The Concept Of Language In Saussure

Good Essays
In Saussure’s, Course in General Linguistics, he conceives of the linguistic sign as a psychological entity with a concept and a sound-image (Saussure, 66). He does this in order to avoid the fallacy of examining only the sound-image, or phonetic pronunciation of the word, for according to him, each recalls the other, and a concept without a sound-image is voiceless, and a sound-image without a concept is meaningless (Saussure, 67). The main crux of Saussure’s argument is that because “because the sign is arbitrary, it follows no law other than that of tradition, and because it is based on tradition, it is arbitrary” (Saussure, 74). This brings us to the trouble with Saussure. His base concept of the sign as sound-image and concept being an …show more content…
By reconstructing it in this way, Saussure is subordinating the “signifier” to the “signified”, attempting to convey that they signifier is a stand-in, or emblem of the signified-the thing that is real. This subordination is crucial because Saussure believes that “A particular language state is always the product of historical forces, and these forces explain why the sign is unchangeable, i.e. why it resists any arbitrary substitution” (Saussure, 72). Saussure is clearly stating that, though language is arbitrary because it is based on arbitrary historical and social processes, the relationship between signifier and signified cannot be changed at any time or by any person. A sign, composed of the thing signified, and the sound used to signify it are subject to historical processes- processes that cause and constitute institutions which rise and fall; and these institutions collectively constitute society. Saussure further corroborates this when he says, “language-and this consideration surpasses all the others- is at every moment everybody’s concern; spread throughout society and manipulated by it” (Saussure, 75). At this point, one would think that Saussure and Bourdieu are in perfect agreement. But then, Saussure says the

Related Documents

  • Decent Essays

    This is also addressed in Fichte’s, Review of Aenesidemus, when he writes that, “we must have a real principle… not have to express a fact just as content [eine Tatsache, actual fact]; it can also express a fact as performance [eine Tathandlung, actual deed] (Fichte, 141). Schelling’s dogmatic view, in which he showed that outside objects are “things in themselves,” comes from Spinoza’s determinist views that focused on a reason and cause relationship. By denying the plurality of entities, Spinoza’s realism clearly tries to negate idealism, and therefore creates a major significant difference between Schelling and…

    • 1424 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Between the subject and truth lies the medium of language, which Park describes within a postmodern context as merely representational (Park 211). Because of this factor, words can only grasp at truth but ultimately hinder one’s ability to fully understand it. By its very nature, language perpetuates a dualistic view of reality. Therefore, this non-linguistic approach leads to a rejection of the presence of a linguistic system in the enlightened state, describing it instead as a “pure experience,” in which words do not distort one’s reality (210). Despite its downfalls, this understanding of language as inextricably tied to truth leads to a linguistic approach to Zen…

    • 848 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The standard analysis of knowledge is the Tripartite Theory (or, JTB, for short). This theory defines knowledge as ‘justified true belief’: S knows that P if and only if (i) P is true, (ii) S believes that P, and (iii) S is justified in believing that P. Each of these three conditions (truth, belief, and justification) is necessary for knowledge, and altogether they are jointly sufficient for having knowledge. As a counter to JTB, Edmund Gettier posed a serious challenge when he introduced the Gettier problem. The Gettier problems are cases of situations in which a person has a justified true belief that fails to be knowledge. Lets look at one case.…

    • 924 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    To do so, the person must “i. [be] in that state at that time and ii. It is necessarily true that [they are] in that state at that time, then it is evident that [they are] in that state at that time” (p. 72) If these two conditions are not met, the person cannot trust their senses and lacks a foundation for justifying their beliefs. It is important to be able to trust our senses, because as St. Thomas says, “the intellect knows that it possesses the truth by reflecting on itself” (p.…

    • 1122 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Descartes Metaphors

    • 702 Words
    • 3 Pages

    He hides under the idea that he refuses to become how his deceivers wish to see him, and although that may be true, he is also acting as a deceiver to himself. This is presented in Ayers ‘Cogito Ergo Sum’ “For I must exist in order even to conceive that I do not. And so, according to Descartes, one may draw the conclusion that ‘this proposition, I am, I exist is necessarily true, each time it is expressed by me, or conceived in my mind’” (27). The context in which “I think therefore I am,” in Descartes’ text highlights how he is who he believes he is. But, Lakoff and Johnson write, “In allowing us to focus on one aspect of a concept, a metaphorical concept can keep us from focusing on other aspects that are inconsistent with that metaphor”(10).…

    • 702 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Essential to this method is the requirement that one should "set aside as false" what might be doubted. On the traditional conception, then, we are following the dictates of reason only when we come to believe something because we have certain and indubitable reasons to think it as true” . If reason is the source of a belief, the Person will satisfy two criteria in arriving at it: he will infer only from premises which he knows to be true, and his reasoning will proceed in accordance with the accepted rules of good inference. On the interpretation of Hume's argument, one of the conceptions of reason with which Hume is concerned is this Cartesian view ;if reason were like this then it would not determine our beliefs about the unobserved or the continued and distinct existence of objects. He says that if reason or the understanding, which he often equates with this conception of reason, did determine the belief, then it would have to proceed upon a principle which is well-founded, a just conclusion; the transition would have to be a just inference and the conclusion built on solid reasoning.…

    • 2418 Words
    • 10 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Carr Vs Elton Analysis

    • 966 Words
    • 4 Pages

    to the point where Carr refers to it as a “fetish”. Yes, sources are important. Yes, it is important to acknowledge the truth found within these sources, however one must still be critical of these sources. There are no natural “facts” within history. These facts are purely constructed by interpreters are history.…

    • 966 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    One very impressive attack on Hume’s argument, trying to solve it with its definition, is as follows. The first premise of the argument is challenged, which is “if we want induction to be rationally justified, induction must be reliable.” Since the definition of deduction is based on the validity of an argument, which is assumed to be reliable, why couldn’t reliability be a part of the definition of induction? Induction is defined to be reliable in this attack. However, reliability cannot be a part of the definition because it is a way to evaluate those methods, such as deduction and induction. The criteria for the evaluation is a totally different idea than the method itself.…

    • 1698 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Descartes Vs Hume

    • 1474 Words
    • 6 Pages

    (130). When he says that the assertions of self are "contrary to experience", he is stating that the idea of the "self" has no impression. Since ideas must come impressions, there cannot be an idea of "self" if there are no impressions. Hume proposes the Bundle Theory of Self. He says, "But setting aside metaphysicians of this kind, I am willing to affirm of the rest of mankind that each of us is nothing but a bundle or collection of different perceptions" (Hume, 131).…

    • 1474 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    As he states in the Transcendental Logic, “one must not mix up their roles, rather one has great cause to separate them carefully from each other and distinguish them (A52/B76). On the other hand, Kant commits himself to the view that sensibility and understanding must coincide for us to perceive anything at all. ‘Only from their unification can cognition…

    • 1178 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays