The Is The Fundamental Principle Of Language, Psychology And Philosophy Essay

The Is The Fundamental Principle Of Language, Psychology And Philosophy Essay

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The term ‘logocentrism’ is a neologism used to refer to the attitude that logos is the fundamental principle of language, psychology and philosophy. Derived from the Greek verb legō, logos encapsulates the meaning of speech, reason, thought and law. The term stems from the 1920s having been coined by the German philosopher Ludwig Klages who believed the logos to be a supreme principle that gives meaning to all discourse and organises all differences in an intellectual system. Logocentrism essentially rejects writing as an appendage to speech and, in agreement with Aristotle, purports that while spoken words are the symbols of “mental experience”, written words are merely the symbols of that pre-existent symbol. Logocentrist theory views writing as a mere representation of speech and so doubly derivative and doubly far from a harmonious unity with personal thought. From this perspective, logocentrism holds the theoretical position that it is speech, not writing, that is central to language.

Logocentrist theory advocates speech as the original signifier of meaning. This refers to the expression of interiority and presence being far more akin to the original nature of speech than that of writing. Whereas the written word, as described by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, is viewed as “nothing but the representation of speech.” Logocentrism contends that language originates as thought processes that produce speech, and that speech, in turn, produces writing. Ferdinand de Saussure follows this logocentric line of thought in his Course on General Linguistics where he begins to develop a theory of semiotics, focusing on the linguistic sign and its terminology. He writes, “language does have a definite and stable oral tradition that is independ...


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... an attitude which the analytic-referential model of thinking, foundationalism, also holds. Foundationalist theory seeks to avoid any problems of regression by positing the existence of foundational or basic beliefs. Therefore, the foundationalist model suggests a possible interaction between ‘Being’, the nature of things, and the signifer/signified in order to reveal a fundamental ‘truth’. This is true of logocentrism as it acts as a structure for us to understand the world. For the structure to remain true it must be assumed that there is an irreducible and original object which the logos represents, indicating our presence in the world to be necessarily mediated. Logocentric theory states if there is an ‘Ideal Form’, as suggested by Plato, then there has to be an ideal representation of such a form. According to logocentrism, this ideal representation is the logos.

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