One concept for which Derrida is most known is the idea of binary opposites, or dichotomies. According to Derrida, people think in terms of opposites. All things are identified in part by what they are not (the sky is dark but not bright). This idea can be traced back to Saussure. There are countless dichotomies, such as beginning/end, tall/short, masculine/feminine, presence/absence, and speech/writing. In addition to being dichotomies, these pairs are also hierarchies. We think of a beginning as more important than an end, presence as better than absence, and, perhaps most disturbing to Derrida, speech as more important than writing. Derrida attacks this idea in Dissemination, and attempts to subvert the boundary between speech and writing.
See the Opening Remarks
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