruction:

In order to show how Deconstruction works in philosophy, Derrida introduces in his Of Grammatology some great thinkers and linguistics like, Saussure, Levi-Strauss, and Rousseau and applies deconstruction to their thought. In this section we will discuss about Derrida and Warburton, Vico, Condillac.


Derrida and Warburton, Vico, Condillac

Of Grammatology concludes by placing this reading of Rousseau’s Essay within the context of three other eighteenth-century texts that deal with similar topics: WiIliam Warbuton’s The devine legation of Moses Demonstrated (1741, Giambattista Vico’s The New Science (1744), and Etienne Bonnot de Condillac’s An essay on the origin of Human Knowledge (1746). Throughout part II of his text, Derrida uses Vico in his footnotes as a counterpoint to his exposition of Rousseau’s argument in the Essay, even though Rousseau himself both borrowed from and argued against Vico. Derrida attributes to Vico the rare, if not unique, distinction of having advocated the contemporaneous origin of writing and speech. In the introduction to The New Science he wrote,


“letters and languages were born twins and proceeded a pace through all their three stages. Those stages are simultaneously the three ages of the world, the three kinds of nature and government, and the three kinds of language, all of which are epitomized in the three languages of the Egyptians. These correspondences may be diagrammed as follows:[1]


Historical Age

Kind of Language

Egyptian version

  1. The age of Gods:

Divine government

by oracles



  1. The Age of Heroes: aristocratic common wealth based on the

assumption of

superior nature

  1. The age of Men:

Popular commonwealths and monarchies based on the assumptions of equality in human nature.

1. Mute language of

signs and physical

objects, which have

natural relation to

ideas expressed

2. Heroic emblems,

images, metaphors,

natural descriptions



3. Human language

using commonly

agreed upon words

by which the people

fix the meaning of

laws that nobles and

priests and kept


  1. Hieroglyphic or





  1. Symbolic






3. Epistolary or vulgar

Vico anticipates that by using his theory of the stages of history and language, scholars of any language, ancient or modern, should be able to advance philological knowledge beyond any previous expectation. Furthermore, he declares, it is now possible to claim with confidence that early peoples were poets who spoke in poetic characters.[2] This discovery is “the master key” to the new science of man.


Despite his immense learning, Vico appears to be unaware of William Warburton’s monumental defense of Moses against the Deists. William Warburton’s discussion of the origins of writing in The Divine Legation of Moses Demonstrated is indicative of the transition in the treatment of writing and writing systems that was occurring in this period. Warburton’s work, which at one point discusses the origin and development of writing, shows an affinity with seventeenth-century works on writing systems — it outlines a number of different writing systems. In particular, Warburton discusses the ideographic and pictographic writing systems of the Mexicans, Egyptian hieroglyphics and Chinese writing as representative of three stages in the development of writing representing images or ideas. These systems are fundamentally different, he argued, from systems which use writing to represent sounds or words. The Divine Legation introduces an interest in the theory of writing and the importance of the relationship between writing and speech. In book II, he describes the process of the development of writing:

Men soon found out two ways of communicating their thoughts to one another; the first by SOUNDS, and the second by FIGURES: for there being frequent occasion to have their conceptions either perpetuated, or communicated at a distance, the way of figures or characters was next thought upon, after sounds (which were momentary and confined), to make their conceptions lasting and extensive.[3] (Warburton 1788, II:388)



In book IV, section 4, Warburton offers a history of writing in order to show that Egyptian hieroglyphics constitute an important proof of the antiquity of Egypt. His thesis is a lucid and succinct statement of the opposite position from Vico’s:

There are two ways of communicating the conceptions of our minds to others; the first by sounds, and the second by figures. For there being frequent occasion to have our conceptions perpetuated, and known at a distance, and sounds being momentary and confined, the way of figures or characters was, soon after that of sounds, thought upon to make those conceptions lasting and extensive. The first and most natural way of communicating our conceptions by marks or figures, was by tracing out the images of things. To express, for instance, the idea of a man or horse, the informer delineated the form of each of those animals. Thus the first essay towards writing was a mere picture.[4]


This distinction indicates a fundamentally different interest in writing from the seventeenth-century scholars: here, writing is a way of representing conceptions, and is thus secondary to thought. Warburton also put forward a theory that the type of literature composed in a given language at a given time is related to the written form in which it was recorded. He states that in primitive times, when the only visual form (and the most natural way) of representing language was with pictures, the dominant form of literature was one of action, that is, stories were illustrated with gestures and so on. As picture writing evolved, Warburton claims, metonymy and metaphor `came into being. Although it would have better served his theological interests to argue, as Vico had, that the metaphorical character of primitive languages had a divine origin, Warburton is sufficiently committed to his belief in the representational origin of writing—a picture of a horse representing a horse, for example—that he takes the opposite view from Vico’s.


When Condillac appropriated Warburton’s history, he kept much of Warburton’s language but silently altered his view of the origins of metaphor:

When mankind had once acquired the art of communicating their conceptions by sounds, they began to feel the necessity of inventing new signs proper for perpetuating them, and for making them known at a distance. Their imaginations then represented nothing more to them than those same images, which they had already expressed by gestures and words, and which from the very beginning had rendered language figurative and metaphorical. The most natural way therefore was to delineate the images of things. To express the idea of a man or of a horse, they represented the form of each of these animals; so that the first essay towards writing was a mere picturc.[5]



By locating metaphor at the point of the origin of language, Condillac, like Vico, is able to conceive of the original style of language as poetical, because it began with depicting the most sensible images of our ideas. By inheriting this debate on original language as mediated by Condillac, Rousseau was able to overcome his pre-Saussurean position in history. Condillac provided him with a sense of the arbitrariness of the sign and with a rudimentary conception of deconstruction.[6]

This legacy of Condillac is more fully sketched in Derrida’s The archeology of the Firivolous: Reading Condilac (1973), which elaborates on the allusions to Condillac at the end Of Grammatology. In this later book, Derrida quotes with obvious approval from one of Condillac’s letters to Gabriel Cramer:

You want me to explain the prerogative of arbitrary signs over natural ones and why the arbitrary signs set free the operations of the soul that the natural ones leave necessary. That is the most delicate point of my system on the absolute necessity of signs. The difficulty has all its force and is so much better founded since I did not anticipate it. That is what causes me to be a little tangled on this whole matter. I even notice that I have said more than I wanted to, than I meant.

