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Theory[ edit ] Post-structuralist philosophers like Derrida and Foucault did not form a self-conscious group, but each responded to the traditions of phenomenology and structuralism.
The idea that knowledge could be centred on the beholder is rejected by structuralism, which claims to be a more secure foundation for knowledge. In Structuralism, knowledge is founded on the "structures" that make experience possible: By contrast, Post-structuralism argues that founding knowledge either on pure experience phenomenology or systematic structures Structuralism is impossible.
This impossibility was not meant as a failure or loss, but rather as a cause for "celebration and liberation". This theory proposes that there are frequently used pairs of opposite but related words conceptsoften arranged in a hierarchy.
Examples of common binary pairs include: Post-structuralism rejects the notion of the dominant word in the pair being dependent on its subservient counterpart. The only way to properly understand the purpose of these pairings is to assess each term individually, and then its relationship to the related term.
It emphasized the logical and scientific nature of its results. Post-structuralism offers a way of studying how knowledge is produced and critiques structuralist premises. It argues that because history and culture condition the study of underlying structures, both are subject to biases and misinterpretations.
A post-structuralist approach argues that to understand an object e. From this basic distinction, Post-structuralist studies often emphasize history to analyze descriptive concepts. By studying how cultural concepts have changed over time, Post-structuralists seek to understand how the same concepts are understood by readers in the present.
For example, Michel Foucault's Madness and Civilization is both an observation of history and an inspection of cultural attitudes about madness. Scholars between both movements[ edit ] The uncertain distance between structuralism and post-structuralism is further blurred by the fact that scholars rarely label themselves as Post-structuralists.
Some scholars associated with structuralism, such as Roland Barthes and Foucaultalso became noteworthy in Post-structuralism.
Controversy[ edit ] Some observers from outside the post-structuralist camp have questioned the rigor and legitimacy of the field. American philosopher John Searle  argued in that "The spread of 'poststructuralist' literary theory is perhaps the best known example of a silly but non-catastrophic phenomenon.
One can find dozens of books of literary theory bogged down in signifiers and signifieds, but only a handful that refer to Chomsky. The deconstructionists "deconstructionist" and "poststructuralist" mean the same thing, by the way: The poststructuralists attack what they see as a post-Platonic prejudice in favor of presence over absence and speech over writing.
We tend to trust speech over writing because of the immediacy of the speaker: But the reason why poststructuralists are in the literary theory business at all is that they see writing, not speech, as more faithful to the metaphysics of true expression.
For Barthes, Derrida, and Foucault, writing is a better animal than speech because it is iterable; it is iterable because it is abstract; and it is abstract because it is a function not of presence but of absence: For a deconstructionist, then, a writer's circumstances and intentions are indeed a part of the "context" of a text, but context imposes no real cinctures on the text's meaning, because meaning in language requires a cultivation of absence rather than presence, involves not the imposition but the erasure of consciousness.
This is so because these guys—Derrida following Heidegger and Barthes Mallarme and Foucault God knows who—see literary language as not a tool but an environment.
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The author’s final work, presented in a one-volume edition, is a rich, challenging analysis of man’s mental activity/5(35). Martin Heidegger is widely acknowledged to be one of the most original and important philosophers of the 20 th century, while remaining one of the most controversial.
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His thinking has contributed to such diverse fields as phenomenology (Merleau-Ponty), existentialism (Sartre, Ortega y Gasset.
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