Semiological Reductionism

A Critique of the Deconstructionist Movement in Postmodern Thought

By M. C. Dillon

Subjects: Continental Philosophy
Paperback : 9780791423769, 241 pages, July 1995
Hardcover : 9780791423752, 241 pages, July 1995

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Table of contents



I. Time

1. The Metaphysics of Presence
2. Temporality

II. Truth

3. The Circle and the Abyss

III. The Unconscious

4. The Derridian-Freudian Unconscious
5. The Unconscious: Language and World

IV. Desire

6. Ungodly Desire, Unnatural Desire
7. Decrypting Desire





This critical interpretation shows Derridian thought to be permeated by a semiology that reduces all meaning to the signification of signs thus challenging the philosophy of deconstruction at its roots.


This book interprets Derrida and looks beyond deconstructionism. It is a critique that identifies a pervasive flaw in Derrida's thinking: the semiological reduction that permeates deconstructionist theory and postmodernism in general. The critique focuses on Derrida, but its conclusions may be applied to other major figures in the postmodern tradition who espouse the variant of Saussurean semiology that reduces all meaning to the signification of signs. This book challenges the philosophy of deconstruction at its roots, and does so on the basis of a diligent reading of central texts and an understanding of the tradition of Continental philosophy providing the context for Derridian thought.

M. C. Dillon (1938–2005) was Distinguished Teaching Professor at the State University of New York at Binghamton. He is the author of Beyond Romance and the editor of Merleau-Ponty Vivant, both also published by SUNY Press.