An even more striking anticipation of Derrida’s formulation of deconstruction is a passage from Condillac’s Essay, to which he seems to allude without directly citing it:

Sometimes after having distinguished several ideas, we consider them as forming only a single notion; at other times we prescind from a notion some of the ideas of which it is composed. This is what we call to compound and decompound our ideas. By means of these operations we are capable of comparing them under all sorts of relations, and of daily making new combinations of them.

Condillac also appears to have anticipated the perversion Of Grammatology both by its Derridean disciples and by those who would make war on what is ultimately a feature of language. First, Condillac describes the strategies of such a writer as Rousseau or Heidegger or Derrida, who finds that “every style analogous to the character of the language, and to his own, has been already used by preceding writers,” leaving him no option but to “deviate from analogy.” But “in order to be an original, he is obliged to contribute to the ruin of a language,” which in earlier generations he would have worked to improve. Although “such writers may be criticized, their superior abilities must still command success.” But because their defects are easy to copy, soon “men of indifferent capacities” rush to acquire what reputation they can, even by imitating those defects. “Then begins the reign of subtle and strained conceits, of affected antitheses, of specious paradoxes, of frivolous turns, of far-fetched expressions, of new-fangled words, and in short of the jargon of persons whose understandings’ have been debauched by bad metaphysics.”[7]



[1] Michael Payne, Reading Theory, An Introduction to Lacan, Derrida and Kristeva, Cambridge, p. 152

[2] Michael Payne, Reading Theory, An Introduction to Lacan, Derrida and Kristeva, Cambridge, p. 152

[3] As quoted in Michael Payne, Reading Theory, An Introduction to Lacan, Derrida and Kristeva,, p.153

[4] Quoted in Michael Payne, Reading Theory, An Introduction to Lacan, Derrida and Kristeva,, p.153

[5] As quoted in Michael Payne, Reading Theory, An Introduction to Lacan, Derrida and Kristeva, p. 153

[6] This legacy of Condillac is more fully sketched in Derrida’s The archeology of the Frivolous: Reading Condilac (1973).

[7] These phrases, quoted from Condillac quoted by Derrida himself, indicate how well he knows the perils of his own project and influence

5.3 Application of Deconstruction-3

Application of Deconstruction:

In order to show how Deconstruction works in philosophy, Derrida introduces in his Of Grammatology some great thinkers and linguistics like, Saussure, Levi-Strauss, and Rousseau and applies deconstruction to their thought. In this section we will discuss about Derrida and Levi-Strauss.


Derrida and Levi-Strauss

Derrida now turns his attention to French anthropologist Claude Levi-strauss, for it was Levi-Strauss who applied Saussure’s structural linguistics to the study of anthrology in general, and myth in particular. Both Rousseau and Levi-Strauss base all there arguments on the binary opposition between nature and culture. Nature is innocent, pure and natural. Culture is corrupting, perverse. Both Rousseau and Levi-Strauss favor nature over culture. Both long for a lost innocence in culture. And both see writing as a perverse supplement to natural speech.


Part II, chapter 1, “The Violence of the Letter,” is largely devoted to Derrida’s reading of two episodes in Levi-Strauss’s Tristes Tropiques. This reading makes possible both a focusing of Derrida’s argument and an expansion of it at the same time. Unlike Saussure, Levi-Strauss contributes little to Derrida’s theory of textual processes; but like Rousseau, he conceives of writing in broad historical and ideological terms that seem to invite Derrida’s deconstructive reading. Derrida begins by making a distinction between discourse and text. ‘Discourse’ signifies “the present, living, conscious representation of a text within the experience of the person who writes, or reads it,” whereas the ‘text’ not only exceeds such representation but does so “by the entire system of its resources and its own laws”[1], as though guided by an internal avoidance mechanism that keeps it from being totally captured by a single act of reading. Deconstruction might then be seen as operating in this problematic zone between text and discourse.


Derrida, however, delights in showing how Rousseau’s dream of purity, innocence and presence shows up even in a modern science like anthropology. The Text Derrida deconstructs here is Levi-Strauss’s “The writing lesson”, a chapter in his book Tristes Tropiques (sad tropics), this book is an extended and sweetly melancholy farewell to a world which ceased to exist between the 193Os, when Levi-Strauss was there, and 1955, when his book was published.[2] Tristes Tropiques is the story of Levi-Strauss’s anthropological field work in the wilds of Brazil. There he finds the Nambikwara, a tribe in which he sees the perfect example of primitive naturalness. In fact, in his role as anthropologist, Levi-Strauss feels guilty—like a voyeur, an communal innocence of this primitive culture which knows no writing—only speaking. Levi-Strauss admires there closeness to nature, their open, communal sexuality, there way of knowing through myth rather than through science.


‘The Writing Lesson’ begins with a stark reflection on the gradual extinction of the Nambikwara population, which declined from approximately 20,000 in 1915 to no more than 2,000 when Levi- Strauss visited with them in 1938. It is not only their exemplary helplessness that makes the Nambikwara important; they also constitute the goal of the ethnographer’s professional quest: “I had been looking for a society reduced to its simplest expression. That of the Nambikwara was so truly simple that all I could find in it was individual human beings.”[3] As the subject of Levi-Strauss’s dissertation, La Vie familiale et sociale des lndiens Nambikwara, published in 1948, they become intimately associated with his reflections on his own writing practices. In this tribe, Levi-Strauss is convinced, he succeeded in finding not only the most elementary of cultures, but also the equivalent of the natural origin of human life that Rousseau had sought but was unable to find.


It had been Levi-Strauss’s practice to distribute pencils and paper among the non-literate tribes he visited. When Levi-strauss was writing in his note-book he observes the Nambikwara drawing various wavy lines, he recognizes that they are simply mimicking what they see him do with writing implements. The chief of the tribe, however, had further ambitions, since “he was the only one who had grasped the purpose of writing.” What the chief understands is that writing is a matter of power and that if he convinces his companions that he has mastered the white man’s writing and has become an intermediary agent for the exchange of goods, then his power will be enhanced. But it is only after the fact that Levi-Strauss realizes that the chief had seized of writing not to acquire knowledge, to remember, or to understand, but rather to reinforce his prestige and authority, and to maintain the unequal distribution of goods in his favour, at the expense of others. This realization in turn leads Levi-Strauss to reconsider the common view that writing has increased the ability of humans to preserve knowledge, that it is a form of artificial memory, that it makes possible a clearer view of the past and an enhanced ability to organize the present and the future, and that it marks the distinction between barbarism and civilization. This view he rejects because one of the most creative phases of human history occurred before writing, in the early neolithic age; because there dearly was tradition before writing; because writing, invented between 4,000 and 3,000 BC, was itself a result of the ‘neolithic revolution’; because for 5,000 years, from the birth of writing, ‘knowledge fluctuated more than it increased;’ and because life for a Greek and Roman citizen was not ,vastly different from that of an eighteenth-century middle-class European such as Rousseau. These reflections lead Levi-Strauss to the conclusion that writing seems to have favoured the exploitation rather than the development of human beings.[4]


