structure sign and play analysis

Topics: Philosophy, Philosophy of language, Claude Lévi-Strauss Pages: 2 (871 words) Published: September 2, 2014
Structure sign and play analysis

In his essay Struture, Sign and Play in the Discourse of Human Science, Derrida firstly describes the idea of freeplay, which is a decentering of systems within the systems themselves. Centering of systems is supposed to limit freeplay, yet this centering of systems, designed to give coherence to the system, is contradictory because it is there by force of desire, not by any fundamental principle. The basis of a structure comprise of historic patterns and repetitions that can be observed through historical records, and these patterns comprise of a series of substitutions for the center. The moment of substitution, which Derrida called "rupture", is the moment when the pattern or repetition reasserts itself through decentering and re-centering the structure, an example of freeplay (within the system) disrupting history (a series of events that provides linear, logical coherence to a system).

The three major critiques of de-centering (by Heideggar, Freud and Nietsche) use the language of metaphysics to breakdown / critique / deconstruct the principles of metaphysics itself. This paradox is relevant as it applies to the dislocation of culture, whether historically, philosophically, economically, politically, etc. The development of concepts birth their opposing sides (binary oppositions).

Derrida then moves into the discussion of Levi-Strauss' bricolage - the necessity of borrowing concepts from other texts (intertextuality of whatever concepts seem handy to give coherence, an intertextual collage) (obviously subject to change). This bricolage leads to the idea of myth, and while it is assumed that all myths have an engineer, [the concept/person] who creates concepts "out of whole cloth", the idea of the engineer is impossible since it would mean that a system is created from concepts from outside the system - so where did the engineer get these concepts from? Levi-Strauss suggests that the bricoleur invented it - but...
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