- transcendental signified
- Derogatory term used in some post-structuralist writing to denote an external, objective, language-independent point that fixes reference or meaning. These points, it is alleged, cannot play any role in the interpretation of texts: their introduction only provides yet more text. Thus, for example, if an author's intentions, or a legislator's intentions, are invoked in order to interpret a text or a statute, we face the problem that their intentions could only be known, even to themselves, in the guise of more sayings. There is no stepping outside the domain of texts: every decoding is another encoding. The term is not very well adapted to its purpose, since it suggests the belief that everything except words is transcendental, whereas in fact ordinary things are no less identifiable empirically than words themselves.
Philosophy dictionary. Academic. 2011.
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