Indeed, it finally seems, as Levi-Strauss reflects back on this episode, that the Nambikwara knew this before he did, since they withdrew their allegiance to their chief because of his attempt to exploit a feature of civilization in order to assert his power over them. But even this is in accordance with a principle of Rousseau’s. As he becomes corrupted by the uncertain power of writing, the chief refuses to renounce his independence in the interest of the general will. Writing –even as mime—blinds him to the basis of social life. which consists of contract and consent.[5]


Derrida finds his opening for a critique of Levi-Strauss in an earlier chapter of Tristes Tropiques entitled ‘On the Line.’ Here the question becomes, whose violence is displayed in Levi-Strauss’s text? This episode opens with Levi-Strauss’s unconvincing assurance that “the Nambikwara were easy-going, and unperturbed by the presence of the anthropologist with his notebook and camera.”[6] He proceeds to describe playing with a group of children when a little girl, after being hit by a playmate, tried to ‘whisper something in his ear. He soon realizes that as an act of revenge against her enemy, she is violating the taboo against revealing proper names. Indeed, it had become a practice of the anthropologists to assign Portugue’s names to the Indians because they could not learn their proper names.

Levi-Strauss seizes upon the opportunity supplied by the quarrel between the two girls “to incite the children against each other and get to know all their names.”[7] As in ‘The Writing Lesson,’ Levi-Strauss is aware of the devastating consequences of the contamination by Western culture on the disappearing world of the Nambikwara, yet he is eager to believe that they were ‘untroubled by the presence of the anthropologist,’ proceeds to violate the virgin space of the girls’ play, to exploit unscrupulously—as he himself admit—their childish quarrels, to encourage the tribe to mimic literacy, and to tempt their chief to exploit the power of Western literacy in a way that leads eventually to his deposition and exile. Here the ultimate violence is not that of the children against each other or of the chief against his tribe; rather it is the violence of the ethnographer himself, who violates the virginal space of the Nambikwara first with his foreign spectator’s presence and then with his political ideology [8].

Levi-Strauss has felt at one and the same time the necessity of utilizing this opposition and the impossibility of making it acceptable. In the Elementary Structures, he begins from this axiom or definition: that belongs to nature which is universal and spontaneous, not depending on any particular culture or on any determinate norm. That belongs to culture, on the other hand, which depends on a system of norms regulating society and is therefore capable of varying from one social structure to another. These two definitions are of the traditional type. But, in the very first pages of the Elementary Structures, Levi-Strauss, who has begun to give these concepts an acceptable standing, encounters what he calls a scandal, that is to say, something which no longer tolerates the nature/culture opposition he has accepted and which seems to require at one and the same time the predicates of nature and those of culture. This scandal is the incest-prohibition. The incest-prohibition is universal; in this sense one could call it natural. But it is also a prohibition, a system of norms and interdicts; in this sense one could call it cultural.[9]

Derrida recalls that Levi-Strauss had himself referred to the ‘Marxist hypothesis on the origins of writing’[10] to be found in Tristes Tropiques. That hypothesis–more accurately a blend of Saussurean phonocentrism and Levi-Strauss’s Marxism–combines the two constituents of the European hallucination: (1) man’s exploitation by man is the fact of writing cultures of the Western type, and (2) communities of innocent and un-oppressive speech are free from this accusation.[11] In his critique of Levi-Strauss’s political ideology, Derrida observes that Levi-Strauss does not distinguish either between hierarchization and domination or between authority and exploitation. As a result of this failure, he ‘confounds law and, oppression’ in a way that is totally alien to Rousseau, while nonetheless offered under the name of Rousseau.


Levi-Strauss argues a necessary coincidence of compulsory education, military service, which leads him to conclude that the struggle in the nineteenth century against illiteracy is ‘indistinguishable from the increased powers exerted over the individual citizen by the central authority” and that it is in the interest of the state for everyone to be able to read so that Authority can decree that ignorance of law is no defence[12]. Derrida warns against the temptation simply to reverse Levi-Strauss’s judgment. Indeed, in Europe in the nineteenth century, Derrida concedes, the progress of education and formal legality might well have had the effect of consolidating power in a given class or in the state. But it cannot be rigorously deduced that liberty, illiteracy, and the absence of public instruction go hand in hand. Levi-Strauss has been driven by the unexamined metaphysical and ethical weight of his suspicion of writing to adopt a univocal conception of law and the state, which substitutes anarchy for Rousseau’s contract and consent. In this sense, Levi-Strauss made his long journey into the jungles of Brazil only to deny the other, which was the object of his search. Without differance, which is the recognition of writing in speech, and without the ‘presence of the other,’ Derrida concludes, there is no ethics[13], only ethnocentrism replicated in the name of anti-ethnocentrism.


[1] Of Grammatology, p. 142

[2] Michael Payne, Reading Theory, An Introduction to Lacan, Derrida and Kristeva, p. 142

[3] Levi Strauss, Tristes Tropiques, John and Doreen Weightman (tr.), London: Jonathan Cape, 1973, p.416, As quoted in Reading Theory, An Introduction to Lacan, Derrida and Kristeva, p. 143

[4] Ibid., p. 144

[5] Ibid., p. 144

[6] Ibid., p. 145

[7] Ibid., p. 145

[8] Of Grammatology, p. 131

[9] Jacques Derrida, Writing and Difference, Alan Bass (Tr), London, The University of Chicago press, 1978, p. 283

[10] Of Grammatology, p. 119

[11] Of Grammatology, p. 121

[12] Of Grammatology, p. 131-2

[13] Of Grammatology, p. 139-40

5.2 Application of Deconstruction-2

Application of Deconstruction:

In order to show how Deconstruction works in philosophy, Derrida introduces in his Of Grammatology some great thinkers and linguistics like, Saussure, Levi-Strauss, and Rousseau and applies deconstruction to their thought. In this section we will discuss about Derrida and Rousseau.

