The belief, attacked in deconstruction, that speech is a more fundamental linguistic activity than writing. This belief was supposed by Derrida to imply the view that the presence of the speaker constitutes a kind of guarantee of meaning, by contrast with the absent author of writing; whereas the truth is that meaning is never guaranteed, so Derrida concludes that in fact writing is prior to speaking. The paradoxical nature of this consequence suggests that the implications Derrida finds are somewhat fantastical: one can accept the biological or historical priority of speech without having a simplistic view of its interpretation.

Philosophy dictionary. . 2011.

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