We promote open Objectivism: the philosophy of reason, achievement, individualism, and freedom. Join our monthly informal online discussion for adults ages 18+. Once the signified is eliminated, the very notion of signs must be rejected as well. While one is spatial, the other is temporal. THIS is the meaning of “Structure, Sign and Language in the Discourse of the Human Sciences.”. As Das and Mohanty opines, “a center diminishes the structurality of structure by posting an objective reality.”. It must be a part of the structure, but also independent of it, in order to control it. One seeks to decipher a truth or an origin, and avoids play. Play, then, is whatever goes against the organization and coherence of the structure. The sentences appear to become increasingly entangled, to lead nowhere, and ultimately to add up to nothing. He uses the ethnological writings of Claude Levi-Strauss as an example of the study of this opposition. Next Derrida surveys the entire history of the concept of structure, up to the recent, still-mysterious, rupture, as a series of substituting one center for another. – Spiktinot, Book Review: Rains off a Smoky Sky – Spiktinot. Almost a decade ago, in 1997, the International Kolkata Book Fair for the very first time, introduced a foreign nation as its focal theme – the Republic of France. They inherited enough of what to destroy. Jacques Derrida, “Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences”1 (1970) Jacques Derrida, “Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences”1(1970) Perhaps something has occurred in the history of the concept of structure that could be called an “event,” if this loaded word did not entail a meaning which it is precisely the function of structural—or structurality—thought to … The signified became indistinguishable from the signifier, and the play became “a play of signification.” Signs, that is, words, could have any meaning, in a boundless, infinite play. Events must be set aside too, but Derrida would have had no reason to write his essay if there never was an event of rupture in the history of the concept of structure. He uses Levi-Strauss’s example of the study of grammar to prove that “totalization” is both useless and impossible. At this point Derrida brings up the opposition between nature and culture, which is an ancient philosophical issue. (Instead of a structure of concepts, philosophy, there was only a collection of signs, language.) He defended himself by claiming that a linguist can decipher a grammar from only a few sentences and does not need to collect all the sentences of a language. He points out that signs must signify something. The endless, boundless play is over. However, Derrida admitted before that signs could not exist independently of what they signify. The logical conclusion would be that language did not come into existence out of nothing, but was preceded by the concepts it was about to name. What types of centers were there so far? Levi-Strauss was criticized for not conducting an exhaustive inventory of South American myths before proceeding to write about South American mythology. His focus is directed inward, at the workings of our minds, away from the objects our minds are supposed to interpret. This commentary is part of The Atlas Society's 1999 online "CyberSeminar" entitled " The Continental Origins of Postmodernism . According to Derrida, the meaning of sign is always detached, always without any anchor – a void between the subject and what he wants to express. Why is this a problem? Oops! 9 Books You Must Buy for your children this Boi-Mela! Derrida names a few: essence, existence, substance, subject, consciousness, God, man. In an interview in the New York Times in 1998 he is dead serious about Deconstruction and about his position as the greatest philosopher living. In an application of the deconstructing play, the meaning of the word “center” has shifted to “origin.” The origin of mythology is indeed unknown, which qualifies it as a center-less structure. The other affirms play and tries to pass beyond man and humanism. It is possible to keep deconstructing philosophy, language, or anything and still be safe in the world of play. Derrida proceeds to claim that once the opposition between nature and culture is questioned, there is no way to separate nature and culture, and they become indistinguishable. What is there for man beyond man and humanism? Still, Derrida wants to report on something that happened, which is relevant to the concept of structure, so he allows the event to be admitted into the discussion, provided it is enclosed in quotation marks, as a word and not an actual event. Because thinking about structure must be abstract and exclude concretes such as events. What does play consist of? Nevertheless, he continues to write about the center, confident that it can exist and function while not being itself. Back in the beginning of the essay, Derrida proceeds to talk about the center of a structure, which controls the structure by orienting and organizing it. Derrida leaves no doubt as to his position when he indicates that Nietzsche pointed the way. It is useless and impossible to encompass the totality of language in order to study its grammar. According to Derrida, the event of the rupture occurred when there was a disruption in the series of substituting one center for another. The reader may think that mythology and music still have an overruling concept, they have a meaning, but once they are defined as center-less, their meaning is doomed to be deconstructed as well: “‘Music and mythology bring man face to face with potential objects of which only the shadows are actualized’” (287). The structure, then, is not just any structure, but a structure of concepts, that is, philosophy, with one central concept that controls it. Play is possible, if only we can forego our need for truth. Derrida admits that an unorganized structure is unconceivable and that a structure without a center is unthinkable, but he contends that the center delimits and diminishes the possible play within the structure. It is impossible to pronounce a proposition without using the form, the logic, and the postulations of what it attempts to contest.