Derrida and Rousseau

Having displayed how Saussure’s argument about the centrality of speech deconstructs itself, Derrida proceeds to make the same sorts of moves on the 18th century French Philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau, the father of French romanticism. In Discourse on Sciences and Arts, Discourse on the Origin and Bases of Inequality and Confessions, Rousseau reacted against the view of his contemporaries that progress in the arts and sciences will make human beings happy. Instead, he argued that civilization and learning corrupt human nature. He celebrated the “original”, “natural”, “uncivilized” man, the “noble savage” who was innocent of writing, private property and the powerful property and the powerful Institutions of the political state. Rousseau yearned to return to a “natural” state of idyllic simplicity, innocence and grace, living most of his life with an illiterate servant girl.


Rousseau’s writings depend upon a binary opposition between nature and culture. Nature is good, original, virtuous, noble and present. Culture is corrupt, degenerates, a “supplement” to nature’s fullness of presence. Rousseau also feels that writing is perverse—a product of civilization, a dangerous supplement to natural speech. He argues that in small scale, organic, living communities the face-to-face presence of speech had eventually given way to civilization, to inequalities of power and economics, and to the loss of the ability to speak one-to-one.


For Rousseau it is writing that has intruded upon the idyllic communal peace and grace of the one-to-one intimacy of natural speaking societies. But Derrida says that “Is it Rousseau’s dream of idyllic, intimate, primitive, speaking community simple the social and political equivalent of logocentrism and the metaphysics of presence? Isn’t he just yearning for the full presence of speech and distrusting writing? ” Yes, he is. And it is Derrida’s task, then, to demonstrate how Rousseau’s writings deconstruct themselves. Now Derrida says, that all these Rousseau’s writings are writings, i.e. Rousseau is not present to us, he is absent, he is not speaking, we know him only through his writing, which he must depend on to communicate his thoughts to us. Rousseau, writing in a candid, confessional mode, realizes that even though writing is artificial and decadent, he is a writer. He realizes that he must rely upon writing to make his own most intimate thoughts and feelings known, even to himself. He also confesses that it is when writing down the history of his life and emotions, that he feels tempted to embellish, to fictionalize, to dress up the original, natural truth. Thus, he concludes that writing is a dangerous supplement to speech.[1]


However, Derrida seizes upon the fact that supplement, (suppléer, in French), can mean not only 1) to supplement, to add on to—but also, 2) to take the place of, to substitute for. So supplement is paradoxical, it can mean adding something on to something already complete in itself, or adding on something to complete a thing.

So it is like an ambigram.[2] And for Rousseau, writing is both something that is added on to speech, which is supposedly already complete and full of presence—and it is something which makes speech complete. But speech is obviously not complete if it needs writing to supplement it. It is not full of presence. It must contain absence.


And then Derrida shows that for Rousseau all his human activities involve this play of presence/absence. For instance, Rousseau writes that melody—the pure, spontaneous impulse to sing—is central, because it is so present to the natural voice. Harmony, on the other hand—the arrangement of multiple voices in concert—is unnatural. After all it depends upon notation, which is a form of writing. Rousseau argues that as civilizations become more complex, more abstract, written harmonies replace the innocent grace of natural speech-song—melody.[3]


But Derrida shows how Rousseau’s argument deconstructs itself. Rousseau writes that melody “has its principle in harmony, since it is an harmonic analysis that gives degree of the scale, and the chords of the mode, and the laws of modulation, the only elements of singing.[4]” We always sing a melody in a certain key, in a certain scale—and that is harmony. So the pure, pristine melody is always a form of its dangerous supplement—for it substitutes or adds a perverse, solitary and weakening pleasure to the normal, natural presence of erotic experience with a lover. The masturbator has fantasies about absent beauties with his imagination, supplementing them for the real thing.


And both sex and masturbation realizes Rousseau, may be just a substitute for his foster-mother his original object of desire. Thus the masturbator, the fantasist, is engaged in an endless quest. For his fantasies—and even his lovers—can never replace the full presence he enjoyed with his foster-mother. Again, but, is not it that just another form of the yearning for full presence all over again…? Just another example of what Derrida calls the metaphysics of presence…?


Yes, And what Derrida reveals is that throughout the Confessions, Rousseau relies upon the dangerous supplement, fantasy—because he admits that at the very core of “natural” sexual desire—there is lack, absence. Rousseau admits that his “natural” erotic experiences with women have never been passionate, as exciting and fulfilling, as his erotic dreams and daytime fantasies. Sex can not live up to fantasy. Neither can it live up to the fullness of presence he once felt with his foster-mother. So like speech and melody, the presence of sex is always already inhabited by a certain lack, by an absence, which then must be filled in with dangerous supplement—fantasy.


Picking up on Rousseau’s comparison in the Confessions of “silent and ill chosen reading” to his first discoveries of auto-eroticism (masturbation), [5] Derrida comments on the difficulty of separating writing from masturbation. What links these two activities is the experience of “touching touched,”[6] or the double sensation of two exposed surfaces of the body at once. Not only, he argues, are all living things capable of auto-affection, but also “auto affection is the condition of an experience in general”[7] because sensory exteriority “submits itself to my power of repetition.”[8]


Derrida also wants to employ the metaphorical sense of masturbation as the expanding or the ejaculation seed in the world. Speech does not fall into the exteriority of space. While suppressing difference, speech nevertheless requires the listener as present other. It is what is added to “living self present speech” as supplement, much as masturbation presupposes (or supplements) the concept of sexual activity with a partner.[9]


Rouseau favors speech, melody, nature and sex. But then Derrida notices how Rousseau finds a dangerous supplement in all of these—in harmony, in writing, in civilization and in fantasy or masturbation—regarding all these supplements as marginal



Central Marginal

Melody Harmony

Speech Writing

Nature Civilization

Sex Fantasy/masturbation

Central Marginal

Melody Harmony

Speech Writing

Nature Civilization

Sex Fantasy/masturbation


But, if something needs a supplement, there must be something lacking in it in the first place—there must always already be absence in it. And this is how Derrida brings about the deconstructive reversal or inversion, showing how the marginalized term can be central. Thus it seems that in everything that Rousseau found fullness of presence, there was, in Derrida’s view, always already an original lack, and absence at work. Yet, Rousseau’s whole argument depends upon maintaining that melody, speech, etc, are full.


