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Title: Derrida's 'middle voice' : writing as differance and the textual 'limits' of our world
Author: Taylor, Neil.
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 1997
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Under the general theme of language and meaning, my precise purpose is to investigate Derrida's notion of writing as differance in relation to the 'problem' of the nature of the text conceptualized in terms of the binary opposition 'inside imaginary'Zoutside real'. That is, language construed as grounded within an hermetic realm of inner fictions or representational of a foundational outside world - the two limiting positions invoked by various extreme and untenable forms of anti-realism and realism. Thereby, I hope to clarify a way of providing a possible 'solution' to one of the major issues now confronting the philosophy oflanguage by means of what I call, for reasons which will become apparent, Derrida's 'Middle Voice'. In both form and content, my thesis as a whole traces the rhythm of Derridian writing as it complicates and confuses such boundaries as 'inside imaginary'Zoutside real', re-inscribing them as 'limited functions' of its movement between 'desire' and 'truth'. Hence, my Introduction begins by briefly contrasting Derrida's 'dynamic', non-linear, writing with Saussure's model of language and meaning. I then proceed to consider the implications of this with respect to Derrida's deconstruction of that major 'insidc'Zoutside' dualism of Western metaphysics, and I do this through readings of thinkers whose positions I take to err by overprivileging either side of these two extremes. Thus, Chapter One, starting from ubiquitous desire, is mainly concerned with the deconstruction of Lac an's linguistic re-interpretation of the Freudian unconscious. Chapter Two builds on my findings and, using as a paradigm the Barthesian text, considers Derridian writing as exceeding and moving 'outwards' from the concept of language over-idealized as an 'inside imaginary'. This, because of what, in Chapter Three I reveal as Derrida's 'middle voice' in terms of the 'rhythm' of writing, moving 'beyond' and 'between' any 'inside'foutside' opposition. Chapter Four thus shows Derrida's notion of the text, though historical and ethical through and through, also disturbing all reference to any foundational 'outside real' of history as envisaged by Jameson, Eagleton, and others. Finally, arguing against many of the standard interpretations, I give an original'writerly' reading of 'post analytical' philosophy in the form of Davidson's truth-conditions theory of meaning, showing that despite their radical differences, some of Davidson's ideas are remarkably congruent with Derridian writing. I draw to a close with a brief Conclusion, summarizing my findings in each of the chapters and placing Derrida's scriptural model of ,language' in relation to more general notions of complex dynamics and translation systems in, for example, the fields of cybernetics and biology. Finally, I end with a comprehensive Bibliography.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Jacques Derrida Literature Mass media Performing arts