Derrida’s Paralogism of Writing: A Critique of Deconstructive Reasoning

The European Legacy 20 (7):699-714 (2015)

Peter Bornedal
American University of Beirut
This article is a critique of the flawed logic Derrida employed in articulating his program of a Grammatology for “deconstructing” Western philosophy. I argue that Derrida in several instances built his arguments around what Kant called the “paralogism.” I look at an often cited case in order to substantiate my claim: Derrida’s reading of Saussure, where his argument is based on a paralogism. Derrida misinterprets Saussure by seeing his alleged rejection of graphical writing as a rejection of his own idiosyncratic notion of “writing”, which only corresponds to Saussure’s own notion of “linguistic value,” produced in a system of differences without positive terms
Keywords Derrida  Deconstruction  Kant  Paralogism  Saussure  Linguistics
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DOI 10.1080/10848770.2015.1067957
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