So Derrida shakes up the stability of these pairs of binary opposites, by playing upon the double meaning of the term supplement. For again, in French it can mean to add something on to a thing already complete in itself, or to complete a thing by adding on it. Supplement, then, cannot be defined simply. Like the ambigraph of the faces and the candles, it is two things at once. Then it seems as if all of life is like a text, or like the term supplement, or like the faces and the triangles, nothing but a play of differences.


Derrida enumerates two series of terms or concepts in Rousseau’s text that relate to each other according to the structure of supplementarity:

We thus see two series working themselves out: (1) animality, need, interest, gesture, sensibility, understanding, reason, ete. (2) humanity, passion, imagination, speech, liberty, perfectibility’, etc.

The second set of terms relate to the first as supplementary metaphysical determinations. As supplements, they desire to complete the terms in the first set in order to achieve an integrated metaphysical coherence. While setting up this structure of concepts as though to allow such appropriation by the second set to take place, Rousseau will not allow it to happen. Imagination, for example, is hardly an unambiguously affirmative supplement if it gives birth to “moral love,” the depravity of culture, the degradation of writing, and the enervation of man. Out of the supplementary difference of these sets comes death, the “dangerous difference.”[10] Derrida is not simply dismissing death as a grammatological figure. It is neither dying nor being dead, but rather “the anguished anticipation of death,” which underlies supplementarity. This anticipation is “the abyss from which all menaces announce themselves” and of which all supplementarities are but metonymic substitutions. In so far as death, in this sense, is an image generated by the imagination, the imagination for Rousseau – and for Derrida – “is the power that allows life to affect itself with its own representation.” Or, more simply, “lmagination is at bottom the relationship with death”[11] in that it is the means by which life refers to the other than itself. As the “faculty of signs and appearances,” the imagination both awakens and transgresses what Rousseau calls human perfectibility and Derrida call it human potentiality.


[1] Jim Powell, Derrida for Begineers, p. 51

[2] A graphical figure that spells out a word not only in its form as presented, but also in another direction or orientation, and thus giving two different meanings of the same word or object.

[3] Jim Powell, Derrida for Begineers, p. 52

[4] As quoted in Jim Powell, Derrida for Begineers, p. 52

[5] Of Grammatology, p. 340n

[6] Of Grammatology, p. 235

[7] Of Grammatology, p. 165

[8] Of Grammatology, p. 165

[9] Of Grammatology, p. 167

[10] Of Grammatology, p. 183

[11] Of Grammatology, p. 184

5.1 Application of Deconstruction-1

Application of Deconstruction:

In order to show how Deconstruction works in philosophy, Derrida introduces in his Of Grammatology some great thinkers and linguistics like, Saussure, Levi-Strauss, and Rousseau and applies deconstruction to their thought. In this section we will discuss about Derrida and Saussure.

Derrida and Saussure

In order to show, how Deconstruction is applied in Philosophy, Derrida offers in Part I, chapters 2 and 3, a reading of Saussure’s A Course in General Linguistics by considering the implications of that text and its legacy for an affirmative science Of Grammatology. Derrida explains that he has given privileged attention to Saussure not only because of Saussure’s continuing importance in contemporary linguistics and semiology, but also because Saussure holds himself at the limit of the structure of thought that he initiates. Like Heidegger, he remains within the limits of the metaphysics that calls out for the kind of deconstructive reading to which Derrida subjects it; but also, again like Heidegger, Saussure himself has ‘scruples’ and hesitations concerning those limits. Saussure, then, is important for Derrida, first, because his explicitly limited view of writing calls out for a grammatological critique; and, second, because his own text provides the means for that critique, which describes this way:

Unless my project has been fundamentally misunderstood, it should be clear by now that, caring very little about Ferdinand de Saussure’s very thought itself, I have interested myself in a text whose literality has played a well known role since 1915, operating within a system of readings, influences, misunderstandings, borrowings, refutations, etc. What I could read—and equally what I could not read—under the title of A Course in General Linguistics seemed important to the point of excluding all hidden and “true” intentions of Ferdinand de Saussure.[1]

This reading of Saussure is simultaneously a demonstration of deconstructive processes always at work everywhere, an exposition of how close Saussure himself came to understanding those processes, and a critique of Saussure’s moral and metaphysical denunciation of writing, which keeps him confined by the very limitations he was able to see. It is ironically fitting, because of its favorable attention to speech at the expense of writing, that Saussure’s Course survives as a posthumous and disputed reconstruction of his lectures. In 1907, 1908-9, and 1910-11, Saussure taught a course on general linguistics at the University of Geneva. Because he kept few written notes from the course, it has had to be reconstructed from notes taken by his students. After his death in 1913, two of Saussure’s colleagues, Charles Bally and Albert Sechehaye, who had not attended the lectures, decided to produce a text based chiefly on notes from 1910-11, but incorporating earlier material as well. Although Saussure’s influence was made possible by Bally and Sechehaye’s work, it is now apparent that they misrepresented Saussure’s thought in a number of key respects, including misunderstanding his concept of the phoneme and giving inadequate consideration to his argument for the arbitrariness: of the sign. A recent critical edition of the Course has at last made available al. of the student notes from which the text was constructed. The arguments in the Course that are most important for Derrida are these:

  1. Language is a system of signs.
  2. The sign has two components: the form that signifies (the signifier) and what it signifies (the signified).
  3. The link between these two components is arbitrary, which “is the organizing principle for the whole of linguistics, considered as a science of language structure.”
  4. The signifier and the signified are relational or differential entities.
  5. Language, then, is not simply a nomenclature; there are no fixed universal concepts or signifiers.
  6. Each language is a distinctive and arbitrary way of organizing and conceptualizing the world.[2]

These concepts become part of Derrida’s positive science Of Grammatology. What is most problematic for Derrida is chapter VI of the Course, “Representation of a language by writing.” Like Rousseau, Saussure values most what is original and natural. In the language that is speech, whereas writing sets out to usurp what is primary and to promote a forgetfulness about the origins. Although it pretends to be an aid to memory, writing in fact opposes or displaces living memory with its own artificiality, secondariness, and supplementarity. Here, Derrida points out, Saussure has made the same discovery that Plato came upon in the Phaedrus:

writing signifies forgetfulness, because it is a mediation and the departure of the logos from itself. Without writing, the [logos] would remain in itself. Writing is the dissimulation of the natural, primary, and immediate presence of sense to the soul within the logos. Its violence befalls the soul as unconsciousness.[3]


For Derrida the entire western tradition of thought—from the ancient philosophy of Plato to the Romantic philosophy of Jean Jacques Rousseau, and even the modern linguistics of Ferdinand de Saussure and the anthropology of Claude Levi-Strauss—favors speech, the spoken word over writing, the written word. Derrida call this Bias Logocentrism. Logocentrism comes from the greek word “logos”, that means word truth reason and law. The ancient Greeks thought of logos as a cosmic principle hidden deep within human beings, within speech and within the natural universe. Logocentric believe that TRUTH is the voice, the word, or the expression of a central, original and absolute cause or Origin.


