Writing and Text as Cognitive Space

Karin Wenz, Assistant Professor of English, University of Kassel

Writing and reading leads to awareness of linguistic structure and awareness of language structure, which is a product of writing, and not a precondition for its development (Olson 1994: 69). In the same sense, spatial configurations are not only a product, but the producers of a cognitive system. This is what Derrida meant when he talked about writing as being prior to speech. He defines writing not as the activity of writing, but as the movement of differentiation of sign systems (différance). Language, like any other code, constitutes itself as a texture of differences. Difference and opposition are the cognitive foundations of semiosis and therefore the precondition for every semiotic coding. This is a process which leads to an unbounded referring of signs. Writing in Derrida's sense creates networks by "spacing of speech" (Derrida 1967: 39) and can be interpreted as a metaphor of the human mind. 

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