The Nature of Structure: On Jacques Derrida’s ‘Structure, Sign, and Play’

What can be said of something which may exist exterior to a structure? What occurs within a structure? And, how is change accounted for?

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The Fiction / Nonfiction Distinction

It is a difficult task drawing a suitable point of demarcation that divides fiction from nonfiction. In this essay, I explore various definitions of ‘fiction’, establishing two senses of the term: fiction as prompting imagination, and fiction as not real. I suggest the two senses are erroneously conflated, and are mutually exclusive. I then argue that all engagements with sensible things in the world prompt an imagination of possible worlds, but this does not necessarily entail fictionality in the ‘not real’ sense. A basic shaping of the process of understanding is then drawn: all understanding involves narrative posits. Even seemingly ‘real’ imaginings are never perfectly veridical; they are verisimilar at best.

Laying to Rest: Identity as a Zombie Category

In discussions of identity, the concept of a ‘private identity’ cannot be granted any significance, as the traditional commonsensical split between a private identity and a public identity is an untenable one. Rather, all identity is ostensive and articulated through the body via performance, in contrast to an epistemically secure private self in which one has privileged acquaintance with.

Matters of Taste: Cultural Value and Class

In this essay, I will particularly focus on the manner in which food and drink transcend their physical forms representing nourishment and necessity, and become meaningful symbolic entities which represent cultural values that both challenge and reproduce class divisions. Firstly, it will be established that food and drink maintain cultural value through constructed symbolism. I will then assess the arguments for and against the position that the cultural value of food and drink has an inextricable relationship with class.

Imaginative Capacities

Why champion scepticism when fables offer a meaningful commentary which positively guides, directs, and reinforces approbative behaviour and mentality? In my mind, a belief in these entities triggers a complex to become receptive to the sublime and that which is worthy of awe, that is, a greatness beyond seemingly logical comprehension.

What a Honed Palate Really Signifies

But where does language fit into this picture? I believe that having a good palate is ultimately a matter of language, for it allows a championship over supposedly ineffable sense experiences. It is only language, and totally up to one’s prowess and accuracy of language, that enables our experiences through tasting to enter a public arena. For in a languageless existence, verification cannot be possible. Private intrinsic experiences are sentenced to confinement - they cannot be liberated and released into the external world without language.