For instance,

In the new testament, the word is god.

God is the word

He is the God-Word.

A Word-God,

A Super-Word.



The Gospel of St. Jones declares:

In the beginning was the Word

And the word is with God.

And the word was God.



And as western Philosophy proceeded down through the centuries everything in the universe was seen as the center of this one transcendent cause—this transcendental signified. In order to know what a transcendental signified is, we must first know what a “signified” is. The word “signified” contains the word “sign”. A “sign” is a word. The sign “cow” is made up of the sound “cow” which is the signifier—and the concept or meaning of “cow”, which is the signified. (The actual animal is called the referent).[4]


A transcendental signified is a meaning that lies beyond everything in the whole universe. After all, transcendent simply means that which is beyond everything else. For instance, the logos, the God-Word, supposedly lie beyond the entire universe. But though the god-word, dwells beyond the structure of the universe, the god-word is thought of as centering and limiting the free play of the universe. He makes sure that cows never turn into cantaloupes. He makes the rules. He makes good and evil. Yet, though he makes the rules, the God-word is beyond the rules. He just sits down there—up beyond the rules, the God-word is beyond the rules. Though he is beyond the structure of the world, He is its Center. He Centers it.


During the long history of philosophy, other names have stood for an inner transcendental signified—names such as the Ideal, the world spirit, Mind, the divine will, Consciousnesss, etc. (such terms are usually capitalised). In the western philosophy these inner principles and the words or expressions which express them are central and involve a metaphysics of presence. Metaphysics is talk about transcendental signifieds, original moments, golden ages, transcendental principles, or an unarguable meaning for an utterance or text because it is divine. The metaphysics of presence is the notion that there is a transcendental signifier, a God-word that underlies all philosophical talk and guarantees meaning. It’s like when I am talking with you now. It seems as if my talking with you is a present, direct expression of my thoughts, my emotions, even my spirit. My talk is how I present my thoughts and feelings to you. When I talk with you I seem to verbalise my true self. My words come directly from myself. They seem like a perfect one-to-one fit for my thoughts, feelings, and intuitions.[5]


Just like the uttered Word, the logos, the Son, is believed by Christian theologians to be the perfect expression of God. So the yearning for presence seems to be tied in with this favoring of language over writing, with logocentricism. In fact Derrida says that the whole history of logocentricism, is one vast metaphysics of presence. All the names related to fundamentals, to principles, or to the center have always designated an invariable presence. Thus meaning is more distant in writing, when I write it to you. That is precisely the central and seemingly natural assumption that Derrida unmasks or deconstructs in Of Grammatology. In his reading of a work by the swiss linguistics, Derrida showed how Saussure sets up a binary opposition between speech and writing, and favors speech over writing, with logocentricism.


It was in his A Course in General Linguistics that Saussure defined language as made up of a system of signs. As we have seen, a linguistic sign like “cow”—which is the signifier—and the concept or meaning of “cow”, which is the signified. (The actual animal is called refferent). Derrida’s first argument with Saussure is that he regards the signified—the meaning—as more important than the sound “c-o-w”, the signifier. For sausser the tangible sound only gives us access to the intangible meaning. Sound is outer, meaning is inner.[6]


Derrida points out that just as the western metaphysics of presence cherishes the idea of an inner bond between inner meaning and outer sound. Thus Sausser’s linguistics, a science which is supposedly free of God-talk, simply repeats the ancient pre-scientific assumptions of God-talk. Speech, according to Saussure, is natural and direct, immediately intimate and present to thought and meaning. But Saussure degrades writing, asserting it veils language, that it is not a guise for a language but a disguise, that it is artificial, perverse, pathological, evil, degenerative and only used in absence of speech.[7]


Saussure also argues that just as speech is a way of representing inner meaning, writing is simply a means of representing speech. If speech is a sign of inner meaning—then writing, a sign of speech is twice removed from inner meaning—a “sign of sign”. Thus, for Derrida, the first stage is to see that Saussure privileges speech as central and natural because it is closer to inner meaning—just as the logos, the word and the Son are close to God. He marginalizes writing as perverted and evil. All that is needed for the second stage is a deconstructive reversal, revealing how writing can be central in Saussure’s own text.[8]


And that is what Derrida unravels next. He reminds us how, on the one hand, Saussure says there is a natural bond between sound (the signifier) “c-o-w” and meaning (the signified) “cow”—as if meaning (the signified) depends upon some sort of natural correspondence with the sound c-o-w.


But Sausser also said that the link between the (sound) signifier “c-o-w”, and its signified meaning is just due to chance. In French one says “vache”, in Swahili one says “ng’ombe jike”, in Arabic “baqara”, in Japanese “meushi” to signify “cow”. So there is nothing essential in the sound “c-o-w” that relates it to its meaning.


In fact on the level of sound, “c-o-w” gains its identity only because it is slightly different from “Mao”, which is only slightly different from “sow”, which is slightly different from “bough”, which is only slightly different from “bout”. The sound “cow”, in other words, depends upon its difference from these other sounds, these other signifiers—to distinguish itself from them. So the (horizontal) difference between sound and sound is what shapes the sound of language, not some vertical, intimate correspondence between sound and meaning.[9]


There is only this vast interwoven system of differences. A sound is what it is, only because it differs from other sounds in the same language. It gains its being through being different from them. Similarly on the level of meaning, the concept “cow”, the signified, has no meaning in-and-of-itself. Our concepts distinguish themselves only through their difference from other concepts. The concept “boat” gains its identity by being different from the concept of “ship” or “yawl”. So on the level of the concept, the signified, also there is only a system of differences. And there is no stable foundation to the system of difference which the language is. For instance if you don’t know English, and want to know what a cow is, you would have to look up “cow” in the dictionary. But under the entry “cow,” instead of finding a meaning that would satisfy your search for a meaning, since you don’t know English, you would only find a bunch of other sounds: Cow, The mature female of domestic cattle, or of other animals, as the whale, elephant, etc.[10]


But in order to know the meaning of the sounds “cattle”, “whale”, and “elephant”, you would have to look up their meanings, their signifieds, but you would find only more lists of signifiers, more sounds! A whale is a large mammal that lives in the sea, but then what is a mammal, what is a sea….? So one never arrive at a stable signified, a stable signified, a stable meaning that is capable of providing a foundation for the entire system in meaning. Because every potential meaning turns out to be just another sound, searching for yet another potential meaning. One never reach meaning—there is only an endless chain of sounds.


