The Archeology of the Frivolous: Reading Condillac

Overview

In 1746 the French philosophe Condillac published his Essay on the Origin of Human Knowledge, one of many attempts during the century to determine how we organize and validate ideas as knowledge. In investigating language, especially written language, he found not only the seriousness he sought but also a great deal of frivolity whose relation to the sober business of philosophy had to be addressed somehow. If the mind truly reflects the world, and language reflects the mind, why is there so much error and ...
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Overview

In 1746 the French philosophe Condillac published his Essay on the Origin of Human Knowledge, one of many attempts during the century to determine how we organize and validate ideas as knowledge. In investigating language, especially written language, he found not only the seriousness he sought but also a great deal of frivolity whose relation to the sober business of philosophy had to be addressed somehow. If the mind truly reflects the world, and language reflects the mind, why is there so much error and nonsense? Whence the distortions? How can they be remedied?

In The Archeology of the Frivolous, Jacques Derrida recoups Condillac's enterprise, showing how it anticipated--consciously or not--many of the issues that have since stymied epistemology and linguistic philosophy. If anyone doubts that deconstruction can be a powerful analytic method, try this.

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Editorial Reviews

Philosophical Topics
"The Archeology of the Frivolous is a brilliant essay by an original, historically knowledgeable and fascinating thinker of great importance to our understanding of the metaphysics which, he claims, has dominated Western thought from Plato to Hegel. . . . John Leavey has done an heroic job by translating into English a writer who plays in Joycean fashion on the nuances of French words."—Philosophical Topics
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803265714
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/1987
  • Series: Bison Books
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 143
  • Product dimensions: 5.28 (w) x 7.96 (h) x 0.37 (d)

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