What is sound-centrism and speech-centrism and what does it mean?

What is sound-centrism and speech-centrism and what does it mean?

June 27, 2021 Off By Felso

Derrida’s rejection of sound-centrism and speech-centrism is also related to this point (See previous title, After Structuralism). By deconstructing them, Derrida unveils the metaphysics of presence.

According to Derrida, centers such as Idea, God, Mind or Matter cannot be based on other notions. Because there is “the absence of a transcendent sign”. Therefore, it is meaningless to give priority and privilege to voice and speech over writing. The distinction between speech and writing is itself the product of this metaphysical thought, that is, the result of the philosophical tradition operating with binary oppositions on a certain center. According to Derrida, every kind of metaphysical thought is carried by binary oppositions. Madan Sarup states these as: signifier / shown, heard / thought, speech / writing, speech / language, diachronic / simultaneous, space / time, passivity / activity. It also adds dualities with more ideological uses: matter/spirit, subject/object, falsehood/truth, body/soul, representation/presence, appearance/essence, internal/external, etc. as. Derrida says that structuralists accept these dualities without much questioning. Each of these opposing terms only exists with the existence of the other. With deconstruction, Derrida develops the methodical means of understanding this.

The word-script distinction is at the heart of metaphysics’ most secret and powerful argument and is unacceptable; because, according to Derrida, the basic logic of “metaphysics of presence” lies behind the primary position of speech in traditional thought. This directness presupposes that there is an overlap (identity) between the speech produced by the speaker and what he or she is trying to convey through that word, in speech, hence in voice and speech. In other words, it is assumed that meaning is inherent in the word. Derrida shows that this cannot be so. Being-here-now is not something that can be determined from within the word. What applies to writing also applies to words; every word has been said in the absence of the sayer and the said, it can never point to a transcendent signified that comes to the tongue.

Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook