Deletion or Deployment. Is That any Way to Treat a Sign?

Hrachovec, Herbert (1993) Deletion or Deployment. Is That any Way to Treat a Sign? Continental Philosophy, 5. pp. 61-75.

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Edmund Husserl's treatment of signs as derivative from the lived presence of human consciousness has evoked quite divergent critical comments. Two can paradigmatically be singled out. Whereas Jaques Derrida in a Heideggerian move shows the metaphysical assumptions hidden in unmediated presence, Ernst Tugendhat exchanges Husserl's emphasis on phenomenological explorations of the human mind for the tools of analytical philosophy of language. Although Derrida and Tugendhat eventually move into very different directions their objections start from similar concerns. Talk about signs is almost incomprehensible unless a certain dualism between something that is employed to indicate, refer to, mean something else is assumed. It can be argued that, consequently, Husserl's attempt to tie such a dichotomy back to the presumably unshrouded clarity of Cartesian consciousness threatens the very idea of signification. According to this consideration semantics cannot be grounded in the noetic realm. ,,Signs are foreign to this self-presence of consciousness'' (SP, 58) since their possibility rests on some systematically antecedent set of differences governing the relations between what is present (the signifier) and what is indicated or expressed by it (the signified). This idea can be expressed not only in the Saussurian terms the early Derrida draws upon, but also by using the distinction between syntax and semantics familiar in analytical philosophy.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Philosophie > Philosophische Disziplinen > Sprachphilosophie
Philosophie > Philosophische Institutionen > Institut für Philosophie, Wien
Depositing User: Sissi Kemp
Date Deposited: 18 May 2008 16:08
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2011 18:52

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