Logocentrism and Logomania

  • Geoffrey Thurley


In a series of books published between 1967 and 1970, Derrida tried to do what Barthes suggested in his essay ‘Changer l’objet lui-même’ — challenge the basis of the symbolic itself, discredit representation, undermine the authority of the sign and render final and irrevocable the severance of signifiant from signifié. Now this is plainly, on the surface at least, more radical than anything attempted by Lévi-Strauss, and indeed contrary to the spirit of Lévi-Strauss. At the same time, as we have seen, it is really in the spirit of structuralism, with its insistence on distinguishing a realm of signifiers — of signs, that is, that may well turn out not to stand for anything. The clearest statement of Derrida’s views is to be found in the interviews with Michel Glazer published in 1972 as Positions.1 But the most important and the most seminal of his works is without doubt La Voix et le Phénomène, a straight philosophical critique of Husserl’s meaning-theory, published in 1967.2 Much of Derrida’s later work has presented itself as more or less straightforward literary criticism.3 As such it is comparatively uninteresting, a somewhat fussy, over-methodologised series of disquisitions on aspects of texts which do little to modify our views of the texts in question or the major theoretical questions underlying our interpretation of them.


Present Moment Sceptical Theory Objective Situation Western Metaphysic Golden Mountain 
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© Geoffrey Thurley 1983

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  • Geoffrey Thurley

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