Jacques Derrida is a post-structural, post modern philosopher known for his flaming contribution of the philosophy of Deconstruction. Derrida has been very controversial and his philosophy provides a detailed frame work for the interpretation of texts. He is notorious as a person belonging to the Yale Mafia.
Of Grammatology is a dense text and he stirs up an argument that in Western Philosophy speech was privileged over writing. He takes up his argument from the structuralism and that being one of the Sign. A sign in structuralism is divided into the signifier and the signified. The signifier belongs to the sensate realm and is a physical tangible object where as the signified as an abstract idea. For example if I say Dove is Peace. Dove represents the signifier and peace represents the signified.
For Derrida all language is a system of signs. The problem of Philosophy is that some signs privilege certain people and some signs marginalize others. Deconstruction aims to rupture the sign from its privileged status. For example: international schools in South East Asia advertise: wanted only native speakers of English. What about speakers of English that live in Asia especially countries like India? Deconstruction is a philosophy that dissects how privilege is constructed in texts. Another example is women are marginalized against men.
Derrida questions the predominance of speech in philosophy. Speech is privileged where as writing is marginalized. Derrida deconstructs religion where he says that God does not envisage a presence. Derrida’s writing has undermined and demeaned all metaphysical systems of thought. Socrates was philosopher who did not say anything. For Derrida there is no validity in truth and truth is only a conjectural possibility. God is an empty signifier. For Derrida, the whole history of writing is one of metaphors and metonymies.
To write is to have the passion of origin. Derrida also questions the ontological status of being as espoused by the Philosopher Heidegger. For Derrida, the sign is a rupture and leaves a trace which he calls as arche-writing. Derrida esteems the work of Nietzsche which though provokingly made a rapid progress in undoing the signifier from the signified. For Derrida speech is logo-centric and phallic. Writing has to become detached from speech with a free reign of signifiers and signifieds. The writer has to engage in the play of meaning. For example: I can deconstruct my race of being Asian and Indian by saying that I have white mind, a black soul and a brown body. I can also deconstruct my religion by saying that I am a gentile Jew, an atheistic Muslim, a disgruntled Christian and materialist Hindu. For Derrida the sign is not a fixed entity marked by closure. A sign becomes related to another sign and so on. The creation of meaning results in the play with signs. Writers have to deconstruct logo-centric texts. For Derrida, a sign, as a rupture or play consists of differing and deferring. Derrida’s deconstruction has contributed a lot to the interpretation of texts and the dissemination of meaning.