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Speech and Phenomena: And Other Essays on Husserl's Theory of Signs Paperback – Jan 1 1979


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 166 pages
  • Publisher: Northwestern University Press; 1 edition (Jan. 1 1979)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081010590X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810105904
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 14.9 x 1.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 318 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #693,341 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

About the Author

Jacques Derrida (1930–2004) was director of studies at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris, and professor of humanities at the University of California, Irvine. He is the author of many books published by the University of Chicago Press.

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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Paperback
Arguably one of the most convtroversial philosophers within the Continental tradigion, Derrida's work either heralds a revolution in philosophy or its utter destruction.
Derrida cites two important pedigrees (as the title suggests): Husserl and (tacitly) de Saussure.
Using the "course in general linguistics" of de Saussure, Derrida notes a certain degree of freedom, a "jeu," between the words-as-symbols and the thought contents they produce. Exploiting de Saussure's note that the relation between the sign and the mental content is arbitrary, Derrida questions the validity of any text (where the notion of text includes, but is not limited to, books, magazines, commercials, art, sex).
Derrida sees behind any "text" its entire recursive history, the weight of all the words, the mental experience of the reader.
At the point he considers the reader's experience he starts to deal with phenomenology - the study proposed and defined by Husserl himself in his Vienna and Paris lectures. A short definition might be that Phenomenology is the study of how man mentally relates to the objects of his experience(I admit, debatably so).
This book proposes Derrida's famous example of "différance" and its effect upon the Gallically trained ear and mind. So if you want to seem witty and "with-it" this introductory tome shall suffice.
As far as my own deconstruction / critique of the work. As an introductory work it is dense. Derrida is often criticized for losing himself in intellectual crevices, being prolix, and employing poor stylistics. These are not unmerited.
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Format: Paperback
Derrida, for all the supposed density of his writing, is a simplifier. Deconstruction owes much of its popularity (in America) to the fact that it says: philosophy is not all that complicated, just see how the inside and outside collapse into one another and you can tear any text at its seams. Derrida follows the same procedure with poor old Edmund: the entirety of the LU shamble if Husserl is unable to maintain the integrity of silent thought, in which no Anzeichen point toward anything. Unlike the canals on Mars, which may point to intelligent life, silent thought is unmediated and not supplemented (to use a Deriddaism) by a sign. The collapse (or rending) of inside and outside by the supplement mark the presence of absence: the word, a mere supplement to the presence of silent thought, separates and joins the "life" and "presence" of consciousness with absence, repetition, and death.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Pen Name? on April 14 2002
Format: Paperback
Coming out of the Heideggerean tradition of confusing wannabe academics into thinking you know more than they can grasp, Derrida has been stringing his following along for decades, getting into innumerable literary criticism and philosophy and language study classrooms and scaring kids away from what can truly be rewarding fields of study. Certainly his ideas on "differance" and the de-centered center are neat and they are developed out of a broader philosophical tradition. But Derrida's work is the perfect example of why so many people are turned away from philosophical study. Certainly, I am not advocating that everyone break their works down into catch-phrases and self-help books, but there should be a recognition that if the concepts cannot be elucidated in plain language, if the arguments cannot be followed without a strong background in phenomenology and structuralism, then they are of little use. Hume wrote his Enquiry, Kant the "Prolegomena", Sartre delivered his Existentialism & Humanism talk, etc... these were all attempts to make somewhat clear, the ideas entrenched in their dense treatises. That attempt needs to be made. If the work remains solely in the hands of the elite, who have made their way through all of the academic hoops, it grows stale. I think we can already see that happening. Or is it all just a game? A bunch of intellectual posturing? I'd like to give the benefit of the doubt and believe that's not the case. But I'm still waiting for someone to prove it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
THE FOUNDER OF DECONSTRUCTION PROVIDES A LINGUISTIC CRITIQUE OF HUSSERL March 16 2015
By Steven H Propp - Published on Amazon.com
Jacques Derrida (1930–2004) was a French philosopher and writer, best known for developing a form of semiotic analysis known as “Deconstruction.”

He wrote in the first chapter of this 1967 book, “The historic destiny of phenomenology seems in any case to be contained in these two motifs: on the one hand, phenomenology is the reduction of naïve ontology, the return to an active constitution of sense and value, to the activity of a LIFE which produces truth and value in general though its signs. But at the same time, without being simply juxtaposed to this move, another factor will necessarily confirm the classical metaphysics of presence and indicate the adherence of phenomenology to classical ontology. It is with this adherence that we have chosen to interest ourselves.” (Pg. 28-29)

He begins chapter 6 with the statement, “Phenomenological ‘silence,’ then, can only be reconstituted by a double exclusion or double reduction: that of the relation to the other within me in indicative communication, and that of expression as a stratum that is subsequent to, above, and external to that of sense. It is in the relation between these two exclusions that the strange prerogative of the vocal medium will become clear. We shall start with a consideration of the first reduction as it figures in the ‘essential distinctions,’ to which we are here restricting our inquiry. One must admit that the criterion for the distinction between expression and indication in the end rests on an all too summary description of ‘inner life.’ It is argued there is no indication in this inner life because there is no communication; that there is no communication because there is no ALTER EGO. And when the second person does emerge in inner language, it is a fiction; and, after all, fiction is only fiction. ‘You have gone wrong, you can’t go on like that’---this is only a false communication, a feigned communication.” (Pg. 70) Later in the chapter, he adds, “Hearing oneself speak is not the inwardness of an inside that is closed in upon itself; it is the irreducible openness in the inside; it is the eye and the world within speech. Phenomenological reduction is a scene, a theater stage.” (Pg. 86)

He points out, “[A statement like] ‘The circle is square’… has no possible object, but it makes sense only insofar as its grammatical form tolerates the possibility of a relation with its object. The efficiency and the form of signs that do not obey these rules, that is, that do not promise any knowledge, can be determined as nonsense only if one has antecedently, and according to the most traditional philosophical move, defined sense in general on the basis of truth as objectivity. Otherwise we would have to relegate to absolute nonsense all poetic language that transgresses the laws of this grammar of cognition and is irreducible to it. In the forms of nondiscursive signification… as well as in utterances such as ‘Abracadabra’ or ‘Green is where,’ there are modes of sense which do not point to any possible objects. Husserl would not deny the signifying force of such formations: he would simply refuse them the formal quality of being expressions endowed with SENSE, that is, of being logical, in the sense that they have a relation with an object. All of which amounts to recognizing an initial limitation of sense to knowledge, of logos to objectivity, of language to reason.” (Pg. 99)

In his 1968 essay ‘Difference,’ he begins with the statement, “The verb ‘to differ’ [différer] seems to differ from itself. On the one hand, it indicates difference distinction, inequality, or discernibility; on the other, it expresses the interposition of delay, the interval of a SPACING and TEMPORALIZING that puts off until ‘later’ what is precisely denied, the possible that is presently impossible. Sometimes the DIFFERENT and sometimes the DEFERRED correspond to [in French] to the verb ‘to differ.’ This correlation, however, is not simply one between act and object, cause and effect, or primordial and derived. In the one case ‘to differ’ signifies nonidentity; in the other case it signifies the order of the SAME. Yet there must be a common, although entirely different [différante], root within the sphere that relates the two movements of differing to one another. We provisionally give the name ‘difference’ to this SAMENESS which is not IDENTICAL: by the silent writing of its ‘a,’ it has the desired advantage of referring to differing, BOTH as spacing/temporalizing and as the movement that structures every dissociation.” (Pg. 129-130)

This is one of Derrida’s most significant works, and will be of great interest to anyone studying his thought.
21 of 34 people found the following review helpful
An introduction to Derrida and his related "différance" March 29 2000
By Steven G. Harms - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Arguably one of the most convtroversial philosophers within the Continental tradigion, Derrida's work either heralds a revolution in philosophy or its utter destruction.
Derrida cites two important pedigrees (as the title suggests): Husserl and (tacitly) de Saussure.
Using the "course in general linguistics" of de Saussure, Derrida notes a certain degree of freedom, a "jeu," between the words-as-symbols and the thought contents they produce. Exploiting de Saussure's note that the relation between the sign and the mental content is arbitrary, Derrida questions the validity of any text (where the notion of text includes, but is not limited to, books, magazines, commercials, art, sex).
Derrida sees behind any "text" its entire recursive history, the weight of all the words, the mental experience of the reader.
At the point he considers the reader's experience he starts to deal with phenomenology - the study proposed and defined by Husserl himself in his Vienna and Paris lectures. A short definition might be that Phenomenology is the study of how man mentally relates to the objects of his experience(I admit, debatably so).
This book proposes Derrida's famous example of "différance" and its effect upon the Gallically trained ear and mind. So if you want to seem witty and "with-it" this introductory tome shall suffice.
As far as my own deconstruction / critique of the work. As an introductory work it is dense. Derrida is often criticized for losing himself in intellectual crevices, being prolix, and employing poor stylistics. These are not unmerited. Yet for the reader who wishes to move beyond the fashionability of tossing "deconstructionist" out at cocktail parties, this is a must read. It is certainly part of the 20th century canon.
My own conclusions are mixed. In his later works Derrida becomes truly absurd, laughable, silly, and occasionally brilliant. Yet his work never fails to move its readers either to agree that he is either an idiot, a bad writer, or that philosophy as we know it has long been dead. Perhaps like a Socratic gadfly, Derrida is moving us to an entire gestalt shift vis-à-vis our relationship with philosophy and social institutions.
A solid background of Kant/Hegel, as well as a familiarity with lingustics (the aforementioned course in general lingustics of de Saussure) greatly ease the difficulty in penetrating his work.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Great early endeavors Feb. 26 2013
By Terri Rowley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is very heady and deep for the averaged reader. One might have to slowly digest and go back for a full comprehension of the material if not accustomed to this subject matter or Derrida's style of writing. Some of the essays in this are invaluable when studying his work from the beginning, or to get an alternative philosophical perspective on the subject matter from a deconstructionist standpoint. He also amplifies an understanding of his predecessors before him that allow a new interpretation for their work, or build upon the explanations lacking in their artistic endeavors in plotting out the thoughts of their minds. Granted this is from his stand point, yet they tend to add body to his work and reasoning. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to open up their mind and take a look at things from varying view points.
11 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Inside and Outside June 22 2000
By steven schwartzbard - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Derrida, for all the supposed density of his writing, is a simplifier. Deconstruction owes much of its popularity (in America) to the fact that it says: philosophy is not all that complicated, just see how the inside and outside collapse into one another and you can tear any text at its seams. Derrida follows the same procedure with poor old Edmund: the entirety of the LU shamble if Husserl is unable to maintain the integrity of silent thought, in which no Anzeichen point toward anything. Unlike the canals on Mars, which may point to intelligent life, silent thought is unmediated and not supplemented (to use a Deriddaism) by a sign. The collapse (or rending) of inside and outside by the supplement mark the presence of absence: the word, a mere supplement to the presence of silent thought, separates and joins the "life" and "presence" of consciousness with absence, repetition, and death.


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