Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
Jacques Derrida’s Of Grammatology is a fundamental work of what has come to be called deconstructionist criticism. “Grammatology” is a term borrowed from Ignace J. Gelb, a linguist and ancient historian who first used it in his A Study of Writing: The Foundations of Grammatology (1952). Derrida’s Of Grammatology reexamines and aims to replace traditional Western logocentrism. By logocentrism, Derrida means the identification of the words of a text with the truth the text contains.
From the pre-Socratics to the post-Hegelians, logos (Greek for “word,” “reason,” or “spirit”) has been the origin of truth, its constitutive element. Western culture, influenced by the book of Genesis, and also by Plato, has identified logos with the source of creation itself. The thought of God or some overriding transcendent principle is thus identifiable with logos, while logos at its essence implies creation.
Language conveys signs, and signs contain two elements: the signifier (the physical symbol) and the signified (the thought beyond the symbol). The signifier and signified are ever present, and they are always distinct from one another. They may be distinct only to a small degree, or they may have a wide separation. For example, the coldness of ice cream might make one person think of winter, another person of a summer day at the beach, and a third person of the pain from a...
(The entire section is 1154 words.)
Show us the love and view this for free! Use the facebook like button, or any other share button on this page, and get this content free!free!
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of Of Grammatology Summary. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!