How can Linguistic Meaning be Grounded – in a Deconstructionist Semiotics?
AbstractDeconstruction is one of the more (in)famous theories in recent times. In this paper, I argue that the theory of deconstruction, proposed by Derrida in particular, should be read as a systematic and rigorous examination of key philosophical and semiotic notions, such as sign and meaning. The relevance of taking deconstructive critique seriously is explored with the point of departure in Derrida’s argument that linguistic signs are characterized by repeatability. This view is situated against attempts to ground language in context, speaker intentions and truth conditions, showing how deconstruction challenges these attempts for not taking the repeatability of signs sufficiently into account. Instead, deconstructive semiotics radicalizes the idea that linguistic signs always involve differential structures that postpone the determination of meaning. While this might be read as a skeptical conclusion, I propose that it should be positively interpreted as a relevant contribution for the theoretical understanding of language, signs and meaning.