Derrida and Language: Deconstruction

By Yegen, Ceren; Abukan, Memet | International Journal of Linguistics, March 1, 2014 | Go to article overview

Derrida and Language: Deconstruction


Yegen, Ceren, Abukan, Memet, International Journal of Linguistics


Abstract

Derrida's deconstruction aims not only to understand language, text or meaning but also the postmodern universe which replaces the modern one and in which we live. Derrida thinks that the meaning can be attributed to other meanings or significance than the Western metaphysics deem by means of deconstruction. Therefore he considers the saying and writing - just like the meaning- to be behind this thought; the structures which are stereotyped by the aforesaid thought and the actions of which freedom is bereaved. Derrida thinks that the Western thought is completed with the deconstruction; however, he emphasizes that the meaning can be reconstructed. Within this context, this study will discuss Derrida's war waged with the deconstruction against the dominant meaning conception within the scope of Derida's "difference", "trace", "decentralization", "undecidability" and "metaphor" perceptions after the explanations to be made regarding modernism and postmodernism; and the way to understand how the differentiation potential of the deconstruction, text and the meaning inside is realized shall be traced.

Keywords: Modernism, Postmodernism, Language, Meaning, Writing, Saying, Metaphor, Deconstruction.

1. Introduction

In parallel with the importance attached to the language phenomenon in 20th century, the meaning phenomenon, apart from being linguistic, has been a philosophical and sociological study subject just as the language and text. In this sense, according to Derrida the language which formalizes the meaning became a problem in aforementioned period. Derrida developed the "deconstruction" concept in order to solve this problem and pointed out that the meaning can be constructed independently. Derrida's deconstruction concept is in fact a pursuit that suggests postmodernism. This is because of the fact that, Derrida criticizes the Western thought system which is the hegemony of the meaning constructing and legalizing the modernity by mans of deconstruction; and he to liberate the meaning. Moreover the metaphor phenomenon as an auxiliary element for the West thought is on the target board of Derrida.

The deconstruction which is the critical thought method of Derrida is established on graphemics and via this deconstruction Derrida criticizes the linguistics and its positivist bases. His deconstruction has appealed to numerous fields other than linguistics and even affected the architecture. For example Derrida's text disintegration idea has led to the wide use of fragmatism of forms in architectural design. Fragmatism refers to the disintegration of basic forms and at the same time this process paves way for the conceptions with different and potential meaning. (Kurt, 2010: 1-2).

In this sense, the function of the deconstruction and the contributions that Derrida endeavored to bring into writing, saying, language and meaning via the deconstruction are needed to be analyzed. Therefore in this study the "metaphor" term which can be seen as the guardian of the meaning with the concepts such as "difference", "trace", "decentralization" and "undecidability" suggested by Derrida like the modernism and postmodernism terms based on the deconstruction concepts of Derrida has been analyzed and so that the deconstruction has been discussed in general terms. This is because of the fact that, the deconstruction concept of Derrida is actually "a firm criticism of postmodernism". (Uçan, 2009: 2283).

2. Modernism and Postmodernism

While the modernization terms expresses that societies show developments related with the renovations in national and international fields, the modernity is used in the meaning of separating the modern structure from conventional structure in a certain period of time. On the other hand, modernism can be defined as the thought and information system formed in modernity and it includes cultural, economical, political etc. circumstances within its body.

Modernity is a situation which is closely related with rationalism and acted and defended by many philosophers such as Marx and Weber acted at the point of understanding the world. …

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