Derrida's 'middle voice' : writing as differance and the textual 'limits' of our world
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.