Textualized Body, Embodied Text: Derrida’s Linguistic Materialism

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This paper argues that in Derrida’s writings twentieth-century philosophy of language takes a materialistic turn, whereby meaning is understood as sensible and material in its origin and not as ideas pre-given in the mind. The work of metaphysics, however, is one of erasing the originary material/metaphorical meaning of signifiers and turns it into abstract idealistic meaning. Derrida is often accused of linguistic idealism on the basis of a misrepresentation of his anthemic catchphrase “there is nothing outside the text,” which seems to imply that he denies the existence of the real-world outside language. This distortion fails to understand the notion of the text and its materialistic underpinnings in the whole project of Derrida. His linguistic materialism is more realistic than idealistic, though he disavows such binary oppositions, and it is an improvement over all other forms of materialism on account of the notion of différance and his strategy of deconstructive reading. Derrida’s materialism is non-dialectical and non-predictive; it is centered on the notion of messianicity without a Messiah. The erasure of the permanent presence of the materiality of matter is as much important to this materialism as the subversion of the immutable solidity of the metaphysical conception of meaning. Post-metaphysical materialism understands body itself as text and text itself as embodied.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-120
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Indian Council of Philosophical Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01-01-2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Philosophy


Dive into the research topics of 'Textualized Body, Embodied Text: Derrida’s Linguistic Materialism'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this