Phonocentric’ is based on Derrida’s believe that speaking is superior to writing as it is more genuine and communicates the person’s ‘truth’. In deconstruction, Derrida analyses Phaedrus, by Plato, with a textual approach.
He notices that when Plato writes about writing, he states that writing is a poison or a cure, as writing threatens the genuinely that speaking has, however it is also a cure to old age and time, as what is written will not be forgotten. Derrida did not support neither one as he claims as he remained indecisive however, Derrida clearly agrees with Plato that writing is not so genuine. In fact, ‘phonocentrisim’, favours speaking over writing as he considers it to be language’s distorted picture of a meaning. I agree, as writing can easier contradict the person’s ‘truth’ as the writer is not present to justify one’s statement, as it is something I experience as the reader tends to interpret my ideas differently.
The text can easily take a ‘life of its own’, unlike speaking as one is present and can dictate his intentions. According to Derrida, Plato, Rousseau, Saussure, and Levi-Strauss, argued “that while spoken words are the symbols of mental experience, written words are the symbols of that already existing symbol” (J.Reynolds) and I think that this is the reason why writing is more challenging than speaking. Saussure argue that “language and writing are two distinct systems of signs: the second exists for the sole purpose of representing the first”. He insists that Language has an oral tradition, which is independent to writing however, Derrida disagrees with Saussure and supports his disagreement through the ‘philosophy of Language’.The ‘philosophy of Language’ states that the nature of Language is writing.
Derrida argues that he is not referring to the chronological historical evolution of language, but the logical preconditions of what make a language possible. It is a system of writing, like a set of rules that gives the foundation to speaking, showing that speaking in fact depends on writing, as we first learn the alphabet, trough sounds will are later used for writing. Derrida uses the concept ‘Arche-writing’ or ‘originary writing’, is a form of language, it is only a form of writing which do not derive from speech, such as symbols in cave paintings and Egyptian hieroglyphics.
By broadening the concept of writing to ‘Arche-writing’, it resulted in the deconstruction of the ‘metaphysics of presence’, as it does not exist anymore. Derrida comes up with ‘differance’ as a new way to define the origin of presence and absence, to replace the ‘metaphysics of presence’. Derrida’s created the word ‘Differance’ by combining the words differing and deferring together. Differing, is the meaning of a sign depending on its opposite and deferring, is the meaning of a sign, which is postponed until later as it is incomplete. Deferring causes the meaning to be interpreted differently especially through time; this can be clearly seen in symbolic art as needs to know the pre-existing various contextual aspects of that time, the historical, social, political, cultural backgrounds…
in order to really understand the artist’s interpretations. Through deferring, the absence becomes the present instead, conditioning the presence. The absence are experiences or memories of the past, make up what remains. Like so, symbolic art, hints the artist’s background, however it can be interpreted differently without the knowledge of the artist’s contextual aspects (background).
Like so, in speech and writing the inner meaning, is equivalent to the intention of the writer or speaker and the outer representation of the reader or listener.Deconstruction cannot be simply defined, as Derrida states himself ‘I have never claimed to identify myself with what may be designated by this name” (Derrida, 1995, p. 15) as “There is not – one deconstruction, and deconstruction is not a single theory or a single method.” Derrida himself did not define deconstruction it as would go against deconstruction itself. This can be seen in ‘Letter to a Japanese Friend’, (1983) where he wrote to explain deconstruction, however instead he wrote about what deconstruction is not:”a negative determination of its significations or connotations”; neither is “limited to a linguistico-grammatical model, let alone a mechanical model”. Nor to “be reduced to some methodological instrumentality or to a set of rules and transposable procedures.
“‘ which “is not therefore limited to meaning or to the text” … (Derrida.
J, Letter to a Japanese Friend). It cannot be said to be “an analysis nor a critique” or the “undoing, decomposing, and desedimenting of structures” (Derrida. J, Letter to a Japanese Friend). He concluded his letter suggests that “What deconstruction is not? Everything of course! What is deconstruction? But nothing of course!’ (1983: 5)