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CO M M U N ICATI ON AN D ITE RAB I LITY

same principle which accounts for the necessary independence of the identity of an expression from any single context of its use (the principle of iterability) also excludes the possibility that this independence could ever be absolute or pure. There is ‘nothing outside contexts’ (ibid., p. 136), nothing transcending our actual ‘forms of iteration’ (ibid., p. 18) that limits or dictates the iterability of linguistic elements. This way of rejecting what one might call ‘objectivity of meaning’ has often been interpreted as the idea that ‘anything goes’, and hence as a straightforward denial of the normativity of meaning. But, as we have seen, the argument is not that ‘any amount of “play” is permissible’ but, rather, that it is inconceivable that words in general have a ‘meaning’ which escapes the principle of iterability. For an event to be a use of language does not presuppose that it possesses a univocal sense or is used in accordance with definite rules, but only that it is ‘identifiable as conforming with an iterable model’ (LI, p. 18). The idea that such models or patterns are, essentially, ‘made to do without one’s presence’ perhaps explains what John McDowell somewhat obscurely refers to as the necessary ‘ratification independence’ of the patterns of use of our concept-words (McDowell, 1984, p. 326). If the preceding account is correct, however, then it should be clear that any such independence is something which must be established and maintained by our own efforts. To adapt an idea from David Pears, each ‘moment of the leap’ both maintains the stability of linguistic regularities and helps to set the standard of the stability that it maintains (see Pears, 1988, p. 434). My behaviour has, one might say, an irreducibly ‘performative’ dimension.28 As should be clear, this conclusion is nothing other than an accounting for language in which one can ‘think at once both the rule and the event’. ‘Writing’, that is to say, is the ‘root’ of the ‘two stems’ – language-as-structure and speech-act:29 in the performance of an iterable model, which has no instituted end,30 one is oneself functioning as the instrument of measurement of ‘the same’.31 Conceiving the use of signs along these lines constitutes a massive complication to the concept of language-use as the communicable representation or expression of determinate senses. Rigorously speaking, when one attempts to say, against this tradition, that ‘only the text signifies’ (Derrida, 1981, p. 34), or that ‘whatever accompanies the sign would for us just be another sign’ (BB, p. 5), one is necessarily transforming the values of ‘signifier’/‘signified’ (‘externality’/‘internality’). For, if one is attempting to understand these terms in their classical determinations, one will have to say that ‘the text is insignificant’ (Derrida, 1981, p. 34) or that ‘meaning drops out of language’ (PG, I-3; cp. PI, §120b). As Derrida stresses, this kind of transformation of the ‘relation idea/sign’ ‘necessitates, obviously, a rigorous and renewed analysis of the value of presence to others’ (LI, p. 49). We have already begun to touch on this issue, and in the next and final chapter I will focus explicitly on it. In doing so I will also return to the issue which first oriented this line of thinking. For, as should be becoming more clear, the foregoing examination of the

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Glendinning, simon on being with others heidegger‚ derrida, wittgenstein  
Glendinning, simon on being with others heidegger‚ derrida, wittgenstein  
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