It’s just like our system of triangles. There is no comfiguration of triangles which can ground the system, make it stable. Each wave of triangles that seems to become present has arisen from a past wave and is dissolving into a future wave. Derida points out that Saussure, in trying to describe how language is just a vast tissue of differences, must employ a graphic system—writing—as an example. For writing is just a play of differences.


For instance, the marks #, @, % mean nothing in-and-of themselves. They have no essential features. They gain their identity only through there difference from other elements in there system. Thus Saussure says that language is a system of differences with no stable positive elements, no unchanging linguistic atoms that might provide a foundation for language.[11]


But if language, made up of sound and meaning, is just a play of differences, and if the relation between the sound “c-o-w” and its meaning changes from language to language, then how can Saussure still claim that there is a natural bond between sound and meaning..? How can he privilege speech as the natural presence of meaning, and trash writing as evil and absent from meaning…? After all, as Saussure himself explains, both the meanings and sounds of speech are systems of difference, just like writing. The sound “c-o-w” is different from “bough” or “wow”. And the meaning of “cow” is different from “bough” or “wow”. And the meaning “cow” is different from “horse”. It is the play of difference that makes the sounds. And this play of difference in speaking is just like the play of difference in writing. For in writing an “r” means nothing in itself, but is what it is because it is different from “t” or “I”. So it could be said that speaking is like a form of writing. This is deconstructive reversal—to invert the hierarchy that favors speech as natural and central and to reveal how writing, which had been seen as perverted, pathological and derivative, can be central and not marginal.[12]


But Derrida does not stop at this. For to do so would be just replace speech with writing. What he does next is to show that neither the word “speech” nor the word “writing” is adequate to describe the more abstract play of differences which they both are; both speech and writing are just a play of difference. So Derrida is not simply reversing the hierarchy—making writing central and speech marginal. What he does next is to put both terms, writing and speaking, under erasure, or in French sous rature[13]


Derrida indicates that concepts are under erasure (a correction made by erasing) by drawing an “X” through them. To put a binary opposition under erasure you write the words, but then mark a big black “X” over them, thus:


Speech Writing


It is a device Derrida borrowed from the philosopher Martin Heidegger, and it simply means that both “Speech” and “Writing” are inadequate to describe the more general play of differences common to both. But in discussing the matter, he simply cannot do without them. So they must be used. And putting them under erasure allows Derrida to have his cake and eat it too, so to speak. It allows him to use a word or concept and simultaneously indicate its highly inadequate nature.. Thus Derrida’s next step, then, is to invent an expression which shows that speaking and writing are just the spoken and written forms of the play of difference, a non-existent form of “writing” he calls it arche-writing.[14]


Arche writing is not merely writing on a page, graphic marks or sounds. It is not the Roman alphabet. It is not any kind of “mraking” that can be made with the voice, with pictures, with hieroglyphies, with cuneiforms, with Chinese characters, with choreography, with musical notations, with the forms of sculptures in space, which can be marked with an awl[15] on oak, with pen on paper, with fingers on sand, with hands on clay, by the contrast of lights and shadows on film. Arche writing is not a thing. It is the pure possibility of contrast, of difference. Arche writing makes possible the play of differences. It does not exist as a thing, yet makes all these possible. Arche writing is not a concept, nor even a word which can be defined. It is like the play of the triangles, the possibility of differing that underlies the play. And Of Grammatology is the science of Arche writing.[16]


Sassure’s project is important for Derrida because Saussure was on the verge of understanding language as logocentric metaphysics. He saw without fully understanding a point of convergence of the new science of linguistics with philosophy of language. Semiotics has given sustained attention to that convergence; and as Derrida proceeds to examine the contributions of these fields, his own text manifests the strains produced by concurrently opening philosophical discourse up to the contributions of linguistics and alerting linguistics to the metaphysical implications of its most recent discoveries.[17]


Derida credits the American Philosopher C.S. Peirce, the founder of semiotics, with having gone “very far in the direction that I have called the de-construction of the transcendental signified.”[18] Although Peirce died in 1914, the year before the publication of Saussure’s Course, Derrida sees in his semiology an advance over Saussurean linguistics. In his disarming assertion, “We think only in signs,” Peirce had come to see logic as the science of signs. In his view, a sign (or representamen) is that “which stands to somebody for something in some respect or capacity” and is, therefore, “anything which determines something else (its interpretant) to refer to an object to which itself refers (its object).”[19] For Peirce, grammar, logic, and rhetoric are but three branches of the science of semiotics. Although semiology, as proposed by Peirce, is more comprehensive than linguistics, the tenacity of the linguistic sign is such that its operations remain the model for semiology. Thus, Roland Barthes claims that “linguistics is not a part, even if privileged, of the general science of signs, it is semiology that is a part of linguistics.”[20] This reversal, which submits semiology to linguistics, is for Derrida exemplary of logocentric metaphysics [21].


Whereas Peirce’s semiotics differs from Saussurean theory by incorporating language into a more comprehensive science of signs, Louis Hjelmslev’s glossematics[22] modifies Saussurean linguistics from within its own theory. While largely accepting Saussure’s principle that language is, above all, form rather than substance, Hjelmslev departs from Saussure’s view that the sign is the basic unit of language. Even before Hjelmslev, linguists had investigated units of language smaller than the sign, such as the phoneme and the seme, which are the distinctive phonetic and semantic units. The prior discovery of these elements made it possible for Hjelmslev to study the combination and interplay of linguistic units, rather than concentrating solely on their distinctive features. Once the authentic form of language that constitutes these combinations emerges, it became possible for Hjelmslev to investigate the form of content. He was careful, however, to remind his readers that the combinatorial units (glossemes) in no way dispense with the distinctive features of language as studied by phonologists, nor did he find it possible to say positively what these units of combination are. For Derrida, Hjelmslev succeeded in finding not only a certain amount of play within Saussurean theory but also in finding that language is more like a game of chess than like the principles of economics. Derrida quotes Hjelmslev’s declaration that “The scheme of language is in the last analysis a game and nothing more.”[23]

