A Dictionary for Derrida

French Postmodernism is not as difficult as it may appear.   Derrida does a good job in defining his terms, and as long as we keep those definitions present, much of what he says is not only coherent, but quite insightful:

transcendental signified:  the God's-eye point of view; being-as-presence (OG, 50).

trace:  the relationship where the "other" is marked.  It is a web of interpretation that already precedes the entity (OG, 47).

play:  absence of the transcendental signified.  No meaning outside reference.  The affecting of signs within the field of being (OG, 50). Mediation goes all the way down. “il n’y a pas de hors-texte.”  There is no aspect of our experience that escapes the play of signifiers. Instead of a metaphysics of presence we have an ontology of quasi-trace. Reference never gets to a “pure” outside that isn’t already touched by mediation and signifiers.

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