Jacques Derrida

Jacques Derrida
Birth 1930
Death 2004

Contemporary French philosopher of language. He proposed that human speech, as well as the meaning of any given text, is determined by the words used to describe things, rather than the things themselves. People’s perception of reality and behaviour is dictated by linguistic structures, as they are absolutely intrinsic to any life experience or philosophy. This is the premise for his concept of deconstruction, which means ripping previously understood textual formulations apart and re-assembling the pieces in a new context. It’s a very clever idea; changing the describing word changes the thing it describes. Deconstructionism shook the foundations of traditional metaphysics and phenomenology and suggested a new approach to literature, law, life, death and religion. Basically, it stuck two fingers up at philosophical tradition in order to reposition mankind in the world.

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