Similarities and Differences in Wittgenstein and Derrida’s Notion of Language as Action

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Kristina Peternai Andrić


This research paper offers a comparison of the concepts of language as action presented by J. Derrida and L.Wittgenstein, including the concept of „performative” by J.L. Austin. The  conclusion is that they maintain a non-representational character of language. Relationship between sign and referent is arbitrary and signs can not have a direct reference to independent objects; rather they produce meaning through relationships with other signers. In social practice, through the use of „language games”, meaning can be stabilized and systematised by  the  habitual  use  of signs;  however,  this  stabilization  of  meaning  is  always  provisional. Regardless of the differences in the approaches by  Wittgenstein and Derrida, in the end is turns out that their mutual similarities are more important. The concept of language derived from  their  theories  has  a  significant  role  in  the  understanding  of  self  and  identity,  which leads to a discursive-performative conception of the formation of identity. Also, some common  arguments  and  theoretical  apparatus  by  Wittgenstein  and  Derrida  may  contribute  to a new way of thinking about democratic politics.


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Peternai Andrić, K. (2013). Similarities and Differences in Wittgenstein and Derrida’s Notion of Language as Action. Poznańskie Studia Slawistyczne, (4), 127–138.
Magiczna moc słów w językach, literaturach oraz kulturach słowiańskich


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