Mark Bevir


This essay approaches Derrida through a consideration of his writings on Saussure and Husserl. Derrida is right to insist, following Saussure, on a relational theory of meaning: words do not have a one to one correspondence with their referents. But he is wrong to insist on a purely differential theory of meaning: words can refer to reality within the context of a body of knowledge. Similarly, Derrida is right to reject Husserl's idea of presence: no truths are simply given to consciousness. But he is wrong to reject the very idea of objective knowledge: we can defend a notion of objective knowledge couched in terms of a comparison of rival bodies of theories. The essay concludes by considering the implications of the preceding arguments for the enterprise of phenomenology.


Derrida. Saussure. Meaning. Phenomenology.

Texto completo:



BEVIR, M. Objectivity in history. History and theory, v. 33, p. 328-44, 1994.

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HUSSERL, E. /deas: general introduction to pure phenomenology. Trans. W. Gibson. London: George Allen & Unwin, 1931,

_______ . The origin of geometry (1978) published as an appendix to Derrida (1978a).

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SAUSSURE, F de. Course in general linguistics. BALLY, C.; SECHEHAYE, A. eds. Trans. W. Baskin. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1966.

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