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La voix et le phénomène by Jacques Derrida

La voix et le phénomène

by Jacques Derrida

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Big influence on me at the time I read it. ( )
  adrianstevenson | Apr 30, 2012 |
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Published in 1967, when Derrida was thirty-seven years old, Voice and Phenomenon appeared at the same moment as Of Grammatology and Writing and Difference. All three books announced the new philosophical project called “deconstruction.” Although Derrida would later regret the fate of the term “deconstruction,” he would use it throughout his career to define his own thinking. While Writing and Difference collects essays written over a ten-year period on diverse figures and topics, and while Of Grammatology aims its deconstruction at “the age of Rousseau,” Voice and Phenomenon shows deconstruction engaged with the most important philosophical movement of the last hundred years: phenomenology. Only in relation to phenomenology is it possible to measure the importance of deconstruction. Only in relation to Husserl's philosophy is it possible to understand the novelty of Derrida's thinking. Voice and Phenomenon therefore may be the best introduction to Derrida's thought in general. It is possible to say of it what Derrida says of Husserl's Logical Investigations. Voice and Phenomenon contains “the germinal structure” of Derrida's entire thought (3).
[From Lawlor's "Translator's Introduction: The Germinal Structure of Derrida's Thought" (2011) to his translation of Derrida's "Introduction" to Voice and Phenomenon (1967)]
The Logical Investigations (1900–1901) opened a path down which, as is well known, all of phenomenology has been pushed. Until the fourth edition (1928), there was no fundamental shift; nothing was put back into question in a decisive way. Some things were of course rearranged, and there was a powerful work of explanation. Ideas I and Formal and Transcendental Logic unfold, without a break, the concepts of intentional or noematic sense, the difference between the two strata of analytics in the broad sense (pure morphology of judgments and consequence-logic), and they remove the deductivist or nomological restriction that has until now affected the concept of science in general.
[From Lawlor's translation (2011) of Derrida's "Introduction" to Voice and Phenomenon (1967)]
Husserl begins by pointing out a confusion. Within the word “sign” (Zeichen), always in ordinary language and at times in philosophical language, are hidden to heterogeneous concepts: that of expression (Ausdruck), which we often mistakenly hold as being the synonym of the sign in general, and that of indication (Anzeichen). Now, according to Husserl, there are some signs that express nothing because these signs carry—we must still say this in German—nothing that we can call Bedeutung or Sinn. That is what indication is. Certainly, indication is a sign, like expression. But it is different from expression because it is, insofar as it is an indication, deprived of Bedeutung or Sinn: bedeutunglos, sinnlos. Nevertheless, it is not a sign without signification. Essentially, there cannot be a sign without signification, a signifier without a signified.
[From chapter 1 of Lawlor's translation (2011) of Derrida's Voice and Phenomenon (1967/2011)]
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