Protocol #3

Seminar - September 27, 2004

CLT 601: Deconstruction and Criticism

Prof. Silverman

Wan-Chi Lee



1.      Regarding term papers

2.      The difference between semiotics and semiology

3.      Clarifications regarding Husserl and Sartre

4.      Further explanation for semiology

5.      Further explanation for Derrida¡¦s ¡§Living on: Border Lines¡¨


Regarding papers

* Could use the same object/event for both papers, approximately 8-10 pages

The 1st due on 10/18

    -to deal with deconstruction as literary or art criticism

    -a deconstructive reading of any aesthetic object such as a text, film, play, building, or painting

The 2nd due on 11/29

    -how deconstruction is practiced as ethical and political criticism


* M. Dufrenne: theorist, phenomenology of aesthetic works

    Make distinction between ¡§aesthetic perception¡¨ and ¡§aesthetic object¡¨

        -aesthetic perception: intentional aspect of phenomenology

        -aesthetic object: whatever being examined interferes in/consciously


* The Differend

    -what happens between the two

    -the place where there¡¦s no intersection

    -doesn¡¦t belong to either sides

    -the edge or limit of either condition; if the two sides meet somewhere, it¡¦s where they meet


* Of Hospitality

    -the question of ¡§host¡¨↔ ¡§guest¡¨


Began Christian¡¦s protocol:

The difference between semiotics and semiology

Milan, 1974: First congress of the International Association of Semiotics, had a dispute/vote over the title


    -from Peirce

    -triatic: there are 3 positive elements to any kind of semiotic system (icon, index, symbol)


    -from Saussure

    -binary: e.g. signifier¡Xsignified   Synchronic¡Xdiachronic

    -there¡¦s no positive 3rd term

Both concern the general science of signs


Clarifications regarding Husserl and Sartre


The reduction transforms it from ¡§whether the thing exists in the world¡¨ to the level of consciousness; reflex upon consciousness


the object presents itself to a consciousness

 Transcendent transcendentalreduction Transcendental




Sartre¡Xtranscendenceof ego

¡§Who I am¡¨ as an ego presentsitself to my consciousness. ¡§I am a professor¡¨à¡¨professor¡¨ as essence presents itself inmy consciousness, but it¡¦s not in my consciousness. The object transcendsbecause it presents itself to me.

Two functions:

1.  toget it out of the transcendental position that Husserl thought it had

2.  itpresents itself to my consciousness. It is a subjectivity


*Example: COGITOSUM  (I think therefore I am)

The tradition ofcogito:

   -Kant (¡§Ich Denke¡¨)

      -Husserl (particularly inThe Crisisof European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology, 1936)


   -Merleau-Ponty (the last 3chapters ofPhenomenology of Perception)

   -Foucault (Madness andCivilization)

   -Derrida (in ¡§Cogito in History andMadness,¡¨Writing and Difference, he responds to Foucault)















If I want to talk aboutsomething in a phenomenological way, I do two things:

1.      eideticreductionàto get to the level of ¡§somethingness¡¨

2.      transcendentalreductionàto do bracketing

It¡¦s not significant theobject exists or not.

In Husserl: ¡§I think thereforeIam¡¨ may be correct. I don¡¦t care where this ¡§I¡¨ is, or whether this ¡§I¡¨exists or not

In Sartre: ¡§I think thereforethemeis.¡¨ ¡§Me¡¨ is the direct object of my thinking.
I think (nothingness)
àMe is (somethingness;transcendent; outside of consciousness)


Further explanation forsemiology

*Problem in semiology: What¡¦sthe relationship between a concept and an object?

In phenomenology we talk aboutobjects; in semiology we talk about signs, which contains both concepts andobjects. There¡¦s anindecidabilityat the level of signified (inside the concept). The concept is both inside and outside the signifier¡X¡§outside¡¨means the level of the ¡§signifying¡¨


A sign has two parts: word, object/concept, idea










In French, ¡§significant¡¨ meansboth ¡§signifier¡¨ and ¡§signifying¡¨àthere¡¦s an indecidability ofbeing ¡§signifier¡¨ or ¡§signifying¡¨


*Denotation and connotation

   -Roland Barthes:Elementsof Semiology, 1964

   -¡§Metaphor¡¨ also consists ofdenotation and connotation. Derrida discusses about metaphor inMargin of Philosophy.


*Lacan talks aboutSaussure

   -Lacan is interested in howpeople use words.Words under Wordstalks aboutanagram.

The function of the bar ¡§¡V¡V¡¨ : to link and to separate at the same time


-Saussure¡¦s diagram:






                                    [arbre]à[barre]: bar¡Xlong table separatescustomers and bartenders

                           bar¡Xbe able to practice thelaw before/behind it

                           sand bar¡Xsand that separatesthe bay and the land

                           in York, England¡Xa gate that separatethe outside and the inside of the city

           Saussure¡¦s unconscious use of anagram

                  -Lacan : There¡¦s no one to onecorrespondence between signified and signifier because there¡¦s always 

      -In ¡§The Insistence of the Letter in theUnconscious,¡¨ Lacan makes distinction between metaphor and
                metonymy, wherethere¡¦s a strong bar separates signified and signifier.

   -The whole question of bar andborder line is the background to Derrida.


Further explanation forDerrida¡¦s ¡§Living on: Border Lines¡¨


  -an add-on, doesn¡¦t replacethe first one; doesn¡¦t stand up alone

           -bar: has supplementarity(adds to it but doesn¡¦t replace the designation of Sdand Sr; links and separates 
           thetwo). The bar is mobile.


*thelinethat separates the topessay and bottom essay (footnote)

       -The column in the title in the runninghead ¡§Living On:Border Lines¡¨ functions the same as the bar in
        ¡§LivingOn¡¨/¡§Border Lines¡¨
àlinks and separates

   - graphē / phonē          grammē

    writing    speaking       archē-writing

                                                 (different kind of writing, neither thelevel of speaking or writing)


       -Different usage of ¡§column¡¨¡XIn English,column precedes a whole sentence, while in French, column
        functions more like aperiod. The column designates theline that separates essay and the bottom essay. But
        if you say ¡§living on borderline¡¨, you don¡¦t hear the column. ¡§Livingon¡¨ isn¡¦t just a noun.


   Living on : border lines


   vivre sur      les bords

the indecidability of ¡§vivre¡¨:1. to live 2. living

# vivre sur: live on

# sur vivre: survive

# les bords: border, frame,edge

  the word ¡§vivre¡¨ therefore becomes atopos (topic): to talk about living, to go on living, to go write-on-living, togo right-on-living,

* There¡¦s a border line betweenlanguages. Derrida believes thatthe function of untranslatability is that there¡¦s a place of blockage.


* Write-on-living

   -What does it mean by ¡§write-on-living¡¨? Derrida is trying to write about life,just like Shelly does.

   -The hyphen puts a link betweenwords. It¡¦s a trace of connection,like a bar that links and separates.

 -In reality, Shellydrowned. He didn¡¦t go right on living. But through his writings, he went onliving. 
   He kept on writing onliving.

   -How do you read a poem?Extransitcriticismtalks about things outside the poem (e.g. Shelly drowned).
   Intransit criticismsays youshould only write about the poem itself.

   -The very edge/margin of the poem is thebreak off at the end¡XShelly died. How could you not mention it when
    you read the poem?

   -Derrida brings in a different andindependent text hundreds of years later as a critical practice to judge the
    position of the text, which has a great deal about ¡§living,¡¨ ¡§living on,¡¨etc. Only by writing this textbelow/
 the line, the border line becomes meaningful. There¡¦s a performance here; there¡¦s a connection to make.


* Criticism and critic

   -What¡¦s the status of criticism and differenttype of critical practice? A tool that applies? A way of life? A
    practice whichone performs? A world view?

   -Where comes the reading? Does it comefrom the subject? According to ¡K, the deconstructive reading operates
    effectively on everything. Adeconstructive reader already engages in the relation with the text.

   -The problem of new criticism is that you¡¦resupposed to surrender your self, to make yourself disappear.

   -Deconstruction is a practice.

   -Miller talks about the status ofcritics. Is a critic somebodycompletely outside? Like a barnacle?