Having celebrated the achievements of the Copenhagen School of linguistics—especially Hjelmslev’s isolation of the linguistic system from metaphysical speculation—Derrida proceeds to inquire into the transcendental origin of the linguistic system itself and of the theory that studies it. Is the formalism or scientific objectivity of glossematics simply a concealed metaphysics? In order to pursue this question, Derrida invokes a number of conceptual terms that serve to explore territory beyond or “short-of” the terrain of transcendental criticism or classical reason. These terms are parts of a metaphorical network derived from the physical processes of writing: ‘trace,’ ‘arche-writing,’ ‘erasure.’ Although it is difficult to resist the temptation to ask, “What does Derrida mean by these terms?,” the terms themselves participate in his effort to investigate critically the need to ask ‘what is’ and to answer any such question with a definition that forgets the differential and deferring processes of signification, which Derrida insists is the only way words and concepts receive meaning.[24] These particular terms mark Derrida’s determination “to see to it that the beyond does not return to the within”, which at least is an effort to resist forgetting Saussure’s challenge to remain aware of how processes of signification cannot even be thought about without the first move of recognizing the sign as pointing beyond itself, rather than making what it points to present in itself.[25] If that first move is too easily forgotten, it is not surprising, therefore, that such comprehensive and transcendental concepts as Plato’s eidos, St John’s logos, or Heidegger’s Dasein can too easily be conceived as available – and, above all, present – in those italicized words.


If the reader starts, however, with the recognition that the opposition to such transcendental concepts is productive – that, in Blake’s terms, “without contraries is no progression,” or in Paul de Man’s, that insight can come out of blindness – then it should be possible to uncover the pathway that such concepts leave behind as and when they are opposed. If they leave a track or trace in the text – a footprint for the grammatological detective to follow—then following the track should not be expected to lead back to the source or forward to its presence. Instead, ‘trace’ signifies the minimal element of structure that makes any sense of difference possible. (It may, therefore be thought of as both inside and outside—before and after—the possibility of definition.) It is like the sign, the glosseme, the seme, the phoneme, and the grapheme in that it is another entry in the lexicon of linguistics that seeks an understanding of the atomic elements of structure that make language possible. The trace is the concept hidden beneath those other entries and simultaneously marks the point in Heideggerian discourse where “the meaning of being as presence and the meaning of language as the full continuity of speech” begins to undermine itself. The trace also marks Derrida’s intention in writing Of Grammatology, which he describes with uncharacteristic directness: “To make enigmatic what one thinks one understands by the words ‘proximity,’ ‘immediacy,’ ‘presence’ (the proximate [proche], the own [propre], a.1d the pre- of presence), is my final intention in .this book.”[26] The trace must be thought through before such oppositions as nature and culture, speech and writing, painting and music, upon which the thought of Rousseau rests, can be critically examined.

As that minimal element of structure that makes possible differentiation, the trace gives rise to such distinctions as primary and secondary, interior and exterior. “Arche-writing” moves back and forth between these distinctions. The judgment that writing is secondary and exterior to speech requires the signifying movements these distinctions make possible. As the origin of writing, arche-writing may be thought to be the spoken word. But if speech is natural, then it would seem to require a sense already of what is not natural, which in this context must be writing. This particular tracearche-writing—is, then, “the opening of the first exteriority in general, the enigmatic relationship of the living to its other and of an inside to an outside.”[27] Such a non-presence of the other and the simultaneous possibility of thinking of the other as though present gives rise to metaphor. Further, the presence-absence of the trace underlies the play that makes metaphorical ambiguity possible, since ambiguity presupposes the logic of presence, which it proceeds to disobey.

As a development from the trace and arche-writing, the graphological technique of putting a word under erasure [sous rature] makes possible the visualizing of these traces; thus, Derrida introduces this phrase, derived from Heidegger, before proceeding to theorize the trace[28]. Again and again in thinking and writing about Derrida the temptation arises to use such words as “is,” “means,” “identifies”, “says,” as though those words retain something of their pre-Derridean innocence. Because these words have been subjected to Derridean critique—because their metaphysical freight has been weighed—they are crossed out; but being unavoidable indeed, because they make the critique possible—they remain legible. In The Question of Being (Zur Seinsfrage) Heidegger explores the philosophical problems of definition as he attempts to define nihilism. He thus crosses out the word “Being,” while keeping it legible. Derrida’s “trace” and the particular trace that he designates “arche-wrting” are extensions of Heidegger’s textual practice in The Question of Being, lust as most of Derrida’s thought has critical reference points in Heidegger’s texts. Indeed, crossing out while keeping legible is not a misleading metaphor for deconstruction.


[1] Of Grammatology, p. 329

[2] Michael Payne, Reading Theory, An Introduction to Lacan, Derrida and Kristeva, p.133

[3] Of Grammatology, p. 134

[4] Jim Powell, Derrida for Begineers, p.35

[5] Jim Powell, Derrida for Begineers, p.36

[6] Jim Powell, Derrida for Begineers, p.39

[7] Jim Powell, Derrida for Begineers, p.40

[8] Jim Powell, Derrida for Begineers, p.41

[9] Jim Powell, Derrida for Begineers, p.43

[10] Jim Powell, Derrida for Begineers, p.44

[11] Jim Powell, Derrida for Beginners, p.45

[12] Jim Powell, Derrida for Beginners, p.46

[13] Jim Powell, Derrida for Beginners, p.46

[14] Jim Powell, Derrida for Beginners, p.47

[15] A pointed tool for marking surfaces or for punching small holes

[16] Jim Powell, Derrida for Begineers, p.48

[17] Michael Payne, Reading Theory, An Introduction to Lacan, Derrida and Kristeva, p. 134

[18] Of Grammatology, p.49

[19] Michael Payne, Reading Theory, An Introduction to Lacan, Derrida and Kristeva, p. 135

[20] Michael Payne, Reading Theory, An Introduction to Lacan, Derrida and Kristeva, p. 135

[21] Of Grammatology, p. 51

[22] Louis Hjelmslev was a Danish linguist whose ideas formed the basis of the Copenhagen School of linguistics, he developed a new theory on language, coining the word Glossematik (in English, glossematics; the word was partially derived from the Greek “glossa” which means “tongue” or “language”).

[23] Of Grammatology, p. 57

[24] Of Grammatology, p. 70

[25] Of Grammatology, p. 61

[26] Of Grammatology, p. 70

[27] Of Grammatlogy, p. 70

[28]Of Grammatology, p.72